EV Charging Barcelona – Trip to Salt mines Cardona

Day Trip to the Salt Mines of Cardona

Wasn’t sure if we were going to go on a trip to test EV Charging or not. So we ended up started out a little bit late. We really could’ve got out of the house earlier if we had made a plan. The idea eventually was to go and visit a salt mine in Cardona. The salt mine is in the direction of Lleida in a town called Cardona. I wanted to stop in one of the charges in the outskirts of Barcelona. My wife wanted me to drive instead via Vic and pull in to Manresa to charge up. Because we were late starting we got to Manresa when the dealership was closed and we couldn’t gain access to the chademo charge point. So we spent the time getting something to eat and having a look around the town. It wasn’t a particularly nice place. Old industrial buildings and lots of roadworks. There was a view across the river and the railway tracks which was a little more interesting. There was a big impressive building looking out across the small valley. As you might expect it was a religious building connected to the Catholic Church. The country is full of the iconography of the death cult.

Manresa

Leaf on Charge – Not Mine…

When we got back to the dealership I was disappointed to find an old style Nissan Leaf parked there. Fortunately, the time it took for me to move the car into place ready to get charging after he had finished they arrived back at the car and moved on. I think we had about 50% of the battery left and it was quick to charge up to 75% before we continued with the journey. The next stage of the journey was only about 40 km to get to the town with the salt mine. The whole journey was on good roads with interesting landscape views all the way. Forests on both sides of the road most of the way.


Salt Mountain Visit – No EV Charging

A minibus which took us down to the mine entrance. We went past the mountain of soil and mining junk which had been removed from the ground over many years. The salt on the ground made it look like it had been snowing. We were told there was a huge seam of salt going about 2 km down into the ground. When they started to dig it up, first they took out the sodium chloride ordinary salt. It was later they found other types of salt. There was manganese salt and also the potassium salt. It was the potassium salt which is more valuable due to the fact it could be used to make explosives. It was a fairly interesting visit with views of the stalagmites and stalactites of salts in the tunnels. It wasn’t as stunning to look at as the caves we visited in France last year. By the time we had finished with the visit it was time to start driving home. Next time we have leave the house earlier and have a fuller day of travelling. There was a castle in the town which we took pictures from a distance, but didn’t have time to go and visit.

Rosie in the Salt mine car park

Where to charge the car

There was some discussion as to whether we should go back via Manresa and add some charge to the car there. For EV Charging Victoria reckoned it would be better as from then we could drive back home again in one hop. My preference was to drive into the outskirts of Barcelona and use one of the chargers available there. It turned out she was right and it probably would have worked out better. On the other hand, it was more interesting for me because of the way things worked out trying to get plugged in in Sant Cugat de Vallés. I did notice my wife was becoming an expert at looking for charge points and working out the routes. A good navigator for our electric vehicle trips.

Blocked EV Charge points

The first place we stopped was where I charged up before using the AMB charger last week. Disappointed to find there was a BMW i3 already parked there. So we moved on to go to the charger at the other end of the town. It’s only took 10 minutes to get there. As we were driving to the charger I noticed a Nissan Leaf in front of us. I had a premonition this Car was heading to the same place we were going for some EV Charging. Unfortunately I was right! The Nissan Leaf pulled in to the charger I wanted to use. He was planning to be there for 30 minutes. I tried the RFID card I’d been sent from the Ajuntament to make use of the slower Type II charging. I should have been able to use this at the same time as the other EV driver was using the DC charging. I was disappointed to find the card didn’t work. It failed to activate and I didn’t want to wait for 30 minutes to try it again for the DC plug. So back to the other charger and hope that the car parked there was going to move.

EV Charging

EV Charging or Pretending to charge

The BMW i3 was still in position. After looking carefully I could see the BMW was not actually charging. It was plugged in and pretending. I unplugged his car and was planning to try and find a way to get my car in a position where I could plug-in. In the mean time the owner came back and pulled a face because I had unplugged his car. I complained to him about his parking there and not charging. Also complained to him about his taking up two spaces by parking in the middle of the both of them. If he had parked properly in the first place I should have been able to pull in behind him and plugged in to use the chademo charger. Typical of BMW drivers, they think they own the road!

Needed to get Charged

By this time we were down to 20% left in the battery. I really needed to get something into the car. There were other places nearby where I could charge up and I wasn’t too worried. There’s a charger in Barbará de Valles I had considered using instead of going to the one in Sant Cugat. Eventually we were plugged in and could go into the shopping centre to get food and use the facilities. I was pleased to get another one of those tasty sandwiches I had the last time I came to visit. It didn’t seem as nice as the previous week, but it wasn’t too bad. Spent about 30 minutes charging and put in about 19 kWh of electricity into the battery. This was more than enough to get home. When I arrived back home I still had about 35% left in the battery. Enough battery so I didn’t need to charge overnight as I had enough for work the next day. In any case, I plugged in anyway and I left for work the next day with 100% in the battery.

Cost Of EV Charging

In the morning I left with 100% and I arrived back home with about 35%. During the day I charged up for free twice so there was no cost involved. So effectively we used about 2/3 of the battery which means the days driving only cost me about two euro. It wasn’t a perfect day for electric vehicle driving. I didn’t mind in the slightest because it was more interesting. It does however highlight problems you might run into by driving an electric car. We had to wait for the Nissan dealers to open. The only other charging point in the town was at a Kia dealership. It was probably also closed during the siesta period in the town. I’m also unsure as to whether I could have used it seeing as I was driving a Nissan and not a Kia. I can say the cost of driving approximately 360km was dirt cheap. Happy 20a8 Nissan Leaf driver.

Not a bad day out overall for EV Charging

Looking back at the day and how it worked out. I’m sure we should’ve used the route which we took coming home on the way to Cardona salt mines. We would have wasted less time and seen more of Cardona. On the other hand, we did get to experience Manresa even though it wasn’t particularly nice. As we found out on the way back you have to take into account other electric vehicle drivers. Charge points tend to be singular in the various locations. The driver of the Nissan Leaf was friendly. I was disappointed he beat us to the charging point by a matter of seconds. I should have been able to use the AC charging point on the same machine and I’ll have to try it again with the DC the next time I’m in the area. The driver of the BMW i3 was an idiot. When you go to Barcelona do you can expect to find this sort of behaviour. Bad parking, bad EV Charging and parking etiquette. We could do with proper charging hubs with more charge points available to use in a single location. Like you find in Dundee in Scotland.

Stats for the day

Barcelona Rapid Chargers – Mini Road Trip

The last time I did a trip to the Barcelona airport was just after I got my new car, the Nissan Leaf 2018. I wanted to use one of the Barcelona metropolitan area AMB chargers, but I couldn’t work out how to get it started. I didn’t know anything about the Barcelona rapid chargers and how to make them work.  I was under the misguided belief I would be able to use the Girona electric vehicle card. At the time I didn’t have the card from Barcelona, but that wouldn’t have worked either. It only works with the other Barcelona rapid chargers. I did have the application on my phone and I had registered with the service. Somehow or other though I still couldn’t make the damn thing work. Finally, I asked for help and advice from the Internet and it turned out to be quite simple. All you have to do is to slide something from the right to the left within the application to activate the charger. I had rang up the number on the side of the charger but these people were of no use whatsoever. The people don’t know anything about the charges or how they work. The people on the other end of the phone have no idea whatsoever about the application and it was a waste of time ringing them. Here is a map for the charging points in Catalonia,


Barcelona Rapid Chargers

In the AMB Barcelona rapid chargers application there are 10 chargers providing free electricity to Barcelona EV drivers. These charges are dotted around the city and within the application you get information about the charging points. The icons for the charging points show whether they are available, reserved, busy or unavailable. I’m just looking at the map now and as luck would have it, the one I was planning to use this morning first of all is unavailable. The other one I had considered is at present busy, but will almost certainly be available by the time I get there. It’s particularly useful one of the charging points is close to the airport. Even though it is possible for me to drive from home to the airport and back again on one single charge (it is a little bit tight) I would rather add 10 or 15 minutes worth of charge. This would mean I wouldn’t have to take it easy on the speed during the motorway driving. I’d like to be able to drive normally and not have to do any hyper mile type of driving. Run into a headwind or maybe even wet weather and the energy usage could increase. Or you could have a detour to contend with and that could add more kilometres to the journey too.

Barcelona Rapid Chargers

The Barcelona rapid chargers planned for the day.

I did apply for a card for the charger in Sant Cugat de Vallés and it was even sent to me using a courier. The town seemed quite pleasant and wouldn’t mind giving that a try. There is one of the AMB charges there also. Maybe I’ll try one of the other rapid chargers first and try to end up back there. I’m starting the day with a full charge in the battery. I charged up Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf with the Type 2 charger overnight in my garage and we are ready for business. It would be good if I could find something to visit and look at in Barcelona during my trip. Just to make it a little more interesting. There is an amusement park which is outside of the city, out in the direction of Parc Güell. There will be places there I can get something to eat there so that could be a good possibility.

So how did that plan work out in real life?

I stayed off the motorway to begin with. I headed down towards Barcelona rapid chargers on the A roads. The GPS wanted me to get onto the motorways from time to time, but I stayed on the road going through the small seaside towns, or not so small, on the way to Mataró.

Charging by the beach -Or Not

The charge point I was heading for what is right by the beach, seaside. There was a small tunnel going underneath the railway and bringing me to the road by the beach. There were plenty of parking spaces and I soon found the parking space for the electric vehicle charger. I could see immediately the charger looked a little bit dead. I got out of the car and pressed a few buttons and was able to confirm that fairly quickly. I was disappointed to find the charger was in operable and I had to get back in the car to look for the next charger. Fortunately, there is another charger not far away in Mataró.

Rapid chargers barcelona

Briefly ICE’d

I only needed to drive inland from the beach for about 20 or 30 minutes to get to the next charger. This was in Carreterra Finlándia. When I got there a large truck was in the parking space. I’ve pulled up behind and there would have been just enough room to use it. I was going to ask the driver to get out of the way. But before I could do so he started reversing back towards me. I had to get in reverse quick in order to get out of the spot before he bumped into my car. Once in position I was able to start at using the charger. This charger was in operation and I could use the Barcelona Ajuntament EV charge card.

Finlandia Mataró

All of the instructions on a small LCD screen were in Catalan. You can expect this with the Barcelona rapid chargers. Some do have options to see instructions in other languages. It was easy enough to follow. The charger and the car did the necessary handshake to activate and for the charging to begin. I got back into the car to check at the rate of charge. The car was pulling in 32 kW. The temperature of the battery was in the middle but it perhaps it should have pulled in more than 32. I didn’t really need much of a charge anyway so I wasn’t too bothered. The point of the day was to try out a few chargers. I arrived at this one with 75% battery still available. On account of not driving at the motorway speeds to get to Mataró I had not used much energy. I stayed at the charge point long enough to bring the battery up to 86%. Then it was time to move on to the shopping centre nearby. I needed to make use of the facilities in and have a little look around.

Looking for Vegetarian Options

It was getting towards lunchtime but I didn’t find anything suitable for a vegetarian to eat in this small sized shopping centre. The last time I visited the shopping centre was quite a few years ago and I remember being disappointed then. So after only about half an hour it was time to move on to my next destination.

GPS Magical Mystery Tour

For the next destination I decided to let the GPS guide me. Sometimes it is easy to just miss a turn when there are multiple choices at a roundabout. I’ve pulled off one junction to early from the roundabout and ended up going on a magical mystery tour. Considering I was not in a rush I didn’t mind in the slightest. The GPS was guiding me on roads away from the motorway is because I had set that up in the settings. I ended up on tiny country style road visiting small villages. You would not believe you were so close to the metropolis of the coastal towns of the Costa Brava near Barcelona. It was a pleasant and interesting fun drive. I did get a little bit bored with it eventually. I was glad to get back onto the main AP7 not too far away from the Circuit of Barcelona motor racing track. I had a bit of a distance to drive to get to Sant Cugat de Vallés. Needed to make up some time.

Barcelona chargers video

Activates with an app

There is a AMB charger right next to the shopping centre. My plan was to try this charger which I had tried to use before. Last time I was unsuccessful because I didn’t know how to work the application. I had to ask for instructions on Twitter. I found out I needed to do a swipe from right to left on the listing for the ChadeMo charger connector. On my second try the charge activated and we were in business. The charge once again was going in at just over 30 kW. It was time to go and use the facilities again and to find somewhere to eat. Once again the vegetarian eating possibilities were slim. I did manage to find a place selling sandwiches and there was one vegetarian possibility. It turned out this was an excellent choice as it was exceptionally tasty with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I was a happy vegetarian. When I got back to the car there was a Smart Electric car pulled up to use the AC charger. My 2018 Nissan leaf had company. My car was charged to 98% and was now pulling in only a small amount in terms of kilowatts.

Using the AMB App

Using the AMB App

Fluid plans for the day

I had wanted to go to another charger in the same town. I had the RFID car dividable to use it. There was no point in trying it out due to the fact I had charged up so much using the AMB charger. I hadn’t planned to stay so long at the previous charging point. So due to a tasty sandwich my options had changed. The only thing for it was to get back on the road and head home.

Easy drive home

After the visit to the Barcelona rapid chargers It was an easy drive home on the motorway all the way. I only stopped once for a short break. I arrived back at the house with 60% of charge in the battery. I left with 100% and both of the chargers we used were free. A rough, in the head calculation of the approximate cost of the electric used, 40% meant that the days driving, about 250 km cost me only €1.20.

Red Rosie 2018 Nissan Leaf

Mission rapid chargers Barcelona

Aside from finding one charger out of operation it was a successful mission. I had intended to try out a couple of the charging points to see what options I would have for charging in Barcelona for free when going to collect someone from the airport. I now have a couple of chargers I’ve tried and used successfully. The one at Mataró would be easy to get to with a divert from the Motorway.

There is an AMB rapid charger right next to the airport. Next time I go to the airport I will make sure to use that one. A good day with the Barcelona rapid chargers.

Plugshare Charging Points in Barcelona.

Barcelona rapid chargers