EV stories are everywhere on social media. But how much info can you really get from a Facebook comment or a short exchange on Twitter?
We love hearing about the Australian EV community and what they're up to. True dinks. So, we thought that we'd help encourage the uptake of EVs here in Australia by featuring some of the people we know, who we've organised charging for or whose story is interesting and / or unique.
Our very first SelEVie is from Thomas who came to our attention when he mentioned he'd once driven his EV around the block to try and run the battery to zero...but got bored when it didn't and went home.
"I began as most do, an electric vehicle skeptic.
I remember reading about the 100 km range of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV and thinking that was nowhere enough to get me all the places I wanted to go. Of course, failing to notice that at the time, my weekly driving was barely 100 kilometers most of the time anyway.
So, I ignored EVs until I saw on YouTube, a thumbnail of Robert Llewellyn apparently screaming in the driver’s seat of a Tesla. I then binge watched too much Fully Charged in one sitting, and decided that my next car should be fully electric. So, I sold my Suzuki Swift, and bought an imported Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV at the beginning of this year.
Underneath is the same battery and drivetrain as the i-MiEV, but in the body of an adorably tiny van. It’s a great little thing too. Cheap as chips to run, even compared to a Suzuki Swift. The instant go gives it a fun and playful feeling, which is a rather odd juxtaposition, against the higher up seating position typically found in less than enjoyable cars. With nothing but windows, visibility is excellent all around too. All that in a package not much bigger than a Smart Fortwo as well.
Listening to nature...rather than the whine of an engine
The van’s range is plenty, more than enough for my daily drive. I can get 80 kms around town with the air-conditioning on, or 100 without the A/C. Most days I’m lucky if I drive more than 20.
With my new little van, I love to test the limits. Very early on, I decided to drive from my place in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, 78 kms south, stopping at a Queensland Electric Superhighway (QESH) fast charger to be safe, on the way to a friend’s place. In the end, I didn’t have to go the full distance, as he was driving his bus back up to Brisbane to meet a group of our friends that day.
I found that for the return trip, downhill, I could get home without stopping at the fast charger with 14 kms to spare after charging at his place for the day with my trusty EVolution portable charger. I used that 14 kms to visit my grandma for dinner, and got home with 4 kms remaining!
The next test was going even further, to Mt Tambourine, to visit a friend’s family down there. Via the same QESH site, I stopped to charge for a spell before continuing south, and climbing a mountain. It was a beautiful drive in the foggy rainforest, over the gentle whine of my motor listening to the sounds of nature that I would usually miss.
I got to my mate’s place fine, and again charged with my portable, except, I couldn’t charge all the way. Torrential rain interrupted the charge, which meant I only had about a third of a charge, which worried me, as it took more than a third to get from the fast charger to his farm. This time, my car amazed me, I was completely gob smacked. Dropping down the mountain, I got to the fast charger with the same indicated range that I set off with!
Draining the battery is boring
I learnt two things that day. First, electric cars are magic. Second, I should carry a scooter in the boot so I don’t have to walk 20 minutes in the rain both ways to the closest McDonald’s because the cafe next to the fast charger is not open on public holidays.
Something I still wanted to do however was see what happened when the battery went flat, and I had the perfect plan.
Over a couple of days, I didn’t charge my van. On the last day, I had to do an errand across town, and would roughly get home around time the battery was empty. Perfect. So, I get home, and the battery still has plenty. Easy, I guess, go around the block until it stops. It got late, I got bored, the van not stop.
Later I put aside a whole day then, and went up and down some mountains, and I finally got my range right down. It blinked from 1, and then to - - -, but was still not dead! I gave up on trying to flatten it. So, I then learnt that the battery will not only never go flat when I need it, it won’t even run out when I want it to.
Range anxiety is so passe
When I was first planning on buying my little van, my parents and various people I knew were all worried I was making a mistake, that it would be horribly impractical, with range and charging times.
Since then, I’m pushing it further and further. There’s plenty of charging stations around, and even without them, I have more than enough range for my usual driving, even without charging for a couple of days sometimes. I very rarely went on longer trips in my last car, and find that now, I’m going on more trips that I used to, and further, simply to prove what is capable with even an early generation 100 km EV.
Range anxiety isn’t the issue people would have you believe you will face every day. Even on longer trips, there’s plenty of tools available to plan ahead, so you know when and where you can charge up, with more stations coming all the time, so it’s just going to get easier and easier.
At the end of the day, I have had more range anxiety in petrol cars than I’ve had in my electric van."