No less than three West Australian politicians turned up in Tesla electric cars on Sunday along with 75 other EV owners to attend a send-off for three EV chargers powered by old chip oil to be installed at a remote roadhouse in Western Australia.
“78 EVs ruined their weekend today at Garling Street, O’Connor in order to farewell the BiOFil DC chargers on their way to the Nullarbor,” said David Lloyd, a member of the Western Australia Tesla community in a post.
“Three politicians (EVs) were charged in unison by one of the BiOfils, uniting Nationals, Labor and Greens in a common cause.”
The politicians in question included WA Greens’ Brad Pettitt, shadow Labor federal minister Patrick Gorman, and Nationals’ Colin De Grussa.
Known as the Biofil and invented by retired engineer Jon Edwards, the waste oil EV chargers will fill a gaping hole in charging networks between Western Australia and South Australia.
Although the Western Australia government has committed to build what is thought to be the longest intrastate charging network in the world, it has neglected to include sites for an important 700km between Norsemen and the South Australia border.
After garnering support from a roadhouse owner to install the chargers in locations to fill the gap, the Tesla WA community invited four politicians to attend the send-off for the chargers as they commenced their trip to the roadhouses, in part funded by a cheekily flavoured “Musk Vodka” fundraising initiative by the Tesla Owners Club of Australia.
(Musk Sticks by the way, which uses the same flavouring as the Musk Vodka, are a lolly unique to Australia and New Zealand.)
A large chunk of the funding, however, has come via Chuffed, in a crowdfunding campaign that has to date collected $60,000 in pledges out of a $150,000 goal.
According to Lloyd, of the 75 other EVs that attended the send-off, 58 were Teslas (and 50 of those were Model 3s), seven were Hyundai Konas, while there were two each of Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf, MG ZS EVs. One BMW i3, Mini Cooper SE, Renault Zoe and even an electric Ford Focus also attended.
According to TOCA president Mark Tipping, at least 350 bottles of Musk Vodka have sold to date, and several thousand are expected to be shipped to China under a distribution deal with Mountain Vodka which has produced the crowdfunding item.
Two of the Biofil chargers will be temporarily installed at the town of Southern Cross as well as BP Norseman in preparation for an official opening, with the third destined for the town of Caiguna, says Edwards.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.