Category Archives: ChargearoundIceland

Charge Around Iceland – Epilogue

The team arrived safely in the front of Harpa conference centre on the Sunday before the conference after a rather smooth rider along the south coast of Iceland. The CHARGE team had gone into some lengthy discussion if the cars should be cleaned up and polished before arriving in front of Harpa in downtown Reykjavik where they would be on display for the guests arriving at the conference the following day. We decided to have the cars dirty as a proof that they have gone around some challenging roads in the Icelandic countryside, over mountains and on gravel on occasion. This deliberation turned out to be useless, Mother Nature stepped in and cleaned the cars with heavy rainfall along the southern coast.

When arriving in Reykjavik, Stuart sounded a bit apologetic. He knew that we had been waiting for him to come back and give a presentation on the big adventure he, his mother and Mark had participated in but it really turned out to be as uneventful as any road trip. Just like any other road trip, a goat invaded the car, they left the North of Iceland the morning before the first snow of winter and drove over a glacial river the same day as massive temporary repairs had been done on the bridge that had been washed away in floods the week before. And they did not exactly stay on the Ring Road around Iceland and only stopping for their vehicles to recharge. They went off the Ring Road on several occasions. One time for a shortcut over one of the most feared mountain roads in the East of Iceland but on other occasions to lengthen the total distance travelled by 400 kilometres.

Charge around Iceland pt4: Neither snow nor rain…

Thursday October 4th

The CHARGE mobiles arrived in Hof after driving in great conditions from Höfn. The week before the group arrived in Iceland, heavy rain in the South and East of Iceland caused floods that ruptured Road 1. Construction crews had just finished putting up a temporary bridge when the Electric cars arrived.

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Floods in the week before had caused the road to be closed. It was re-opened just before the Electric cars arrived.

While the group had left the North the day before the first snow of the autumn, the first leg of the journey on the South coast of Iceland had still some remnants of summer – sun and up to eleven degrees centigrade.

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Stuart measuring up to the icebergs in Jökulsárlón.

Stuart, Mark and Anita stopped by Jökulsárlón, a lagoon full of ice from the glacier above before heading off to Hof, their destination. At Hof, they got to plug their vehicles while they rested for the day ahead.

Charge Around Iceland Pt. 3 – The electric car that went up the mountain…

Tuesday October 3rd

The most challenging leg of the journey was ahead. The autumn chill is fastly sliding towards winter with the temperature at three degrees centigrade. From Húsavík the cars went in land and upwards. The EVs had a steady climb to 500 meters above sea level where they stopped for a charge at Möðrudalur. Where a Viking goat took the passenger seat (The Icelandic goat immigrated to Iceland along with the Norse settlers)

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At Möðrudalur they had a relaxing time while enjoying coffee and Kleina, an Icelandic pastry that could best be described as the twisted sister of the Donut.

Although the way up there was a bit straining on the batteries, the way down was a bit better as Stuart describes in the video. The batteries were pancaked at arrival at Egilsstaðir.

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Wednesday, October 4th

From Egilsstaðir they started driving from the most eastern point of the trip towards the south coast of Iceland. On the way, the cars stopped for a top-up at Grímsárvirkjun Hydropower station. Not every day that you can plug your car straight to the power source.

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You can view Stuart’s video diary in the player below:

 

 

 

ChargearoundIceland Part2: Made in the UK

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The CHARGEmobile filled up through the window. The power is generated from the river behind the car.

The road ahead would be the last leg where the electric cars could rely on the few-and-far-between fast-charging stations in rural Iceland. After staying the night at Blönduós in cottages at the banks of the river Blanda, they would venture on and stay the night in Húsavík which is the furthest north they will go on the trip. Húsavík is a detour off the ring-road around Iceland thus lengthening the total distance of the road-trip.

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This leg of the road-trip would take them over three mountain roads. Though these roads are not as dramatic as they sound (at least not for natives) they are a steep climb for the electric vehicles which would be put to the test.

The group picked up a fellow traveller and EV enthusiast, Michael Nevin who is the British Ambassador to Iceland. He got to drive the KIA from Varmahlíð to Akureyri.

It turns out that Stuart, Mark and Anita aren’t the only things Made in the UK participating in CHARGE around Iceland. Let the ambassador explain:

While the travellers renourished over lunch with the ambassador, the cars got their electrons at the last fast charging station for a long time.

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Akureyri got just a little bit cooler with the arrival of the CHARGE mobiles. The last ON fast charging station for a while.

From Akureyri they ventured off to the picturesque village of Húsavík which lies further up North in the bay of Skjálfandi. There they charged up at the mid-speed charge point provided by the municipality.

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The next leg of the journey will be a challenging one – they will venture up to higher altitude to a landscape thought to be so much out of this earth that NASA trained astronauts for the Apollo missions there to help them prepare for the moon.

CHARGE Around Iceland part 1: …and EV they go!

Stuart, Mark and Anita – Stuart’s mother – arrived in Iceland last Friday. After going through customs they were greeted by the CHARGE team and the electric vehicles that they will be charging around Iceland on for their trip, a Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul. After the drive from Reykjavik and the drive back, the cars needed to be charged for the trip ahead.

Where do you go to charge both the cars and the drivers?

Well… IKEA of course. Mark, Stuart and Anita plugged their cars into two of the over 40 charge points at the IKEA store in Iceland. While their cars were charging, they went inside to the IKEA restaurant to recharge after the flight to Iceland.

Skál! Stuart and Mark charging up after the flight to Iceland.
Skál! Stuart and Mark charging up after the flight to Iceland.

… and EV they went!

The morning after the travellers met with a convoy of electric vehicles in Elliðarárdalur valley. The meeting point was no coincidence since it the location of a hydropower plant that marked the beginning of the Icelandic Energy Transition way back in the 30’s.

Elliðaár Power Plant where the journey of energy transition in Iceland began and where the Charge around Iceland journey began.
Elliðaár Power Plant where the journey of energy transition in Iceland began and where the Charge around Iceland journey began.

 

After the convoy had gathered around, Stuart, Mark and Anita were eager to get on their way but first, they did an interview with the Icelandic media.

(the player does not appear you can click here )

 

Away they go #chargearoundiceland #Iceland #EV

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The convoy followed them to the outskirts of Reykjavik and on they went on their own to the ON charging station in Borgarnes. Again they charged up with a meal while the cars were charging.

From Borgarnes they went on to the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the town of Stykkishólmur.

From Stykkishólmur the cars travelled the longest part of the journey, 130 kilometres to Laugarbakki which almost made Stuart a bit range anxious.

 

 

 

Charging around Iceland in an Electric Vehicle

Electricity from renewable sources pours from the wall sockets of Icelandic homes. A vast majority of the country’s car fleet is, however, powered by fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are a viable option in Reykjavik, the nation’s capitals, where two-thirds of the population lives. But traveling around between the remote and spread out rural villages is a challenge no one has taken on.

One of the guests attending last year was Stuart McBain, an accountant from England who specializes in clients that have a sustainability focus. He was so thrilled with the conference that he stated: “I will be attending CHARGE for the rest of my life!”. Stuart has been an electric car owner for some years now and is quite passionate about the transformation from fossil fuels to electricity.

I will be attending CHARGE for the rest of my life!

His passion has literally driven him around the coastline of Britain in an electric car and he is planning to drive along the equator as well.

Stuart is a man of his words but wanted to give something back and deliver a presentation about his passion for renewable energy and sustainability. In a conversation with Dr. Fridrik Larsen, he kindly asked for a slot on the EV track. Since the demand for speaking slots is higher than supply, Fridrik thought that Stuart would have to earn his slot on stage: “Only if you put your money where your mouth is and drive around Iceland before the conference” (well… not really but it sounds kind of cool).

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Stuart will attempt to drive the ring-road around Iceland in an electric car accompanied by his 81-year-old mother and his friend Mark Gorecki. The ring road, or Highway 1, is only 1332 km long but there are many challenges for an electric vehicle. For one, there is no network or infrastructure of charge points and another is the number of mountains they will need to drive up along the way.

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One of the challenges is climbing the mountain roads of Highway 1.

 …there is no network or infrastructure of charge points

Stuart claims that he does not know the term Range Anxiety which is good since there are often more than 100 kilometers between villages along the way and a portion of the trip takes them through the deserted Martian landscape of the Icelandic highlands with an elevation of 600 meters above sea level and not a farm, village or survival shelter in sight for 170 kilometers. If the ring road is not too much of a challenge for them, they might go off the ring road to visit a village or two in a remote fjord.

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After driving around the country that was the inspiration for The Shire, they will attempt to drive along the volcanic desert landscape that was Tolkien’s inspiration for Mordor

If Stuart makes it back in time he will give a presentation at CHARGE and share his adventure as well as talk about his passion for sustainability and electric vehicles.