Dealing with Electric Vehicle Misinformation

Social media can be very challenging day after day, handy for staying in touch with distant friends and relatives but an often a battlefield of mistruths, aggravation and division.

Like many other discussion topics, a mention of Electric Vehicles brings out a vast amount of opinions for and against, you have three main choices to deal with it:

  • 1. Delete all forms of social media and live happily ever after.
  • 2. Scroll fast without reading the article or any comments.
  • 3. I highly suggest you take up one of the first 2 options but if you want to engage please read the following:

There are two main types providing negative comments against EVs, those that just don’t know any better and are just repeating information they’ve seen/heard elsewhere without fact checking and those that know full well the information they’re providing is misleading/false. The second type are generally repeat offenders as they have skin in the game so to speak.

  • Only engage if you feel it’s absolutely necessary, if someone comments “I’ll stick to my V8 thanks” leave it be.
  • Have quality Australian based articles on EVs ready to go and provide the link when necessary.
  • Keep your comments polite no matter how abusive others become.
  • Keep in mind your comment/answer is aimed at the fence sitters more than the EV naysayer.
  • Provide evidence based facts not opinion.
  • For some responses a photo is worth a thousand words.
  • Mention your “EV” rather than your Tesla, being generic keeps prevents the discussion being side-tracked.
  • Be ready for the goalposts to be moved, when they are your comment has hit its target.
  • Avoid climate change discussion, many on social media only care about themselves.
  • Discuss energy independence, fuel and servicing savings, safety, performance, convenience.

The 21st Century is a world of self interest, tell them what they want to hear.

Explaining the Nullarbor EV Chargers

As you may have seen in recent news retired engineer Jon Edwards has designed, built and installed a Biofil DC charger at Caiguna on the Western side of the 1200km drive between Ceduna and Norseman, this provides a handy boost for the adventurous EV owners crossing the Nullarbor when border openings allow. Before I continue let’s make one thing very clear, you’re under no obligation to drive across the Nullarbor, commercial air travel is faster, safer and probably cheaper, but as Ferris said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it”.

Below I’ll discuss the charging available at the locations that are spaced evenly apart.

Before attempting to drive an EV across this part of Australia remember that Plugshare is the only app with the accuracy to plan charging stops, also don’t rely on apps to predict your energy consumption and arrival times, the road surface and wind direction plays a major part in how far you’ll get on a charge, play it safe and always plan to arrive with at least 30kms of range remaining. If you wisely plan your daytime and overnight charging stops the less time you’ll spend topping up the batteries.

Balladonia 22kw CCS2 DC charger

Departing Norseman and driving East the first well spaced charging stop is at the Balladonia Roadhouse, 190kms from Norseman, which has a 22kw CCS2 DC charger plugged into the 32amp 3 phase outlet. Compared to the latest 250-350kw DC chargers popping up close to Australia’s populated areas 22kw appears prehistoric, but in reality they’re a pretty handy short term solution that doubles the charging speed a model 3 can get from the existing 3 phase outlet and better still triple the charging speed available to a Hyundai Kona.

Caiguna, 181kms drive from Balladonia, has a 50kw DC charger powered by a Biofil generator, politely ask the counter staff to start the charger then go and enjoy the air conditioned Cafe.

Madura 22kw CCS2 DC charger

Madura, 157kms drive from Caiguna, has a 22kw DC charger plugged into the 32amp 3 phase outlet, payment is a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service tin located in the dining area.

Eucla, this location is 182kms east of Madura, charging is via a 32amp 3 phase outlet in the Laundry of the Eucla Motor Hotel. Be aware that this outlet is not available between 9.00am and 3.00pm, if you expect to arrive at this time maybe use the Border Village charge point, 12kms to the East.

Nullarbor Roadhouse 32amp 3 phase

Nullarbor Roadhouse, 197kms drive from Eucla, has a 32amp 3 phase at the rear of the building close to the motel units.

Penong Caravan Park, 223kms east of the Nullarbor Roadhouse, has a 32amp 3 phase (it has been prone to tripping at 28amps so plan accordingly). Penong is part of the South Australian grid so is likely to get a reasonable speed DC charger before too long.

Cocklebiddy, Mundrabilla and Border Village also have handy 32amp 3 phase outlets if you want to shorten the driving distances between charge sessions or wish to try different accommodation on the return journey.

Around Australia trips in a pure EV

DriverStart/End pointCompletion DateVehicle
1. Glen GeorgePerthNovember 2011MG converted Blue
2 Richard McNeallSydneySeptember 2016Tesla S Blue
3. Jeff JohnsonSydneyNovember 2016Nissan Leaf Blue
4. Sylvia WilsonGladstoneJuly 2018Tesla S Blue
5. Steve & Keita BurrellPerthAugust 2018Tesla S Titanium
6. Harald MurphyPerthNovember 2018Tesla X Titanium
7. Wiebe WakkerDarwin/SydneyMarch 2019VW converted Blue
8. Richard SmithDarwinApril 2019Tesla X White
9. Linda RohrsGold CoastJuly 2019Tesla S Blue
10. Rob & Robin DeanPerthNovember 2019Tesla S Blue
11. Peter HayesMelbourneDecember 2019Tesla 3 Silver
12. John PaulMelbourneMarch 2020Tesla 3 Red
13. Jules BoagSydneyMay 2021Tesla S White
14. Michelle & Terry ArzanikowBallaratJune 2021Tesla 3 White
15. David McLeodWarnamboolAugust 2021Tesla S Blue
16. Phil SmithCairns August 2021Tesla 3 Blue 
17. David CoatesMelbourneSeptember 2021Tesla 3 Blue
? Currently travelling
Hilly Andy? Perth2021Tesla 3 Blue

Why 450 km of EV Range is Enough in Australia

Many of you will have seen the social media commentators claiming how much range an electric vehicle needs, it normally goes like this: “I’m all for electric vehicles and keen to buy one but unless it has X amount of range I’ll stick with my trusty diesel”. As each year passes and the range of showroom EVs increase the commentators X number also increases. This is Uncertainty 101 from those with the most to lose when the country transitions to electric drivetrains, it’s a very effective manipulation of all the fence sitters that are close to making a new car purchase.

To make this very clear when I say 450km of range I’m referring to passenger vehicles, not commercial vehicles such as heavy duty four wheel drives that were purchased with the sole purpose of towing a caravan or large trailer over long distances.  I’ll also make it very clear that 450kms is real range on coarse surface country roads sitting on 100km/h, this is where the range is needed most. Anyone buying a vehicle that never leaves the Melbourne to Cairns coastal corridor could easily survive on 350km of real range.

There’s no doubt that battery costs per kWh and energy density will improve sufficiently to make the fitting of large battery capacities fairly easy for vehicle makers That’s great for commercial vehicles but a waste of resources for the average Joe who for the vast majority of the year drives less than 200km per day and makes 2 to 3 long trips of maybe 2,000km,  having a battery pack 20kWh or even 30kWh bigger than necessary is careless, multiply that by millions of average Joes across Australia and it’s a significant drain on materials, labour and energy that could be better used elsewhere.

So how does 450km of range deal with the vast distances of Australia? That’s a fair question and the answer is straight forward, carefully placed DC fast chargers are a far better use of materials, labour and finances than millions of EVs full of oversized battery packs. The careful placement part is critical, between the capital cities and larger towns 220km average spacings are suitable, for regional areas in north, west and central Australia there’s far less choice of suitable sites so a 300km spacing may have to suffice. A reasonably organized driver should have no issue stopping every 300km to add around 65% charge on a long country trip.

The author currently drives an electric vehicle with 400km of real range on Australian outback roads, and has been to every State and Territory over the past 6 years. His last vehicle was a diesel 4WD with 1,100 km range, it is not missed.

Why You Should “Ruin” Your Weekend in an EV

Many of you may have heard about the cheeky Facebook group “I ruined the weekend“. For those that haven’t its a full of photos and reports on how Electric Vehicle owners have made use of their vehicles going on long outback trips, visiting a country Vineyard, towing a Boat, and generally going about business as usual whilst driving electric rather than petrol or diesel. The Facebook group was a clever idea by long time West Aussie EV owner Ant Day, who like myself and hundreds of owners across Australia are thoroughly sickened by the continual fear campaign aimed at EVs. Politicians Scott Morrison and Michaela Cash claiming that Electric Vehicles will ruin your weekend was an audacious slogan that needed countering.

So why should you “Ruin your weekend”?

On one side of the fence we have a small but vocal group of EV owners supporting the electric transition, on the other side are the naysayers who believe EVs are not the answer, in reality this second group are people who know the electric transition will be detrimental to their business. In the middle are the fence sitters, the vast majority of Australians that have an interest in Electric Vehicles but struggle to separate fact from opinion from all the mud being thrown around, these are the potential owners that need to be convinced. It’s far better to do this with facts rather than opinion.

The best way to achieve this is prove it can be done, get out for a weekender to the country, tow the boat down to the ramp, go camping at some secluded location, go for an interstate trip, but most importantly leave the petrol car at home. Taking your EV to a place it’s apparently not supposed to be is a great conversation starter, it gets fence sitters attention and the conversation around the BBQ gets changed in a positive way. It’s no longer opinion, it’s fact, pessimism has been replaced with optimism. This is something the naysayers will never have, they can never show it can’t be done but you can show it can.

A Charge of Teslas holidaying in Kalbarri, Western Australia