In my first article on electric vehicles and the long weekend, I explored the concept of ‘EVs will ruin the Long-Weekend’, and proposed a testable example to investigate the validity or otherwise of the statement.
In my second article, I described the rather punishing schedule I followed to complete that route in order to see what it was like to use a full BEV EV instead of an ICE car on a ‘typical’ (if rather extended) Long-Weekend drive.
Having detailed the experience for you to read in Part 2 of this series: I now come back to where it all began with Scott Morrison’s statement that ‘EVs will ruin the Long-Weekend’. Did I prove him right, or wrong?
The hypothesis I formulated in the first article was:
‘Could an EV (my Kona electric), with no inconvenience or compromise over an ICE vehicle, travel to the typical places and cover the typical distances taken for a countryside EV weekend trip?’
So let’s do this in two stages: a qualitative analysis (how did I feel it went) followed by a qualitative one – did I meet the bars set to say it was a success?
Step one: (qualitative analysis) – did I feel that any of my trip experiences as detailed in the second article were tantamount to inconvenience, compromise or limitations on the trip experience were it to be done in an ICE car?
I would suggest no – some of them were definitely different to ICE vehicle travel, but none caused me any great pain or stopped me doing what I wanted to do – so hurdle number to me is one passed: I did not feel the trip had been inconvenienced or was compromised over doing that same trip in an ICE vehicle.
Step two: (quantitative analysis) – did I pass the thresholds for measurable equality to an ICE car Long-Weekend trip?
The chosen variables were:
- a day’s driving of 300 – 400km;
- no DC charging on the trip;
- no planned stops anywhere during the day for AC charging;
- running low on charge would not be hard to solve and only involve a minor detour or stop
A day’s driving of 300 – 400km.
Well, I definitely averaged over 300km per day. We’ll take that one as passed. (Realistically, I also proved this was way too long a distance for the total trip – sensible Long-Weekends are far more relaxed!)
No DC charging on the trip.
This was set more because there was so little available on the intended tour than it was not a desirable thing to do.
To get a DC fast-charge at the few available places would have meant significant detours from my intended route to get them, and requiring stops at not-all-that-interesting places.
OK for interstate travel, but not what I would call a “Long-Weekend drive” involving no inconvenience or compromise over an ICE vehicle. Definitely never did a DC charge – so a tick there too.
No planned stops anywhere during the day for AC charging;
Following on from the above point: the idea behind this one was that a big benefit of taking an EV on holiday is there can be no need to plan ANY visits to a fuel station at all.
Definitely ticked that box: every night saw me pull up with 20-30% charge left even after doing my longest daily distances.
Running low on charge would not be hard to solve and only involve a minor detour or stop
Well, the one event when it did happen I was able to easily solve it by pulling out a BYO lead and plugging into a public EVSE. It didn’t add any time to the day as it was a planned stop to wait for others to join me.
Whilst it wasn’t intended as a charge stop for me, it was bloody handy it worked out that way! I would say that was a close shave on not having to detour or wait – but I’ll call that one as a passed too.
I think I can safely say ‘Yes, an EV can be used for a Long-Weekend Drive’, and Scott Morrison was wrong in his statement that they cannot. Excitingly, an EV is already capable of it – even though the rollout if EV recharging infrastructure in Australia has barely begun.
So my final message is to the federal Liberal Party: “You’ve Scott to be kidding: EVs are perfect for the long weekend’.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.