Tag Archives: audi tt

This wasn’t how I planned my first steps into electro-mobility.

As many of your know by now my beloved Audi TT was severely damaged, a week ago, on 28 February 2022. It was for over 22 year my faithful companion. I truly can say is that this did not went as planned.

The TT was actually planned to get a worthy retirement, as a modern classic within the next months. Last autumn, I helped my good friend Michael Sanchez with a project of his and we got talking about electric vehicles (EV). I posited, wrongly, that there were no cheap EVs. He pointed me to the Dacia Spring. He bought one for his daughters.

I’m not going into the details, but the Luxembourg government gives a 8000€ subsidy, given certain conditions, for the acquisition of an EV. You can go and read the details here, if you need to know. I contacted the closest Dacia dealership to get a test ride, and well, seems they weren’t that eager to sell me anything because only I heard back months later, after I already made a decision. Granted, this could of course be just that they’re flooded with demands.

However, this set off a quite thorough investigation in cheap EVs. The conclusion: There definitely aren’t many. Most EVs start around 32k€, and even with a 8k€ subsidy, that’s still a lot of money for what essentially are compact cars. Cheap EVs are basically: the aforementioned Dacia Spring, the VW triplets (VW, e-Up, Seat Mii Electric and Škoda CITIGOe), the Renault Twingo ZE, and the Smart Electric. Anything else was beyond 32k€. Last autumn, the VW triplets could not be ordered any more. I heard you now can get the e-Up again.

What all cheap EVs have in common: low-range and are “destined” for city use. The range is the selling point of “going bigger”, because frankly, most EVs aren’t going to win beauty prizes, unless you go beyond 60k€. I do simply not understand why car manufacturers can’t make an EV that looks like a standard sedan or break. You only need to look at Tesla: their most coveted model is the Model S which stands for “Sedan”.

When you’re looking to complement your future modern classic, you start off with analysing your actual usage. Well, I would hope that people considering EVs do this. Regardless, basically I do:

  • Go to work, which is about 10km, one way. I come home for lunch.
  • Bring Little One to kindergarten, which is 3km, one way.
  • In the future I’ll bring Little Two to “précoce” (non-mandatory preschool), which is about 10km in the opposite direction of my workplace.
  • Go grocery shopping, mostly in shops not further than 15km from work or home.

I would say that the absolute worst case, would be about 120km of driving in a day. In other words, my driving profile matched exactly what a small EV could offer. As such, the idea was born to keep the TT as a weekend car, for the occasional longer non-family road trip, and the EV for everything else. A co worker jokingly quipped that is indeed one way to “go hybrid”.

I obviously need to be able to accommodate the kids, which was increasingly difficult in the TT. While the back seats are technically equivalent to children seats, the leg room is limited for my relatively tall offspring. Little One already started complaining about the restrained space. The conclusion of it all, is that I need a four door, four seat car: This excluded the Smart.

Given the VW triplets couldn’t be ordered, this left the Dacia Spring and the Renault Twingo ZE. Now Renault and Dacia are the same company, so I contacted a dealership in Capellen and asked for a test drive. That dealership immediately called back and organized something. It was a nice drive, I could easily see kid seats in the back and in contrast to the Dacia Spring, you could adjust the steering wheel in height. Sometimes, I just enjoy creature comforts.

So, I ordered a Renault Twingo ZE end November. Originally I was told that delivery should be end March, begin April. You can check the order status online and it has been on “ordered”, well, since November. I have no car right now and have to freeload on my wife’s car, so I asked them last week for a more precise date. Alas, it will be mid-april, end-april according to their salesman.

I would probably not have chosen this to replace the TT: It’s a bit small, has low range, and I chose it to be yellow (my better half’s car is red, the TT is blue. I have a strange sense of humour) but fine, I signed a contract, it will have to do.

Audi TT – Accident 28.02.2022

I heard that 2020 and 2021 were sucky years, well 2022 announces to be apocalyptic. There is that whole thing with war in Ukraine, and so on, but last week’s omen was even worse.

On 28.02.2022 around 8h10, on my way to work from Keispelt direction Schoenfels on the CR102 the unthinkable happened. A grey Golf GTI, travelling in the opposite direction, decided to overtake another vehicle. That’s steeply uphill, on a dangerous road with low visibility. When you drive there regularly, you know not to overtake there. I don’t even understand why technically overtaking is even allowed there.

As soon as I saw what was coming, I hit the bakes, so did he. We both did evasive manoeuvres: he back into his lane, me against the guard rail. We hit nevertheless: Essentially we hit driver side tyre against driver side tyre. I have erroneously said in the past that it was a frontal impact, it was not really.

I kept my calm, honestly, I am amazed by it myself. After all, we’re talking about the car I have driven half of my life. Not my adult life: my life. A fit of anger would have been understandable, but of course, totally misplaced.

Regardless, I post the pictures here again, but won’t link to this entry. I showed this enough on social media already. The reason is that I control this platform and as such, I am not dependent on the finicky antics of social media sites. This way, it will be easier to preserve this event for posterity.

It took almost 21 years, but there we are…

400000km on the odometer of the TT.
After almost 21 years, I reached 400000km on the odometer of the TT. Also note the fantastic off-by-one bug I made while calculating when to reset the trip meter.

So, this time, I won’t bore you with silly stats. We’re there: 400000km with the TT. It took one year longer than expected. Actually, before COVID-19, I expected this to happen in the early summer.

The next photo is due in about five years, when I reach the half million mark. If, by then, the car is still going strong and we’re still allowed to drive internal combustion engines.

Oh, and yes, this is the original engine, the original turbo and the original transmission.

Two decades of TT

Today, exactly 20 years ago, I received the keys of my new Audi TT. It was the first and still is the only new car, I’ve ever owned. Now obviously, I don’t know exactly when it was built. I know it had been in the dealerships showroom for a few months, probably Autumn 1999. Regardless, the age of a car legally starts at the first registration, which was 7 February 2000.

Model badge on my Audi TT

Now, of course, finding someone who has a car that is two decades old isn’t exactly hard. Finding someone who has a twenty year old car and is the first owner, that is quite a bit harder. I haven’t reached 400000km yet, but I expect to reach that somewhere this year.
This is consistent with about 20000km/year: I had no driving license of about 5 months, and used the car less when I drove my wife’s Mini for a few months. That easily explains the “missing” 10000km.

I’d like to put the age of this car a bit into a personal context. In those two decades:

  • I left my parents to live alone in my apartment.
  • I met and married my better half.
  • I stopped drinking
  • We built a house together.
  • We had a son.
  • I had five different employers, and with all of them I had this car.
  • It served as a wedding car on two weddings, one being my own. (Protip: Don’t. Hooped dresses don’t mix at all with this type of car)
  • I lost all my hair. I’m pretty sure, I still had some when I bought it .

At the beginning of the year 2000, when I bough this car:

  • We all just survived the Y2k bug.
  • The twin towers still stood in New York.
  • We made jokes about cigars, blue dresses, and blow jobs in the white house.
  • The Euro hadn’t been introduced yet. I paid this car in LUF (Luxembourgish Francs). The official exchange rate to the Euro has already been set though.
  • The dotcom bubble was about to burst.
  • Digital photography was slowly taking hold of the market.
  • Apple hadn’t released Mac OS X yet.
  • … and Microsoft hadn’t even released Windows 2000.
  • The Playstation 2 wasn’t released yet.

Or perhaps you want to see how the world changed in those two decades:

  • Thirteen countries joined the European Union.
  • One left…
  • The United States had a black president.
  • A tsunami caused another nuclear disaster in Japan.
  • The middle east became even more of a mess than it already was, resulting in an uprise of terrorism across the world.
  • The Internet became ubiquitous.
  • Smartphones became a thing, mainly with the release of the iPhone.
  • The Concorde crashed and the only supersonic passenger plane was subsequently retired.
  • The Space Shuttle “Columbia” exploded.
  • The Space Shuttles were retired (but unrelated to the aforementioned disaster)
  • Three Mars rovers were landed and drove around on the red planet.
  • Thousands of exoplanets were discovered.
  • Someone sent an electric car to space, because he could.
  • The large hadron collider was turned on an we didn’t all die in an artificial black hole.
Two decades later, including the traces of time… and bird shit.

Want to have a numeric perspective? Here you go:

Numbers, numbers everywhere!
  • At 390000km, the car could theoretically have driven to the moon and about 3,5 laps around its equator.
  • Average speed over it’s whole lifetime, is a whopping 2,2km/h.
  • At an average of 9litres/100km, it burned 35100 litres of gasoline. This is about the volume of a 1C-series freight container. That’s the type of container you could transport a car in.
  • These 35100 litres of gasoline produced about 81 tonnes of CO2. That’s about the mass of sixteen African elephant bulls.
  • At today’s price of 1.288€/l for 98 oct gasoline, this would cost me 45k€, which is more than the car cost me two decades ago.
  • The average Luxembourger would have owned three cars, and would be thinking of buying the next one. (Average age of a passenger car in Luxembourg is 5,55 years)
  • I’ve had this car for 79% of the time that I had my driving license.
  • If it were a human, it still wouldn’t be allowed to drink in the United States.

Now, obviously this car has its quirks. There are quite a few things I’d like to repair, but well one has to balance annoyance vs expenses:

  • It really starts badly when the tank is filled below 1/2. I’m not sure what exactly causes it. It seems as if not enough fuel makes it to the engine. Cranking and flooring it often gets it started, until the tank is filled below 1/4, then the flooring doesn’t do anything any more. However, on the second try it invariably always starts. It might just be a relay that primes the fuel pump before starting. This really is one of the things I’d like to fix. I mean, in a zombie apocalypse, this is a deal-breaker.
  • The other major issue is, that it does consume about 1l of oil for ever 700km (I do about 700km with a full tank of gasoline and I check the oil at each fill up). I presume, that to fix this, the engine needs to be rebuilt. There is no oil leakage, so it must be burned. Occasional blue smoke confirms that.
  • The driver side Xeon light sometimes goes out after about 1 minute of driving on a cold start. You see it flicker a few times before it does that. Turn it off and on again, and it usually works for the rest of the trip. It’s probably a defective “Vorladegerät”, but alas for my car that’s integrated into the headlights. So, I’d have to replace the full part which goes for 1200€. I can live with the annoyance.
  • There is a decade old dent on the driver side front wheel arch.
  • There is rust, on the underside of the booth where the lighting for the license plate is. I suspect this is caused due to the added spoiler in the recall. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have gotten the spoiler.
  • There is rust hole on the driver side sill. I do have an appointment to get that fixed in two weeks.
  • The heating really doesn’t heat well any more. I probably should have the thermal exchanger cleaned.
  • There is a tear in the leather on the driver seat. You don’t see it and it doesn’t get much larger because it is exactly next to a seam.
Radio cover of my Audi TT.

So, let’s try to keep it a little longer. After all it has been my, mostly reliable, day to day car for two decades.

The ultimate goal would be to get it registered as a classic car. Whether I’ll succeed in that is still unclear: I’ll have to wait quite a bit longer than expected to get it qualified as a classic car: They increased the required age from 25 years to 30 years.

Let’s raise our glasses to, hopefully, at least another decade of TT.