Tesla to gigafactory: It is paid to block the charger

The “gateway” to Tesla leads through the application, so travel began completely differently than with an electric car from another manufacturer. You won’t get car keys. Before handing over the car, it was necessary to register on the Tesla website and create an account. The owner of our Model 3 then included me in the application among the users of a specific car, which gave me full access. Tesla and I then unlocked my colleague through the application, and only then could the expedition begin.

The journey to the Berlin gigafactory, described in our previous report, began in Prague. Although it was possible to charge the car overnight, we voluntarily decided to try the trip to the north of the Tesla Supercharger in Lovosice. It offers eight superchargers together with four Ionity charging stations. Opposite the parking and charging point is the design café Lovo Café, where we headed for breakfast.

In addition to favorable prices, the company also offers new products. “In the autumn, we are preparing a special menu for electricians. It will be very exclusive, but also a little more expensive meals, “said waitress Lenka Holubová, adding that they want to make waiting for the car to charge more pleasant.

Literally around the corner is a self-service cafe for electricians only. They are accessed via an access code, which is displayed in the car navigation. The charging points in Lovosice were constantly about half full and electric cars changed there relatively quickly.

Do you occupy the charger? Pay!

The reason for fast charging is not only powerful chargers, but the educational method of the carmaker. If the electrician does not park the car within five minutes of the end of charging, he will pay extra for taking up the charging space unnecessarily. If the charging station is not fully occupied, it will cost ten crowns per minute. When fully occupied, they pay double.

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“Tesla is educating its users. The charging station is intended for charging, not for parking, as some electric motorists do at uncontrolled stations, “explains youtuber and the founder of the teslacek.tv website, Ondřej Bačina, who lent us his private Tesluna trip. It did not work otherwise, the carmaker does not lend its electric cars to the media, as confirmed by its domestic consultant, who did not wish to be named.

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Even without a stop in Lovosice, we would be able to reach Berlin on a single charge. Our Tesla Model 3 manufactured in 2019 had a paper range of 500 kilometers. In fast motorway traffic, in which we did not save energy, the real range reached about 400 kilometers.

Tesla cars soberly estimate the range. If the user plans a trip in the car navigation, he will see the exact driving plan together with the charging stations and the estimated distance remaining on arrival at the charger. According to our experience, the estimate is conservative, we arrived at the finish line with a slightly higher range.

When charging, so with the story

Problems arose with the highway charger just outside Berlin, which was not very friendly. It was not possible to charge via the Tesla application because the device came from E.ON. We tried various QR codes and finally we managed to download the appropriate application. Despite all the attempts, we were unable to create an account, which forced us to leave after fifteen minutes. We were lucky, charging was not necessary, energy was enough for Tesla to Berlin.

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Charging in the metropolis was relatively easy, except for finding chargers. Once we were charging right in the center, where the map showed Tesla charger destination at the Mövenpick hotel. The charger was hidden in the courtyard with access through the entrance for hotel guests, but it was easy to get to it. However, it was slower, so the car stayed with her for about four hours. Exceptionally, we got great parking in the city center.

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Before the return trip to Prague, we recharged the car again in a hotel in the city center, it was called NH Collection. The map showed us again Tesla charger destination, but in underground garages to which the public does not have access. However, they were easily opened at the hotel reception.

“It is quite possible that the Tesla charger will be occupied, but we have another one from Innoga next door. It’s just as fast and also free, “recommended receptionist Walter from the NH Collection. At Innoga, we really recharged the battery for free, and at the same time they walked comfortably through another part of the city.

It goes home too, but …

We left Berlin at ten in the evening, arriving in Prague at three in the morning. When it left, it rained a lot and it was possible to drive a maximum of forty through Berlin up to the highway. For the second time, we stopped charging again at the Tesla Supercharger in Lovosice, so that the car was ready for the next day.

By the way, the Model 3 can be charged at home overnight from a standard outlet. In our case, however, it is not easy. We live on a higher floor and it is seldom possible to park directly under the window, which is a general disadvantage of home charging of electric cars in larger cities.

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“The world is already able to solve this problem. One option is to modify the street lighting poles to allow charging from the outlet. This is already being realized in the world, the lamps are slowly beginning to be redesigned, “says Bačina.

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During the trip to the gigafactory, we were surprised by the autopilot, which works very reliably on well-marked roads and highways. Tesla does not yet manage autonomous management in cities, at least in European ones.

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“If you turn on autonomous steering, every time you hit it by grabbing the steering wheel, send the information to Tesla headquarters immediately. There, it then analyzes what the driver had to do to make the vehicle drive properly, “comments Bačina. “Other carmakers do not collect data for artificial intelligence themselves, but hire companies to do so,” he adds.

Compared to electric cars of other brands, which we have tested, Tesla has the most user-friendly mobile application, which is enough for almost all car control. The application can be used to unlock and lock the car, set the air conditioning or also start charging at all stations in the car network.

And the icing on the imaginary technological cake: Tesla will not leave the driver in trouble, even if neighboring drivers stick to his parked car, thus blocking access to the door. Just open the app and remember your childhood. Instructions: Press the up arrow to move the car forward, the down arrow to move backward. The car evaporates itself.


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