Melbourne to Mount Gambier return – Ioniq 5 electric car road trip diary

This electric car road trip overview discusses the Melbourne to Mount Gambier return part of my 3607km Easter 2024 holiday drive from Melbourne (Victoria) to Yorke Peninsula (South Australia) and back again in a media loan Hyundai Ioniq 5 EPIQ AWD 2023 I had for 3 weeks.

Aside: read an overview of the whole 3607km EV journey incl my thoughts on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 as a roadtrip car, my views of electric car range – how much is enough, choosing chargers – where should you stop, why you should charge while sleeping, which chargers to skip and using ABRP with an OBD reader.

Disclosure: The car was loaned by Hyundai Australia for me to do an independent media electric vehicle (EV) review. I agreed to meet all the associated running costs e.g. tolls, charging etc.

Let’s move on and read about electric car driving, charging up and experiencing the landscape of Western Victoria.

Option 1 – Fastest route, fewest stops

This was my approach at the end of our holiday journey as we wanted to get to our destination with just a few stops to charge up, eat and use toilet facilities.

Started with 100%⚡charge at Pine Country Caravan Park Mount Gambier thanks to the onsite 7kW RAA chargers the evening before. In town there is a newly installed RAA Fast charging hub (7x CCS 400kW shared, 1x CHAdeMO, 1x 7kW type 2) and a Tesla supercharger hub at OTR East (6x CCS 250kW).

If you’re in a big rush without a need for multiple breaks to eat / use toilet facilities and if your electric car satisfies all 3 of these:

  1. has at least 450km WLTP range
  2. starts at Mount Gambier with 100% battery
  3. can charge at your Melbourne destination cheaply

Then you could get away with just 1 stop at Tesla Warrnambool where you charge to 80% and then drive on straight to your Melbourne destination arriving at about 30% battery left (using our 450km WLTP range Ioniq 5 AWD battery as an example).

This is what we did…

First stop: 73% battery after 103km @ 21.3kWh/100km in heavy rain at times. Arrived Evie Portland 50kW to use council toilet block next to the charger. There’s an ALDI next door which is handy to buy food.

Evie CCS port was busy and CHAdeMO port was useless to us. If this charger is broken there is another Evie 50kW one 72km East at Port Fairy.

Second Stop: 45% battery after 102km averaging 20.7kWh/100km so far today. Arrived Tesla Warrnambool (3x250kW). While charging used toilets at Gateway shopping centre across the road.

Tesla hadn’t bothered to install longer cables when they opened access at Warrnambool to other electric car brands, so with a Kia Niro EV and our Ioniq 5 charging the 3rd charging bay was unusable.

Cost: 45-80% $23.10 for 33.258kWh (with 15c/kWh discount totalling $4.99 because I had paid for a 1 month $9.99 Tesla supercharger subscription).

Note: our charging rate at all Tesla fast chargers was limited to 97kW max because of a Hyundai/Kia E-GMP car design flaw.

Third stop: 56% battery after 110km @ 19.6kWh/100km from Warrnambool. Arrived Tesla Colac Plaza (3x250kW). While charging used toilets at the shopping centre and had a snack.

Anyone who can charge at home could have skipped charging at Colac.

Tesla hadn’t bothered to install longer cables when they opened access to other electric car brands, so again with a Tesla and our Ioniq 5 charging the 3rd charging bay was unusable.

Cost: 56-80% $15.40 for 22.376kWh (with 15c/kWh discount totalling $3.36 because I had paid for a 1 month $9.99 Tesla supercharger subscription).

Fourth stop: 54% battery upon arrival at Melbourne family destination in the Werribee area. They don’t have a home charging option so we left a big battery buffer before returning the car to Hyundai 2 days later.

Option 2 – Scenic route if you’re not rushed

Picked up car: Picked up 96% full battery Hyundai Ioniq 5 EPIQ AWD after a flight to Melbourne at lunch time and an Uber to the Hyundai media loan car pickup spot.

The Ioniq 5 has so much boot space it is super practical. There’s also a frunk under the bonnet. Hyundai kindly lent us a Type 2 cable so we could charge using 7kW public chargers which are very common in South Australia.

First stop: Quick shop at Williams Landing supermarkets to get food.

Then drove on to Waurn Ponds Chargefox. Filed up car with cheaper electricity ⚡than average for a public charger at 50kW. There are toilets at the Library if it’s open.

Cost: Filled from 76-93%. 15.99kWh @ $0.45/kWh = $7.20.

Second stop: Drove 180km to ⚡Tesla Warrnambool @ 21.1kWh/100km because OMG it was so windy.

Note: our charging rate at all Tesla fast chargers was limited to 97kW max because of a Hyundai/Kia E-GMP car design flaw.

Cost: 32kWh @ $0.70/kWh = $22.40. Less expensive because I paid for 1 month $9.99 Tesla charging membership.

Third stop: Drove on to Port Fairy Holiday Park to stay overnight. There wasn’t any charging option at the accommodation so I drove in the early morning to Port Fairy Evie charger. It was 13C (6C with wind chill). The charger is opposite the town Info Centre where there iss grass for kids to run around. Started 37kW rate then hit 50kW after 6min.

Yes you can start/stop a charge with any compatible RFID mifare card as long as it’s registered in charger app. Details here

Cost: 13.58kWh @ $0.58/kWh = $7.88

Fourth stop: Drove 72km to Evie Portland 50kW. Charged up 97% while ALDI shopping next door. That saved charging time later in the day and was good preparation because I could see that driving into strong headwinds burns electricity much faster.

Cost: Checked in on Plugshare and no one was waiting so filled to 22.56kWh @ $0.58/kWh = $13.08.

There were many great places we stopped at while driving between Port Fairy and Mount Gambier, including Portland Lighthouse and the Petrified Forest.

We also saw a wild koala and stopped to see lots of great wind farms generating 🌬️renewable energy including a close up look at Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm and wide view of Codrington Wind Farm.

Fifth stop: Topped up car at Tesla Mount Gambier. RAA Mount Gambier DC fast chargers opened a few days after we passed through.

Cost: was less with our Tesla charger subscription ⚡ 10kWh @ $0.70/kWh = $7.00.


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