My Car Made My Coffee

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My car made my coffee is almost as good a line as “I have a petrol station on my roof!” (I charge my Tesla from rooftop solar.) In another demonstration that the rural regions of Queensland are ready for electric cars, an extensive electric vehicle exhibition was mounted in Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia, on Saturday, June 1. A more modest one took place in Gladstone, the fossil fuel exporting capital of Australia, the next day. A highlight of the Rocky show was the row of cars with vehicle-to-load capability making soup, brewing coffee, and running other appliances. The whole display was ably organised by Arthur Hunt, a strong proponent of V2L.

My Car Made My Coffee
My car made my coffee. Photo courtesy of Peter Scott.

What a contrast — at the Rockhampton electric vehicle display, we had about 30 different cars and trucks, and in Gladstone, we were only allowed to exhibit six. Rocky was well organised and relaxed, Gladstone was very hectic as hundreds of people walked through our car display on the way to the toilet. Strangely, they were more willing to chat on the way back!

Arthur’s summary of the Rockhampton day was that the public was “spoilt for choice,” with 10 different brands and 19 different models to view and discuss. Some had driven from Brisbane, Mackay, and Bundaberg to answer questions about range, longevity, running costs, and charging. The general public appreciates being able to talk to those who have lived the EV life.

My car made my coffee
Spoilt for choice. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

As well as numerous private exhibits, several dealers also brought cars. I had a good chat with the Toyota sales rep, from Ian Weigh Toyota, who told me that he had already sold two BZ4X’s and had only one left in stock. He also had the electric Lexus RZ450e. MG was represented by an exuberant young sales lady from Rockhampton Auto Group. Chloe from MG is already making Instagram videos of her adventures with her bright orange MG4. Great to see sales people being able to actually live the EV experience.

My car made my coffee
Chloe is living the EV life with her MG4. Photo courtesy of Peter Scott.

We even had a Volvo EX30 on display. I am afraid I was wont to be a little rude about the colour, but Tom set me straight. Apparently, the colour was discovered by designers on a trip to the Swedish forest. It is the colour of lichen. “Inspired by the colour of lichen on Swedish granite rocks, this vibrant solid yellow colour adds a spicy and fresh character.” But then they named it moss yellow. Might be some angry botanists out there! 

My car made my coffee
Volvo EX30. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

I had prepared some stats for a radio interview that didn’t happen, but just as well, as I was grilled by Sophie from CQ Today. That’s not ham radio, that’s Central Queensland Today. I was able to tell her that over 100 battery electric vehicles were registered in the Rockhampton District, that Australians are currently buying about 10,000 plugin vehicles per month, and that globally, about 19% of vehicles sold have a plug. I even got to mention CleanTechnica.com.

My Car made my coffee
Central Queensland Today article.

Another distinctive entry in the display included a Tesla Model 3 LR which towed a teardrop caravan down to Sydney to check out the Cybertruck display. You can read more about that adventure here. Additionally, Drive by Nature travelled from Mackay to display the TREV and the converted Hilux ute. You can read more about the TREV three-wheeled adventure vehicle here.

Even though it was winter, Rockhampton is on the edge of the tropics, so car air conditioners were left running during the day. Not only did this make sitting in the static EVs more comfortable, but it meant less pollution for those walking around the cars. And no one ended up with a flat battery — either from running the air conditioning or from making soup.

Majella’s image got worn out from being constantly photographed in/on the car.

My car made my coffee
It was what the photographer wanted. Photo courtesy of Peter Scott.

The display also included a Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic electric farm vehicle, exhibited by a local agent. Dan Watson from AdventureTec in Emu Park exhibited a range of electric scooters and Benzina Zero mopeds. Parked next to him was the Yeppoon Land Care 2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev Minicab van, which had its battery refurbished recently by Dan. Also parked nearby was a 2012 Nissan Leaf, owned by Gary Le Lacheur, which has a 24 kWh battery and a range of only 75 km due to battery degradation. Having met for the first time at the display, Dan and Gary are planning a battery refurbishment for the Nissan Leaf, which is otherwise in good condition.

The next day in Gladstone, only six EVs were allowed to exhibit and were stationed on the grass between the main throughfare and the toilets. The major sponsors of the Gladstone Ecofest are Toyota and Shell. Gladstone is very much a fossil fuel town. However, two technicians from the Shell display came over and told me they had bought Tesla Model Ys. “Where are they?” I asked. “In the car park.” It is my hope they will be in the next display. All of the EVs displayed in Gladstone were provided by people from out of town, like us. Vehicles included the Volvo EX30, MG4, Hyundai Ioniq 6, hand-built TREV, converted Toyota Hilux, and our Tesla Model 3.

My Car Made My Coffee
The hand-built TREV. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Local organisers are pushing for a separate EV exhibition next year — perhaps the local EV owners will get involved then. The Toyota sales team came over and had a good look at the competition. They had a BZ4X in their display and report that they are selling a few in Gladstone. Last year they only had a model in a plastic case. They are happy to have the EV option for Toyota customers.

With only six EVs on display and not many people to answer questions, we ended the day with worn out voices. There didn’t seem to be a spare moment when Tess was not full of curious questioners. But, as Robert Nicol from Tesla Owners Club Australia summed it up: “There was a mixed age group of people, mainly of the older variety, viewing the cars. All were positive and inquisitive, mostly asking the same questions about range, how long it took to charge, how much the car cost to run, where you can charge your EV. Overall, it was a constant stream of positive people asking genuine questions.”

As the day drew to a close, concern was expressed that the silent EVs leaving would pose a danger to the public. I was asked to lead the group out to the exit gates waving a red flag. History repeats. No horses or pedestrians were harmed during the “bump out.”

My Car Made My Coffee
Red flag warning — hazardous EVs. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Two days of talking with ordinary Australians from regional centres fortified my opinion that the regions are ready. The future for Australia is bright and electric. Bring on the utes and the affordable runarounds. And enjoy life as, your car makes your coffee, and your soup, and your. … 

My car made my coffee
EV soup kitchen! Photo courtesy Peter Scott.

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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 763 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth