Always charge: Ready for electrification is the great Australian road trip?

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I know that there is a charging station at the Lorne Visitor Information Centre, thanks to the PlugShare app, which displays most of the publicly available charging stations in Australia. I’m going to call Ben, whose Tesla Model 3 I rented out for the next couple of days, to see if I missed anything.

My practical knowledge of electric vehicles (EVs) is limited to the Scalextric vehicles I raced as a child against my father, and since then, EVs have come a long way.

Ben agrees that all I’m lacking is an adapter, and indicates that there’s actually no problem with the whole adapter thing anymore (I’m inclined to disagree).

This should be kept in mind by someone who plans to travel a long distance in an electric vehicle.

In a rented Tesla, I drive the Great Ocean Road to Port Fairy (and back) because I can, thanks to some developments over the last year in the local e-mobility scene. The number of ultra-fast charging stations across Australia has increased by 42 percent since July 2019, according to the Electric Vehicle Council (the national body representing the EV industry in Australia), while the number of standard charging stations has increased by 16 percent . A recent report based on Electric Vehicle Council statistics suggests that, thanks to the expansion of the charging network, at least 10 of Australia’s most famous roads (including Perth to Ningaloo, the Pacific Coast, Grand Pacific Drive, Great Alpine Road, Tasmania’s east coast, and Great Ocean Road) have become more accessible to e-vehicles. But the emergence of EV sharing platforms is perhaps the most helpful development for climate-conscious (or tech-savvy) road trippers – especially in this year of acute domestic tourism. I rented Ben’s Tesla via Evee, which provides a variety of models, brands and price points (starting at about $140 per day for a Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Ioniq or the like), enabling Australians to taste the EV experience without at least $47,500 in price tags.

Car rental companies such as Avis and Thrifty already have some electric cars in their fleets, but availability is minimal, whereas AGL provides an electric vehicle subscription service. Driving an electric car for long distances is becoming simpler, according to Evee CEO and founder Slava Kozlovskii, but still requires a little more thought and preparation than a traditional gasoline-powered drive. “There is an unofficial rule for electric car driving known as ‘ABC,'” Kozlovskii says. This stands for “always be charged.”

So every time you stop, every time your car stops, just try to find an outlet,’ says Kozlovskii. As all this new charging infrastructure helps to open up the world to electric vehicles, Kozlovskii tells me that most of the country is already accessible to electric cars via the good old household outlet (albeit with longer charging times). “There are more outlets in Australia than gas stations,” he explains. I’m charging my car behind the Apollo Bay Great Ocean Road Brewhouse, which takes a good three hours to complete (to go from 5 percent to 90 percent ).

There are still no charging stations on this stretch of the south coast at the time of writing, according to PlugShare (except a couple in Geelong and a few near Adelaide). On the other side, the east coast is almost full of them: from Cairns, through the Gold Coast, down to Sydney, through the ACT, and into Melbourne.

I’m on my way to Port Fairy, where I can’t charge overnight (my second and final faux pas on this trip), but I find a charging station in a nearby motel the next morning.

I’m on my way back to Melbourne after paying the motel owner $20 for the charge (with one last charge in Apollo Bay).

I had driven almost 800 km by the end of the trip on two charges (plus one that was supposed to be overnight) – on a famously winding and hilly road that drains the battery much faster.’ We’ll be left behind’: Australia’s electric car inertia gets you nowhereContinue ReadingIn the grand scheme of things, a successful electric car road trip simply requires a little more planning, a little more time

A marginal cost for an eco-friendly ride and the experience of driving an e-vehicle yourself, if you ask me.

In addition, if the idea of a “successful” road trip comes as quickly as possible from point A to point B, you’re doing it wrong. “It’s like switching from landlines to cell phones,” says Electric Vehicle Co. CEO Behyad Jafari.

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