Day 193 | Friday September 23
From Rivne I wanted to reach Kyiv in one day, which is a 330km drive. Under ‘normal’ circumstances not possible but with Ukraine’s charging network definitely worth a try. After breakfast with Ben and Alexandr I left.
I decided to use as much chargers as possible. The first one was as 3-phase charger at a hotel in Novohrad- Volons’kyi. I knew that this was not a free one so I checked first with the reception what the possibilities were, no problem to charge here. I did that for 2.5 hours until it was full and continued to Zhytomyr, just outside of the city was an Okko fuel station. Most of these fuel stations have a charger installed which gives your EV coverage over the whole country.
A few kilometers before Kyiv was also an Okko station so I drove there and thought I would make it from there to my host.
What I forget sometimes is that in some countries a city can have street names which occur multiple times. So when my navigation told me I arrived, I was at an industrial place which didn’t seem right. At a gas station with WiFi I found out I was 30km away from my host. This pretty much sucked as I calculated how much I needed to charge to reach this point, and it was already close to midnight. Now I needed to find a charger nearby. First one was just closed (private parking) but the second one was working, although another car was charging. Funny detail it was occupied by an Citroen Saxo electric, an EV from the beginning of the 2000 era, I saw this car only 1 time before in Germany. The driver was a bit surprised by my car and with a translator on his phone I could explain most of his questions. The older generation in Ukraine doesn’t speak much English.
Around 1am I arrived at Serhii. A few weeks ago another Sergei contacted me on Facebook, he told me he just organized an EV event in Kyiv and was interested to meet me. Today he couldn’t receive me but found his friend ready to host me.
Day 194 | Saturday September 24
Time to meet my new hosts, it was really late last night and after some food we went straight to bed. Serhii is big EV-enthusiast and lives here just outside Kyiv with his wife Lusiena and his kid Ivan. We drove to Mezhyhirya, the mansion which belonged to Viktor Yanukovich, former president of the Ukraine. Now it’s quite to important to know about the revolution which happened in 2014, it’s a very dirty one. In this post I will focus on what I saw today so please read this wikipedia page about it, for some more context. There we met with Sergei, Alina and her kids. All members of the Electro Car Club.
Serhii called Mezhyhirya “Museum of Corruption”. For many years it had been the symbol of the corruption and bad policy in the country, especially under Yanukovich’ lead. When he was the president his mansion was closed for anyone so no-one exactly knew how big this place was and what happened here. Well it’s enormous, about 400 hectares and all artificial. What I saw were many ponds with fountains, a huge mansion, boxing ring, lots of statues and a golfcourse. And we only saw like 3% of it. Also check out this article with pictures of the place when Yanukovich just was kicked out, you will understand what a badguy he was.
I was wondering why electric cars are so populair in Ukraine. Sergei explained me that Ukrainians would like to be completely in depended from Russia, of course they need to import gas from them so when everyone would drive electric that would not be necessary anymore.
Serhii took us than to an event somewhere in Kyiv. It was about the Ukrainian language and the organizers were very pleased to meet me and offered me some gifts (t-shirts). The presentation was fully in Ukrainian but you could notice that it was of importance. The Ukrainian language has been suppressed for many years and people want to promote te language, they are very proud of their language like all Ukrainians are proud of their country.
Than it was time for some relaxing. In Kyiv center we visited a Georgian festival. That includes Georgian foods, music and drinks. Very cosy and interesting experience. Kyiv so far is very interesting.