If you would have a Tesla Model S all for yourself for a day in Germany, with unlimited charging, the first thing you would probably do would be to drive to the nearest Autobahn entry and floor it. That’s exactly what I did with a Model S 75D, although after I took a trip to the countryside in the north of Hamburg. Check out the video with the trip below!
340 km, 4 municipalities, 2 towns, 8 places visited
Our day started at 3 o’clock in the morning. We had ahead of us a 150 km trip to the Hamburg Airport. The first train connection would be at 04:30 and we would reach our destination in approximately two hours. I choose this insane schedule because I booked the car from seven AM until seven PM.
The first event of the day was a 40 EURO fine I received from the Hamburg Public Transport Association inspectors at 06:40. This was my first time with the train since the COVID-19 pandemic began. I wore a mask for the entire duration of the trip with the train but when I arrived in Hamburg and I was waiting for the tram to the airport I took my mask off. Little did I know! They were on me like people rushing for toilet paper back in March. I was hoping they would be more lenient but no, I would have to pay: on the spot or by bank transfer. Whatever! Of course I was going to pay. I didn’t have time to wait: in 20 minutes I had to be at the Hamburg Airport. As it turned out, the inspectors didn’t have change for a €50 banknote – I was probably the first “Maskenverweigerer” for the day – so I would have to pay later through bank transfer. After this brief unfortunate episode everything else unfolded smoothly. In a way, this was my morning coffee – a €40 coffee!We arrived at the airport a little after 7 AM. It wasn’t exactly easy to find the UFObay (ex. link) where the car was waiting for us but after about 15 min of walking from a parking facility to another we eventually found it. The Tesla we booked was the only car in the UFO parking bay at the moment. I needed only to inspect the car and confirm my identity via the app and after I submitted all the required information I was able to unlock the car.
A passionate advocate for challenging yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone, Mihaela documents her journey on her blog and Instagram page (ex. link). Whether it’s running, cycling, stretching or simply working out to stay fit, consideration for the environment and sustainability are her top priorities. A plant based diet is one of the key components in realizing these goals and that it one of the themes you will find in her posts.
Niendorf, Haseldorf, Seestermühe, GlückstadtOur first stop was at the Niendorfer Gehege (enclosure) in the north of Hamburg. This wooded recreational area covers almost 150 hectares of land and the trees here are up to 200 years old. For nature lovers, the Niendorfer Gehege park (ex. link) is a perfect oasis at the outskirts of the big city, populated with deer, rabbits, foxes, weasels and other animals. From here we traveled to Haseldorf (ex. link), about 40 minutes to the west of Hamburg. This small village has an old history. The first written testimonies about the place date from the end of the 1100s and the name comes from a knightly noble family called Haseldorf who have built here a castle 800 years ago. The present day mansion was built in the 1800s on the site of the old castle and today is a private residence. The biggest part of the castle park can be visited and it’s fabulous! Unusual tree species from all over the world, a moat conquered by blue-green algae and the ever present water birds make it a real joy to visit this magical place. Next stop on our list was the lime tree avenue in Seestermühe (ex. link). This avenue belonged to the estate of Seestermühe and was part of an opulent french garden laid out in 1700s. Only the four-row 680 meter long lime tree avenue remains today with a baroque garden pavilion at the end, called the teahouse. Curiously enough, in the 1980s an apartment has been built into the teahouse. This is a good choice for a break: a walk along the tree lined path can be very inspiring and refreshing. Some of the old trees from the avenue have been removed – probably because they were in a bad shape – but other young trees have taken their place. As with other manors in the area, the estate of Seestermühe initially belonged to the same owner as the Haseldorf estate. Their history goes back to the Archbishop Adalbert von Bremen in the eleventh century, who administered the parishes of Seestermühe and Haseldorf at the time.
Glückstadt (ex. link) is a city founded by royal decree. It was our next stop after Seestermühe. In 1617 the King Christian IV of Denmark intended to build a city on the right bank of the river Elbe that will rival the imperial city of Hamburg. His famous words “Dat schall glücken und dat mutt glücken, und denn schall se ok Glückstadt heten!” – which roughly translates to “It should succeed and it must succeed, and that’s why it will be called Glückstadt” – were followed by grants of free land to the new settlers, tax exemption and, very important for the time, freedom of religion. The name of the city is translated as “Luck City” or “Fortune City” and even though Glückstadt did not succeed to rise above Hamburg, it soon became an important trading center amassing skilled craftsmen from all over Europe because they would find here a haven where they could express their religious beliefs without the fear of being persecuted. We spent almost two hours in Glückstadt. First thing was to find a place where to charge the car. We easily found a charging station near the docks and plugged in the car while we went to visit the town. A perfect place to drink a coffee and enjoy the nice surroundings was the bistro Nettchen (ex. link), located near the city harbour. In their beer garden you can enjoy a wonderful view of the port, while sitting cozy in the Strandkörbe scattered on the premises.After Glückstadt, we left the Elbe behind us and drove further north following the course of a smaller river called Stör (ex. link). Along its winding path, we briefly visited two small municipalities which both boast a centuries-old history: Wewelsfleth (ex. link) and Heiligenstedten (ex. link).
Supercharging and flight to Hamburg
The perfect opportunity to push the car to its limits was the trip back to Hamburg. I chose to drive on the A7 because it has long sections without a speed limit. I also wanted to take a little detour to reach the nearest Supercharger and drive to Hamburg on a full charge. The battery level was not below 50% because I charged the Model S in Glückstadt but I wanted to have the, so to say, Supercharger experience. The nearest Supercharger was 74 km away in Busdorf, so we ended up making a one hour trip through the countryside and we spent there a further hour waiting for the car to charge. There were enough charging points free but I was surprised by how slow the car is charging. I suspected that this could be caused by the fact that this Model S I was driving had limited Supercharger capabilities or the charging rate might have been limited on purpose because I’ve already charged the car earlier that day and the software was only trying to protect the battery pack, as explained in this article (ex. link). While we were there, we made a pit stop at the local Burger King and after our Model S had charged at about 90% we drove to the nearest Autobahn entry and headed back to Hamburg. The maximum speed I reached with the Model S was 215 km/h. In total, I drove for about 10 minutes above 200. On camera, I have only the one time I reached 209 km/h before the traffic situation up ahead became unsafe and I stopped accelerating. It’s a unique experience to drive on the Autobahn in Germany. Generally, there is an advisory speed limit of 130 km/h on all German highways (ex. link) but this does not translate into a restriction. There are many sections around important junctions and cities which are restricted to 120, 100 or even 80 km/h but the majority of the German highways have no speed limit and there you have to be very considerate with every maneuver you’re making. You can’t just drive in your lane and, when needed, overtake trucks or slow cars like you would do in the rest of the world! (ex. link) You have to carefully plan and be aware that at any moment there might be somebody coming very fast from behind you and it is impolite or very dangerous to hinder him. You check your rear mirror and there is nobody coming but that could change in a matter of seconds: you have to measure your actions very carefully! Also, it’s very customary to drive constantly at 140 km/h and often, when you need to overtake, to accelerate up to 160 km/h, or more, so you can make it before the car behind you catches up. The situation was somewhat similar in my case. An A6 was driving in the fast lane and I needed to overtake it if I wanted to drive faster. The driver was a little reluctant to give way, as it sometimes happens, and after I overtook him he kept tailing me. Although this Tesla Model S is the fastest car I’ve driven at the time, I didn’t want to drive like a madman. Immediately after I slowed down and moved out from the passing lane, the Audi passed me by and went on his way. So, this is a little snippet of what’s it like to drive on the German Autobahn. It’s dangerous, yes, but it’s also a great learning experience which will increase your driving skills 10 fold because you enter an arena where all the moves you make have vital consequences. And with a car as fast as a Tesla you have to do your best to check yourself, because you might be more inclined to test your limits.
Hamburg, the big city in the NorthWe arrived in Hamburg. Long before, there were restrictions and high traffic so that the speeding opportunities were behind us. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and one of the biggest cities in Europe. It is Germany’s opening to the world (ex. link) because the vast majority of the goods exported by Germany go out into the world through Hamburg. Its history is a long one and the driving force that lead the city through the centuries is trade! Hamburg was one of the big players in the Hanseatic League, an association of approximately 200 merchant cities in more than 7 European countries during the Middle Ages (ex. link), with the purpose of advancing and implementing free trade between its members as well as offering each other military support (ex. link). When you walk through the city today all this legacy can be seen in the remarkably embellished buildings studded all over and through the overall success drumming in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
This was not our first time in the Hanseatic City so we revisited some of the points of interest we’ve seen before, but this time driving a Tesla Model S. We stopped for some pictures in the Speicherstadt and then we went for a tour of the famed Elbphilharmonie. This mega concert hall was long in the making – literally. The construction of the magnificent iceberg-like building was started in 2006 and was planned to be finished in 2010. 2010 became ’13 and ’13 became ’16, with the costs themselves blasting from an initial €77 million to a whopping €850 million (ex. link). Despite all this, the Elbphilharmonie it is one of the wonders of modern engineering and an unforgettable landmark in Germany, definitely worth visiting.
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Take a look at the Photo Gallery documenting the trip
At 9 o’clock in the evening we returned the car at the Hamburg Airport in the UFObay from where we started 14 hours before. Closing the rental went without any incidents. I inspected the car, removed all our items and pressed the “Close rental” button to lock the car permanently. My impressions for the day: UFODrive – a fair company, Tesla Model S – a great car and the North of Germany, well, worth to be visiting – every inch of it.
It was a momentous trip for me because this was the perfect opportunity to kick in this project you see here before you where I want to inspire my readers to Travel with Tesla because Tesla is the company which does not compromise when it comes to saving the climate. Their cars are not only “as good as” but they are better than the ICE (ex. link) equivalents – in respects to performance, to manufacturing and to the Carbon footprint they leave throughout a lifetime of usage (ex. link). After a second trip with the S-Bahn in Hamburg and two train connections, we finally returned back home around Midnight and left behind us a tiring but adventurous day.
Also check out
How to get your hands on a Tesla
How can you organize a trip in Germany and why choose Tesla as your partner? What to expect and who to trust? Read all this and more in the article above. Follow the title to get there.
Driving a Tesla
More information about the Model S 75D in the article linked here above. Specs, features and first impressions driving the best EV on the market.