From the rolling hills of Ireland to Morocco with our Model S
We live between Dublin and Galway. I’m one of the lucky few who already has a Model S here in Ireland. It’s a great car with extensive range that enables me to charge at home in Galway, drive around all day, regularly crossing the country, and even then only charging here and there. Travelling around Ireland is really convenient and given the public charging infrastructure, driving an EV is made so easy. The ease of living with a Model S led me to consider what might be possible further afield.
First Tesla across the High Atlas of Morocco?
We love a good road trip and had previously driven as far as Marrakech in a petrol-fueled Audi Allroad. After that trip, we were keen to go further and get across the High Atlas to the next large town of Ouarzazate, 200km further on to explore the ‘other Morocco’. It seemed like the perfect trip for my Model S.
The first explorer to reach the South Pole, Norwegian Roald Amundsen, is quoted as saying: “Adventure is just bad planning." And whilst we planned thoroughly to take as much risk out of the trip, we left enough loose ends in order to at least have some adventure.
Considering you can charge at almost any power source with Model S and there are probably more electrical sockets in Morocco than petrol stations, we just needed to make sure we had the right equipment to be able to charge. I only require a type 2 cable to charge my car in Ireland, though we also carry a Tesla adaptor for the faster CHAdeMO chargers; after some research, we got the necessary adaptors and cables from Tesla to use along the way.
From Dublin to Edinburgh, through Spain to Morocco, the start of our Adventure…..
We started our journey to County Cavan and travelled to Belfast, and then onto Edinburgh to visit family in advance of the trip. We chose the route down through the UK, onto the Chunnel, through central France and the East coast of Spain, based on the extensive network of Tesla superchargers there, which is continually growing. Indeed the Cullar station near Granada was opened not long before our trip, getting us almost within reach of the ferries from Algeciras or Tarifa. We also charged up on the Tesla Destination Chargers located at the fine Vincci Hotels in both Malaga and Marbella.
Our route took us through Tangier, where charging the Model S at Hotel MInzah allowed Simona and I the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds that Tangier has to offer. We then continued on to Casablanca for our next stop, ahead of arriving at Marrakech, with more than 'half-a-tank'. The Movenpick Hotel in Marrakech has a commando socket set up, and the hotel very kindly arranged an adaptor for us.
So having enjoyed a few days in Marrakech and filled our tank to the brim, as it were, we headed for the High Atlas. We crawled along to the foothills and then up the twisting road to the Tizi n'Tichka pass at 2,260 metres, which is around half-way to Ouarzazate.
That first half of the journey used 40% of our battery, so we were at least confident of reaching Ouarzazate. We had of course anticipated that the descent would use very little battery, and indeed it only took a further 8% to reach the Berbere Palace Hotel in Ouarzazate.
The Hotel staff in Ouarzazate were more than a little surprised to learn that we had just crossed the High Atlas in an electric vehicle. None of them had ever seen one, so they all came out to examine it, sit in it and have their picture taken. The reception manager even claimed that our car was the first electric vehicle in Ouarzazate! This made us wonder if what we doing was too brave, but we were confident it would work out. We could of course charge the car at pretty much any building with a standard socket if the worst came to the worst.
The Hotel's technicians got straight to work and within an hour, we had a temporary Schuko socket in the parking area to charge with. That enabled us to explore the wonderful Dades and Draa valleys over the following two days.
Having celebrated New Year at the Hotel in style with Moroccan artists, we finally headed back across the Atlas to Marrakech on January 1st, and followed the same route back to Spain. We took a further detour to the Algarve to visit family and then back to the Supercharger at Burgos. The charging facilities at NH Casino in Badajoz were great. With ample charging points along the way the home trip was easy and fast.
Our Magnificent Tesla gave us not one moment of trouble, not even a puncture. It may well have been the first electric vehicle to cross the High Atlas, and brought us all the way back to Ireland, all 9,500 km at minimal cost!