Foxes in the wild | Blake Ashley

Blake Ashley
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Blake Ashley recently joined the Chargefox team

Blake Ashley recently joined the Chargefox team as a Product Manager. He recently got behind the wheel of an EV provided by our friends at SIXT to drive from Melbourne to Sydney for Everything Electric.

As someone who is new to the whole EV thing, I used the trip up to Electrify Everything as an opportunity to take my first EV road trip, experiencing firsthand some of the challenges and experiences of our customers.

Embarking on a journey from Melbourne to Sydney and back, I ventured into the realm of electric vehicle (EV) road trips, delving into the experiences and challenges faced by our customers firsthand.

The Journey Begins

Setting off from Sixt in Preston, my family and I eagerly commenced our adventure. Armed with the knowledge that the Euroa stop would be our first charging point, we navigated our route with a blend of excitement and caution.

Day 1 - Euroa

After plugging in at Euroa using the touchscreen-enabled charger, I was actually able to start the charging process in a couple of simple steps using the Chargefox card provided by SIXT. Super convenient! We were able to charge at 50 kW and were fully charged before we finished having lunch. With renewed confidence, we resumed our journey.

Day 1 - RACV Barnawartha

Once we finished at Euroa, I set a course for Barnawartha as I wanted to test out the 350 kW ultra-rapid chargers. After another hour and a bit on the road, we got to Barnawartha. The charge station here is situated off to the side of the Service Station, in a purpose-built area, which almost completely removes any chances of being ICEd. Another 45 minutes later and I was on my way to my next stop… Gundagai.

Day 1 - Gundagai

No trip along this route is complete without a stop at the iconic Dog on the Tuckerbox in Gundagai. The new, user-friendly chargers were really straightforward to use, with clear instructions to guide the RFID process. After ducking into a local eatery to have dinner, the charge session was completed. From there we drove to our accommodation in the small town of Murrumbateman, just outside of Yass on the way to Canberra.

Blake getting some work done while charging.

Day 2 - Goulburn

Due to no destination charging at our overnight accommodation, we decided to top up at Goulburn, rather than push through to Parramatta, which the car said was going to be cutting it close. The Goulburn chargers are located at a smallish service station on the east side of town, on the left side of the station, which made them a bit hard to see from the road. Thankfully the map was able to guide us to the pinpoint location. Another driver was already using the 350 kW charger I was hoping to test out so we used the 125 kW charger which gave us time for a short break before we were fully charged. Arriving at our destination, we capitalized on the seamless destination charging available at the Holiday Inn Parramatta. (Having charging available at accommodation locations is so convenient!).

Homeward Bound

After a great journey from Melbourne and a fantastic time in Sydney, including at the Everything Electric show, we were full of confidence and determined to complete the return leg from Sydney to Melbourne journey in a single day. We embarked on the return trip, pushing the limits of EV travel!

The chargers at The Mint in Canberra

Stop 1 - Royal Australian Mint, Canberra

We arrived at The Mint charging station, which is located toward the rear of the facility and beautifully presented with Engie branding. The Chargefox app experience was completely seamless and got me up and charging in a matter of seconds after plugging the car in. Unfortunately, the Mint was closed for renovations but luckily a local cricket match was happening at the park opposite and they had their toilets open; the kids were grateful.

Stop 2 - Yass NRMA

A brief stop in Yass provided free charging, showcasing the evolving landscape of EV infrastructure and its accessibility. There were heaps of things to go exploring within a few minutes' walk of the station, even if most were shut on a Sunday. With a full charge, we were able to plot a course for the other side of the border and decided on Barnawartha as our next stop.

Stop 3 - Barnawartha… again

Returning to Barnawartha we commenced charging. While waiting, we took the opportunity to indulge in some tasty fried food. After about 15 minutes, I checked the app and realized that the charging had ceased after only 4 minutes, which was frustrating. I returned to the charger, realized the cable had come loose and reactivated the session. Upon returning to finish the meal (which was slightly cooler than desired due to the delay), I monitored the app closely to ensure uninterrupted charging. Fortunately, there were no further issues, and shortly after, the car was fully charged and ready to go.

Stop 4 - Euroa… again

Arriving in Euroa, the kids were asleep in the back. Upon jumping out and going for the handle of the charger, I walked into a massive spider’s web, so lost my sh*t and danced around for a minute like an idiot. With the spider looking down menacingly, I decided not to mess with it any further and got back in the car and moved across another bay.

Destination - Melbourne

After a couple of power naps, we finally arrived back in Melbourne. On reflection, trying to fit in a lunch detour through Canberra was a bloody stupid idea if I wanted to make the run down in a day but on the whole, completing the Sydney to Melbourne run in a day is very feasible so if you hear any EV naysayers or telling you otherwise, they’re very much wrong and you can send them my way.

Here are five tips for first-time EV drivers embarking on a big road trip with the family:

  1. Plan Your Charging Stops Carefully: Research and plan your charging stops along the route in advance, considering factors like charger availability, charging speeds, and nearby amenities. Knowing where you can recharge will help alleviate range anxiety and ensure a smoother journey.
  2. Utilise Convenient Charging Services: Take advantage of user-friendly charging services like those offered by Chargefox and SIXT, which provide easy access to chargers and streamlined payment processes. Familiarise yourself with the charging protocols and tools provided to make the charging process hassle-free.
  3. Stay Flexible and Prepared: Be prepared for unexpected situations like charger malfunctions or closures. Have backup charging options and contingency plans in case your original charging station is unavailable. Flexibility is key to managing any challenges that may arise during your trip.
  4. Maximise Efficiency During Charging Stops: Make the most of your charging stops by combining them with other activities like grabbing a meal or exploring nearby attractions. This not only optimises your time but also adds enjoyment to your journey, especially for your family members.
  5. Learn from Each Experience: Reflect on each charging stop and overall trip experience to learn and improve for future road trips. Note any issues encountered, such as charger malfunctions or route inefficiencies, and adjust your plans accordingly for smoother travels next time.

By following these tips, first-time EV drivers can navigate their road trip with confidence, ensuring a positive experience for themselves and their family.

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