Driving from London to the Swiss Alps was just too easy. So, how could we raise it to the next level? Introduce a bit of jeopardy? Why not. Warum denn nicht…
So. Instead of “Cry God for Harry, England and St. George” it’s “Don’t tell him your name, Pike” as we head for Switzerland via the land of Kartoffel and Bratwurst – it’s Germany calling. (Nul points for clichés, as they say in Elsaß-Lothringen. Ed.)
Last time, we navigated along 1,000km of British, French and Swiss roads. This time, if we complete the mission, it’s over 1,250km via France, Belgium, Luxembourg , Germany and Switzerland. And we’ll be resisting any cheap national stereotypes and caricatures along the way. (Not. Ed.)
The additional challenge is that instead of Boy 2 in the passenger seat, it’ll be the Blog’s Editor. She is both a more than competent German speaker and someone quite capable of starting a war. (Stimmt. Ed.)
As with planning our last journey via France, the first challenge is to work out a route and some suitable charging points with CCS fast chargers. Sodetrel was fine for France, but doesn’t seem to reach beyond the French border. And Germany seems a jumble of competing networks, RFID cards and Apps.
I decided to call on the help of the heavy squad at the Speak EV Forums. Help. Charging Card for Germany? Someone suggested Aldi (although the fact their charge posts are fed from solar panels on the store roof means the charging times on a cloudy day wouldn’t be very quick). Then someone suggested New Motion – a Dutch firm that’s trying to build a single card solution that can be used across several networks.
The route planning took an afternoon – jumping between ChargeMap, New Motion’s map and Google Maps. There’s still a gap in the market for an intelligent, easy to use route planning tool.
A week ago, I ordered a New Motion RFID card via their website. As far as I can work out, the card is free but each time you use it to access a charging point you pay €0.35 to New Motion plus a fee to the charge point operator. Later posts may shed more light on this – and whether there are any hidden costs popping up.
The main problem at the moment is that the card hasn’t arrived. We were watching the post this morning as if it were a birthday when you were a child. The post was late. When it came, there was nothing from New Motion. Pre-trip range anxiety started to creep in, and so at lunchtime I phoned New Motion. The phone answered with a long recorded message in Dutch. (He could have asked me to listen in because, ya know, there’s a Dutch speaker in the house. Ed.) I was about to hang up when a voice came on the line with such perfect English he had to be from Holland. Apparently, my card was put in the post five days ago. Fingers crossed it arrives within the next few days.
The blog’s editor has insisted that we break the journey over two days. (FFS it’s going to take like 20 hours and I am too old and grumpy to sit in a fucking dodgem car for nearly a day with only Currywurst and Spätzle for munchies. Ed.) So, we’ve booked a room at the Grunder Gaestehaus in Kirkel-Limbach.
What could possibly go wrong?
Who … do you think … you are kidding… ?