Time for a road trip!

I decided to escape the city to spend a night nice in Banská Bystrica, a city in central Slovakia, 227 kilometres (141 miles) away from Bratislava.

Banská Bystrica Bratislava

I wish I’d just taken “green” all the way!

I decided to take the back roads to get to our first charging point in a city called Nitra because I was afraid taking the highway would drain the battery too much.

In retrospect it was a terrible decision because, while we got to see some nice villages, the roads were shockingly bad and the normally 70 minute journey took two and a half hours! It would have been faster to take the highway, even with a mid-journey top-up in another town called Trnava. Oh well, lesson learned.

Nitra greenway

We made it to Nitra at long, long last.

When we arrived to top up we plugged in and found that our access code didn’t work! Argh! Fortunately it was simple to fix. One phone call to the 24-hour Greenway charging network operator and we started charging within 1 minute. Pay attention charging operators: that is how you do it!

Next stop was only 35 km away at a place called Motorest Zubor in… well, the middle of nowhere.

Recharging the car before the stress arrives.

Recharging the car before the stress arrives.

The quick charger at Motorest Zubor scared me a little. When we plugged in and entered our code it gave us an error. I panicked, tried again, and fortunately it worked.

Just like in Nitra, the charger brought the car up to 82% in 20 minutes and we carried on our way to Banská Bystrica. This next part of the journey would be the most stressful and I wanted to charge to at least 90%, but it didn’t show me how, so I assumed 82% was as high as it would go. Big mistake…

electric car turtle mode

With many miles to go we entered “Turtle mode”!

Because we were driving for an hour at high speed, we drained the battery and barely made it to Banská Bystrica with the last 10 kilometres on “Turtle mode”. This meant the car only gave us the absolute minimum in power, which also meant the car was crawling up the hill to the fast charger at walking pace. I have never been so stressed out!

Flat battery Peugeot iOn

That’s either 4% full or 96% empty.

I’ve never seen my car battery go so low before. Combined with a six hour journey it was an experience I was keen to forget. Fortunately, from here we could relax and enjoy a night in Banská Bystrica, a beautiful medieval town in the middle of Slovakia.

Banska Bystrica

We made it to Banská Bystrica!

We walked all over this beautiful town, took in the many sights, and had a lovely dinner, all before tucking ourselves in for a long sleep.

We needed our energy because tomorrow we would be doing it all over again…

charging the electric car battery to 100 percent full

D’oh! There’s a hidden option to charge to 100% full!

I awoke to good news! When charging in the morning I discovered an extra menu in the quick charger allows you to charge all the way to 100 percent full! This is brilliant news!

Unfortunately in my case it refused to go past 94% but hey, that’s better than yesterday’s 82% so I’ll take it!

Hypermiling the electric car

Hypermiling the electric car

Understandably we were pretty nervous about making the same long journey back to the Motorest Zubor charger, so we drove slowly and carefully at around 85 km/h (53 mph).

We were passed by every vehicle on the highway (the most humiliating was a diesel Smart car) but after an hour we finally made it to the quick charger with THREE bars of battery remaining! No turtle mode!

It goes to show that charging an extra 12% and driving like a grandmother can make all the difference. Good to know for next time.

Trnava Greenway fast charger

Grabbing a coffee and a few electrons in Trnava.

After stopping in Nitra, we decided to go via the highway all the way, making a quick stop at Trnava before heading home to Bratislava. It was a very good decision as it saved us about an hour.

We learned a lot about the car. The 227 km (141 mile) journey back from Banská Bystrica was much more streamlined and took 4 hours. This works out about one hour longer than using a regular gas car, if you add in a stop for lunch. Not bad for a low-range city electric car, huh?

As always, here’s a video of the whole thing with a lot of cool stuff thrown in:

Thanks for watching and I hope you’re enjoying my EV journey!

7 thoughts on “Time for a road trip!

  1. Greetings from Portugal!

    I just got into this blog via yout previous blog (the 2007 Suzuki Swift) and I must say I’m really enjoying this adventure of yours.

    Thank you so very much for such two special blogs and for taking your precious time on your personal life to teach us some of the most precious details when using an electric car.

    Kind regards.

  2. Hi. I was wondering as to the app and old port device you show in one of your postings I have a 2011 Nissan Leaf. Thanks for posting.

  3. Thank you, Gav, for sharing your personal experiences and taking the time to edit the film. I want to make an EV journey through Poland and Slovakia, but find it hard to locate the fast chargers on the way.
    What site or app do you use to find the locations of the charging spots?
    I live in Sweden.

    • Hi Arild, thank you for the kind words. Plugshare is a great site to use, but I use the map which is supplied at Greenway (the Slovak charging provider). But looking at their site now, their map has changed and lost all the useful information about each charger. Hmmm. :/

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