Electric vehicles are on the verge of being mainstream in most other countries.
Importantly, these are countries that ship passenger vehicles to the Australian market, which means Australian buyers will soon have a clear choice: purchase a financially viable electric vehicle or purchase the old tech petrol guzzler that no one else wants.
Unfortunately, though, whenever there’s an article in the media discussing the future of electric vehicles in Australia the same old lines gets used in the comments section: “Good luck getting one across the Nullarbor;” or ” EVs are no good for Australians as they can’t cross the Nullarbor”.
The fact is 95 per cent of passenger vehicles in Australia have never crossed the Nullarbor, a vast majority of their owners would never consider driving across in the first place.
Driving any vehicle across a regional area is only routine if the vehicle is in good working order, with good tyres and a useable spare. Anything less and the trip will be frustrating and expensive. Concentration and respect for the conditions is also important to make the Nullarbor trip a success.
Also, why drive any passenger vehicle from Perth to Adelaide in the first place? It’s far quicker and safer to travel via commercial jet.
If you take into account the cost of fuel, food, accommodation and other incidental costs its most likely far cheaper too, but then to some folks saying I drove across the Nullarbor is far more interesting than saying I caught a taxi to the airport.
But for those car owners who drive the national average of 40kms per day, rarely leave suburbia, but whose number one criteria for purchasing a vehicle is its ability to cross this vast nation from east to west, then you’re in luck – Nullarbor crossing in an EV can be done, has been done (on multiple occasions) and will continue to be done.
The most recent trips were two electric vehicles driven by members of the Tesla owners club of Western Australia who drove from Perth to Adelaide and return stopping at as many locations as possible; confirming each newly installed industrial power outlet was operating correctly, discussing EVs with the public, business owners and local councils, but most of all doing something that many people still believe is not possible.
As each month passes the charging options will improve. At this stage it is low-cost industrial power outlets provided by the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.
This short term solution provides enough charge rate to cover up to 800kms per day driving only daylight hours.
Far more distance could be covered by a driver willing to take on the night time wildlife, although the first priority of driving is to get yourself, your passengers and your vehicle to the final destination safely.
The largest gap between industrial power is 225km. Shortly that will be reduced to under 200km, and it won’t be long before big business installs DC fast chargers to satisfy increased demand.
In the near future, drivers having to stop for 20 minutes every 300km will be beneficial to road safety. And if that’s not fast enough for you, then a commercial jet is the best option.
Robert Dean is an electric vehicle enthusiast and owner, who has driven his EV across the Nullarbor