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So you want to do an electric road trip

A common thought in the back of many people’s minds is how their electric vehicle will perform on longer trips. We’ve previously posted on the growth of EV charging networks around the country, but here are some quick tips for getting the most out of your EV. 

If you plan on driving further than your car’s range before you get back home here’s what you should do: 

o   If you are staying the night, plan to charge at a hotel with a destination charger. It’s most convenient and you won’t lose any time at all. The Plugshare app is really useful to find out where they are. 

o   If you are doing a lot of kms in one day, plan your rest stops (usually a meal) around fast chargers. For example, from Sydney: 

  • If you are driving to Dubbo, maybe take the Bell’s Line (fun!) and stop at the Lithgow Workers Club? 
  • If you are driving to Tamworth, the chargers in Wallsend are right in the center of town – perfect for a coffee.
  • In the next few months ChargeFox will expand their ultra-fast charging network to include Gundagai, Goulburn, Sydney, Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, KaruahCooma, and Shell Cove. This will make long distance travelling even easier  

o   It always pays to plan ahead for any mission-critical charging stops. Plugshare is a must-have for any EV driver going long distance: 

  • Check out the comments to see if anyone has had problems charging in the past (such as ‘ICEing’ – where petrol cars hog the charge-space), or if you need to have a particular RFID card to operate the charger.
  • You’ll also see which cars have charged there which is useful if you’re intending to charge using a Tesla brand destination charger. Some Tesla chargers will charge other car brands, some won’t.  

o   Consider factors that will impact your range: 

  • If it’s a long-haul run, factors such as a head wind, hills or even heavy rain can drop your actual range down, sometimes by around 10%. 
  • Speed makes a big difference: 
  • Driving at 120km/h instead of 100km/h uses about 35% more energy to get to the same destination. If you’re anxious about range, slowing down at the start of the journey pays dividends later. 
  • Remember that by the time the car has 50% charge remaining you want to be at least halfway to the next charge or the final destination. 
  • It’s a lot more stressful making up kilometers in the second half of the journey than the first.  Remember you can always speed up later if your range allows it. 

o   Every 500m of elevation you need to climb shaves about 20km off your “range”.  If you drive downhill you’ll make it back. For example: 

  • If you’re heading to Goulburn from sea-level (+700m) then budget an extra 30km. 
  • If driving back to Sydney from Tamworth (-400m) then you should pick up about 16km. 

The range of the four fully-electric cars available for around $50,000-$60,000 in Australia is: 

  • Nissan Leaf - 243km 
  • Renault Zoe - 308km 
  • Hyundai Ioniq - 230km 
  • Hyundai Kona - 424km 

[2nd October 2019]

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