Tired and emotional

Have just remembered what happened after we left Jan Autos yesterday evening after our last charge of the day.

The A9 motorway had been completely jammed for ages, so Waze wanted to take us home by an alternative route. Fine.

Except our driver misread the Waze instructions and before we knew it, we were heading back on the motorway in the opposite direction – to Bern – with no chance of an exit for 7km.

Much swearing – gold standard swearing to be honest – ensued. There was even a hint of a tear. Two days of driving takes it toll even on otherwise chilled EV owners.

The u-turn eventually appeared and we were back on course. Joy of joys, the accident had been cleared off the motorway and we got here more quickly than we would have done had we not taken the wrong road to start with – and without having to sit in a stationary hot car for ages.

A God joke, as they (okay, we) say.

Good morning from sunny Valais

Two days, 1322km, one overnight stop, lots of charging, some frankly apocalyptic weather (thanks Germany), waves from other i3 drivers, meeting Jan Autos’ Laurence, finally, in Vevey and the final few km with the sun setting over our Dents du Midi. What more could you want?

Even the minor hiccups en route didn’t detract from the experience. Sure, we could have done with the New Motion card arriving before we left. Sure, we could have done it more quickly and certainly more directly. But that would have missed out some stunning scenery (thanks Germany) and some interesting interactions along the way.

We do it all over again in a week’s time. Stand by for more live blogging, this time with less jeopardy but added tedium, as we are probably going to take the quick route back and hope to be done in 16 hours or fewer.

Mystery Guest

Some of you might think this blog is a one man and his dog affair. So why, you ask, do we never see the dog?

As the least sexist person I know, I should make it clear that the dog in question is not a dog. They've been a more than willing participant and have written some of the more acerbic posts. I even had to edit the swears as this is a family show, I'm sorry to say.

However their contributions do not include the one you'll read later where they confess to taking the wrong motorway and GOING BACK THE WAY WE HAD JUST COME INCLUDING TRAFFIC JAM.

Clever clogs dog that they are, they can also drive. In the style of A Question of Sport's mystery guest round, who might this be? Hint: they used to be a hand model on QVC.

PS We did make it with plenty of charge to spare, and once our hangovers have receded, we might yet drop some pearls of wisdom for all the swine out there. Thank you and good night.

Getting closer …

Maps of charging posts are rubbish, they really are. We're at our penultimate stop before the mountain, yet when the satnav said "you have reached your destination" there were no chargers in sight.

Undeterred we found this in the car park of some office building.

Except of course that is useless for an i3 and anyway as you can see, it's occupied by someone's toy car.

Just across the way though we found a proper one. We're going to charge here only partially, before heading down to the BMW dealer near Vevey which we've used before and where they're just lovely people.

Imagine if …

…you were a Zoe owner and had relied on the New Motion app to charge your car at the last service station we stopped at. You'd be utterly stuffed. We even put in the actual coordinates to find it and second time around it took us back over the border and to a car park on the side of the motorway. Still nothing. Grr.

Fortunately because of the REx, this wasn't a disaster and while range anxiety is not entirely absent even now, the petrol does get you out of trouble.

Launching the PlugSurfing app revealed several charging points up to 15km away. You can launch Waze from the app and ask it to notify you if the status of the charging point changes while you're on your way.

So here we are, inside the BMW dealership at Therwilerstrasse in Aesch (Switzerland), with our free coffee and biscuits, a table to work at and all sorts of BMW trinkets just crying out to be bought. The i3 is having its own rest outside, plugged into a CCS.

Next stop? Possibly BMW in Lausanne or maybe sod it and we'll switch the REx on and make it all the way up the mountain to home.


It's really hard to take a photo of the i3's display from the passenger seat without accidentally forcing the vehicle off the road.

Luckily that didn't happen and if you look carefully, you'll see we just busted the 1000km mark. About another 300 to go.

Repelling Boarders

Here's the thing. The charging post network is bonkers, we all know that. But where it exists and is accessible, it's hardly beyond the wit of (failing) man to paint an EV symbol on the charging bays is it?

We find the Renchtal West autobahn service station chargers with the accuracy of a V2. All the bays are empty, wahey, and the charging starts straightaway.

However because the bays are within a couple
of metres of Bobby and Fritz's popular currywurst stand and the main building, raiding parties from the ICE community were constantly trying to park their tents on the EV lawn.

Luckily we have a Rottweiler on board (she even knows how to spell it) so they were all given short shrift in German, and easily found other parking places just a few metres away.

It's not their fault – there are no signs to say what the bays are for – apart from the bloody enormous charging posts and massive rubber hoses, that is.

We're now back on board and heading for the service station at Weil am Rhein. Starting with 92% charge, we might just make it.

We promise the tasteless jokes will stop soon. It'll be the turn of the Swiss before you know it.

Treaty of Versailles

Remember history at School? And the peace settlement after World War I? And all those places that went to and fro from Germany to France? And it was all a bit confusing where the border was? 

Well from our German overnight halt (who goes there) we put the next German charge point into the Sat Nav and have ended up on a French motorway. Alsace Lorraine. That was one of those places in Mr Little's history lessons in Alnwick. 

A bit of double checking has reassured us that we're heading in the right direction, and should be in the Swiss Alps before dark. 

Anyway. We're having a happy morning. There's a sense of achievement for the 750km we managed yesterday – and for doing over 90% electric with just a little bit of REx. Oh, and we just spotted another i3 – as it flashed past us.