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Saša Cvetojević on His Experience of Driving Tesla Electric Car around Europe

By 24 September 2016

According to Cvetojević, Europe is not uniformly adapted to electric cars.

Croatian entrepreneur Saša Cvetojević recently concluded a 10,000 kilometres long challenge that took him in an electric Tesla car from Zagreb to Istanbul to Nordkapp and back. He was trying to demonstrate that it was possible to travel all over Europe in an electric car, even though infrastructure needed for such cars is poor to non-existent in many countries, particularly those in the Eastern Europe, reports ICT Business on September 24, 2016.

He shared his views on experience of driving an electric car in Europe.

The experience is not uniform. On the one hand, in areas where the infrastructure is good, particularly the Tesla Motors infrastructure, the experience was great and electric cars can really be driven by anyone, without any special planning. However, in areas where there are no charging stations, electric cars are just for people who are early adopters and who want to invest a little more effort. Countries that have infrastructure for difference kinds of electric vehicles provide for a slightly worse user experience than for the owners of traditional cars. The main conclusion from this trip is that, in general, the network of charging stations is not adequate from the perspective of user experience, and there has to be changes.

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Could you compare experiences in various countries?

I was surprised by Turkey, since there is some infrastructure, especially on the Asian side, and there are also various models of electric cars on the roads. Norway is certainly the best example, since in Oslo almost one in three cars has an electric engine. In some months, the number of registered electric cars reaches a third of the total number of registered vehicles. In other areas, the situation is different from country to country. Estonia is well-developed and there is a network of fast charging stations produced by the Elmo Company. In Romania, there are several operators of electrical charger stations and they are very fast-growing.

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Where did you have the best and the worst experience?

It was great in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. As I said, Norway is great, but that was also the country which in a way disappointed us the most. We almost had to end our journey there. Last charger at the north of the country was faulty. That would not be such a major problem, because we had with us a variety of adapters and cables. But then we found out that the Norwegian power grid is unique and that it is the only country in which our universal Tesla connector, which is always the "last resort" because it allows you to connect to any plug, even the ordinary one like you have in your home, does not work. It was after midnight, but we left a post on a forum of Tesla owners and that led us to a solution. One local owner of a Tesla connected us to his charging station and we filled our batteries.

What is your main advice for anyone trying to use electric vehicles to travel in Europe?

If you go to Western Europe, there will be no problems, particularly if you drive a Tesla. Others have to get information about how to identify themselves at charging networks they will use. If you are going to Eastern Europe, ask me before you go, unless you are an even bigger masochist than I am!

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