A Gold Coast lady has completed a solo trip about Australia in an electric automobile, driving 17,000km in 80 days in her Tesla Model S.
The trip, which is believed to be the very first for a lady travelling solo, is an inspiring tale which also highlights the challenges electric automobiles have to overcome in the remote Australian outback.
Australia, which is notable not only for its vast distances, its harsh and at instances deadly climate, but also distinct lack of EV charging infrastructure away from the a lot more densely populated east coast, is a favourite option for electric automobile pioneers.
Regardless of, or probably simply because of, these immense challenges, the route – which invariably traverses the Nullarbor and the massive distances in the north – attracts the unlikeliest of drivers keen to tackle the ultimate EV challenge.
Equivalent trips have currently attracted considerable media consideration, like the quietly spoken Dutchman Wiebe Wakker, who took on a three-year mission to travel from the Netherlands to Australia without the need of working with a drop of fuel in a converted VW Golf, or 70-year-old Sylvia Wilson who completed the trip, with several passengers, for a miserly charging price of about $150.
Gold Coast lady Linda Röhrs, who completed her 80-day journey on Friday at Australia’s biggest solar-powered EV charging web-site – Macadamia Castle on the north coast of NSW – fits the bill of unlikely pioneers down to a tee.
“I am not an specialist in automobiles, let alone electric automobiles,” she openly admits.
But obtain an electric automobile she did, and a Tesla Model S at that, which she funded by promoting her dwelling on Chevron Island right after a test drive in a 100D had her hooked.
An initial four,000km round trip in 7 days, which was “sheer driving pleasure” according to Röhrs’ weblog, got her pondering and inside months the complete trip to circumnavigate the nation was planned.
Dubbing her black Model S with the seductive name “Carpe Noctem” (seize the evening), the avid musician packed – “in order of importance” she laughs – her massive brass band instruments, and several vital accoutrements for the potentially hazardous trip: toilet rolls, maps and information and facts, electronics, sleeping gear, satellite telephone, and by no implies the least crucial, a tyre plug kit (the Model S carries no spare tyre).
Stopovers on the route have been planned to accommodate the Model S’ 450km variety, with an typical of 400km among stops, permitting for additional power getting utilised by air conditioning, for instance.
With Tesla Superchargers (which would let the Model S to recharge from empty to complete in about two hours) clustered on the east coast from Brisbane to Adelaide), for some areas stays of two nights have been planned – simply because charging a 100kWh battery on a trickle charger is a slow-going small business.
Roadhouses are a typical cease to recharge for such trips, and thanks to perform by AEVA to make sure access to 3-phase energy, Australian EV drivers owners travelling the Australian outback usually note how welcoming owners are of EVs.
Röhrs reports the identical: “Every roadhouse I went to have been incredibly generous and incredibly accommodating,” she says.
Connecting to points at some areas can be a challenge even so, such as in Darwin exactly where Röhrs chose a hotel primarily based on the reality that it had a Tesla location charger.
It turned out that not only was the parking space for the charger “ICE’d” (parked in by an internal combustion automobile), but a lot more importantly, it didn’t perform.
At Katherine’s Beagle Motor Inn exactly where Röhrs was needed to leave the Model S outdoors the inn’s compound if she have been to have a complete charge once again by morning.
Some legs needed cautious navigation, such as the road from Katherine to Kununurra on which Röhrs had to slow down to conserve energy usage, arriving at her location with 61km variety to spare.
Variety is not the only challenge in an electric automobile – in some areas the primary challenge is sadly, nearby attitude.
In Broome, Röhrs was very first met with some considerable backlash from workers asked to let access to a charger (“Our town is dependent on oil and trucks”), and then access refused also by a Cable Beach Club duty manager.
Fortunately she subsequently located a a lot more hospitable welcome at the Broome Mens Shed and Broome Auto, who permitted her to park and charge.
The South Australian leg was also difficult, such as the drive from Fowlers Bay to Ceduna which left only 16km variety left upon arrival.
Travelling to and from Australia’s other intense – Tasmania – had other challenges, from a number of “security events” on the Spirit of Tasmania (presumably simply because of the rocking of the boat), to speedy dropping of charge when waiting to board the ferry in close to freezing temperatures.
Regardless of the several troubles overcome all through the journey (a lot more of which you can discover by means of Röhrs’ 80 Day Challenge web page on Facebook, the trip is without the need of doubt an inspiration.
It is also a further instance that when there is nevertheless considerable perform to be performed in establishing a genuinely national electric automobile charging network, the lengthy distance electric road trip is now effectively and genuinely embedded as a single of the good challenges to be undertaken by these with a pioneering spirit.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, and Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technologies, as effectively as working with her technical capabilities in managing our sites.