ABC Tests an Electric Vehicle in the Australian Countryside

ABC Tests an Electric Vehicle in the Australian Countryside

Eric Worrall / 10 hours ago October 6, 2020

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Works great, providing you can afford the expense, don’t hit a strong headwind, and enjoy the adventure of exploring country towns while waiting for a recharge.

Electric car put to the test in regional and rural NSW

By Ben Deacon and Rosie King
Posted 6 hours ago, updated 2 hours ago

More than 60 public electric vehicle charging stations are being built this year around regional New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in a bid to make electric cars a more practical option in regional Australia. 

But will this be enough to make electric vehicles (EVs) work in the bush? 

To find out, I hit the highway for a 1,200-kilometre regional road trip in an electric car. 

In the end, I made it home — just.

Leaving Sydney, the car told me I had a range of 410 kilometres, leaving me a margin of 70 kilometres. Tight, but doable. 

But outside Sydney, I drove into the teeth of headwinds strong enough to shake the car.

Very quickly, the car started recalculating the range. It was now telling me I wouldn’t make it to Jugiong. The headwinds were drastically affecting the range of the car. 

I was pretty sure I’d make it, but if the charging station was out of order, the car would go flat. 

The last 40 kilometres before Yass was a white-knuckle experience. 

What I didn’t know was how long it would take to charge the car, which was almost dead flat. 

There’s a natural relationship between regional touring in an electric car and lunch. Instead of fast food at a highway service station, the longer charge times of electric cars lend themselves to a more relaxed schedule to poke around a small town. It is less “pit stop” and more “electric back roads”. 

Read more:

What can I say – No sale.

I could imagine myself one day buying a hybrid, if the cost comes down. A lot of my driving is short range school runs and shopping trips, it would be kind of cool to mostly keep the car topped up from home.

But I would miss the convenience of just filling up the tank if I’m in a hurry, or if I forgot to plug in the charger. I sometimes make one day business journeys well over 500km return. Having to stop for an hour every few hundred km on a long distance trip, suffering range anxiety if the weather turns, would just drive me nuts.

The ABC “regional and rural” test looks like a pretty benign road route. You don’t have to get far off main roads in Australia to encounter some shocking driving conditions. Tip for tourists, if you plan to explore anywhere further than 50 miles from the coast in Australia, and don’t plan to stick to major motorways, your “A” road could turn out to be a bumpy dirt track. Hire a gasoline or diesel 4WD.

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