This electric car Hume Highway 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 1: Sydney to Melbourne via Mittagong, Goulburn, Yass, Tarcutta, Albury, Glenrowan, Avenel.
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.
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 with few chargers to start with.
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.
Speaking of accommodation destination chargers it would be great if NSW (and other states) government grants for these required the chargers to be listed on a major app network like Chargefox or Exploren. Otherwise these chargers will be underutilised.
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: Goulburn, Gundagai, Euroa, Moe etc 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.
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
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #1
Left Marrickville Sydney with 98% battery.
Drove past Ampcharge Pheasants Nest South as I didn’t need to charge yet. There was a massive queue on the access road visible as we passed.
Arrived at Evie Networks Mittagong where 3 out of 4 bays were working, after driving 100km with 18.3kWh/100km usage.
The HomeCo Highlands shopping centre where the Evie chargers are located has some useful shops for a road trip including Subway for meals and Super Cheap Auto where I bought a spanner set on sale.
There are good toilet facilities 50m away next to Beacon Lighting.
There is also a nice new NRMA 4 bay charging stop quite nearby at RSL Mittagong where you could stop and have a proper sit down meal if you wanted to.
This choice between two 4 bay charging sites run by different companies makes Mittagong a great place to stop South of Sydney to recharge your car.
Paid Evie: $11.68 for 19.459kW at 60c/kWh.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #2
Topped up the car using the Kempower charger at KFC Goulburn South while I ate lunch. I used the KFC toilet facilities.
This Kempower charger is supplied with a 100kW grid connection shared between 2 CCS 2 charging cables.
While I was the only car connected I charged at 75kW but after another EV plugged in with an almost empty battery the Kempower gave them 75kW rate and cut my rate dynamically as my car was already mostly full.
Before any readers ask why I charged to 95% it was because I was eating my lunch sitting on the EV6 boot edge with the tailgate up for shade.
As soon as a 3rd car turned up and needed to charge I stopped eating, disconnected and moved the car to an empty parking spot.
I didn’t need Evie Sutton Forest or BP Marulan. I skipped the main big NRMA Chargefox Goulburn site which had lots of issues (see charger status screenshots below) as there would have been queues of people waiting.
Note if the NRMA Chargefox Goulburn 350kW chargers were all working then I would have used them instead and saved a few dollars.
I’ve included below photos from past EV road trips of those other charging locations I mentioned so you can see what they look like.
Paid Chargefox: $8.05 for 12.38kWh at 65c/kWh.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #3
Stopped to try out the new Tesla Yass location which had opened a few days before and has 12 x 250kW charging bays.
Had to park a bit sideways as the cable was too short to reach the Kia EV6 back right corner charging port. My car wasn’t in anyone’s way because the charger next to mine was out of order.
Maximum charging rate was 97kW which is a known limitation of E-GMP 800V Hyundai/Kia EVs at Tesla 250kW chargers.
Used toilet facilities at the Club House hotel next to the carpark where the Tesla chargers are located.
Note if the NRMA Chargefox Gundagai 350kW chargers weren’t all broken then I would have used them to save a few dollars and would have only stopped at Yass briefly to see the Tesla chargers.
Unfortunately the NRMA Chargefox Gundagai 350kW chargers have been unreliable for over a year eg: when I drove past during my Christmas 2022 EV roadtrip all the NRMA Chargefox Gundagai chargers were down at the time for many days.
Paid Tesla: $11.05 for 13kWh at 85c/kWh.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #4
Didn’t need Evie Tarcutta whose 2 chargers were full and there was a queue of 2 waiting EVs.
Just stopped to use the toilet facilities, stretched a bit and then drove on.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #5
Arrived Albury with 30% battery. From Tesla Yass to Albury we travelled about 280km with efficiency of 17.3kWh/100km.
We didn’t need public chargers in Albury as we had pre booked accommodation at The Cottage Motor Inn Albury which has a 7kW destination charger bay onsite funded partly by the owners and partly by a NSW government grant.
We paid $40 for exclusive use of the charger including electricity usage until we checked out the next morning.
I had my 7m Type 2 EVSE cable in the frunk which I plugged into the Wallbox. This added roughly 57kWh incl charging losses overnight.
That many kWh would’ve cost us about $48.45 at Tesla Albury so I was happy to pay the accommodation $40 to save charging time and leave Albury with 100% battery.
Before readers start commenting that $4o is too much to pay for a destination charger. This motor inn is simple, clean, with good beds and low prices eg : our room was only $120/night. You can’t expect $40 of free electricity from an accommodation provider that charges so little a night.
We checked out and left with 100% battery after breakfast the next day ⚡😊.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #6
From Albury to BP Glenrowan South we travelled about 86km with efficiency of 18.3kWh/100km.
Didn’t really need a charge, it was hot and I wanted ice cream 🍦 which I bought from the servo.
Charging worked on the 2nd attempt at 99kW rate, even though the app said the chargers were 75kW.
There was a $25 preauth temporary charge on my credit card.
Helped an elderly couple setup the bp Pulse app on their phone and start a charge as they found the cable quite heavy.
Note if the RACV Chargefox Euroa 350kW chargers weren’t broken then I would have used them to save a few dollars and would have only stopped at BP Glenrowan South briefly to see their chargers.
PS the bp Pulse app has a very annoying habit of automatically logging you out of the app even if you’ve only used it a week ago.
Paid BP Pulse: $7.23 for 13.15kWh at 55c/kWh.
Sydney to Melbourne 🎄EV log #7
From BP Glenrowan South to Evie Avenel we travelled about 110km with efficiency of 17.2kWh/100km.
Arrived Evie Avenel and used a rare side located charger which was easy to plug into the Kia EV6 back right hand corner charging port.
As I was unplugging 3 EVs arrived including a new BYD Seal whose owners had driven it down from QLD without any previous EV experience and were enjoying their journey greatly.
I helped the Seal owners setup an Evie account and start charging before I had my lunch. They had installed the old Evie app on their phone months ago but that didn’t work anymore as it had been replaced by a different app.
Paid Evie $12.58 for 19.36kWh at 60c/kWh.
Arrived Werribee Melbourne with 65% battery.
Note From Glenrowan onwards while driving towards Melbourne we were heading into a strong southerly wind coming against the car and it raised consumption for that driving section to 21kWh/100km.
Total distance 877km from Sydney to Melbourne over one and a half days.
Total cost of charging roughly 134.349kW during this section of the trip was $90.59. This doesn’t include the 98% battery I started with in Sydney at the beginning.
My road trip charging cost would have been less than $70, even including charging to 98% before leaving Sydney if…
- All the discounted for NRMA members Chargefox sites were working at full capacity rather than key ones like NRMA Goulburn, NRMA Gundagai and RACV Euroa being mostly broken during my drive South,
- I had a home charger (I can’t because I don’t have a driveway or garage) and if this hypothetical home charger was solar powered,
- My family end destination in Melbourne had a home charger (they don’t) and if this hypothetical home charger was solar powered. Since they don’t I made sure to arrive with lots of battery range left.
My time spent charging could have been a lot lower if my Sydney home and the destination family home in Melbourne had home charging.
That would’ve saved:
- 1 hour in Sydney the day before the trip getting to 100% charge, incl time wasted visiting 3 chargers which were busy when I arrived.
- Half an hour charging at Glenrowan and Avenel which could have been skipped altogether.
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.