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Knockrow — plenty of Tesla Superchargers. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Cars

Can Electric Vehicles Revive the Great Aussie Road Trip? Part One

As petrol and diesel race each other to $2.50 a litre, electric vehicle drivers do not have to worry about the cost of their driving. We have just returned from a 3,600 kilometre great Aussie road trip which cost us about $200 in fuel … $50 on Chargefox and $150 on Tesla. Taking a slow trip from Brisbane in Queensland to the beautiful Lakes Entrance in Victoria would have cost us about $900 in petrol in our V6 Sonata.

Tesla Supercharger prices varied from state to state — from a low of 52 cents per kWh to a high of 69 cents per kWh. Chargefox manages the Tritium chargers that are provided by the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) in New South Wales. These cost about 40 cents per kWh.

Of course, we had to plan our journey, factoring in meal breaks at the high-speed charging spots and booking accommodation with Tesla destination chargers — as we did on our Winton trip last year. And then there was the dreaded blackspot, with no high-speed chargers from Narooma south to the Victorian border.

Knockrow — plenty of Tesla Superchargers. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Our first stop was for morning tea and a charge at the Tesla Superchargers at Knockrow, just over the Queensland border and into New South Wales. This venue is like a Tesla charging museum, with an old destination charger, an old Supercharger, and a row of brand spanking new Superchargers. The owners have built a solar canopy to power the EV chargers — the irony is that it shelters the petrol cars, while the glass-topped Teslas get cooked in the sunshine. The food was great and there was a shortage of EVs, who were also doing the great Aussie road trip.

Knockrow solar canopy. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Then it was on to the beautiful Coffs Harbour. Here the high-speed Tritium chargers are placed behind Gloria Jeans café — a little hard to find amongst the skip bins. Lunch, coffee, and a rocky road smoothie made up for the less than aesthetically pleasing charger location. A Kia EV6 arrived as we finished and we helped the new owner navigate the charging experience.

High-speed chargers among the skip bins. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

After an overnight at Lake Macquarie at an EV friendly motel (they had a Tesla destination charger), we headed for Karuah to the now familiar NRMA fast chargers. Here we shared the chargers with a Kona EV and met a disconsolate lady who couldn’t charge her Nissan Leaf because that particular charger was broken. The service station owner was helping out with an extension cord and a trickle charge, but it looked like she would have to spend the night in order to get enough charge to make it to her destination.

Karuah charging with Chargefox and a Kona EV. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

There was nothing we could do to help, and so continued on to Sydney … the great Aussie road trip to be continued.

 
 
 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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