Crowds line up for test drives at the 2019 EV Expo. Photos: Bridie Schmdit
Crowds line up for test drives at the 2019 EV Expo. Photos: Bridie Schmidt

Big crowds turned out on Saturday for the Electric Vehicle expo in Sydney to see, sit and even have a drive in a range of electric vehicles at Sydney Olympic Park.

Held by the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA), the annual expo – which runs over two days – gives drivers and families the chance to learn more about the growing range of models available in Australia as well as demystify topics such as charging, range and conversions.

As Australia’s traditional fossil-fuelled car market continues an 18 month downturn, electric vehicles have been, pardon the pun, sparking conversation – partly due to the attraction of EVs themselves and also thanks to a ridiculous scare campaign from the Coalition government in the lead up to May’s election.

Countering that, the EV Expo bring the opportunity for Sydney-siders to discover just how mainstream electric vehicles are becoming.

Electric vehicle models such as the new Nissan Leaf, which returned to Australian shores after a 7 year hiatus, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Ioniq, privately owned Tesla Model S sedans , and Model X SUVs, and the recently arrived Tesla Model 3, were just some of the vehicles on show for visitors to check out.

Visitors lined up in droves for a the chance to drive in all the above models, as well a Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV.

A notable addition to the lineup from carmakers at this year’s expo is the soon-to-be launched new Ioniq from South Korean carmaker Hyundai, with a 38.3kWh battery up from the previous 28kWh adding 80km or so range to 311km (WLTP).

As well as vehicles from established carmakers (Tesla, the relative newbie of the lot, definitely qualifies as this after another profitable quarter as we reported on Thursday), there was also newcomer EV Automotive.

EV Automotive plans to introduce a Chinese made Electric SUV called Glory E3 that Bryce Gaton reported on earlier this month, as well as a fully electric van – more on these soon.

For those wanting to learn about other aspects of EV ownership, such as how and when to charge or how to work out what vehicle has the best range for you,  number of speakers shared information throughout the day.

Speakers from AEVA, EV charging networks Chargefox and Evie Networks, the NRMA,  Susan and the Tesla Owners Club of Australia are just some of those on hand to speak.

In addition to passenger vehicles, there were a range of Australian-made micromobility options including Brisbane-based e-Motion’s last mile moped.

Michelle Nazzari of Sydney-based Fonzarelli was also on hand to offer people test rides on a whole range of electric motorbikes, including the NKD road bike (I had a quick ride on this treat of a bike and I must say, it did not disappoint!), and Fonzarelli’s latest addition, the street-savvy Arthur moped-style electric scooter.

Conversion enthusiasts also lined up their various and wondrous creations, from an all-Electric vintage MG, to a mullet-like (business at the front and party at the back – or is it the other way around?) ute slash sedan.

The AEVA, which was established in 1973 and is one of the oldest associations of its kind in the world, grew out of the electric vehicle conversion community, and it must be noted there are also numerous examples of traditional and very practical road-legal vehicles converted by this active community.

Whimsical conversions aside, the EV Expo is possibly the easiest way to check out a wide range of EVs available in Australia in one place, at one time.

The 2019 EV Expo runs again on Sunday with doors opening at 9:45am at Hall 6, Sydney Olympic Park.

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