My buddy Marco “Speedy” Jeanrenaud, a resident of the Lake Geneva area of Switzerland, is a lifelong automotive lover — through the years, he has owned, amongst others, a 1976 Cadillac, a Dodge Charger, a number of Ford Mustangs, a Vary Rover SUV, and Harley and BMW bikes. In 2016, he purchased a Mannequin S, and shortly turned an ordained Tesla EVangelist. In 2021, he traded his S for a Mannequin 3, as a result of it had the most recent expertise and since he discovered the smaller automotive simpler to deal with on Europe’s slim streets.
|The rugged roads of Corsica. Picture courtesy of Charles Morris.|
Speedy has been vacationing on Corsica since he was a boy, and I’ve been listening to concerning the island’s Mediterranean charms since I met him 20 years in the past. This yr, I used to be lastly capable of make the journey. My spouse Denise and I joined Marco and sa femme Dadou for per week on the island. I’m scripting this on the porch of a country cabana just a few steps from an extremely picturesque seaside close to Calvi.
Naturally, we drove down from Switzerland in Speedy’s Mannequin 3, et voila — my newest addition to the Tesla highway journey literature!
Corsica is — let’s consider — not probably the most trendy area of Europe, so Speedy took each precaution to verify the battery stayed topped up. With round 450 km of vary, we would simply have made it from Vevey in Switzerland to the Italian port of Savona the place we caught the ferry to Corsica, however simply to verify, we stopped at two Superchargers alongside the best way.
Ordinarily, Speedy units his Mannequin 3 to cost solely to 80%, with the intention to maximize battery life. Nevertheless, when on an extended highway journey, particularly to a area the place the charging infrastructure could also be missing, he performs it protected and prices all the best way as much as 100%.
We climbed by way of spectacular Swiss Alpine surroundings to the St. Bernard move of canine fame. It’s nonetheless attainable to take the previous highway that winds to the highest of the move, however Speedy, who has pushed this fashion many occasions, defined that the previous route, with its tons of of switchback curves, is enjoyable on a motorbike however tedious in a automotive. We paid a $50 toll (!) to take the three-mile-long tunnel, and had been quickly descending the Italian aspect of the Alps previous crenellated medieval castles.
In Aosta, the Supercharger station is close to a posh freeway junction, and accessible solely from the eastbound aspect of the Autostrada — a reality which overwhelmed the Tesla nav system. Getting there concerned a number of fallacious turns, an extended detour to get pointed in the proper path, and no small quantity of profanity in French. As soon as we arrived, the expertise was effectivity itself — within the 20 minutes it took to high up, we went searching for lunch. At a non-descript pizza place in a shopping center, I had an impressive pizza (it’s onerous to get a foul one on this a part of the world), adopted by my first gelato of the journey (I like to recommend a minimum of one per day when in Italy).
Italy’s Ligurian coast is much less glamorous than the Riviera to the west, and fewer spectacular than the Cinque Terre area to the east, nevertheless it’s a lovely stretch of the Med, full with sidewalk cafes and fashionably-dressed individuals cruising by in Ferraris, Maseratis, and Vespas. The seaside city of Varazze has one of the beautifully-situated Superchargers I’ve seen — it’s situated in a small parking zone bordered by vine-covered stone partitions, with an expansive view of the ocean and the mountains. We plugged in, took a stroll alongside the yacht-filled harbor (these aren’t the Russian oligarchs’ yachts — simply the half-million-dollar variety), sat down at a café for a spherical of Aperol spritzers, and acquired again on the highway.
|All European Superchargers now have each Tesla and CCS connectors. Proper: One other picturesque Supercharger spot.|
Just some miles down the coast is Savona (Savonne in French), the place we took our first dip within the Med, loved our first pasta frutti di mare, and caught the ferry to Bastia in Corsica.
The ferry journey was extra of a character-building expertise than a journey spotlight. This was an unlimited RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) ship that carried about 1,000 vehicles on three decks. Mobs of individuals milled about — the well-to-do ones handed the time in cabins, whereas the much less lucky unfold blankets on the decks. The vehicles had been packed in like sardines, and after we arrived in port, getting again into the automotive was an journey in contortionism. I’m certainly not portly, nevertheless it was all I may do to squeeze in. There have to be quite a lot of dented and scratched doorways each journey.
As a result of we had an electrical automotive, we may sit inside in air-conditioned consolation whereas the remaining sweltered (or idled their engines to run the AC — thank goodness for the Tesla’s HEPA air filter). After a claustrophobia-inducing half-hour, we rolled off the ship and headed over the mountains to our vacation spot.
|Not glamorous, nevertheless it works!|
We spent per week in some funds bungalows only a few steps from the seaside. Preserving the Tesla charged turned out to be no downside in any respect — there was an outside electrical outlet proper subsequent to our shack, so Speedy merely plugged the automotive in every night and acquired an in a single day trickle cost. (Getting on-line was one other matter — we paid an additional price to have WiFi entry, however regardless of a number of irritating makes an attempt, it by no means labored.)
|My workplace on the highway.|
Corsica is extremely lovely, with crystal-clear waters and wild and rugged mountains, and the tradition is a scrumptious mixture of French and Italian influences. The coastal areas see loads of vacationers in the summertime season, however there are only a few of the ugly high-rise accommodations that mar a lot of Europe’s Mediterranean coast. The locals have a repute for — let’s consider — mischievous habits, and legend has it that builders gave up on constructing mass resorts years in the past, after a number of had been dynamited.
The Corsicans are usually not precisely early adopters. I noticed solely a handful of EVs in per week — just a few Renault Zoes and a few tourist-driven Teslas — and never a single photo voltaic panel. There’s at present no Supercharger station on the island, however there are a dozen or so vacation spot chargers at upscale accommodations.
On the return journey, we made the trek in reverse. The ferry journey was much more of a cauchemar — the notoriously inefficient Corsica Ferries misplaced our cabin reservation, so we joined the huddled lots sleeping on the deck and arrived house stiff and frazzled (which, I suppose, is how one ought to really feel after a very nice trip). As soon as once more, we stopped on the Superchargers in Varraze and Aosta. The latter has a less-idyllic quick setting — a parking zone jammed with semi trailers — however is surrounded by spectacular mountains.
|The vitality consumption display screen after ascending and descending a 7,000-foot mountain. The shaded space at decrease proper reveals that the battery is in regen mode, including vary.|
This journey offered a superb instance of how velocity and terrain have an effect on vary. Zooming down the autostrada at 140 km/hr shortly drained the battery (Speedy didn’t get his nickname for nothing), and so did climbing to the 7,000-foot St. Bernard move. Descending the opposite aspect, nonetheless, introduced the motor deep into regen territory — we added about 60 km of vary between the highest of the move and the valley under.
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