A few months ago we bought our first electric car, the Tesla Model 3, and decided to make this year’s summer vacation a road trip to Tuscany, Italy, and back. This road trip will be covered in a series of blog posts spanning the 15 days of the total trip, starting in Denmark, across Germany, Switzerland, into Italy and back across the same countries. Before I go into details let me highlight a few thoughts about this car and our motivations for taking this road trip.
If you own a Model 3 or another Tesla vehicle you will recognize many things mentioned in this blog series. If you do not own a Tesla Model 3 but are curious about how it would be to live with a Tesla Model 3 and take it for a road trip, read on for inspiration.
We have a Tesla Model 3 Long Range (75 KWh battery), All Wheel Drive, dual motor, with 19″ rims and we couldn’t wait to experience how this car would perform in the European Alps and Tuscan hills. Going for 19″ rims obviously penalizes range a bit due to the increased friction. Equally there will be a bit more noise in the otherwise pretty quiet cabin compared to the default 18″ rims.
Why take a Tesla Model 3 road trip
We bought our Tesla Model 3 back in January 2019, which means we have free supercharging for 6 months from delivery of the car which was late March. This allowed us to transport ourselves to Tuscany and back without any cost except food and stay-overs at hotels and B&Bs.
As I will describe in this series driving a Tesla Model 3 leaves you a lot less tired and weary after driving for a full day.
This car is so fun to drive. You probably already know something about the qualities of the Tesla Model 3, and what I am talking about.
Regenerative braking for the win. I cannot emphasize enough how cool this feature is. Though not exclusively used by Tesla it is somewhat of a trademark feature. Think of regenerative braking as a way of converting the kinetic energy generated by deceleration into power that is then stored in the car’s batteries. Apart from maximizing range the added benefits are that you can drive almost without using the real brakes, rendering your rims sparkling clean and providing a hassle-free mountain driving experience and in general give you much faster reaction to events that occur, since regenerative braking kicks in as soon as you lift your foot from the accelerator.
Add to this the autopilot features of the Tesla Model 3 and you’ve got a comfortable, relaxing and quiet driving experience.
Day 1 & 2 – From Denmark to Heidelberg, Germany
- Departure from: Als, Denmark
- Charging : Twice at supercharger locations Bispingen and Malsfeld, Germany
- Destination: Heidelberg, Germany
- Distance: 803 km
- Duration: 10 hours incl. charging.
First of all, we are not the couple that wants to race through the countries to get to our destination so we we might not be as picky about charging times as other people. We want the entire trip to be an experience. Charging times rock in a Model 3 though. Usually we charge between 30 and 50 minutes. We still like to have around 20 percent (approx. 100 km) left on the battery when arriving at a charging station. Mostly because of the charging speed which is faster between 20% and 80%.
Generally, we just cruised at allowed speed limits, apart from Germany’s crazy autobahn which in many places has no speed limit. This leads to a lot of reckless driving so we just cruised at 110-130 km depending on the situation and traffic density.
Since we had no experience a road trip this long in an electric vehicle I spent a significant amount of time planning, creating Google maps with Tesla superchargers, hotel destination chargers and so on. I had heard about “range anxiety” but have never experienced it at home, even with not having a charging option at home (read more about that in an upcoming post). It turned out that I did not need to plan at all. With the massive network of Tesla superchargers you just drive, find a charger and charge while you eat, use the restrooms etc.
Because of the heavy vacation traffic in Germany in July we decided to leave Denmark at 22.00 and drive through the night. Highways in Germany were almost free from traffic and the dreaded Elb tunnel in Hamburg was completely free from traffic and during the night we had charging stations to ourselves. In vacation time it is not rare with 10-15 km queues in this area.
We chose Heidelberg because of its history. It is a city that has one of the most famous universities in Germany. By driving during the night we would arrive in Heidelberg about 7.30 in the morning and get some sleep at the hotel and then have almost an entire day to spend in the city. Heidelberg is full of atmosphere and I highly recommend it. It is a young city due to the lasting popularity of the university. We enjoyed our stay and got to bed early, ready for day 3 of the Tesla Model 3 road trip which would lead us to our first destination in Italy, Ripa.
Want to read more? Check out Day 3 of our Tesla Model 3 road trip – Crossing the Alps.