Wagga Wagga mayor Greg Conkey has taken up the challenge of local councillors and negative media and completed his trip to Sydney and back in an electric vehicle. He says he is delighted with the experience.
A furore erupted in late September after a Hyundai Ioniq purchased by the council under the Cities Power Partnership became the subject of an attack by councillors questioning its purchase even though they all agreed to buy it in 2018.
A motion was issued by the skeptical councillors requesting that Conkey drive the electric vehicle to Sydney to prove it was “fit for purpose”. And so he did.
Despite the fact the vehicle was never intended for long distance trips, Conkey agreed to the request and set out last Monday to Sydney on council business in the Ioniq before returning – in one piece – on Wednesday.
Speaking briefly with The Driven prior to the submission on his report to council, Conkey said that, “it was a pleasure, it’s a very impressive car.”
“It was never meant to be driven out of the city but a request was made and I took up that challenge.”
The road trip between Wagga Wagga and Sydney can in an electric vehicle with two DC fast charging stops of under 30 minuter each, according to A Better Route Planner (ABRP).
This would mean the trip – which non-stop takes about 4.5 hours – under 6 hours (and even in an internal combustion engine it is recommended two stop be made for such a trip).
With a number of fast chargers – such as those being rolled out by the NRMA – along the way between Wagga Wagga and Sydney – there are a number of options for places to stop.
During his electric road trip – which he will report on in full in coming weeks – Conkey was fortuitous enough to run into one of Australia’s electric vehicle community.
“Coming back on that trip I met the acting national president of AEVA Clive Atwater charging [his electric vehicle]…he very generously moved his car and allowed me to charge,” says Conkey.
Bought as part of a five point plan including installation of LED lights and solar panels that over 100 councils are using to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, the Ioniq is now part of the council’s pool fleet.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.