Testing Electric Vans In Real Life — Poland To Sicily With A Nissan e-NV200

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Yes, you are right. This is exactly the time of year when a well-known Polish EV pioneer (a real one, unlike the many who are simply followers) takes to the roads of Europe to test e-mobility in real life. As you may remember, Tomek Gać, who has owned a Nissan LEAF since 2013, went to Wales in a Nissan Leaf and went through the Balkans with a Tesla Model S. Now it’s time for Sicily with a Nissan e-NV200. The heavy burden of reporting the adventure and watching Tomek enjoy the ride is as usual the honor of Jacek (me) and Zach.

Starting place in Poland.

Here we are, then. The first day of the trip went almost smoothly along express roads of Poland and the Czech Republic. It started with quite a disappointment, though, as the Orlen charger was out of order. (Orlen is the biggest Polish petrol retailer and has been adding EV chargers at many of its stations.) Perhaps Orlen made a mistake saying goodbye to its EV specialist, Kasia, a few months ago. 😉 Anyway, that made Tomek’s plans go awry a bit. He stuck to GreenWay chargers from then on and quickly ate up kilometers on the way to Brno, in the Czech Republic. It took 8 hours (including charging) to make it those 470 km.

Nissan e-NV200 at a GreenWay fast charger.
e-NV200 makes it to the first hotel.

After a short night in a hotel (no charging available, unfortunately), Tomek and crew thought they would pay a short visit to Lidl, which happened to have a fast charger in the parking lot. What a coincidence! (And thank you, PlugShare).

Nissan e-NV200 fast charging at a Lidl grocery store.

Another stop was made after 200 km right outside Vienna. Charging was possible thanks our GreenWay card and their roaming partnership with Smatrics — these chargers are quite plentiful in Austria. Lucky us, again.

Thank you Smatrics, and GreenWay.

Since we were entering a mountainous region of the Alps and we had some doubts about chargers working (no, not at Orlen, but we had reasonable doubts), we decided to charge a bit more often, every 150 km. That meant another two charging sessions with Smatrics and one more with our best friend Lidl in Villach. Then we finally crossed the border and entered Italy.

Another Lidl — food plus electrons.

At that moment, we had to download a few other apps (poor planning before the trip, but certain EV projects took all our precious time). The best one proved to be NextCharge, as it allows charging with the Enel X network, apparently the largest Italian charging operator.

After 15 hours (including charging), we happily arrived in Venice. It was just before midnight and we felt like the night had just started. As we met the remaining part of our 8 person team, the scenario was simple — we took our EN200 to the most historic part of Venice (that is, the island). As we took to the narrow streets and arrived at the monumental St. Mark’s Square, we didn’t know Venice still had some surprises for us. We used another application to find our way back to the car (Google Maps — you know it?), and we were kindly directed through the maze of streets and old buildings to … a water taxi station.

Water taxis don’t run at 3:00am, even in Venice.

Since it was already 3:00am, no taxis were available. It took us some time to activate the “no ferries” option and Uncle Google finally guided us back to our car in no more than 20 minutes.

Expect a slow morning tomorrow and a lazy drive south through Italy. EV enthusiasts, watch out for our beautiful E-NV200 on its way to Sicily!

Editor’s Note: Tomek Gać has actually tested several electric vans (almost all of them). He’ll join us for a coming episode of CleanTech Talk to discuss his experience with these.

All images by Tesla Shuttle

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Jacek Fior

Jacek is an entrepreneurial type who sees opportunities all around. He engages in numerous climate related projects, including a magazine in Polish and English called ClimateNow!. One of his many passions, besides card tricks and mixology, is electric cars and their introduction on the market. Professionally, he works as a sales manager and moves freely on various product markets.

Jacek Fior has 51 posts and counting. See all posts by Jacek Fior