I am already well over an hour later than I intended. Not even the border with Montenegro I have reached so far. No, it is not the hot red VW ID.3 Pro S blame. I didn’t even have to charge it when I left Sarajevo.
But now the whole thing from the beginning: Around 10 o’clock in the morning I started my sustainable road trip with the small strong e-car from Volkswagen from Sarajevo. My destination: Tirana, the capital of Albania.
At startup, the car is almost fully charged with 94% battery charge. The range is therefore 420 kilometers. Not bad, since I know that the colleagues with him previously traveled from Germany and used almost only the highway. Fast journeys usually reduce the range of electric cars somewhat.
My journey hardly ever takes place on the highway, but on the country road. I plan the first loading stop in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. This is about 230 kilometers from Sarajevo. Tirana itself is also only 391 kilometers away, which is why I don’t actually need to charge. However, I do not know the route. What if part of the journey to Podgorica is over the mountains? And how busy is the road? Would someone be there to help me if necessary? Well, taking a break is never a bad thing, especially after four hours of driving.
Breathless along the Tara – as if jewels were dancing on the surface of the water
Now it is already four hours and I still have not reached the border with Montenegro. Unexpected breaks I have taken a few! The reason for this is the incredible nature! It takes my breath away and makes me forget the time. I don’t even mind the poor condition of the road. I am not at all sure that I am actually on the main road towards Montenegro! It runs along the Tara River, which shimmers turquoise blue to emerald green in the sun. As if jewels were dancing on the surface of the water.
I stop at a hut from which I have a wonderful view of the river. The owner sits smoking and greets me delightedly. I ask him if this is indeed the direct main connection from Sarajevo via Foca to Montenegro. He grins and replies, “Welcome to Bosnia-Herzegovina! Yes, this is the ‘main road’.”
It could really be a little better developed. The road is narrow, in parts not even paved, and in some places the holes are so big that I’m afraid of damaging the axles. It’s a good thing that I drive slowly anyway, so as not to miss any of the great views of the river! I drive in ecomode and with the window open. It’s hot, but I don’t want to turn on the air conditioning. Because I want to feel the wind and the scents of the flora and fauna during this relaxing ride!
The “difficult” entry to Montenegro
At the Bosnian-Herzegovinian border with Montenegro, I am warmly greeted by the customs officials. “This car has up to 550 km range? Is that right?” “Yes it does!”, I reply. Now all three customs officers stand at the window and ask me one question after another. The line behind me is getting longer and longer. But the officials are only interested in my car.
In Montenegro the beautiful route continues along the river. Now it is the Piva that excites me. It hardly goes uphill, always only in the deepest canyon of Europe along the crystal clear water. I drive through several unlit tunnels carved out of the rock. This lush green of the river environment and the magical bright blue of the water – just magical! After about six hours I reach the DC charging station in Podgorica. It took me two hours longer than planned. But I don’t care – every break was worth it! So much energy refueled while looking and breathing!
Charging company in Podgorica
I am not alone at the column. There is already a Tesla Model 3 from Germany. The nice gentleman explains to me that you have to get the RFID card from the gas station to unlock the column. However, it already charges at the fast charging station. I have to make do with 22 kW. This is the first time he has driven an e-car in the Balkans, he said, and so far he has come through very well. After 20 minutes, he clears the 50 kW for me and continues.
No sooner has he left than another Tesla pulls up. Traffic like on the highway here! It is a cab driver from Podgorica. And already a second cab Tesla comes roaring up! Yes, read correctly! There are a total of 17 Teslas as cabs in the Montenegrin capital and they all want to charge them here, as it is the only fast charging station in the whole city. The stupid thing: the column, which was installed by Petrol, does not charge 50 kW! “When it gets high, we’re at 22 kW,” the nice Tesla cab driver tells me.
I lock the car and go to the gas station to get something to eat. But there is not even a café! Chocolate and cappuccino from the plastic cup go along to the checkout. I take my lunch to the car and sit inside. It’s not sexy to take your half hour long break like that. At 88% I stop the charging process and with 472 range I continue towards Tirana. Not bad, the range at the start in Sarajevo was 94% around 420 km! I arrive in Tirana around half past eight in the evening. The ride was pleasant, mostly flat. The speed was constant at about 60 to 80 km/h.
Albania – not without my e-Taxi!
Albania, especially Tirana is a big surprise! The country road to the capital is newly developed and great to drive! The country reminds me of Italy because of the nature and architecture. In Tirana, I notice the e-taxis. There is also a Hypercharger in the city center itself, which is just for them. A whole row of green and white Hyundai Ionic e-taxis are parked there. I am curious and get into conversation with the drivers.
The company already has about 50 e-taxis and if someone wants to get a cab license, it will be on the condition that they will drive an e-car! The prices are the same as for a conventional cab. Also, the fees decrease the more kilometers a trip takes. I tell them that I arrived from Sarajevo with an ID.3. They think it’s great and offer me that I can fully charge my car at their place. They all have a RFID Card and they would be happy to support me. I decline with thanks, my car is quite well loaded.
Charging chaos Budva
After three days I return to Sarajevo. However, not directly, but via the legendary Adriatic Highway. My planned route: Budva, where I will make a loading stop and then it’s on to the Herzegovinian town of Stolac for an overnight stay. I charge the car at Audi Tirana, because they have a Hypercharger with 150 kW. I drive with 76% charged battery and 412 km range comfortably down to the sea in Ecomode. It is very hot and a summer rain accompanies me to the Montenegrin border. From then on, the sun beats down on me mercilessly. But the ride is rewarded with natural beauty here too! I look at a monastery, from which you have an incredible view of the sea. I decide to charge in Budva, because there is a 22kW column.
I imagined Budva to be something completely different. I am disappointed. Also, the column is located in a rather unsexy location and especially too far from the sea. It’s windy and I duck into a restaurant nearby for lunch. When I return, an Audi e-tron from Norway is charging next to me. And my ID.3? Did not load! Well, then another attempt must be made. I restart the charging process, wait a bit to see if it stops, and go in search of a cafe on the beach. One hour of charging is enough to drive all the way to Mostar, my next and last charging stop.
From Diva to Queen
When I reach the Bosnian-Herzegovinian border it is already dark. Here, too, I am pestered by customs officials with questions about e-mobility. One of the border officials gives me his number in case I ever need help with my travels. Driving through the night along country roads is no problem with the e-car’s intelligent light. The night is brightly lit and the eyes do not get tired.
After spending a night in Stolac, I drive to Mostar the next afternoon. The trip takes only about 40 minutes. My destination: Audi Mostar with its DC charging station. There I charge the car up to 100%. Curiosity about the range prompted me to do this. The display sounds promising: range is now 597 kilometers!!! The way from Mostar to Sarajevo always needs a little more energy, it goes up most of the time. I switch to comfort mode for the purpose of overtaking. The air conditioner is running on low. However, not the entire trip. It is 118 kilometers to my destination Sarajevo.
Arriving home, my remaining range is 444 kilometers with 77% battery. It doesn’t get any more sustainable than this! When I enthusiastically tell my colleagues about the surpassed range, a new epithet is quickly found for me: “You are not only ID_DIVWA but also the recuperation queen!” From diva to queen – it doesn’t get any better than that!
This road trip was organized in cooperation with Volkswagen Bosnia and Herzegovina.