“Horror Trip”: German Retired Couple Need 26 HOURS To Make 765 Km Vacation Trip In E-Car

A trip that would normally take 7 hours without refueling in a diesel engine car, ended up lasting 26 hours in an e-car. A German retired couple’s “horror trip” …”creepy parking lot” late at night…

Journalist Jonas Raab at the German Merkur reports on the horror vacation trip a retired German couple had to endure in their new $40,000 electric Golf, a VW ID.3 car.

Like most people buying e-cars, many do so naively convinced of all the wonderful advantages this clean mode of transportation supposedly offers. But often it all ends in huge disappointment.

Two German pensioners wanted to travel 790-kilometers from Freiburg, Germany, to the south of France, a trip that would normally take about 7 hours in a good old fashion regular car.

One problem after another

But with their brand new electric car, the trip ended up taking 26 hours, the Merkur reports. The problems: lousy charging stations, lying apps and “suddenly decreasing range indicators.” So disappointed were the two German pensioners, that they sent their travel report to German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and to Focus Online.

First charge after just 178 km

The couple reportedly left their home at 10 a.m. with the hopes of settling into the comfort of their holiday accommodations by evening. But soon they would find out that the 550-km range advertised by VW was a bit too optimistic, and so they found themselves charging up already after 178 km, according to Focus Online. But the charging station there was broken and so the couple ended up seeking out a VW dealer a few kilometers away and charging their car in “rain and storm” for 2 hours just to get up to 40% charge.

Lying app: no charging station! 

Later at 2 p.m., the couple pulled up to the next rest stop. But the app lied: there was no charging station there. The couple luckily found a 22 kW charging station off the highway where needed until 6:30 pm to charge up. By 9 p.m., the couple should have long reached their destination, but they were only half way to their destination. Darkness had fallen.

Last scintilla of electricity

The Merkur next reports that the next two charging stops also failed because the charging card didn’t work.

At midnight the couple was forced to stop “at a creepy parking lot” and then a rest stop that was “closed for renovation”. Merkur reported:  “With the last scintilla of electricity, the two made it to the VW branch off the highway, charged their car once more and arrived at their vacation apartment after exactly 26 hours.”

Haven’t given up hope

Despite their “horror trip”, the two pensioners told Focus Online they still believed in electric mobility. But they say, “Europe’s charging network for electric cars is lagging miles behind”.

Gotta admire their patience.

12 responses to ““Horror Trip”: German Retired Couple Need 26 HOURS To Make 765 Km Vacation Trip In E-Car”

  1. stewartpid

    Patience or stupidity?
    My wife’s friend went through the same experiences with the Tesla S her husband bot her in 2018 …. especially the “creepy parking lot late at night” part. Finally in the spring of 2020 after sticking with it for ~18 months she told her husband (I love this part) “Get rid of the fu*king tesla and get me a real car”.
    She is now happily burning gasoline and not likely to try an electric car ever again.

    1. John Dawson

      And yet I have had a Tesla Model S 75D for over 4 years and have had no problems in charging it up on trips, due mainly to Tesla’s foresight in providing Supercharger stations in the UK (and on the way to and from Germany when I visited there for a wedding). I have (so far) never found a Supercharger where I wasn’t able to charge up 150 miles in half an hour or so.

      For my part I would never willingly go back to an ICE car.

      Of course YMMV 🙂

      1. stewartpid

        In Canada this past July long weekend folks were posting pictures of the teslas lined up waiting to charge in both Hope & Merritt BC.
        One of my friends son had an easy 390 km / 4 hour trip take him all day 10:30 to 7:30 in his tesla due to waiting at the superchargers ( trip Vancouver to Kelowna). So a 4 hour trip morphs into a 9 hour nightmare with teslas wonderful range.
        One thing tesla never tells u is that at busy times with all “superchargers” plugged into cars the charging time slows … how much it slows depends on the power tesla had available from the main and how they wire the superchargers.

        Glad you like your car.
        The UK is likely better for teslas with no -30C winter weather to kill the range and driving distances that are tiny by north american standards. For example here is BC Canada compared to the UK and BC is just a small part of Canada. http://www.bcrobyn.com/2012/12/how-big-is-british-columbia/

  2. stewartpid

    Pierre …. there are 3 flavors of this model of VW with ranges of 214 to 340 miles … the top model with 340 = 547 km and I wonder if the old couple thought they had the 547 km model and had the base 344 km model?
    Their range still sucked but it is hard to believe a 547 range model only got 200 km …. much more likely for the base model to do this.
    I have a hybrid Acura (non plug in) … best of both worlds in my opinion.

  3. Chris Hanley

    And who do they expect will be forced to pay for their ideal charging network⸮.

  4. John F Hultquist

    All in good time, folks.
    Our elites have committed to throwing enough money at EVs that in 10 years — for some people — these problems will go away.
    Not for all folks and all travel — but some.

  5. Richard Greene

    Great story.
    … At least for those of us who own and enjoy ICE cars.

    Maybe the pensioners can file a report with VW, from the point of view of professional vehicle development engineers, and get paid for their feedback?

    Electric motors are superior to ICE motors for cars and light trucks.
    The batteries are the weak link.
    They are too heavy, too expensive, and short range (especially when you consider the time required for a recharge, and the fact that fast charges reduce battery life).
    In addition, fire fighters hate batteries!

    When I read:
    “Two German pensioners wanted to travel 790-kilometers from Freiburg, Germany, to the south of France …”,

    I wondered if the pensioners had any clue about what a challenge that long trip would be in an electric car. I’d have warned them if I had been a friend, or neighbor: The nearest airport to Freiburg is Basel (BSL) Airport, which is only 50.1 km away.

    The ID.3 seems to be rated for a 260 miles / 418 kilometers maximum range. So I don’t know where the 550 kilometer range number came from.
    $40,000 should be enough to buy the largest range available for a VW Golf. … US car magazine have complained about the Golf’s low driving range since 2019.

    1. stewartpid

      Richard as I told Pierre above there are 3 flavours of this model of VW (likely not 3 in all markets) …. check it out.
      The longest range model is indeed 547 km range on the specs I found.

  6. John F Hultquist

    In 2013 Tesla (falsely, I think) demonstrated a battery swap in 90 seconds.
    I don’t recall of ever hearing of this again.


    take the five ***** out

  7. Jimfrey

    For such trips drivers will need a “Range Extender” or as we say in plain language – a generator in a small trailer; these are readily available and come at a suitably inflated “eco-friendly” price.

  8. stewartpid

    Sorry for all the posts but I’ve watched the tesla promote for years and find it fascinating how the tesla fans will never admit the breakdowns they have had or the battery problems they have had and won’t ever be totally honest on range.
    Here is a good vid of Hoovie with his new used tesla S and the battery problem …. it will be interesting to see if the $20,000 battery can be repaired by the non – tesla repair folks or if it is pooched and Hoovie buys a new battery from tesla. Note video is from last week. Note also Hoovie’s garage!!
    It will also be interesting to see if Hoovie gets screwed over by tesla for going to a non tesla service outlet as happened with Rich Rebuilds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbrIQioiv8k

  9. Otto

    I saw all those Tesla’s stuck in Hope too. Saw another 9 electric vehicles stuck on Hwy 5 with no juice left in them. All I could do to help them was give them the local tow truck numbers.

    Took me 2 minutes to refill my tank with my 20 liter jerry can at the Hwy 5 summit.

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