How do you plug a 720 km gap in a high-speed charging network? With used canola oil and vodka, of course! It appears that the Tesla Owners Club of Australia will go to any lengths to get its members across the Nullarbor. In collaboration with Mountain Distilling, they are producing and selling “Musk Inspired” Vodka.
“Proceeds from sales go directly to #TOCAUnitingTheNation – a program to unite Western Australia with Eastern Australia by helping to install fast EV chargers where needed across the Nullarbor
“In efforts to electrify a path from the west to the east with EV fast chargers, Tesla & Vodka fans alike (MOUNTAIN team included) can now join in this project directly by purchasing a bottle of Musk Vodka, with proceeds going towards electrifying the Nullabor.
“This very limited edition Vodka is powered by Australian native botanicals and Musk. Expect subtle tropical notes of Orange and lemon myrtle with a big hit of Musk supercharging this playful one-off release from MOUNTAIN Distilling.”
With an alcohol content of 40%, it’s not the drink you should be sipping while you drive the 2600 km from Perth to Adelaide.
The plan is to put two high-speed chargers powered by BiØfil, with generators running on waste chippy oil midway across the gap, at Caiguna Roadhouse. This is a carbon-neutral solution to several needs. Why not solar? For both systems, the energy is free, and the EV charger is the same cost. Unfortunately, the capital setup cost to collect, store, and convert solar energy in a remote location is several times the cost of BiØfil.
Two further 22 kW plug-in DC chargers are proposed at two locations to halve the distances again, so that no stretch across the Nullarbor is more than 200 km — very achievable by most EVs these days. The site managers would operate and maintain the units and use the waste oil generated onsite, turning waste into revenue.
University of Western Australia is using this as a research project, collaborating with Jon Edwards, who has initiated and funded the entire campaign. Crowdfunding has already raised a third of the $150,000 required for the project to go ahead. Donations can be made at the website below.
With three projects currently underway (including this one, the Western Australian and South Australian electric highways), it will mean that an EV driver will be able to fast charge from Cairns in Queensland to Kunnanurra in the north of Western Australia.