The electric car revolution in Australia has been steadily gaining momentum. We’ve been closely monitoring the rise of electric cars in Australia as the numbers exceed 150,000 on our roads. The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has been slower compared to other developed countries, but the tide is definitely turning. A combination of increasing environmental awareness, charging infrastructure, Government incentives, and technological advancements are driving this change.
The growing popularity of EVs is not surprising. They offer numerous benefits, from lower running costs to a significantly reduced carbon footprint. The EV market in Australia is expanding, with more manufacturers launching new models. It’s an exciting time to be part of the EV community in Australia.
Australia is a big country – with many spectacular driving routes. But any long drive requires careful planning and preparation. With the right approach, an EV has just as much grand touring (GT) potential as an ICE vehicle.
Australia’s diverse and stunning landscapes make it an ideal destination for road trips. And there’s no better way to explore this beautiful country than in an EV.
Driving an electric car also allows you to access a growing network of charging stations across Australia. This infrastructure is rapidly developing, and new charging stations are being installed regularly. It’s a sign of the changing times and the shift towards a more sustainable future.
When planning an EV road trip in Australia, several key factors need to be considered. The first is the range of your EV. Now reduce that number by 100km. If you’re leaving any of the major coastal cities, there’s going to be a mountain range to climb.
Here are some other tips to get the most from your EV on a road trip:
Lastly, always have a backup plan. In case of unexpected detours, lousy weather, or charging station issues, it’s good to have alternative options.
Cruise Control is the enemy of the EV. Avoid it!
You are better off using the Speed Limiter function where you drive normally, and the car won’t let you exceed the set speed.
Using the car’s regenerative braking system effectively is the best way to maximise your EV’s range. Regenerative braking allows the car to recover energy during deceleration and use it to charge the battery. By mastering this technique, you can significantly increase your EV’s range.
Keeping your EV’s battery in good condition is also crucial. Regular maintenance, proper charging practices, and avoiding extreme temperatures can help prolong your battery’s life and improve its performance.
Most cars that have Active Cruise Control have the Speed Limiter function. In most cases you just long-press (2 seconds) the Cruise Control button to turn it on. Then you just set your preferred speed in the same way you set the Cruise Control.
We had to drive from Sydney to Tamworth and then on to Walcha and back to Sydney via Gloucester and Newcastle. A big drive in anyone’s book. Could we do it in an EV?
After collecting the IONIQ 6 from Hyundai, we left Sydney mid-morning and hit the M1 heading north. Very early on in the trip, the IONIQ6 settles into its stride thanks to its eye-catching slippery aerodynamics. There’s quite a bit of traffic, but it’s moving well, and we maintain a good average speed while minimising battery discharge.
My co-pilot has brought along a Veepeak Bluetooth OBD-II dongle, which, when connected to the IONIQ 6 works directly with the ABRP app, providing real-time information about the car’s performance. We’ve told ABRP that we want to arrive in Tamworth with 50% charge.
The app tells us that the Tesla Supercharger at Hollydene Estate Wines is available, and we must stop for 30 minutes. We arrive with 25% charge and enjoy lunch whilst the IONIQ 6 recharges to 90%.
Back on the road, we cut across to the New England Highway on some great roads that let us sample the IONIQ 6 safely at high speed. Entering Muswellbrook we pause to photograph the IONIQ 6 with some other “green vehicles”.
The Highway runs north past Scone and we arrive at Goonoo Goonoo Station just as the sun is setting – excellent for some photos of this epic EV. The state of charge (SOC) is 49% – which is just about perfect.
After dark, we head into Tamworth for dinner to see if we can top up the Hyundai IONIQ 6 while eating. Luckily, there’s an NRMA 50kW DC charger near where we want to go. It’s a quiet Thursday night in the Country Music capital, and we leave with 85% SOC.
Not a long drive, but a very steep drive. The Moonbi Range is steep, and we glide past several B-Double trucks heading north towards Brisbane as the late afternoon sun flickers through the trees. The IONIQ 6 is doing it easily, but the SOC is taking a battering. The NRMA charger is still being installed in Walcha, so there will be no recharging there as we grab some supplies for the weekend. Our destination is 30km south of town and we arrive dusty, with 40% charge. The air-tightness of the IONIQ 6 is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Barely any dust makes it into the cabin. On the exterior of the car, the dust gathers around the back as expected, but very little gathers on the vertical and horizontal surfaces.
The IONIQ 6 comes with a 240V wall-socket charger that takes overnight to recharge. Luckily, our friends at EVSE have also provided us with their KWIK Portable Type 2 Charger | w/ Adaptable Tails. This is a must if you’re going anywhere near a farm with 32 Amp 3-phase power.
Some gentle persuasion (with grease) gets one of the KWIK tails into the 32 Amp socket – but no joy. We try another. Still nothing. Not all electrical wiring complies with EVs, and we use the EVSE system with a 15A ‘boosted’ version of a regular GPO single-phase socket. 15 hours later, the IONIQ 6 is brimmed at 100%.
Here’s another learning with an EV. Cattle can’t hear it coming, so they don’t get out of the way as quickly. Now you know.
My favourite leg of the trip with the IONIQ 6 on one of my favourite roads. Thunderbolts Way is legendary with bikers (and Highway Patrol cars), but it’s something else again in this astonishing EV. I’ve travelled this road many times in twin-turbo V10 diesel mile-munchers, but they are nothing compared to this car’s two motors and 77.4 kWh battery punching out 239kW of power. The road-handling of the 20-inch Pirelli P-Zero tyres and ample 605Nm of torque are just amazing. Overtaking is done in the blink of an eye.
What’s even more impressive is that we arrive in Gloucester after descending over 1,200m of elevation we have harvested 8% battery charge, being smart with the three-stage regeneration in the IONIQ 6. We jettison some of that charge, leading a team of bikers into town who can’t quite believe what they’re following.
We’re not going to make it back to Sydney without a quick top-up, so A Better Route Planner guides us to the Ampol just off the M1 at Cameron Park where there is a 350kW EVIE Networks charger. After a quick chat with a couple in a Polestar 2, we grab 33.5 kWh in 21 mins and leave with 80% SOC. Easily enough to get us home.
We cruise down the M1 into Sydney. The Matrix beam LED headlights on the IONIQ 6 adapt perfectly to the road conditions and oncoming traffic casting what appears to be a permanent high beam of light down the road.
The past three days in the Hyundai IONIQ 6 have been so enjoyable. No real stress – even on the unsealed roads where I wasn’t sure how this world-leading EV would respond.
By the time we return the IONIQ 6 to our friends at Hyundai, we’ve covered over 1,300km at an average of 19.5 kWh/100km, which is very impressive.
The future of EV road trips in Australia looks promising, but there is much to do. With the continued development of EV infrastructure and the increasing range of electric cars, long-distance travel in an EV will naturally become easier and more accessible.
The rise of electric cars in Australia is not just a trend; it’s a shift towards cleaner, greener, and more sustainable motoring. As more people embrace the EV lifestyle, road trips in electric cars will become the norm rather than the exception.
Embracing the EV lifestyle in Australia is more than just driving an electric car.
Driving Australia’s great roads in an electric car is an adventure. It requires careful planning, efficient driving, and a spirit of exploration. But with the right approach, you can maximise your EV’s potential and enjoy an unforgettable road trip.
Australia is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes and stunning natural beauty. Exploring its beauty in the Hyundai IONIQ 6 has been an experience like no other. So, plan your EV road trip, get behind the wheel, and embark on a journey of a lifetime.
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