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Tesla & EV Life In Wroclaw, Poland — What’s New?

I recently had our Polish Tesla Shuttle Model S for a few days (it normally lives in Cracow). I didn’t expect I’d experience many new things in the car and thought I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but I was wrong.

I recently had our Polish Tesla Shuttle Model S for a few days (it normally lives in Cracow). I didn’t expect I’d experience many new things in the car and thought I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but I was wrong.

To start off, it’s noteworthy that the electric vehicle (EV) market here in Wrocław has changed a bit since I was more regularly driving the 2015 Model S. New EVs keep popping up, there are ~200 electric Nissans (mostly LEAFs) in a city electric carsharing program, and the charging network has transformed a bit. That all leads to a different overall experience while charging or looking for charging stations.

While at a charging station, for the first time (anywhere) I saw a Hyundai Kona EV in person, got to sit in it, and checked it out for a few minutes while talking to the happy owner. The owner had just gotten it the month before and had already gone on a trip from Poland to Spain in it. Unfortunately, he told me that Hyundai had allocated only 15 units of the EV for Poland this year. An automaker can’t see a lot of EV sales if that automaker isn’t willing to produce and sell many cars. Fundamentally, I assume that Hyundai is massively undersupplied on batteries. The wait time for customers on the wait list for the Kona EV is approximately one year in some places. Not only is the limited supply fundamentally limiting EV adoption, but it’s also going to kill new demand if people consistently hear they have to wait months or even a year for a car. Only the most hardcore fans are going to get on the waitlist and settle for that, especially at a time when you can get a new Tesla Model 3 within just a few weeks.

Charging is easier and more reliable than it was a year ago. It’s still not perfect, of course, but it’s a couple of levels better than it was. In the 4 days we had the Model S, we charged:

… Down the street from our home at a free charging station that is behind a major gas station, next to a streetcar/tram stop, and across the street from a shopping center and large park. Actually, we charged here twice — once using the 22 kW AC charging plug and once using the CHAdeMO plug (via our Tesla–CHAdeMO adapter).

… In the city center in the parking garage for a large new music concert auditorium. There are 12 or so charging spots in the parking garage. Most of them now have a sign over them for the Vozilla carsharing network I mentioned above, but I assume they could be used by other EVs as well. (I should have asked, but didn’t think about it at the time.) We charged at a station at the beginning of the row of parking spots that didn’t have such a sign. The price for a charge there is 20 zł ($5.21) plus the normal parking rate or 4 zł ($1.04) per hour.

… In the parking garage of the city’s newest shopping mall, a large mall right next to the main train station and some new commercial buildings. The charging there is free and there are 4 charging spots on one floor and 3 spots on another floor. Parking is free for an hour and then 4 zł ($1.04) per hour after that.

… At another large shopping mall in the parking lot outside. This one was a GreenWay charging station, which no longer offers free charging, but I was happy to offer a little support to our friends at GreenWay. Their foresight and courage to so superbly enter this market at such an early stage has been a big help for EV drivers across the country, including our Tesla Shuttle crew! Plus, cofounder and managing director Peter Badik has been a CleanTechnica reader for 7 years or so.

Oh yeah, also, I needed to do a few things at the mall and charging there was nicer and more convenient than going to the gas station down the street from our home again before our driver from Cracow returned to get the car.

Of course, we charged more places than was actually necessary, simply to check out the charging facilities and for the convenient parking.

With a large, expensive car, we typically tried to find large parking spots away from other cars. Quite surprisingly, after coming out of a shopping mall with the girls, my wife noticed that another Model S had parked almost right next to us. The car was apparently visiting from Norway. I assume the driver 1) trusted that a local Model S knew a good place to park and copied us, 2) wanted to scope out the Polish Tesla, or 3) just wanted to add to the surprise and awe of anyone coming out and spotting a Tesla by doubling the fun. Or perhaps he or she simply wanted to show everyone how much nicer a newer Model S is. 😛

As you might have noticed, the charging stations at the shopping mall by the train station were full. I doubt that’s the norm, but there was a special EV event there that day. After publishing about Tesla opening a service center in Poland, a local Tesla Model 3 owner (perhaps the first in Poland) commented on my article to let me know about the event. Luckily, despite a long day at the zoo, we were able to make it to the EV gathering. In the time we were there, we saw 4 Tesla Model S’s aside from our own (so, 5 in total), the aforementioned Model 3, an electric scooter, 3 old Nissan LEAFs, 1 new LEAF, 2 Hyundai Ioniq EVs, and 1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

In the midst of my EV photo session, my daughter wanted me to also take a picture of her next to every car parked at the charging stations. 😀 The photos including her are certainly much nicer …

… and she also wanted to sit on the super cool electric scooter.

Incidentally, while walking to the charging station to unplug one evening, I saw a new Nissan LEAF that apparently works in a local taxi service. I presume he had just used the same station I was using. Free electricity definitely beats the gasoline/petrol prices on the board behind him.

Compounding our luck, one of my best friends happened to be visiting from Scotland during the weekend. He had never driven or even ridden in a Tesla. He had a lot of fun as a passenger, but then absolutely giggled when he got to test out the acceleration as a driver. It was a treat to introduce him to that indescribable feeling. Surprisingly, though, he surmised that his favorite thing about the car — despite the insane acceleration — was fart mode. I preferred our romantic time together, but I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic.

Did I mention we went to the zoo? The girls had a lot of fun with a couple of pictures about that, and generally speaking loved the infotainment drawing pad and most of the Easter eggs (apps).

I think you can guess the Tesla app that created the most laughs. … Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures of them laughing while the sound effects did their thing.

It was actually sort of weird to use the car again and have so many new apps. Naturally, that added a lot of fun to the experience. I retain my position that these apps are underrated more than overhyped. I’ve given a lot of test drives/rides, and I think most people get their biggest smiles from the apps. They make the car — and life — more fun. Who doesn’t appreciate that?

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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