SUSTAINABLE ROAD TRIP WITH THE AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK

In The Bosnian Mountains - On The Tracks Of Bears And Co.

Everyone keeps talking about sustainable travel, but we simply decided to do it ourselves. We traveled from Augsburg to Sarajevo in the Audi e-tron to test Bosnia-Herzegovina as a winter destination. Our first trip in the snow can be described in one word: beastly!

My Stages

SUSTAINABLE ROAD TRIP WITH THE AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK

In The Bosnian Mountains - On The Tracks Of Bears And Co.

Everyone keeps talking about sustainable travel, but we simply decided to do it ourselves. We traveled from Augsburg to Sarajevo in the Audi e-tron to test Bosnia-Herzegovina as a winter destination. Our first trip in the snow can be described in one word: beastly!

My Stages

Travelling emission-free

Spending winter vacations in the country where the 1984 Winter Olympics were held – Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traveling from Germany to there is no big act – with an internal combustion engine. The nature is so untouched and authentic that I set my mind to travel there emission-free – with an e-car! It’s a bit of a mad dash, though, as the charging infrastructure from Croatia onwards is a bit, shall we say, unrecognizable. And in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Well, there’s no list of public charging stations there at all. However, Audi did provide me with a list of all the wallboxes that can be found in hotels throughout the country.

To charge or not to charge, this is the question

The field report about the long journey with an EV can be found here.

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© Mirella Sidro

Eating and living in Sarajevo

When I set off in the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro, it’s eleven degrees below zero. When I arrive in Sarajevo, the temperature is just as low. Arriving in the capital is a visual highlight. The sun is already setting and the pink-tinted sky illuminates the snow-covered mountains that surround Sarajevo. What a welcome! For the first two days, I stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott in the middle of the city.

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© Mirella Sidro

Two charging stations are waiting for me. I charge the car in the underground garage. Everything I want to visit in Sarajevo city is within walking distance from here. My room is huge. It could also serve as an apartment of its own. “It could,” laughs Ajla Kozica, the hotel’s sales manager. “We have some international guests who stay here for a few months. ” It’s already after seven in the evening. Even though I have my own kitchen – you don’t have to cook for yourself in Sarajevo.

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© Mirella Sidro

The city is known for its traditional slow food stalls, which date back to the Ottoman period 500 years ago. I quickly change and walk to the Bascarsija, the old Ottoman bazaar with its several culinary little restaurants. It is a magical night! It is bitterly cold, but the starry sky is wonderful to see even in the illuminated city and the red crescent moon seems close enough to touch.

Plans are being made...

I meet Faruk, my guide and cameraman for the next few days, at the traditional restaurant ASDZ. Here pita, the puff pastry dish, is prepared very fresh under hot ashes. I take the vegetarian version filled with pumpkin and spinach. It is accompanied by potatoes and grilled chicken, as well as drinking yogurt and somun, the traditional flat bread. Bread is served with everything in Bosnia-Herzegovina and is also eaten a lot. We discuss the tours for the next few days. It will be both wintry cold and summery warm!

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© Mirella Sidro
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© Mirella Sidro

But first, we have our tour to the snowy mountains planned. “Tomorrow you will do a Bjelasnica snowmobil tour with Khaled.” I have no idea what that is. Faruk laughs as usual, “They’re motorized sleds.” Aha … My enthusiasm is limited. “Aren’t they polluting and noisy? I don’t like that at all!” Faruk rolls his eyes, “Wait until tomorrow,” he said, chewing on his bread with pleasure. I go to bed in time. As a matter of fact, I’m quite glad to have landed in the cozy bed, because it’s really bitterly cold outside.

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© Mirella Sidro

The next morning, the desired breakfast is delivered to my room. It is substantial, like everything culinary in the Balkans. One will not starve here. Even vegetarian milk is available.

...and off into nature!

My Audi is fully charged. In the cold, the range is up to 280 kilometers. It’s about 50 kilometers in one direction to our destination. I turn on the heating, seat heating and massage function. Faruk makes himself comfortable in the passenger seat. And can hardly get used to the silence that emanates from an all-electric car. “I keep thinking it’s broken,” he laughs.

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© Mirella Sidro

It is foggy outside when we leave the underground parking garage. As soon as we reach a certain altitude, the sun smiles at us. And there is lots of snow! Khaled is already waiting for us. Two snowmobiles are waiting for us. “Today we’re going through the forest,” he explains to me as he puts on my helmet. I feel quite constricted. I still don’t know what to make of this excursion. Then it starts. I drive alone, while Faruk sits as a passenger with Khaled and films. We drive into the forest, deeper and deeper.

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© Mirella Sidro

I am thrilled! Just us and nature. The vehicles are also not as noisy as I thought and they don’t smell of fuel. They are easy to handle as well. The only thing you need is strength in your hands and shoulders to keep a good grip on the steering. Now I realize why the helmet and snow goggles are so important. Again and again we graze branches of trees.

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© Mirella Sidro

We stop in a clearing to explore the area on foot. A hawk circles above us. The sun is covered by a light veil of mist. And in the snow there are several traces of animals. Wolves, deer, foxes …

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© Mirella Sidro

Out and about with the snowmobile

Khaled comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina and loves nature. He helped create the snowmobile club and organizes these tours. Only then is a ride allowed. Doing it on your own is penalized. On the one hand to protect nature and on the other hand because it is simply too dangerous. Bosnia’s forests are rich in wild animals. Thus, only prescribed paths may be traveled at certain times of the year. “March is mating season and the bears slowly wake up from their hibernation. This is when we do our tours on the other side of the mountain so as not to disturb the animals,” Khaled explains to me.

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© Mirella Sidro

I enjoy the silence and walk around leaving tracks in the snow next to those of the forest dwellers. We are all silent and listen to the sounds of the forest. Just phenomenal. We head back. In the deep forest thicket, Khaled stops. He signals for me to turn off the snowmobile and calls me over. He is standing in front of a rather large depression in the snow. “Can you make out what that is?” I suspect, but hope not. “Is that a bear paw?!?” Khaled is delighted, “It’s not much more than a day old!”

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© Mirella Sidro

Immediately, he walks into the forest, following the tracks. At some point he stops. “Do you see the cave up there? That’s where he might have gone in. From the hollow, it must be pretty big!” “I thought they were hibernating?” “They do. That’s right, he woke up pretty early. Happens when they’re driven by hunger.” Not wanting to walk to the cave, I return to my vehicle that will take me safely to the parking lot.

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© Mirella Sidro

Once there, Khaled comes back to us with a hawk on his arm. “Sorry, I had to let him out for a minute.” Khaled started the Falconry Association in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Falcons are his passion. Especially the native species that are threatened with extinction. I’m fascinated. “If you have the time, come with me to my farm and you can look at my other falcons:” Sure we will! We drive over the tops of the mountains. The view is magical, as expected.

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© Mirella Sidro

Living in harmony with nature

The farm is located in the middle of nature. Only one other neighboring house stands next to it. The owner greets us warmly and his young dog accompanies us every step of the way. We follow Khaled and his falcon on his arm, which is quite calm even without a cap. “He comes from a steppe and is not native here. I’ve had him since he was born and that’s why it’s so quiet.” As we enter his property, we are greeted by a large flock of chickens, who happily approach us. “They are hungry,” Khaled laughs.

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© Mirella Sidro

They are fat and their feathers shine like crazy. Clearly, with the exercise here, they must be doing well. “I got them for my little daughter so she can diligently collect laid eggs. It’s also good for her to grow up with animals,” explains Khaled, who otherwise lives in Sarajevo. We walk on to the birds of prey. They are happy to see Khaled and let us stroke their bellies. In one cage, however, things are quite wild. “This is a gray falcon, a native species. I bought it from a guy. The bird was badly injured. But I got him all cleaned up. After that, I reported that guy. Unfortunately, he can’t be released back into the wild. I have tried, but he always comes back to me after hunting.”

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© Mirella Sidro

The Falcon reminds me of the expensive specimens in Arab countries. The body is sporty and perfect in its curves. Its feathers are smooth. The gaze is sharp and alert. “He is fearful and only trusts me.” Khaled sets him outside in the field tied to a pole. “He will calm down and then you can look at him up close.” I can get very close to him. He watches me curiously. He is so beautiful. “They are threatened with extinction. Not only because they fall prey to hunters. A pesticide is also responsible. The birds of prey eat pigeons, which in turn eat corn. The poison was responsible for bursting the shells of their incubated eggs and so no young can survive. We as an association managed to get the pesticide banned from use.”

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© Mirella Sidro

I am incredibly concerned. Here in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I realize how we humans are damaging our nature. Yet it would be so easy to live in harmony with it. The people here are showing us how to do it. Like Khaled with his commitment. He is currently setting up a falconry up here to teach school classes about nature and birds of prey. He is not supported by the state – he has to pay for everything out of his own pocket. But he is happy to do so. “It will take another year or two, but the patience will pay off.”

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© Mirella Sidro

"Tomorrow is a new day"

We drive back to the city. We are also driven by hunger. Tonight we have a hearty Balkan meal at the Kod Kule restaurant in the Hrasnica district on the outskirts of Sarajevo. The homely inn is an absolute insider tip. The home cooking is traditionally prepared. I recommend the soups and grilled dishes. There is no room for dessert.

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© Mirella Sidro

Well-fed, we sit right by the wood stove and warm up. “Tomorrow we’re going hiking. And afterwards you’ll need a big appetite.” Faruk winks at me mysteriously. Arriving at the hotel, I gaze out over the illuminated city from my balcony. The muezzin is calling for evening prayers. Next to it, the bells of the churches are ringing. I am exhausted and very tired. Tomorrow is a new day and a new adventure in nature awaits me. And for my electric companion on four wheels. There is something about not being able to plan everything ahead as usual.

My mobile companion

Maximum speed in km/h: 200
Continuous electrical power in kW: 100
Peak electrical power in kW (in boost): 265 (300)
Electric torque in Nm (in boost): 561 (664)
Battery type / battery energy content: lithium-ion / gross 95kWh / net 86.5 kWh usable

Electric range based on electricity consumption in combined WLTP driving cycle in km*: 373 – 452

Electricity consumption combined in kWh/100 km: 24.0 – 21.6 (NEDC); 25.9 – 21.6 (WLTP)
CO2 emission combined in g/km: 0

My average electricity consumption at about 3100 kilometers in winter: 27 kWh/100 km
Electric acceleration 0-100 km/h in s (in boost): 6.6 (5.7)

Base price: from 81.500 €

Price of my test vehicle Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro S line: approx. 113,000 €.

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© Mirella Sidro