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.
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)
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.
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.
You can view Stuart’s video diary in the player below:
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.
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.
While the travellers renourished over lunch with the ambassador, the cars got their electrons at the last fast charging station for a long time.
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.
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.