Let me introduce myself. My name is Ruben Stern, I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and I’ve built myself an electric car. This summer, my girlfriend Rosa and I are making a trip around Ireland, firstly because we both have never seen the country, but also to prove that it’s not impossible to go on holiday in an electric car.
Our means of transport, shown in the picture, is a 1965 Citroën 2CV AZAM, converted to electric drive. I’ve taken out the flat two-cylinder engine and bolted a 25 kW AC motor to the gearbox, and fitted a 32-cell 180Ah battery pack. The car has a range of 160 kms, a top speed of 140, and very good acceleration. Together with my friends Leen and Jos from Traction Électrique, we build electric conversions of classic Citroëns, we have 3 2CV’s running and are currently working on a 1968 DS and a driveline for the famous HY-van.
We started our trip last Monday, by taking the ferry from IJmuiden in the Netherlands to Newcastle in the UK. Then, we took our time (three days) to get to the west-coast of Scotland, to take the Cairnryan-Larne ferry. We drove through Northumberland National Park, which is absolutely stunning. Right in the middle of the park, at the Pheasant Inn, there’s a chargepoint. It actually worked, to our surprise and delight, our first charge away from home! The second charge we took from a normal connection at a camp-site, no problem at all.
The first few days on Irish ground, we spent in Northern Ireland, taking the coastal route around the north. We were both very surprised by the stunning beauty, somehow we never expected anything like this in a region that’s known for other things than natural beauty, at least in Holland. Driving around in an electric car proved to be problem-free so far, except from one – very remote – charge point that wouldn’t release our plug after charging. It turned out to be our own fault. English, Northern Irish and Irish E-car organisations have very kindly provided us with charge cards for their networks, in all we have seven cards now. Of course, we got them mixed up, and the charge point only resets every 5 minutes, so it took us a while to get loose, using the same card as we used for starting the charge.
We have nearly completed the Northern Ireland part of our journey, and will cross the border to the republic tomorrow. Hoping the weather will be friendly to us! Our plan is to – slowly, not more than 150 km a day – head south, along the coast. If you see a beaten old blue 2CV without a filler-cap and green stickers on the rear-wings, that’s us. We’re looking forward to it and I will be writing some more about our trip soon, so follow our journey here.