Tesla Model 3 road trip crossing the Alps

Our Tesla Model 3 road trip across Europe – Day 3 – Crossing the Alps

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This post is part of a series of blog posts covering our Tesla Model 3 road trip. If you didn’t already, read it from the beginning

After a day in Heidelberg and giving the Model 3 a rest it was time to set the course towards our first destination in Italy where we would stay for four nights. We chose Ripa located on the northern part of Tuscany close to the coast. This is very close to the Carrara marble quarries which became one of our mini trips out of Ripa. More on that in one of the next posts.

Tesla Model 3 road trip part 1 Heidelberg to Italy

Day 3 – From Heidelberg to Ripa, crossing the Alps

  • Departure from: Heidelberg, Germany
  • Charging: 4 times, though only a few minutes at some of the locations. Kriegstetten and Montagny in Switzerland, Aosta and Cavaglia in Italy.
  • Destination: Ripa, Tuscany
  • Distance: 920 km
  • Duration: 11 hours

Over the Alps in the Tesla Model 3

This was one of the highlights of the trip that I had been looking forward to. Before this vacation started I had followed quite a few Tesla forums regarding driving in the mountains, range, power consumption etc. But already after driving through Germany my mind was put at ease and I was not the least worried about having power enough to go over the Alps.

I also did not have to worry about horsepower, of which there are absurdly many in the long range, all wheel drive, dual motor Model 3. This combination gives you approx. 346 horsepower and the Model 3 handled the curves of the Alps perfectly, with extreme power excess.

Arriving at the Grand St. Bernard pass at 2,469 meters above sea level. It was a bit cold up here but had to shoot some pictures. The fun began going down hill.

Down hill with regenerative braking

Just wow. Going all the way down the Alps and I hardly ever touched the brakes. Try doing that in a ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car and you’ll have to engine brake using your gears, which can be done but is noisy as hell and costly on fuel. In the Tesla Model 3 regenerative braking did the trick. You go down hill, approach a curve and have to brake, so you lift your foot from the accelerator and depending on how much you lift your foot it brakes correspondingly without using the real brakes. As soon as you ease off the accelerator the power is reversed (very simply put) and the kinetic energy caused by the moving car creates energy that is converted into electricity that is then stored in the battery. On our way down the Alps we actually gained 74 km of range and had absolutely no wear on the brakes. It was so much fun. If you want to know more about the technology and the regenerative braking in a Tesla, have a look at this video on Youtube.

After starting the descent I had to stop for photos. Amazing drive down the Alps.

Then followed the Italian highways. They were in great condition, probably maintained by the income from the road tolls you pay on most highways. Just set the enhanced autopilot and cruised at 110 km or 130 km depending on the speed limits.

Finally arriving at our destination around 22.00 feeling surprisingly fresh even after being on the road for 11 hours, which can be attributed to the enhanced autopilot. You simply use a lot less energy micro-steering the car. Also the low noise levels contribute to the freshness.

Our plan was to stay in Ripa for some days, to have a base, from which could drive from to see stuff. Therefore we chose Ripa partly because of the proximity to a Tesla SuperCharger, which was 5 minutes away from our temporary home. Charging was needed after arriving so the first thing to do after a good night’s sleep and breakfast was to go charge before going exploring.

Check out this post for day 4 to 7 of our Tesla Model 3 road trip

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