We arrived at our overnight stop at about nine o’clock. Dark. Raining.
The Grunder Gastehaus isn’t going to win any prizes for architectural beauty – unless there’s an award for the best grey box on an industrial estate in Kirkel-Limbach. But it’s very close to a CCS fast charger.
And so I found myself skulking into the back yard of a huge BMW dealer in what seemed like the middle of the night. Was it just my imagination that I was picked out in the darkness by German spotlights?
When I found the charge point, it was blocked. Two i3s were parked in front of it. Blocked. As this photo, taken this morning demonstrates.
But all was not lost. The charger turned out to have the longest cable in the world. If I told you it was 983 metres you probably wouldn’t believe me. But it was long enough to stretch out through the two parked cars and connect up to mine. Success. Or was it?
New Motion were very clear that this was one of the chargers that was 100% part of their network. Accessible either by a New Motion RFID card or with their App. So I hit the start charging button in the App and within a few seconds it told me “This charge point is out of service. Please contact the network operator.” And, naturally, it locked the connector unshiftably to my car.
As Lance Corporal Jones would have said “don’t panic”. But it was in something approaching panic that I grabbed the Sodetrel and my old ChargeNow card off the dashboard (I cancelled my membership of ChargeNow last month after we had our home charge point installed). Obviously, neither of them was going to work. It was a last throw of the dice. Fumbling in the dark it was the ChargeNow card I held up first. Whirr, whirr – clunk. The red light turned yellow. And then blue. And the car was charging.
I find this all very odd. It’s not just the mess of New Motion, free E, ChargeNow and all of the other cards and companies. It’s that the solution that worked was to use a card that I have actually cancelled, and have no contract or relationship with. “Utterly barmy”, as I commented to a passing Fuchs out for a stroll through the industrial estate in the Dämmerung.