Driving 1200 km over some long, very straight roads from Adelaide to Canberra. Over the three days of using eight fast chargers, we didn’t once have to pay for charging.
We decided to break the 1200 km drive to Canberra into three roughly equal stretches. This trip relied on access to fast chargers (installed by NRMA) all the way. With the trailer, we only have the range to go from one fast charger to the next, so there was the risk that if any charger was unavailable, we would need to spend up to two nights at a caravan park to recharge enough to reach the next one.
The first charger of our trip is conveniently located just behind Tanunda’s main street of in the Barossa Valley. We arrived here to find the charger already in use. An interstate Tesla was already plugged into the single charger there. We waited around half an hour before noticing the owner had left their mobile phone number on a charging adaptor. Once contacted, he was happy to unplug as he’d charged to 94% by then. After a friendly chat, he drove on towards Sydney. As the number of EVs increases, we can expect to encounter occupied chargers more often.
So what to do when another car is already plugged in to a charger you need to use? One option is that everyone could leave their mobile number on display when charging, but not everyone (including us) would be comfortable with that. Alternatively there are two apps that can be used to make contact. The Plugshare app allows you to ‘check in’ to a charger so others can see that you are there, and can message you via the app. The NeedToCharge app lets you simply put in the the registration number of the blocking car, and a message will be sent to the driver (assuming they have registered for the app). We are regular Plugshare users, and also signed up for the NeedToCharge app while we waited in Tanunda.
Luckily for the rest of the trip to Canberra, all the other chargers were unoccupied when we arrived at them. We used NRMA chargers at Tanunda, Berri, Mildura, Balranald, Hay, Narrandera, Wagga Wagga and Jugiong. Most of these chargers are located close to amenities and cafes. NRMA have done an awesome job of installing these chargers at manageable distances, and in attractive or convenient locations.
Clockwise from left: NRMA chargers at Mildura, Narrandera and Hay.
Some of the scenes on the three day drive are challenging to photograph. The Hay Plains for example, which is one of the flattest places on Earth. Some of the trip highlights were …