Multi-part blog – 29 June 2022 – Part One
First, let me start with some thoughts on the trip itself.
Some background for those not familiar with NSW geography. Mittagong (and it’s twin on the other side of the mountain, Bowral) are the major settlements along the Hume Highway just outside of the Sydney sprawl. This area is called the Southern Highlands. Mittagong is approximately 180 km (by road) from Canberra, perhaps 50km or so from Sydney city centre. Bowral is about 10km closer to Canberra, but the accommodation there was more expensive when I was looking, so Mittagong it was. My discussion of my dining options in Mittagong as a coeliac are in this post here, if you’re interested.
Having not ever taken the EV for an extended drive, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was absolutely confident I would get there. The biggest question for me was just how much more inefficient driving at speed on the highway would turn out to be. With that in mind, once I got onto the Federal Highway out of Canberra, I switched on cruise control. I programmed it for 110kmh (the speed limit), and just cruised. On the drive there, I think I had to drop out of cruise control just once to deal with traffic. The car has adaptive cruise control, so it did naturally slow down approaching slower traffic. It is dual carriageway all the way, however, so I sat on 110 practically all the way.
I was suitably impressed. My drives out to my daughter’s school haven’t been as economical as I hoped, and I was a bit concerned. But I needn’t have worried. Sitting on a fairly constant speed, even at 110 kmh, was pretty economical, at 15.6 kW/100km. Admittedly, I didn’t need climate control on for the majority of the trip, and the headlights only came on for the last half-hour or less. It was also a fairly still day without much wind noticeable. That left me with enough charge on arrival that I could, theoretically, have immediately turned around and headed home again! Approximately 45% of battery used or about 29 kW for the trip.
Confirmed on the trip home
For comparison purposes, I repeated the exercise in reverse on the way home a couple of days later. It was slightly windier on the way home, although not much. My recollection (I forgot to write it down) was that I averaged 15.8 kW/100km on the way home. I did take a bit of a detour on the way home, so it was a slightly longer trip. A little less highway driving and more country roads. Once again I didn’t need climate control until towards the end of the trip as it started to get cold. Lights were required for about the last 45 minutes of driving (which, with detour, took about 2.5 hours).
So, the summary is: A Kona Electric with the 64 kWh battery made it to Mittagong very comfortably using less than 50% of battery. I would have made it fully into Sydney trivially on one charge, with plenty left over to negotiate suburbs or whatever.
This as additionally a new experience for me, in that it was the first time I’d used a fast (rapid?) DC charger. Sorry, I’m not clear on the correct terminology here. My GPS refers to them as fast chargers, but most things I’ve read call the Type 2 (up to 22 kW) AC chargers “fast chargers” and the type 3 (50+ kW DC chargers) “rapid chargers”.
I had some driving to do before I drove home, so I wasn’t keen to try and push my luck getting home again without recharging. There is an NRMA DC charger in the carpark of the Mittagong RSL club. It was in use when I got there, but there are parks on both sides and the other side was empty. I parked on the empty side and went inside to find a table and order. They were (insanely!) busy (see my comments on the RSL club here), so by the time that was sorted, half an hour had passed. I went out to check if the charger was free at that point, and it was. I plugged my car in and set myself a reminder to come back in an hour.
Back inside, I ate dinner and relaxed for a few minutes with my drink until my hour was up. Having never done this before I wasn’t sure just how much the car would have charged. When I went to check, it had charged up to 90% (which is the limit set in the car for charging from a DC charger). There are warnings that charging to 100% off the DC chargers can be bad for the battery, so I was happy with that.
Charging alternatives in Mittagong
There is an AC charger in the carpark of the Mittagong Tourist Information Centre. I saw it there when I was in the centre, but I didn’t check on it or use it. On the second night, I went back to the RSL club, and topped up the car there. The dinner options gave me choices I could eat there, which is always refreshing. I was only down to 80% charge, but starting the day with 90% for the drive back to Canberra seemed sensible. My plans for the morning weren’t fixed, but I intended to make a stop or two along the way.
I didn’t notice any other charging options in Mittagong or Bowral, but that may have been because I wasn’t looking. I didn’t try to charge with the trickle charger at the Motel – there didn’t seem much point.
Previous post in episode: Introduction.
Next post in episode: Dining gluten free in Mittagong and Bowral.