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 3: Orbost to Eden then inland to Sydney via Cooma, Tidbinbilla and Goulburn.
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: on all trip 21.5C cooling , fan setting 3.
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 Cann River to Cooma via Eden.
Unless you go via Bega (where there is a single 50kW NRMA Tritium unit) there are no DC fast chargers along that journey of about 260km.
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 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: NRMA Gundagai which has a terrible reputation for being unreliable and whether drastic action has to be taken eg: rip out the 1st generation Tritium chargers and replace them.
In Feb 2024 RACV promised to do exactly that at their 7 Ultra Fast Tritium charger sites, replacing them with Kempower chargers by mid 2025.
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 #7
Visited Orbost Chargefox 50kW for a quick look (didn’t need charge) while family had breakfast.
It’s located in a council car park at the centre of town. Close to local shops and toilets.
This charger would have been perfect for EVs with trailers but for some reason the charging parking spots are poorly located behind 2 disabled car spots.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #8
Left Orbost 100% battery, accommodation charged overnight so didn’t need charge before Eden.
Travelled 77km at 19kWh/100km to Cann River where we stopped to see the chargers and buy some jam at markets.
At Cann River there is an Evie CTR 50kW charger and 3x Tesla 250kW open access chargers.
We didn’t buy any fruit because you’re often not allowed to transport fruit across state borders, whether driving or flying.
It’s a great charging location with Chargefox and Tesla next door to each other at a public park with lots of play equipment, toilets and cafes, bakery etc just around the corner.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #9
Travelled 109km at 18.4kWh/100km to Eden arriving with 56% charge, left Orbost 100%.
The road was sometimes quite winding with lots of curves, perfect for a RWD with lots of grip like the Kia EV6 GT-Line tuned for Aussie roads.
Eden has no DC fast chargers which needs to be fixed to encourage people to go on EV driving holidays to the South of NSW.
Three motels have installed AC chargers with NSW government grants.
I paid to charge to 100% overnight at our accommodation Eden Motel which has 2x 7kW AC chargers with built-in cables.
The Wallbox app wouldn’t work at the time I visited so the owner charged $30 pro rata X % charge I needed.
Motel guests are prioritised for use but others can use the chargers if reception is open to allow access eg: my friend Stan charged his Polestar 2 there during Summer 2023/24.
If you’re visiting Eden or travelling through it I strongly recommend visiting the Killer Whale (Orca) Museum.
Paid Motel: $13.50 for estimated 42.35kWh which is roughly 32c/kWh.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #10
Travelled 147km at 21.1kWh/100km and arrived at Cooma with 61% charge after leaving Eden at 100%.
The battery consumption rate varied a lot up to 43kWh/100km in the winding hilly 20km after Pemboka Lions Club rest area.
Charged 61-80% at Chargefox Snowy Hydro (2x350kW 1x50kW) located behind the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre which is free and well worth spending at least half an hour exploring the displays.
Talked with a local EV owner who said these chargers are quite reliable.
I’m guessing that’s because they’re not heavily used, this location has 1/3rd the number of Plugshare check-ins as a busy place like Chargefox Goulburn.
Paid Chargefox: $11.22 for 18.7kWh @ 60c/kWh – 20% NRMA discount = $8.98
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #11
Averaged 18.2kWh/100km over 113km arriving at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (a little known natural gem near Canberra) at 55% battery, dropped from 80% at Cooma.
Warning: there’s no mobile coverage inside the nature reserve or on the approach road even with a Telstra SIM and you need to drive quite slowly within the reserve so allow at least half a day to get around the loop rood and do some walks.
I used the built-in Kia maps to navigate out and to Queanbeyan as Waze needs mobile data to work.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #12
Hamilton’s Queanbeyan Motel had the best EV charging of all my 2000km+ roadtrip accommodation. They are my default accommodation choice for holiday visits to Canberra and nearby.
They have 4 x 11kW charging bays listed on Plugshare that can be booked with a room, co-funded by the owners and NSW Government grants. Each has a built-in cable and they are all accessible via the Exploren app.
In a smart move by the accommodation owners their chargers are also available for Queanbeyan locals from 10am-5pm (with motel guest priority).
I setup the Exploren app, linked my Evie RFID card, charged battery 46-100%.
The Exploren app notified me when the car battery was full 4.5hrs later so I unplugged and put away the cable for safety.
I think Hamilton’s Queanbeyan Motel should be copied by other accommodation providers who have electric car chargers onsite:
- Install more than one charger onsite for accommodation booking guests if there is enough electricity supply to your accommodation,
- List your charger/s on Plug share as well as Google,
- List your charger/s on a major public charging app like Exploren or Chargefox so tourists as well as locals can easily find you,
- Let people start a charge via an app or via RFID card tap
- Charge per kWh rather than a flat fee. That way everyone pays a fair price for the electricity they use. If they use a lot of kWh they pay more and if they don’t use a lot they pay less,
- Install plenty of solar panels on your accommodation roof so that daytime EV charging is using some of your own electricity rather than grid electricity.
Paid Exploren: $17.97 for 44.93kWh @ 40c/kWh
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #13
Left Queanbeyan at 100% battery and checked out some free exhibitions in Canberra, as parking is free on public holidays.
Highly recommend Behind the Lines annual best Political Cartoons and the 3 exhibitions at National Archives around the corner: Australia’s photographic history, how the Constitution was made and NA Collection highlights.
Melbourne to Sydney 🎄EV log #14
Left Canberra at 97% battery and drove 102km towards Sydney at 18.4kWh/100km efficiency, s topping at Chargefox Goulburn (2x 350kW working, 1x 50kW broken) to see if it is working again. Arrived with 75% battery,
Chatted with a friendly Nissan Leaf couple from Ballarat who had driven all the way to Queensland and back. That’s a brave trip in such a short range EV and probably difficult to do in the future with CHAdeMO compatible chargers slowly disappearing.
Note: A ccording to multiple Hyundai and Kia E-GMP 800V EV owners their cars constantly monitor battery/charging parameters and adapts the charge rate to suit the circumstances, with a short period at about 80% where charging slows down before speeding up again.
Paid Chargefox: $7.10 for 14.79kWh @ $0.60/kWh – 20% NRMA discount.
Arrived home near Marrickville at 57% battery after another 177km @ 15.4 kWh/100km.
TOTAL RETURN TRIP EV CHARGING COST
Driving from Orbost to Sydney covering 811km cost me $49.79 for 120.77kWh.
This was the cheapest section of my trip per kWh and per km because I got to use 2 working NRMA discounted ultra fast DC Chargefox locations and 2 priced AC accommodation chargers.
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.