Chargetrip’s summer holidays: Pieter goes to Croatia

Valentina Neri Serneri Sep 27, 2021 · 4 min read

During a balmy European summer, Chargetrip’s co-founder and CCO Pieter Waller took his trusted electric car across the continent for a road trip. Upon his return, his adventure made for a compelling retelling and a handy guide for others contemplating taking their EVs onto the highways and byways of extended travel. Buckle up!

The itinerary

With a sailing boat awaiting their arrival on the glittering barbs of the Croatian shore, Pieter, his wife Marissa and their two kids Xavier and Frithjof packed their Polestar EV and left Amsterdam, and headed to Murter, Croatia.

It was July 21st, peak travel season, and to get to their destination Pieter had a daunting drive across the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and part of Croatia. Sure, they could have flown but the advantage of owning an EV — in theory — was for extensive road trips such as these, which save a fortune over other types of commercial transport and is much greener. It was time to put the theory to the test. To split the 1700km trip, there was a 5-day stopover in Altaussee, Austria, and a two-day stopover on the return leg in Slovenia.

The preparation for the trip

Planning is the key to any successful road trip and Pieter was meticulous in his preparation. These were the crucial 5 factors that made the trip a success:

  • He checked the route options with Google Maps before leaving to get an idea of the best ways to get to his final destination

  • He cross-referenced these with the Chargetrip Go web application to discover whether such a long journey was possible with an electric car due to the availability of charge stations.

  • Unfortunately, the Google navigation system installed on the Polestar couldn’t compute a route. So he planned using Chargetrip Go and noted what operators he would have to charge at.

  • After this, they downloaded the Elen app. Elen operates a network of free public chargers in Croatia. For the other countries, they used the Plugsurfing app.

  • In remote areas, they booked hotels with EV chargers even though this restricted the options for accommodation.

On the road

Traffic, as expected during peak season, was an issue. This, coupled with the flooding that had occurred in Germany and the subsequent maintenance work, just a few days before the departure, extended the travel time.

The good news was that despite the jam-packed roads Pieter and his family only had to wait two times during the entire journey to charge their car because there were no charging stations available, but that was only 5 minutes on each occasion. So extra cappuccino or ice cream for the kids;)

It was particularly frustrating for Pieter and Marissa to see nonelectric cars using charging spaces for parking. However, a friendly word in their owner’s ear did the trick. No one gave Pieter and Marissa a hard time. The only problem they encountered with a charge station was in rural Germany when it was unable to start the session. Luckily with 30% battery still left they found an alternative fast charge location.

The Polestar can charge up to 150kwh up to a certain battery level (see our article about the charging curve) and Pieter always tried to use ultra-fast chargers which made their charging sessions quite fast.

Generally speaking, Pieter and Marissa were pleasantly surprised with the relative ease of driving 1700km across 5 countries in an electric vehicle. In fact, the itinerary of planned charging stops made for a more enjoyable and relaxed drive than with an ICE car where hours of speedy driving take their toll by the end of the day.

Their final destination made the journey worthwhile. “Croatia itself was wonderful,” stated Marissa. “Charging was free and charge points were widely available (we always had 4 points to choose from). On top of that, in the Netherlands, it rains a lot whereas in Croatia you can relax and charge in the gorgeous sunshine.”

Tips for other EV drivers:

  • Make sure you get a charge pass that gives you the largest coverage across the countries you’ll need to drive through.

  • Research what fast charger operators exist in each country where you will drive.

  • Pack cards, books, toys, anything you need to entertain yourself, friends, or family you are traveling with. It’ll make the charging go faster and they are always handy things to have on your holiday, anyway.

  • Enjoy your electric ride!