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From Melbourne to Sydney and Back: An EV Odyssey of Reflection and Progress.

January 9, 2024

Embarking on an electric vehicle (EV) journey from Melbourne to Sydney and back unveiled the challenges and triumphs within Australia’s evolving EV landscape. While there is abundant data online to comprehend this journey, I prefer experiencing things firsthand.

This adventure provided insights into the current state of charging infrastructure and EV capabilities, raising questions about the industry’s readiness for the impending surge in EV adoption.

In Australia, EV sales have reached 8% of total car sales, a significant number set to rise swiftly. Today in Australia, we stand at a tipping point where long road trips in an EV are a consideration—a concept that people might have joked about or only dreamed of a few years ago. Embracing EVs for long trips signifies a monumental change in mindset and a promising trajectory for a sustainable transport industry.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone in the industry—from installers and charging network operators to policymakers—for making this journey possible. We have made progress, and more significant opportunities lie ahead for substantial change.

The Journey 

Covering 1,900 kilometres, I left Melbourne on a Tuesday morning, worked in Sydney on Wednesday, and returned to Melbourne on Thursday, driving my BYD Atto 3 ER with a 60 kWh battery. The primary motivation was to experience the challenges faced by individuals undertaking emergency, work-related, or holiday journeys between major cities in Australia.

Positive Discoveries:

Interacting with locals provided valuable perspectives on EVs, revealing both the pleasures and obstacles of long-distance EV driving. This experience served a meaningful purpose, offering insights into the readiness of charging infrastructure and EV technology. Perspectives for industry participants differed from individuals, emphasizing the importance of minimizing waiting times and optimizing operational efficiency.

Lessons Learned:

Key lessons emerged, highlighting the impact of battery temperature on charging sessions, additional charging times due to interruptions caused by temperature safeguards, and external factors like headwinds affecting the actual range. Charging times played a significant role, adding an extra 7 hours to the trip so choosing high-battery voltage EVs capable of charging above 150 kW is essential for industry participants, reducing charging time massively.

Charging station amenities were lacking, emphasizing the need for improved services, especially during waits of over 40 minutes.

Return Journey:

On the way back, meticulous planning to minimize waiting times was hindered by unexpected challenges, including a three-hour delay due to a wrong address in Wodonga. This highlighted the need for a realistic displayed range and accurate location on charging apps.

I was over-optimistic. lol!

Reflections on Infrastructure:

In addressing the impending influx of EVs, the current infrastructure must evolve. Priority should be given to 150 kW chargers with dual ports, more charging bays, and charging plugs per charger. Customer experience emerged as a critical aspect, with multiple apps and authentication methods contributing to a less-than-ideal environment.

Looking Forward:

As the EV landscape evolves, questions arise about the readiness of charging infrastructure for a surge in commercial EVs. The Tesla Supercharger model, with power-sharing capabilities and multiple charging bays sharing the same supercharger, serves as a potential solution or starting point for other networks.

Areas for Improvement:

Collaborating with local businesses for diverse food choices and comfortable waiting areas, streamlining the user interface of charging apps, implementing robust cybersecurity measures, and ensuring clear signage can contribute to a positive and sustainable future for electric mobility in Australia.

Through collective efforts and continuous innovation, we can propel the electric vehicle movement forward, making long-distance EV travel accessible and enjoyable for all.

Thanks for reading our article. If your organisation is on the path to electrify your fleet and wants more clarity about reporting your emission, drop us a line info@beyondev.com.au and our team will be happy help you to develop a customised solution for your needs.

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