Adelina Iucal: “Moldova Electro Marathon charged both my car’s batteries and mine”
Electro marathon logbook
DAY 1: The first out-of-town destination driving my electric car
The marathon team is to meet early morning, at 7:45, on the Grand National Assembly Square. 5 adventure days, spent with 14 people, whom I’d never met, are awaiting. A true challenge.
I’ve learned that the UNDP Moldova Resident Representative, Dima Al-Khatib, and the acting mayor general Ruslan Codreanu at that time, would attend the event. Happy to meet them in person, but even happier that they promote, through their own example, the environment friendly transport. Both the City Hall and the United Nations Development Programme have an electric car in their fleet, both participating in the marathon.
After over 3 hours of shootings, interviews, photo sessions and a repeated alignment of the cars, we left, in a column, the Grand National Assembly Square, continuing to a beautiful city tour, showered in a refreshing rain. The rain was for good luck. Everything went by the book.
The nicely aligned column, which went with constant speed, drew drivers’ and passersby’ attention.
We had lunch at a stylish restaurant, with tasty food, at the parking lot of which there will soon be installed a charging station for electric vehicles. I already know where I shall spend evenings with my car.
At the exit from the city — on the streets Liviu Deleanu and Calea Iesilor — we plugged in 3 cars from our fleet. Here, electric vehicles’ charging stations had been recently installed. By the way, the map of electric cars’ charging stations can be accessed here. While we were charging our cars’ batteries, we also energized ourselves with a cup of coffee.
The next destination is Orheiul Vechi. Here we found magnificent scenery, where we met a group of Polish tourists, which reached Moldova on bicycles. They were impressed by our electric cortege, but we were also pleasantly surprised by their bicycles’ adventure.
Each of us was equipped with a radio station, by means of which we coordinated our actions on the route, made jokes and thus, learned each other better.
I started from Orheiul Vechi with my car’s range (Renault Z.E.) of 87 km and after 30 km, the remaining range was 83 km. Thanks to low and constant speed, segments of the road with valleys, the battery managed to recover from the range. That is great! At long distances, every additional range km is priceless.
A magical sunset, tasty food like my mom would make it, cars plugged in… What could be better? Tomorrow we are up at 05:00 a.m. for a photo shooting at the dawn.
Older generation cars were stubborn to charge till the end. While we had breakfast, we took them to Mitoc, where there is a rapid charging station.
DAY 2: A cortege of purely electric vehicles requires developed infrastructure
Our itinerary for day 2 is over. My batteries are down, just like my car’s, by the way. I shall write more tomorrow morning on fresh head.
So, it is morning and I am writing. Day 2 brought challenges. Some cars were charging their batteries to half, the electric station where we planned to fully charge our cars had a breakdown because of a lightning. We had to change the itinerary of the cars with bigger range, which went to more distant charging stations to charge their batteries.
It is obviously necessary to install electric stations on national highways. You can manage it quite well with a single electric car. A cortege of 9 electric only vehicles requires developed infrastructure.
I was afraid that my car would not make it from one destination to another, but it made me a pleasant surprise in day 2. Infinite fields of sunflower and wheat, curved roads and undiscovered scenery of Moldova. Today’s itinerary is: the winery where we are accommodated — Orhei — Balti, a total distance of about 150 km.
Extraordinary beautiful scenery of Moldova. In Rezina, while we were having lunch, the cars charged their batteries. The next destination was Floresti. We chose the most adventurous, long and beautiful road to Balti.
At 19:00 we reached our destination. The cars are parked in the hotel yard, being charged from regular plug-ins. It was a day full of shootings and filming, with new roads, fewer but longer stops, with a light tiredness by the end of the day and a more than stylish hotel room.
I fell asleep immediately, while day 3 already began with the sun in the windows…
DAY 3: The challenge of the 300 electric kilometers
Today is the great day when I will drive more cars which are in the marathon. I left my car in the care of another team member at the first charging station. From there on, I drove a Jaguar I-Pace, a true pleasure! Since its range was the biggest of all, the photographers hopped in to do their job of catching the moments of the marathon on the go, with speed, from above… Then, I moved into a Nissan Leaf, another super equipped discovery, with enhanced comfort. It also feels sporty and classy at the same time. It surprised me, as while I was picking a car to buy, Nissan was excluded from my first encounter with it. The new generation Nissan Leaf stole my heart.
Day 3 had the longest route: we had to go 300 km from Balti to Comrat. In the district of Calarasi the nature is magnificent, winding roads take you through plains, woods, fields. The contrast of yellow and green is splendid.
I understand that I catch two rabbits at the same time. I discover the electric trip and Moldova at the same time.
Although this was the day with the longest route, none of the cars was left with ZERO range. We stopped 5 times, where some vehicles had to be connected to electricity for at least 10 minutes. My car did well, the battery uncharged as low as 13% (which equals 27 km), it charges very easily and quickly compared to the other vehicles, one hour is enough and the battery is fully charged and it is not fastidious.
At the border crossing point of Leușeni our cars took turns to charge at 2 charging stations. In the meantime, I’ve also tested TESLA Model S. I could speak for hours about the functions of this car. I’ve tested only the self-pilot and that was about it. Within a distance of about 5 km, you cannot manage to discover very many things, but enough to understand the power of an electric vehicle which set the scene for the revolution of the nature friendly transport.
Once arrived in Cimislia, we were starving. High time for a surprise. A restaurant from Chisinau delivered delicious food with their electric vehicle. We ate away the delicious food on the curbs of the gas filling station! We left some cars to charge in Cimislia, where currently is the most Southern charging station. The hotel in Comrat wouldn’t be able to charge 9 electric vehicles concomitantly from simple plug-ins. Having arrived to Comrat at midnight, we plugged in the remaining cars and … Good Night!
A busy and long day, but I’m happy about what I go through in this Marathon.
DAY 4: the Republic of Moldova can assure the electric corridor between Romania and Ukraine
Today’s destination is Mi-mi-mi, Castle Mimi 😊. At Stefan Voda we stopped at a rapid charging station, where we also had a small training on how to rapidly and efficiently charge your car. There, we also encountered a Nissan Leaf, that came from Ukraine and which was charging on its way.
We were discussing with the team that once the 20 electric vehicles charging stations would be installed by the UNDP Moldova team, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, we shall also create an electric corridor between Romania and Ukraine.
In the evening, I tested the new Hyundai Ioniq full electric, of the United Nations Development Programme. An elegant car inside and very equipped. With a manufacturer’s price more accessible than of my car, but with much better options. Leather interior, ventilated seats, space enough for 4, very good design. The battery range is about 300 km, there were no challenges with charging, the car being fastidious.
Castel Mimi was a nice surprise! Beautiful bungalows, tasty food, nice personnel and a design of the castle which is like a breath of fresh air on a hot day, so it is for the South of Moldova.
DAY 5: We come back home to promote electric mobility
When I woke up, I had a guest on my balcony. A sleepy cat was begging to let it in. It, probably, also wanted a test drive with our electric cars. We had guests from Renault Moldova, they came with the new Twizy, a toy of an electric car, with which you would easily sneak in the traffic.
It is time to align our cars in a column and head back to Chisinau. It is a day with fewer kilometers. We go to the Grand National Assembly Square to share with the people the experience of driving electric vehicles in Moldova: impressions from driving, consumption records and technical performance of environmentally friendly cars. Chişinău, Orhei, Şoldăneşti, Floreşti, Bălţi, Călăraşi, Lăpuşna, Hânceşti, Cimişlia, Comrat, Căuşeni, Anenii-Noi, Chișinău — these are destinations that will stay in my memories.
I am glad I was selected to participate in this #ELECTROMARATON. Thanks to it, I’ve tested the capacities of my car, sometimes almost reaching the limit. I had great time. The people in this expedition became my friends. Content and happy. A new challenge done! Which one comes next?
Moldova Electro Marathon is organized by PiataAuto.md, in partnership with the UNDP-GEF Project “Sustainable Green Cities”, Kaufland, Orange Moldova, Mastercard, EWA Motors, with support from Renault, BMW, Jaguar, Nissan.
Facts and figures
· The number of electric cars registered in Moldova grew about 4 times in the last 12 months — from 54 to over 200.
· There are currently 20 electric vehicles charging stations in the Republic of Moldova, the most of them being installed in Chisinau. Of these, 12 are public charging stations.
· Other 20 public charging stations will be installed on the territory of the Republic of Moldova by the end of this year by the UNDP Moldova, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure.
· Each car within the marathon went over 1000 kilometers.