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3000km across Swiss and Italian Alps with the Model 3

7* days, 3000 km, a great ton of fun and memories that will last: this was my Alpine roadtrip across Italy and Switzerland.

Our overall track was a little chaotic :) We did not touch any highways, the whole trip was on B-roads only, with dozens of mountain passes and other twisty roads. It all started in Reutte, Austria, just south of the German border where I arrived from…

First charge after arrival: a Tesla destination charger at a hotel in Holzgau, over dinner. Weird setup with the 3 chargers on the corner… I guess two of them are really usable? I only needed one.

Day 0 - from initial meetup in Austria to Falcade, Italy

“Day 0” route took us from Austria south-east into Italy, to meet up with the rest of the group and start the roadtrip proper.

First charge of the day at a power station in Imst, Austria. Very nice location on the outside of town, and a 50kW charger - that’s all a Tesla driver needs :P

One more recharge later in the day at a motorway toll station near Bressanone. This one was also 50kW strong, and free! Not much to do at the location though, so after a regroup and plan check we quickly left.

Nice view from our balkony at “Day 0” destination and the actual start point of the roadtrip in Falcade, Italy.

Day 1 - westbound to Livigno, Italy

Day 1 route headed west from Falcade towards Trento, before climbing into the mountains and turning north-west, ending in Livigno behind the picturesque Foscagno pass.

One of very few Tesla Superchargers that I used on the trip, near Trento. Located next to the highway in an industrial area, at least there’s a hotel with facilities and a snack bar to spend the short recharge time before moving on.

Awesome view on top of Gavia Pass (2621m).

Second picture showing some of our group’s cars: a blue Mini JCW, gray BMW 3-series Compact, a black Fiesta ST and a rental S-Max minivan (and some other unrelated vehicles).

Next morning down in Livigno, picking up the car from its overnight charge at a local free Type 2 spot. A downside of overnight charging in Alpine weather: having to roll up and pack the wet charging cable.

Day 2 - further west to Grindelwald, Switzerland

On Day 2 we exited north out of Livigno, across the border tunnel into Switzerland, and headed west towards the Swiss lakes. But only after waiting in queue before the tunnel, which is single lane and alternates direction every 15 minutes or so. Another car from our group: a British Smart Roadster Coupé.

Having enjoyed some swoopy Swiss roads while keeping strictly to the speed limit (speeding in Switzerland is expensive), we briefly stopped on the Albula pass. Yet another car from our group can be seen here: the Audi A5 3.0 TDI from Slovenia.

And after climbing the Susten pass, we even found some snow on the side of the parking lot. Of course I had to test the electric all wheel drive here. Safe to say, despite wearing summer tires (factory Michelin PS4S) it got further up there than any other vehicle in the group, including the Quattro-equipped Audi and some much lighter cars :)

Brief stop at a high-power charger in Thusis, Switzerland. Gotta love the Model 3’s CCS compatibility.

After some shenaningans with fully-booked camping grounds, we finally arrived at a place in Grindelwald that had room to spare. The Model 3 has been promptly upgraded to a “small mobile home” alongside the S-Max, and I got to try sleeping in it for the first time.

This worked better than expected. Next time I need a thinner mattress to allow my knees more than an inch of room before hitting the shelf above the trunk, but otherwise it was really nice. Having the heater run through the night definitely added some comfort, since the temperature dropped to below 10° before morning - fellow travelers in their tents were slightly jealous.

For all its remoteness and elevation, the campsite had quite a view to offer. Behold, the town of Grindelwald and its surrounding beauty.

Day 3 - winding south to Lago Maggiore, Italy

After overnight rest, the Day 3 route took us on a very non-direct path, first heading north past Interlaken, around the Brienz lake and then south towards Italy and Lago Maggiore.

Views were enjoyed as we crossed the Grimsel pass. The pass itself was less enjoyable due to horrific traffic, mostly caused by an enormous amount of cyclists slowing everyone down to a crawl. The group rarely traveled in one big convoy, mostly we got split up in small-ish groups by traffic or unplanned photo stops.

Only recharge on Day 3 at a petrol station in Brig, before climbing up the Simplon pass towards Italy. Up there, beautiful landscapes and amazing weather - we were really lucky on this trip. For the most part.

Day 4 - break and excursion further south

Day 4 was somewhat of a break day. We did not travel to a new location, instead our stuff and most cars stayed at the AirBnb at the northern shore of Lago Maggiore, while we took 3 cars and headed south to visit the Agusta MV museum.

On the ferry across Lago Maggiore, I found out that Tesla’s navigation will only update position while the car is in D and actually driving. While parked on the moving ferry, it seemed rather confused about navigation directions. Corrected itself quickly on the other shore though.

The power of Christ propels you! This was my overnight charge before continuing on next day. Literally in the middle of nowhere, 800 meters above the lake, but very close to our apartment.

Day 5 - briefly Switzerland, then more Italy

On Day 5, we headed north-east, crossing into Switzerland and back into Italy again near the end of the day.

As we crossed the San Bernardino Pass, it slowly began to cloud over. Still made for a nice picture. Or several.

Our overnight stay, quite literally at the end of the road - the tunnels and the rest of Spluga pass heading down were blocked off for construction. Allowed us a very quiet night at least. And a decent view downhill from the apartment, only a short walk away - note the waterfall on the right.

In the evening we drove up the Spluga pass and had dinner at the top. Nice panorama of the wide nothingness there.

While we were having dinner, the Model 3 recharged at a yet another free Type 2 spot down in Madesimo. The signs said it’s limited to 2 hours, but the charger stayed powered for all 3.5h that I needed to top the charge off to 90% and enjoy some pizza.

Day 6 - cross all the borders

Skipping the blocked-off rest of the Spluga pass, on Day 6 we headed down the valley road instead, then east into Switzerland towards St Moritz, turning north to Davos and finally further east back into Italy, with a short bit of Austria in between where everywhere except me got cheap fuel.

When we arrived in Davos, the weather first had caught up with us, but cleared again very quickly. We had some lunch at the lake.

Meanwhile the car was again topped off at a 50kW CCS charger. This one was annoying though - wouldn’t accept any of my RFID cards, only wanted direct contactless payment… but none of my debit or credit cards would work either, since they’re all setup to require PIN for all payments (including contactless), while the bloody thing had no PIN entry buttons -.- Ultimately one of the fellow roadtrippers paid for it with his phone.

That recharge was well worth it, because we then headed up this incredible strip of asphalt called the Flüelapass. Despite being Swiss and as such limited to 80 km/h, this was stupidly fun to carve up.

And didn’t look half bad on the top either. Another vehicle from our group not previously seen - the white 4-series BMW from Great Britain.

Another recharge at the end of the day in Malles, Italy, close to the bottom of Stelvio. We planned on actually doing Stelvio that evening, but as you can see the weather said “no”, so we instead headed out for dinner.

Day 7 - Stelvio pass and long way back to Germany

Day 7 was a long one. We debated a lot about whether to skip Stelvio or not, since the weather hasn’t really improved much overnight, and the day’s driving was very long even without the pass. Ultimately I decided to join the small group that went for it, because we came all this way.

And a good decision it was. The very bottom of Stelvio was very wet and foggy, but it cleared up as we climbed. And the weather seemed to have caused the traffic to be much lighter than usual.

The small group that decided to make the climb: the Tesla, Fiesta ST, British 4-series, and a very Finnish bike rider who organized the whole thing. He has my utmost respect for sticking through the whole thing on a bike…

Our joy was a bit diminished soon, since the Umbrail pass that would’ve taken us north from the top of Stelvio and the way we needed to go was closed. So we had to take the rest of Stelvio down heading south, and go around a very long way, again passing through Livigno and crossing most of Switzerland in one day just to catch up to the others at the end of the trip in the south of Germany.

Day 8 - Autobahn dash to the Nürburgring

Bonus Day 8! This was not as much part of the actual roadtrip, but more of a transfer day to the meet that traditionally happens at the end of our roadtrips at the Nürburgring in Germany.

Alongside normal Tesla Superchargers, I decided to hit up an Ionity location close to the destination, and see just how fast my Model 3 would actually charge there.

The speeeeeeed! It climbed up to 187 at around 50% SoC and then eventually tapered. Still, I really only needed a 35 minute break to recharge from way below 20% to 90%, and only paid 8€. Awesome.

The final parking and charging spot of the trip: a camping site 20km north of the Nürburgring in the Eifel mountains in western Germany. Surprisingly reminiscent of the Alps. Another Tesla joined us there, a somewhat rare S P85+ from Norway, among many other people and cars - but that was a different event altogether.

Overall verdict on the Model 3 on the roadtrip: awesome. Amazingly fun on the mountain passes and other twisties, relaxing on AP during “transit” driving, comfortable and decently roomy - what more do you need.

Charging was much less of an issue than I expected, I planned for about twice the amount of chargers I actually ended up using, and many of those were unnecessary still - as can be seen in the graph, my SoC never dropped anywhere near disturbingly low.

In the end, this was an awesome experience that I would heartily recommend to any Tesla owner, and will probably do again some time in the future.

Final bonus pic: of course I had to take it on the Nordschleife :)