Meet The Tesla Model S That Drove From Ireland To Africa And Back

Grattan Healy and his partner, Simona, live in Ireland but like to get away to warmer climes in the winter. “We have been doing these kind of trips for years in other cars, but this is the first time we made a serious trip in an electric car.” In this case, the electric car was a Tesla Model S, which they drove from Galway to Ouarzazate in Morocco and back. Grattan is an energy specialist who is deeply involved in the the renewable energy world. He was an adviser to the Green Party in the European Parliament for 6 years through the end of 2001.

Tesla Model S in Morocco

He says the “ease of living” with the Model S is what inspired him. He and Simona had previously driven as far as Marrakech in a gasoline-powered Audi Allroad. “After that trip, we were keen to go further and get across the High Atlas to the next large town of Ouarzazate, 200 kilometers further on, to explore the ‘other Morocco,'” he says.

Range Anxiety? What Range Anxiety?

“Considering you can charge at almost any power source, and there are probably more electrical sockets in Morocco than petrol stations, we just needed to make sure we had the right equipment to be able to charge,” Grattan explains. “I only require a Type2 cable to charge my car in Ireland, though we also carry a Tesla adaptor for the faster CHAdeMO chargers. After some research, we got the necessary adaptors and cables from Tesla to use along the way.”

Their route took them first to Belfast and then onto Edinburgh to visit family. From there, the drove through the UK, took the Chunnel to France, and then motored down the east coast of Spain, thanks to the ever expanding Tesla Supercharger network. They also took advantage of Tesla Destination Chargers at hotels along the way. From there, they went through Tangier and on to Casablanca. When they arrived at Marrakech, the Model S battery still had almost a 50% state of charge.

After a few days in Marrakech, they set out to traverse the High Atlas mountains. “That first half of the journey used 40% of our battery, so we were at least confident of reaching Ouarzazate,” Grattan said. “We had anticipated the descent would use very little battery, and indeed it only took a further 8% to reach the Berbere Palace Hotel in Ouarzazate.” The staff was quite surprised to find an electric car in their midst. “The reception manager claimed ours was the first electric vehicle in Ouarzazate,” Grattan explains.

In less than an hour, the hotel technicians had installed a temporary electrical hookup to recharge the Tesla. “That enabled us to explore the wonderful Dades and Draa valleys over the following two days,” Grattan says. After celebrating the New Year at the hotel, they headed back through the mountains and back to Marrakech. From there, they retraced their route back to Galway, covering a total of 9,500 kilometers along the way.

Planning The Next Electric Car Adventure

Now Grattan and Simona are thinking about driving the Tesla to eastern Iran for their next major trip. “We’d love to go to Tabriz, eastern Iran, but it would be a bit of a job. Turkey is in a bit of a mess. We’d have to take a ferry across the Black Sea. But it is on my bucket list.” Tesla is just now beginning to expand its Supercharger network to locations in the Middle East.

Source: The Independent | Photo credit: Grattan Healy

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.