This electric car road trip charging diary is part of my Christmas 2023 🎄 🎅🏼⚡ holiday drive from Sydney to Melbourne on the Hume Highway, then back to Sydney via the more scenic less travelled route of Moe, Orbost, Cann River, Eden, Cooma and Tidbinbilla.
Part 2: Melbourne to Orbost via Dandenong, Warragul, Moe, Sale, Bairnsdale.
I was driving a 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line media review electric car that I had on loan for 3 weeks.
Disclosure: The car was loaned by Kia 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.
Range: 504km WLTP claimed.
Charging rate: Up to 240kW at a 250kW+ 800V compatible charger.
Passengers: 2 adults in the front seats.
Cargo: boot full to cargo cover, back seat passenger feet area full of bags
Aircon: not on for this section of the trip, just fan on low speed.
Driving Mode: When on highways maximum i-Pedal regenerative braking was used and the car was in ECO mode throughout.
Speed: Apart from driving manually at lower speeds in towns and on windy roads most of the journey was in automatic cruise control mode at exactly the speed limit on the car speedo or real GPS speed limit shown on Waze (about 2km more than Speedo).
Charger Planning and ODB Apps
To help me plan the charging route, expected electricity usage each day and see live as well as logged car statistics I used two apps that accessed car data from a OBDLINK CX plugged into the EV6 ODB port:
- paid Car Scanner Pro app
- A Better Route Planner (ABRP) app Premium Membership using 30 day free trial via referral code TESLABJORN
For those who don’t have time to read to the end and see all the photos my key points about electric car holiday road trips are that :
Based on my extensive experience test driving many thousands of km in EV’s with a range from 300km to over 600km.
Due to the current unreliable nature of charging networks in Australia (besides Tesla and Evie which are usually good), I do not recommend buying an electric car with less than 450-500km WLTP range for long road trips, especially along driving routes like Melbourne to Orbost with few chargers in Eastern Victoria.
Cars with less than 450km WLTP range are much more likely to result in charger reliability anxiety during journeys.
It is far more enjoyable to do an EV road trip with a car that has around 500km range because you can choose which chargers to stop at based on what suits your family not because you desperately have to stop as the car battery is running low.
The total “fuel” / recharging cost for a trip is much cheaper if you can start from home with a full battery charged up by your own solar panels, rather than having to charge at a public DC charger
Being able to use a 7 or 11kW destination charger at your destination family home, motor inn, hotel, holiday home etc is very convenient and time saving because it lets you drive away the next day with 100% battery charged while you slept. You can’t do that in a petrol/diesel car!
Some accommodation providers will let you plug your car into a standard power point overnight but be aware this won’t be enough to refill your whole battery. Expect a topup of 30-50% depending on your EV battery size.
The motoring associations like RACV and NRMA who own the initial 22 Chargefox sites installed several years ago need to do an audit of how reliable (or not) some of these locations are eg: RACV Moe where both 50kW units are often faulty and whether drastic action has to be taken eg: rip out the 1st generation Tritium chargers and replace them.
As it stands the EV owning public has no confidence in many of these initial 22 Chargefox site charger locations, which are often running at less than capacity with some of their charging stations out of order regularly.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #1
Left Tarneit with 57% battery.
Arrived with 44% battery at Evie Ampol Foodary Dandenong Stud Road 350kW chargers, travelled in easy cruise control with no aircon as it was 22C outside.
Travelled 58km at 14.3kWh/100km including a very slow section due to Westgate bridge roadworks.
Evie Ampol Foodary Dandenong Stud Road looks like a popular charging location. A Tesla was already there connected to the second charger while a Polestar 2 and orange MG4 x-power turned up shortly afterwards.
Paid Evie:$22.75 for 35.005kWh at 60c/kWh. Charged to 85%.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #2
Arrived at Evie Warragul 50kW at 71% battery, just to have a look. Didn’t need a charge but did need snacks 🙂
Travelled 78km at 16.8kWh/100km.
Turn right when entering the Homemaker centre car park and you will see the single 50kW charger. No one was using it while I was there.
There are toilets at Bunnings. Shops incl Repco and Kmart.
Melbourne to Sydney🎄EV log #3
Stopped for BYO lunch and charge at Chargefox RACV Moe, arrived at 66% battery, there were 2 X 350kW working, 2x 50kW broken.
This is the 1st 350kW Chargefox site working out of the 4 we’ve passed so far (Goulburn, Gundagai, Euroa, Moe).
Travelled 28km at 15.0kWh/100km.
Speeds fluctuated starting at 175kW rate and curved down steadily, At 81% slowed to 2kW, then after a few min sped up to 133kW (this is well known EV6 BMS behaviour), falling to 49kW rate at 90% full.
No one was charging while I was there till the end when a BMW turned up.
Toilet block next to chargers open during daylight hours AFAIK. No seating nearby except on grass. Good place to walk dogs. Food onsite only if Old Gippsland Tea rooms open. Maccas short walk nearby.
Note Tesla Moe nearby is open to all CCS 2 cars but more expensive per kWh than Chargefox.
Paid Chargefox: $10.30 for 21.47kWh @ $0.60/kWh (minus 20% NRMA discount).
Charged to 90% as I was eating, no one else was charging and I wanted to maximise Chargefox discounted kWh.
Melbourne to Sydney🎄EV log #4
Stopped at Evie CTR Sale which is an unusual 75kW unit Charger located at Library/Art Gallery, arrived at 77% battery.
Travelled 80km at 14.9kWh/100km.
Note this 75kW charger is faster than most regional Vic Evie 50kW units. There is a 90min EV charging car park limit.
Currently only 1 car can charge here at a time but hopefully a software update in the future will enable both sides (CCS and CHAdeMO) to be used at once.
There’s a toilet block across the road as well as a nice river walk opportunity.
Between Chargefox Moe and Evie Sale the big regional city of Traralgon has a Evie 50kW charger and many different shops.
Paid Evie: $6.19 for 15.48kWh at 40c/kWh. Charged to 94% due to cheaper rate/kWh.
The Tesla driver waiting chatted with me since he wasn’t in a hurry. Apparently his employer might install some public EV chargers nearby in 2024.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #5
Stopped at Evie DCAV Bairnsdale 50kW which is next to Masonic Hall, arrived at 77% battery.
Travelled 69km at 17.1kWh/100km.
Was originally going to try Chargefox Bairnsdale 50kW but I saw on Plugshare that it had Faulted status that afternoon.
Toilet block 100m away had a broken auto door so we walked to a much nicer toilet block in between the road lanes at 159 Main St.
Paid Evie: $4.28 for 8.55kWh at 50c/kWh.
Went from 77% to 90% as overnight destination accommodation only has a standard power socket not 7/11kW charger.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #6
Travelled 89km at 17.6kWh/100km.
Charged from 72-100% at overnight accommodation Orbost Motel which allows use of standard outdoor power socket for $20 flat fee.
Would’ve cost us about the same at Tesla Cann River on the way north or $10 at the single Orbost Chargefox unit.
However this way I didn’t need to stop at Cann River to charge next day and didn’t need to leave the motel to charge during dinner/breakfast time, so I was happy to pay $20 to save time and leave with 100% ⚡ charge in the morning.
Added roughly 24kWh incl charging losses. Slow AC charging has more losses than a DC fast charger because it needs to be converted to DC for use by the car.
If this motel was in an area with lots of cheaper DC fast chargers I would’ve used them.
However Western Victoria has hardly any chargers and I didn’t trust the single Tritium units at Chargefox Orbost and Cann River to be working and without queues.
Total cost of travelling 403km and charging roughly 104.5kW between Tarneit and Orbost was $63.52
Note I left Tarneit with 57% battery from previously paid for public charging in part 1 Sydney to Melbourne.
My Tarneit to Orbost road trip charging cost would have been about $34 if…
- My family beginning point in Melbourne had a home charger (they don’t) so I could start the trip at 100% and if this hypothetical home charger was solar powered. Since they don’t I started with 57% battery and had to charge at Evie Ampol Foodary Dandenong Stud Road as an extra stop.
- The Chargefox unit at Orbost wasn’t a single Tritium unit. Tritium is known to be unreliable and relying on a single EV charger in a remote place is risky. I could have saved $10 and charged at Chargefox Orbost there instead of at the motel but having a 100% working power socket at the motel was a safer bet.
If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to share your road trip experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.