He is an electric car extreme driver: Hansjörg-Eberhard Freiherr von Gemmingen-Hornberg now has a million kilometers on his speedometer with his Tesla Model S - and, according to his own statements, secures an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. We asked him what drives him - and how he spares the battery of his electric car in daily practice.
manager-magazin.de: Herr von Gemmingen, with their Tesla Model S you now have a million kilometers on the clock. They keep the world record by far the record for the most kilometers driven in a production e-car. How long did it take you for the million?
Hansjörg-Eberhard von Gemmingen-Hornberg: I bought my Model S in August 2014 as a demonstration car with a mileage of 30,000 kilometers. I've always been a frequent driver, but with the electric car, I've quickly quadrupled my mileage. I drove around 40,000 kilometers a year with my earlier combustion engine vehicles.
When was the last time you drove in a car with an internal combustion engine at the wheel?
I sold my classic car Mercedes 500E W124 to a lover last year. Because the car has literally stood flat in my garage the tires literally. But he also had 604,000 kilometers on the clock, I had bought him with 200,000 kilometers.
With their Tesla Model S they come to an annual mileage of almost 200,000 kilometers. So you spend a lot of time on the road ...
Yes, of course I do. But with the job I can arrange that well. I trade foreign exchange and have assets with which I can refinance myself. For an electric car but also fall significantly less maintenance costs. You do not have to be a millionaire to afford it.
What maintenance costs do you incur on average?
I drive for around seven cents per kilowatt hour, which is well under two euros fuel costs per 100 kilometers. I have to load selected. I charge Tesla's Superchargers for free because my Model S is one of those vehicles that Tesla allows for lifelong free recharge on Superchargers. At home, I get cheap electricity from my photovoltaic system. And there are also many free public charging points.
How did an e-car change its driving behavior as a frequent driver?
I left my Mercedes for short distances, which I preferred to cover on foot or by bicycle. Therefore, the internal combustion engine has also lasted very long, because I have just dispensed with short distances. With a battery-powered vehicle, it makes more sense to drive it every day and for not so big distances.
That is, they drive electrically every day?
Yes, I want to get my mileage. I want to show the world that it works to make many miles every day in the electric car. I want to counteract the electric car bashing. And I show that the Tesla fast-charging system works in practice, that you can travel across Europe, without fear that you can really draw electricity and whether that works with the payment arrangements. This is a big challenge that the public charging infrastructure still has to handle.
At one million kilometers, vehicles with internal combustion engines require many expensive repairs. How did your Model S beat this distance?
Hansjörg-Eberhard Freiherr von Gemmingen-Hornberg
I have had over the distance for just under 13,000 euros repairs. My Model S has an eight year warranty on engine and unlimited mileage battery. The engine was swapped for warranty twice, once just 40,000 kilometers and once at 320,000 kilometers. The battery was once exchanged at the odometer 290,000 kilometers, also as a guarantee. Once the central chip unit was broken, the central display remained black. Their exchange has cost 3100 euros.
And with mechanical wear parts such as axles and brakes?
I have only now the second set of brakes inside, which has now held over 400,000 kilometers. At the front, I had to swap the whole camp. But that would have been necessary for a gas burner much earlier. In a 300-turbo diesel Mercedes with the first turbodiesel generation, I had after only 350,000 km a good four times the repairs, as was about every 110,000 kilometers of the engine broken. The 500 had four times the repairs, but the engine remained the first to 605,000 km.
What helps in her view to extend the life of the battery and motor?
Somewhat older electric car batteries, and I count mine to, I usually hold between 20 and 80 percent state of charge. If you drop below 20 percent charge level, the first cells can come under low voltage with cold battery, and that reduces the life. Before longer trips, I charge the battery sometimes to 90 percent, but almost never close to 100 percent. On the highway I set the cruise control to 110 or 120 km / h, which is very battery-saving. About 130 km / h I accelerate only selectively. And you should not exaggerate the change between acceleration and recuperation. Because it generates a lot of waste heat, and this promotes the degeneration of the cells. Even driving is much better for every car.
Engineers sometimes warn that frequent fast charging shortens the life of e-car batteries. How often do you head for fast charging stations?
Due to my frequent long-distance travel, I charge around 40 percent of Supercharger fast chargers. I try, however, whenever possible to use alternative charging options. Generally I load in the garage when I'm at home. Only if I have to charge quickly or it is too time-consuming to find another way, I invite superchargers.
That is, you are not a fan of frequent fast loading?
No not at all. Many people charge their vehicles when they go out for dinner in the evening. There is no such thing with me. Ecologically, it is nonsensical, especially in the evening to draw a lot of electricity, better in the middle of the night when the power consumption of people is the lowest. Fast loading is not useful if you have the whole night for it.