Tips on how to take your Tesla to Portugal, vacations in Portugal

It’s that time of the year when planning surfaces, “Where can I take my Tesla (S / X) for vacation time?”. From my experience? Anywhere. Some places might take a bit of planning, but not too much. Taking the Tesla to Portugal is getting easier each passing day. I wrote a series of posts, from 1 to 6, detailing the info. What I wrote is from my own experience. It works.

The local charging network, even without superchargers for now, works fine with Tesla cars and the chademo adapter: Portugal has now a North to South 50 kW fast charging coverage, spaced between 40 to 100 km; paired with the electromaps App, this network is very Tesla usable.

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The local network is now updated with several chademo chargers, electromaps helps with the locations and status

If you just want to use superchargers obviously they aren’t here yet, this is not yet your territory to be explored. If you are used to connect your chademo adaptor, here you’ll find fast chargers very happy to charge you. Bon voyage!

Portugal Part 1 how to get here
Portugal Part 2 charging around here
Portugal Part 3 using the local chademo chargers
Portugal Part 4 surfing the local charging Web
Portugal Part 5 same network but not for you
Portugal Part 6 superchargers

Portugal, part 6, superchargers

Disclaimer: this post was originally written before the permit issued and actual work started in Tordesillas; and also before the new permit for Manzanares was issued. If the time that the Burgos Superchargers took to be available is put into the equation, all of the following text still makes sense 🙂

Since 2014 that the superchargers have been promised, planned, advertised. Tesla dixit. “Winter of 2014”, they said. That 2014 winter is gone. Likewise 2015 and 2016. And today? Still a promise, for soon. When will it be?

If you look to the current installed working superchargers you clearly see a wall in Spain: draw a vertical line starting in Burgos. To the left the desert. To the right plenty of superchargers, more than double the initial plans.

Is Spain blocking Tesla drivers to arrive to Portugal? This geometry is pretty clear, it shows easy access to the south of Spain. Tesla drivers wanting to come to Portugal have to invest in planning and know about the easy way to arrive here: the Salamanca corridor. Stop at Parador de Salamanca for a charge boost with their 22 kW Destination Chargers, more than enough to arrive to Covilhã.

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Winter of 2014 promised route to Portugal, not yet

Locally you will be very OK with the Mobi.e card. Go to the site, key in your name, email & password to create an account (don’t loose it). Add your phone and address. In ten days you should receive your card. Others have it already. Use electromaps App to navigate the local 50 kW fast chargers and other sources. You can drive your Tesla here.

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50 kW fast charger, 10 to 20 minutes charge it’s enough to get to the next one, 40 to 100 km apart, your YMMV, see electromaps App

Portugal, part 5, same network but not for you

Browsing the plugs’ web you might find some dealers chargers, a blessing when the resources are scarce.

In the past, Spain could only be traversed with the help of some of these charging points. But Tesla evolved from that cute “new kid in town” to the serious contender allover the place and businesses: Tesla the menace.

Even if in Portugal it’s the same Mobi.e card that operates these chargers, the ownership of these chargers are theirs, the dealers. If some exceptions would still allow Tesla owners to charge, as time passes by and Tesla is a serious contender less and less dealers are willing to let you use their chargers, and the general attitude is now “No, no more candy for you”.

Phoning in advance might give you another impression: “- Yes, you can charge here, in the store’s opening hours”. And you are filled with joy, and your hope in the human race grows again, to discover, may be too late, that when you arrive he sees the car: “- You didn’t tell me you would be charging a Tesla, no way, and it’s not my problem or fault if you run out of charge”. And there was a three year old child in the back seat of that Tesla. True story.

There are some exceptions. There’s a known dealer that accepts that you charge, Divensa – Badajoz. They bill you 10€, whatever the time you stay there. Be sure that your charging time is within working hours.

With the current network and infrastructure these petty behaviours luckily have almost no impact, you plan with what you have, today more than yesterday, with a bit of planning it is plenty.

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Portugal, part 4, surfing the charging Web

Your best companion and info source on where to charge in Portugal, for the Mobi.e network or any other charging point, is a webpage and/or App called electromaps: the local EV community logs there on a regular basis to report on the charging points status. Moreover, recently entry logs by foreigners visiting the country can also be found. This explains the wide variety of comments’ languages: local people tend to write in Portuguese, Spanish people tend to write in Spanish and visitors tend to write in English. Iconic feedback and numeral notations eases the info gathering on power, availability, working status, access and number of charging points.

Different user experiences at the exact same place might result in apparent incoherent information: the data is added by users, it can be right, or wrong because of ignorance, or it can really reflect the user experience. A very recent example: at a very well known place where charge is available at 22 kW 24/7 at a cost of 16€, one user was billed 0€. Different user experiences implies different reports, even for the same place. These differences aren’t the norm but they happen. Generally speaking I find the info to be trustworthy but YMMV, your mileage may vary. A very useful info is the status reports done by users when passing by. It’s a good indication for regularly used spots, not so good when the last entry is 6 months old. I would advise you to add any info on any point you use: everybody wins.

It pays doing the homework at home, prior to departure, may be to trace a main plan A and an hypothetical alternative plan B. It’s not easy to browse the electromaps.com website on your Tesla screen while waiting for the charge to finish somewhere on any of your stops. Practice shows that the electromaps website and the Tesla Web navigator, even in 8.1, do not make a good match for now, navigation is slow. Is it the site? Is it the browser? May be it’s both: doing a simple zoom on the electromaps map isn’t that simple. The App is an altogether different positive experience, it’s very fast and more intuitive.

By default electromaps opens with all options on: from 2 kW to 50 kW. You want to search those more convenient kW chargers, the filter does that for you.

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The type of photo you get published by users, not always updated with the power details. It’s a Schuko and a red three phase plug: is it 11 or 22 kW, 4 or 5 pin? Sometimes you get to know the details when you get there. Fortunately more and more entries are corrected or added with the complete info attached
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Your plugs’ source
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Screen example when filtering with +22 kW, this includes the PCR fast chargers, most of them 50 kW. There’s another 50 kW fast charger at Palmela, near Setubal, but the zoom doesn’t show it, it’s being counted in the 7 at Lisbon. The color scheme is pretty obvious, green OK, orange some problem, red not working, the details a click away, have a nice browsing