MG4 at Fully Charged Live–Sydney. Photo courtesy of Sam Moran.

Mixed Reactions to Fully Charged Sydney

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Was Australia ready for Fully Charged? Mixed reactions are coming from people who attended Robert Llewellyn’s first foray into Australia — Fully Charged Sydney. It appears that the public were eager and thirsty for knowledge, but the event was ignored by most of the news media and there was a notable absence of the legacy automakers.

The event guide lists the invited OEMs under sponsors with “declined to participate.” Renault even launched its electric Megane … at a separate event in Sydney a few days later! Maybe they didn’t think it was worth the effort of getting involved with Bobby.

One attendee who flew in from New Zealand was disappointed that the range of cars on display was nowhere near the numbers that they see back in the land of the long white cloud. Obviously, he hadn’t read my articles about how far New Zealand is ahead of Australia. He found the recently launched MG4 a bit of a letdown, and the Cupra Born too expensive for his taste.

According to an excellent article in The Driven, Fully Charged Live will be back in Sydney next year, and they expect far greater participation from legacy automakers in 2024. I don’t think that legacy auto expected it to be so popular.

What actually happened at Fully Charge Live in Sydney? To answer this question, I turned to my friend Sam Moran, representing Noodoe. He exhibited at the show and also took part in panel discussions. To make it more interesting, he drove down to Sydney from the Gold Coast (about 1000 km) in his Model 3 Performance and used only 350 kW chargers, just to see if it could be done. It can, and he did. He wanted to see if he could reduce his charging time to 20 minutes per stop. He answered my questions as he charged his car on the way home.

Fully Charged
Charging under the solar canopy. Photo courtesy of Sam Moran.

On his way down, Sam found this very pleasantly surprising charging spot at Berowra tennis courts. Check out the two massive solar canopies.

He tells me that there was electricity in the air. He had his car with him at his stand and answered hundreds of questions from the 15,000 attendees. People were keen to find out more from an experienced EV driver. He always had a group gathered around his stand. Patient people waited to ask questions and receive considered answers. 40% of the questions were general ones about EVs and 60% were about Noodoe’s charging services.

He is still waiting for the final figures, but around 15,000 attended at AU$60 a ticket. He tells me that the lines of people waiting to get in were out the door each morning. Were the presenters just preaching to the converted? Or were there a lot of newbies in the audience?

It may be hard to track, but it would be good to measure the impact that this show has had on accelerating the EV pick-up in Australia — particularly New South Wales. Sam was interviewed by SBS News, the only channel that bothered to cover the event. Majella and I leapt out of our seats when we saw him on the electric television in our own media room in Brisbane!

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SBS interviews Sam. Photo courtesy of Sam Moran.

Perhaps the mainstream media missed it, but several YouTube personalities were busy making videos. Expect a plethora of multimedia material from the Electric Viking, Ludicrous Tom, and of course Fully Charged itself. The impact will be felt in online communities more than in Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers (reading material for the mushrooms — those who are kept in the dark and fed on manure). It isn’t just about a one-event trade show.

Sam participated in a panel conversation about long-distance travel in an EV. He was able to use his experience of the last few days travelling down from Brisbane to Sydney. He did not need to plan. Plenty of chargers were available. The questions from the public were around charger maintenance and support. Charger use etiquette at public chargers was discussed, particularly the need to move on when finished. Noodoe and Tesla chargers use fees to discourage EV drivers from leaving their car plugged once the charge is complete.

They were similar questions to what all EV drivers answer when being questioned by curious ICE drivers. During the next few months, many events are planned along the Queensland coast for EV drivers to exhibit their cars to the public — the few I know about are: Gayndah Orange Festival on April 29th; Rockhampton on June 3rd; Gladstone Eco Fest on June 4th; Noosa Zero Emissions on June 18th; Gympie Off Grid Expo on Sept 3rd; and I am sure there will be many more. Let me know if your group is planning one.

The star of the show at Fully Charged Live—Sydney was undeniably the MG 4. See Bobby’s review here. This car has been described as the bargain of the century. No wonder MG had a DJ entertaining the crowds. It is a great step forward from the MG ZS EV. Just sad that it is missing a frunk. There is a cavity under the bonnet — maybe people will find a way to fit one in.

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Launch of the affordable MG 4. Photo courtesy Sam Moran.

Apparently, Toyota got a lot of mentions in the stage presentations. Toasted Toyota, stiff cheese. They probably won’t be there next year. Every Q&A session was chokkers — and people stayed for the entire session. Attendees showed maximum interest and even stayed around for a chat afterwards. People are thirsty for correct and professional information (to counter the FUD).

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Q&A sessions were well attended. Photo courtesy of Sam Moran.

Much more will be said and speculated upon about Fully Charged Live–Sydney. From our perspective, what really happened? Importantly, the mass media and legacy automakers misread the public mood and missed an opportunity to join and profit from the EV revolution. Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake again. See ya next year, Robbie old mate.

I will leave the last word to the man himself.

“I can say without any hesitation that this is the biggest and best first show we’ve ever done anywhere in the world,” said Robert Llewellyn, “We’ll definitely be back in 2024, which is fantastic.”

“It is, as you can tell, really hard for us to get the big car companies to commit to the first show,” he added. “What I can tell you — and I’m not going to mention the names — but a lot of them have been here this weekend and they had a good look around, and they’ve all said ‘we’re coming next year’.”

Fully Charged
Fully Charged Live — Sydney. Photo courtesy of Sam Moran.

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David Waterworth

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].

David Waterworth has 737 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth