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In the weekend of 11 to 13 September 2020 we drove a number of electric cars to Austria for the EV Weekend. Corona-proof, so everyone with their own car, and with the start from their own home to the Kaiserhof Hotel in Salzburg, E-mobility hotspot in Austria. From here we left on Saturday for a spectacular route on the most beautiful mountain roads in Austria. What a joy to drive there with electric cars! A report.

Visit to the Dachstein glacier and the “Treppe ins Nichts” at an altitude of 2700 meters

The outward journey on Friday was approximately 1000 km for most participants. What was striking was how easily and quickly everyone managed to drive these 1000 km in 1 day with electric cars. If you leave in the morning with a fully loaded car, you can easily drive this distance with just a few short stops along the way to recharge. I myself drove a Tesla Model 3 LR. On the way there opted for a 3-stop strategy (1 x 10 min, 2 x 30 min), and on the way back for a 2-stop strategy (2 x 35 min) to see what would be faster. Drive faster and stop once more to recharge, or drive a little more slowly and then stop once less to recharge. Both scenarios did not differ much from each other and in 11 hours we were home and away. And stopping 2 or 3 times on the way for a ride of 1000 km is also nice, you have to stretch your legs or go to the toilet every now and then. We then immediately used these stops for something to eat or drink. Often we had only just had a cup of coffee and we already received a message on the phone that the car was already fully loaded. With an electric car you are just as fast in Austria as with a petrol or diesel car. But because electric driving is much quieter, you arrive more rested.

Dachstein and Grossglockner: what a feast for electric cars!

On Saturday morning we left the Kaiserhof Hotel in Salzburg for a spectacular ride to the Dachstein and Grossglockner glaciers. All cars were nicely charged again. The hotel now also rents electric bikes from Zero, so an electric motor was also tried out for this ride, and with a lot of fun! The first stage of the day was to the Dachstein glacier. Via a toll road it goes up spectacularly from 1000 to 1700 meters. Driving upwards is easy with electric cars. Due to the enormous pulling power you go up whistling with an electric car, while many petrol and diesel cars have a lot of trouble with this. Once at the top we had a beautiful view and a large ski lift left to the top of the mountain at 2700 meters where we could go up the glacier. For the adventurers there was a suspension bridge to walk dangling above a yawning abyss to the “Treppe ins Nichts”, a glass staircase at an altitude of 2700 meters … Very spectacular!

Hochalpinestrasse Grossglockner, Austria

After the visit to the Dachstein glacier we drove to the Grossglockner, the highest mountain range in Austria with the Grossglockner as the highest mountain of over 3700 meters high. To get there you have to take the toll road. The toll booth attendant was full of praise for our electric cars. Electric cars receive a € 10 discount because the Austrian government wants to encourage electric driving to reduce exhaust emissions in the beautiful countryside.

Grossglockner glacier

A beautiful road winds through the landscape up to an altitude of more than 2500 meters. Breathtaking nature, you can keep taking pictures, really beautiful there. Our final destination was the Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe, a panoramic restaurant at the foot of the Grossglockner glacier deep in the mountains. The way up went with the greatest of ease, but in several places we saw fuel trucks with the hoods open due to overheating. Fortunately, you don’t suffer from that with an electric car. Electricity consumption does of course increase when driving uphill. Fortunately, several charging stations were available at the end point. However, with the Tesla Model 3 we drove, this was not necessary, we still had more than enough battery capacity left for the return trip to the hotel. But then the way back from the Grossglockner glacier at 2500 meters to the Kaiserhof Hotel in Salzburg … what a joy to be able to drive there with electric cars! Thanks to the four-wheel drive and the low center of gravity due to the battery, the road holding of electric cars is really sublime. The Grossglockner is very popular among motorcyclists because of its many spectacular curves, and in this terrain it is often difficult to keep up with the car. But with these electric cars, the roles were reversed and we had to apply the brakes every now and then so as not to frighten the motorcyclists too much. So spectacular driving. But the best part is that we drove more than 50 kilometers from the glacier back to the hotel without consumption thanks to the regeneration of the electric cars! When we left the glacier we still had a range of 275 km in the battery, and when we left the valley 50 km away we still had 275 km in the battery. Because electric cars make smart use of energy recovery when braking, you can drive very efficiently in the mountains. All in all, a fantastic weekend and (again) a wonderful driving experience with electric cars. For a nice video impression of the EV Weekend you can watch the video below

Author: Roel Swierenga