The following is a discussion with Aussie electric vehicle (EV) owner Margaret, who has a Hyundai Kona Electric 2019 (64kwh battery).
EDITOR: I’m going to publish a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their purchase, driving, servicing, charging etc experience.
This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision.
Was your electric car bought or leased?
Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?
I was lucky that I had only a short wait for it (2 months) but I had a great deal of trouble making the Central Coast dealer accept the fact that I wanted a fully electric car. I was told that it wouldn’t be suitable for me and that I should buy a hybrid.
What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?
Very good service department but I do worry about whether the mechanics know enough about servicing EVs.
EDITOR: This seems to be a common issue across EV brands from what EV owners tell me. Understandably Australian car mechanics are familiar with petrol and diesel vehicles and have little experience with electric cars. There needs to be a lot more training by EV car makers to make up for this and an emphasis on the importance of dealerships applying all the software updates during a scheduled service.
How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?
Plug in to standard PowerPoint at home (when there’s spare solar power).
What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?
No problems whatsoever.
How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?
I have used the NRMA and Chargefox only. Found the first time difficult but now find it easy enough.
What’s the farthest road trip you’ve done in your EV and what did you learn from this experience that would be useful for others to know?
Central Coast (Erina) to Bacchus Marsh in Victoria that is about 2,200kms round trip.
I did this trip when I had owned the car for just 3 weeks. I did not understand about how the range fluctuates.
I left Erina and spent the first night at Nowra with a friend, where I plugged it into her power point overnight.
I then planned to recharge at Jugiong (picked from my Plugshare trip plan) thinking that I had plenty of range but I went via the Kangaroo Valley escarpment and had the air conditioner on.
I stopped for lunch in Goulburn where there wasn’t, at that time, a charger suitable for a Kona. It was only as I travelled to Jugiong that I noticed the range was reducing at such a rate that I might not make it to Jugiong.
I turned off everything that might consume power and reduced my speed to 80 kms and was embarrassed to have trucks passing me.
I limped into Jugiong with 45 kms left. I didn’t do that again!
When I crossed into Victoria I used the charger at Euroa which was more complicated than the easy NRMA charger at Jugiong.
Luckily two young men arrived in a Kona and showed me that I had to enter my VIN and then how to use the Chargefox system.
Now there are far more chargers available and I am more experienced with using them. I have taken my Kona camping a few times and at one camp ground was able to plug it into the power point in the communal laundry.
Does your EV have any special features like V2L reverse charging from the car to your portable/home appliances? If yes please share your experience using this special feature
No features like this
If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?
Haven’t had to use it.
If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?
Mine was one of the Hyundai Electrics that had the possible faulty battery and it was replaced under warranty after I had driven it for 2 years. No problems experienced.
What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- It has a good range (450kms)
- It is simple to drive
- It was easily bought (after the initial problem of getting the salesman to take me seriously – 77 year old woman driver may have had something to do with it!)
What are the weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- The satnav system is absolutely terrible
- Things I would like but may not be available in this price range:
- more information about consumption and prediction of SOC for destination
- power closing of boot door
- actual distance from hazards when parking/reversing)
Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?
Absolutely I would buy it again and I recommend it to everyone I talk to about it.
I find the SUV style good for an oldie to get in and out of.
It isn’t as technologically advanced as the Tesla my husband has but I would guess that older people who might not be so comfortable with technology would find it easier to drive.
I imagine that the latest iterations of Kona Electric and the new Ioniq may have more of the technological bells and whistles. I am okay with the Tesla electronics.
Do you have any other comments about your electric car brand, experience etc?
I met my husband through owning my electric car when he bought a Tesla and I introduced myself to him and asked for a demonstration to see how it differed to the Kona.
We now do presentations about our EV driving experiences to local service clubs and the University of the Third Age on the Central Coast.
We both love our EVs and have not regretted for one second our purchases. We are dismayed by the vitriol of the comments posted online with all news articles about Electric Vehicles.
If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.