Overlanding all-electric through Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, and Benin

4x4electric Togo

These countries are easier to cross with an EV. For us, it became therefore a place to test our limits…

Arriving in Ivory Coast we could see the facilities were a lot better again compared to the previous countries. Electricity is well available, as well as water. And this only became better going more to the east. Therefore, these countries are easier to cross with an EV. For us, it became therefore a place to check our limits…

A human MPPT function

In Ivory Coast, we matched our maximum yield of the day, which we set in Morocco; +56% in one day. Not bad at all… We were charging at a football field, as this is ideally flat. Unfortunately, at 4.30 pm a football match was planned so we had to clean up our panels. It was however a good workout for Maarten to join the match.

Going south to the coast of Ivory Coast, the weather perditions became cloudier every day. At this moment, our inverter still needs manual adjustments when the amount of sun on the panels is changing. We explained all about it in our recent webinar. Otherwise, the charging session stops. For the technicians reading this; our MPPT function is not working yet, this is something we are still working on with our partner Venema E-mobility. Many clouds, therefore, result in quite some work for us to adjust the settings all the time. Together with our partner Venema E-mobility we updated the system so that it would work as ideally as possible, for as long as the MPPT function is not working yet. But still, on a cloudy day, we often did not generate a lot more than +20%.

Pushing our limits

It was in Ghana that we decided to search for a wall outlet once again. The last time we did this, was in Morocco 5.550km ago. Something we are truly proud of. We are still amazed at how easily our expedition goes up until now and are very curious if we can match this number once, we have crossed the rainy season. But now, a wall outlet seemed like a good solution. We did want to charge at a nice location, and with our SoC, we would just be able to make it. While trying we were really pushing the limits of the range, driving 20km/h for the last 2 hours to arrive at our final destination with 3% SOC. An exciting day!

No plug and play

Don’t expect it was plug-and-play to charge with a wall outlet again. As locations are not used to the question if an electric car can be charged, it took some time to explain it all. Once they agreed, a new wall outlet had to be installed to use. And don’t forget, charging goes a lot slower for us at a wall outlet compared to charging with the sun. With a wall outlet, the maximum is 2kW (otherwise we melt the wall outlet after 12+ hours of charging), while with the sun we can go up to 9kW! Quite a difference. Charging the car from 3% up to 90%, therefore, took more than 30 hours. Something else that is not uncommon in this part of Africa, is that the power shuts off quite often. Sometimes this is fixed in a few minutes, but it can also take serval hours. So, charging at a wall outlet is not always easier compared to our solar charging…

Efficient solar charging sessions

In Ghana, we charged twice with a wall outlet, after we only used our solar panels. At a sustainable initiative, a field was provided to use which was also guarded at night. Since we camped there as well, we decided to leave the panels out at night to charge the next day as well. A very nice experience!

In Togo we did the same, charging for two days at the same locations, and leaving the panels out at night. This time it was possible as we stayed at an Airbnb for Renske her birthday.

Preparing for Nigeria

In Benin, we were quite busy preparing for our expedition through Nigeria. We arranged a business visa and, in the end, decided to cross with an escort due to unpredictable elections and cash problems. As this resulted in an extra visit to the capital city in Benin, as well as uncertainty about the date of entry, we only used wall outlets in this country.

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