What is it like, overlanding through Morocco with a fully electric car? We are now traveling for 4 weeks (in November 2022) from the north to the south with our all-electric Skoda Enyaq iv80. With some adjustments, we made a true mini-camper van of our car, by adding a rooftop tent, fridge, shower, and everything else we need to live in and around the car. In total, we drove almost 4,500km through this beautiful country. In this article, we will share all our findings on how it was to do this all-electric. Maybe we can inspire you to do the same?
Check the route of our entire expedition up until now here.
Charging facilities in Morocco
To begin with, the charging network In Morocco is growing fast. Nevertheless, it is far from the facilities in our home county, the Netherlands, at the moment. Charging stations can be found via the app PlugShare. But not all charging stations are official stations, sometimes it is a hotel that has a wall outlet to use (just 2,7kW). In addition, charging locations are often provided in the middle of a city, instead of next to the main road. Something to get used to when traveling all-electric in Morocco.
The big advantage of the charging network in Morocco is that charging is free. As energy is sold by the government here, charging stations are not allowed to earn money by selling electricity. Sometimes you are charged for parking, but that is all. This makes traveling all-electric in this country very cheap.
On the coast of Morocco, where the bigger cities are located, the charging network is better compared to the inland. If you are driving through the Atlas Mountains, no charging locations are provided anymore. The same applies to the Southern Provinces of Morocco, once you passed Agadir the network stops. What we did here is charge at a campsite during the night, at a fuel station, carwash, or hotel (max. 2.7kW) or we asked at a police station which location they recommended for electricity. Fast charging was never an option, as it is simply not available in these remote areas. By planning a night at a campsite this was not a problem for us at all. In one night +50%, with which we could drive another 200km. More than enough to enjoy the next day.
Charging in the remote areas of Morocco
When charging at a location that is no official charging station, we always paid for electricity. However, agreeing to a price was sometimes difficult. You should know that in Morocco electricity costs roughly 0,10 € per kWh. As locals here often have not seen an electric car before, let alone got the question if someone could charge their car at their place. They don’t understand that it takes so many hours.
For us from 0 to 100% takes 28 hours with 2.7kW. As you are never completely empty and never want the battery completely full, we charged max. 14 hours at one location.
And this brings us to the second part that makes it difficult to agree on a price for electricity with locals. As people are not used to selling electricity, they just don’t know its value.
At a fuel station, we paid €35,- for 50kWh, where this would have cost them €5,-. As we had no other option we agreed, but you can understand that coming to this agreement with our poor French was sometimes a challenge.
Another challenge was estimating upfront at what locations you could charge. As not every fuel station or hotel has electricity here. 98% of the locations do, but what if you have planned to visit one of these 2%? We solved this by never planning for one specific fuel station, but only for villages. In every village, there is at least one location that has electricity.
Impact of landscape and climate when driving electric
When driving electric there are many things that impact the range of the car. With fuel cars this is no different, however as charging facilities for electric cars are not always ideal yet we learned to check some of these parameters upfront.
One of these parameters is altitude. The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are amazingly beautiful and we would definitely advise you to go there. However, the routes include high passings, often 2000m above sea level. Just like with a fuel car this costs more energy, and it can be hard to predict if you can make a destination this way. As long as you make the top with more than 1% it is fine, as you regenerate once driving downhill. But if you don’t make it you have to go back the same way you came. Not a life-threatening issue, but something to take into account. We used the app Maps.me to solve this issue. By making a route by foot or bike you get information about the changes in altitude on your route. This helps estimate if you can make it with your current battery level.
Another parameter is wind. Again, this affects driving a fuel car just as much but we as there are so many fuel stations, we don’t realize it. Driving electric for hours with headwinds will cost you a lot more range than expected. Therefore, we always double-checked the weather in the morning before we left.
One last choice looking at our driving behavior was to drive at a maximum speed of 50km/h. This increased our range and gave us the chance to enjoy the scenery as much as possible. We could of course drive faster, but we just did not feel the need.
With these learnings, we can say it is definitely doable to overland all-electric through Morocco. Especially visiting the big cities. When driving to the Atlas Mountains, the desert, or the Southern Provinces it is a bit more of a challenge but definitely doable. We liked the challenge a lot, as the fun thing is that you get in contact with locals in a very different way. In addition, you make them aware of this new possibility of traveling all-electric. They are just amazed by it!
Charging the car with our own solar panels
For us, this trip was not only about overlanding through Morocco all-electric. We are on our way to South Africa to experiment with a new way of traveling, charging our Skoda Enyaq with solar panels we take with us in the car. Looking back at our time in Morocco, we can say this technique works perfectly here. There is a lot of sun and the locals were more than ok when we set up our 60m2 solar panel field next to a road. Police and the army often stopped to check what we were doing, but this was never a problem.
What we learned is that a hill directed at the sun has a big impact on our yield, a perfect hill can double the yield of the day. If we charged a full day, we always looked for a hill directed to the south, and if we charged only in the afternoon, it would be directed at the east a bit more. If the hill was too steep and the panels would glide, we kept them in place with a peg underneath. If there was no hill, we would use the same pegs to tilt them a little.
We used the app Weer&Radar to check the weather predictions, as this gave information about clouds and also wind direction and speed. Many clouds or a wind speed above 20km/h for us meant we would not charge that part of the day. Clouds decreased the yield of the day just too much, and we discovered that wind could blow a panel away.
There are two other learnings we did not expect at all. The first one is the impact of a feather duster. The more south we drove, the sandier the landscape became. Sometimes the sand was hardly sand, it was dust. After setting up our solar panels on a dune, the dust stuck to the panels which had a big impact on how much we charged. A feather duster appeared as the perfect solution. One sweep and all dust was gone!
The second learning is about shepherds with goats, sheep and dromedary. This is something you see very often in Morocco. They just wander through the landscape to feed the animals with whatever plant is available. What we did not expect, is that a goat has no fear and so much curiosity that it would walk over our solar panels! In our case, there was no damage luckily, but this is something we prevent now by warning shepherds a lot earlier.