[This blog post describes part II of our 5000 km Nordic Tour in the summer of 2022, accomplished with an Electric Vehicle with a real-life 400 km driving range. (read Part I here) Can it be done?
After resting some days at grandma’s, it was time to wake up Polle from its sleep. The car was humming eagerly, ready to go towards the next adventure. And why not; it had received a new load of energizing electricity via the current power plug on grandma’s old barn wall. We planned to drive back to Middle Finland and visit our friends there. They live in another house in the middle of the forest, at the end of a rather long dirt road. However, Polle had already proved it could handle it, so I wasn’t overly worried. We loaded the car, which was a task proving a bit more difficult at every stop. You know, Polle does not have a trunk of a station wagon as Skoda das Auto had, and on trips like this, the amount of luggage tends to increase. My husband was playing Tetris with our bags, and I was getting just slightly frustrated. Maybe it was time to purchase a ski box and place it on the roof. As self-confident as ever, Polle didn’t care. “It is your problem, not mine,” it seemed to say.
Luckily my husband is good at Tetris, including this real-life version located in the car trunk, and finally, we were able to say our goodbyes and head on the road. Again, the only real concern was watching out for the ‘birdhouses’; other than that, the trip was quite uneventful. We arrived at our friend’s place and spent some amazingly refreshing summer days at their care, enjoying the company. The car did not seem to mind the break, watching the kids running around. It even had a chance to catch up with its distant Korean cousin, Kille, who inhabits the courtyard of our friends! In addition, Polle must have overheard that their son had provably once called electric vehicles electric whisks, but it was not particularly offended. It seemed like nothing could cause a crack on its arrogance, which is quite understandable, considering that most people turn out to be quite impressed after trying it out.
From Middle Finland, we headed towards Turku. We planned to make a short stay at another good friend’s place and then board one of the cruise ships operating between Turku and Stockholm (Sweden). My husband played some more Tetris, but other than that, the drive was, again, quite uneventful. During the few stops, the kids amused themselves by watching cartoons from the car’s central display while it was recharging. Turku offered us rainy weather and lovely moments with our friends. We visited Botanic Garden in Ruissalo and a traffic park for kids; my daughter was awarded a top driver diploma which, of course, caused some skirmish between her and her little brother. But mommy was proud. A future Polestar driver, eh?
One evening, it was time to board the ship, which we did. The plan was to sleep overnight on the ship and then drive through Sweden the next day. We charged the car full again, just in case. Sweden is the home of Polestar, but we were unsure of the charging network there, so better be precautious, we thought. Polle slept on the car deck while we slept like babies in our cabin while the waves of Baltic Sea were gently rocking the ship. After a tasty sea breakfast buffet, we headed to the roads of Sweden. The only problem on the way was that I had obviously forgotten my Swedish. I had a frustrating moment at the gas station. I understood everything the clerk said to me but was completely unable to answer! All that came out of my mouth was German! Ouch.
We experienced some more frustration while trying to recharge the car before crossing the bridge to Denmark. There was a long line to the charging stations, and we later found out why; obviously, Denmark had the poorest charging station network we had seen so far, so it was better to recharge before crossing the border. Unfortunately, when it was finally our turn, our charging station refused to function! The only option was to go back in line and try again. Did I ever mention that car charging is not as fast as refueling? Ever tried to charge your cell phone in a hurry? Well, let me just say that this electric vehicle traveling is not a sport for hasty people. It was a hot day, and finally, I just collected the kids to the playground and fast food restaurant close by and left my husband to do the queuing.
It had been a long day, and I was more than happy when we could finally drive forward. Driving over the bridge was an exciting experience, and the Nordic Sea was as beautiful as ever. Denmark’s countryside and shores stole my heart with their beauty and peace. Apparently, I was not the only one since my son loudly declared from the back seat that he wanted to be a Danish drummer when he grew up! (More information about our danish adventures will follow, stay tuned!) Polle was at its element as its tires practically floated above the road’s surface. We were to meet my husband’s brother at their summer cottage, and finding the place was quite an adventure. If I was worried about Finnish dirt roads, I was about to discover that Danish cottage roads were even more extreme. The road was unimaginably narrow, and the vegetation was trying to take over the little space available. When we finally reached the cottage, we passed by because we simply did not see it through the vegetation! But Polle pulled through without a scratch.
What proved a bit problematic was recharging the car during our stay. We located a functioning charging station by the main road, some distance from the cottage. It was a frustratingly slow one! However, we had to rely on that since it seemed to be the only one available. My husband ended up going out at night to charge the car while I was putting the kids to bed. I’d imagine he was watching Danish movies from the car’s central display while waiting for it to recharge. I have no idea how he found his way back through the vegetation in the darkness, but somehow he did. Anyway, the time spent with my husband’s brother and his wife was priceless. We felt completely relaxed with them in the midst of the beautiful nature, making little tourist trips in the area during the days and barbecuing in the evenings.
Way too soon, it was time to head towards home again. After some more luggage-Tetris, we said our goodbyes and set off to reach the ferries operating between Denmark and Germany. Luckily, Denmark is not that big, and we survived even though the charging stations were shining in their absence. Polle seemed to enjoy another boat ride and a car deck, and we did, too. All there was left to do was to drive another 1000 kilometers through Germany. Polle was at its element on the German Autobahn, and seriously, driving 160 km/h feels perfectly comfortable with this car. Who would have believed that if someone had said so some ten years ago? Of course, it swallows up more electricity at that speed, but that is about the only thing that reveals that you are driving quite fast.
We were all eager to get back home, but we had also learned something from our past road trips. Driving through this big country in one day is exhausting, especially if you have already spent some weeks traveling. So, we had decided to stay overnight in Germany. Some 400 kilometers later, we parked in front of Hotel Ropeter in Göttingen and went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. After a good night’s sleep in comfortable beds and a tasty breakfast, we were ready to cover the second half of the way. We had no problems whatsoever, maybe because we had already become experts in finding functioning recharge stations on German ground, and late the same evening, we crossed the Swiss border and returned home. The car was beaming proudly. “See, it was not difficult at all, now was it?” it seemed to say. I had to agree; it can be done. My only real complaint was the trunk that proved too small for the needs of a family of four. But as my husband said, we can get over that. Even with the challenges we sometimes faced with recharging, it seems we are a lost case; neither of us wants to drive a so-called ‘normal’ car again. So we left the car in its parking spot and own recharging station to enjoy some rest and refreshments and dragged our luggage inside. It was a happy reunion with our two cats, who have also learned to recognize the car. They materialized from the darkness within seconds when they heard the electric humming of the car. It was good to be at home again!
*By the way, did I ever mention that this humming was one of the reasons why I was very reluctant to get an electric car in the first place? I hate the ‘sound’ of electricity. But guess what? You won’t hear any of that inside the car. It is pleasantly silent, as if it was designed for people with sensitive ears. Just an afterthought.