Foxes in the wild | Zach Whittaker – Business Development Specialist

The Chargefox team recently took ownership of a Tesla and we’re encouraging all the foxes who don’t yet own an EV to take it out for a spin, try out our charging stations, and meet our customers.

In July our Business Development Specialist Zach took to the road with his wife Bree and his discerning daughter Lily to try to convince them they should be an EV owning family

Day 1

After fitting a child seat, fiddling with the dashboard settings, and taking questions from our curious neighbours, we were away. We intended to take the Calder Freeway until our toddler Lily required a break or until we found something worth stopping for.

Our end destination would be Creswick, where we would visit the new DC station located at the Visitors Information Centre. If Creswick was unavailable, we had backup options on the Chargefox network located in Ballarat or Daylesford.

Things didn’t go to plan. About 10 minutes down the highway, our rather vocal toddler let us know loud and clear that a visit to the beautiful Northwest of Melbourne would need to wait for another day.

As we were now taking a more snack-sized road trip, we quickly decided to turn around and visit the stations at Airport West. t With six stations, we were highly likely to find an available charging port and were close to a range of amenities required to manage said irritable toddler.

When we arrived, the ultra-rapid stations were all occupied, but the 50kW stations would suit us just fine, with our battery showing just under 50%. In the spirit of gaining a real Chargefox experience, I asked first time EV driver Bree to take care of a charging without my help.

As Bree was charging I took Lily for a short walk. When I returned another Tesla driver was trying to charge for the first time . I immediately, without thinking, proclaimed that “I’m Zach, and I work for Chargefox”.

The good news is that we managed to get both Teslas charging. I understand that it’s frustrating when things don’t immediately work; most EV drivers are using public chargers for the very first time, after using petrol bowsers for a lifetime. Like with anything new, there’s a learning curve.

All went well for Bree after a couple of small hiccups. My top tip is that if you leave the charging site, check once or twice on the Chargefox app to ensure that your EV is still taking energy before returning.

As well as assisting a newer Tesla driver, I struck up a conversation with a new owner of a BYD Atto 3 and Polestar 2 owner. They were both friendly and proud to be part of the EV community. They both enjoyed telling me their stories and provided some great insights about what makes a memorable charging experience and what should be avoided.

Day 2

It was Sunday, and we were in a good mood as we were visiting friends for lunch at the Russo Estate. Again, in the spirit of gaining a real Chargefox experience, we left early to visit the closest DC station on the Chargefox network.

This was the 25kW Delta Wallbox located at Cobblebank Stadium, which is about 15-minutes’ drive from our lunch venue. We timed our drive for Lily to take a nap and for us to have enough time to charge for 30 minutes before leaving to make our lunch reservation.

Our first observation here was that stations can be hard to find when you are driving around looking for them. Airport West is a good example where driving bays are painted, and a range of signage makes it easier.

Once we found the station, my wife again initiated the session without my help. I took Lily inside the impressive and expansive stadium for a nappy change.

The weekend’s charging sessions weren’t flawless, but they were honest and showed us how we might navigate future events. We both agreed that we had much to learn and looked forward to our next road trip in August.

I left the weekend glad for these new insights and proud that Lily seemed to enjoy her first EV road trip!

Bree’s conclusions were:

  • Public charging can be quite fun as people are so curious, and you instantly feel like you are part of a community. People are friendly and helpful.
  • Driving an EV for the first time with a young family requires a little extra planning. I. While road-tripping is difficult with a child at the best of times, EV charging requires more care and backup planning.
  • Road-tripping with an EV gave us plenty to talk about. Life is said to begin when you leave your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what this weekend was.