Sunflower sojourn: Southport to Warwick and back for $6.50
“Jill and I have successfully tested the limits of our EV by venturing to our Western Region from the Gold Coast. Sure, it did take some planning and there were a few frustrating moments as EV newbies, but once we’d received some kindly advice from the knowledgeable stranger, we were good to go,” says The Rev’d Don Parker from St Peter’s, Southport
In February, my wife Jill and I bought a new electric vehicle (EV). Folk have been very interested, so I thought I’d let anglican focus readers know about some of the questions that have popped up and how we have answered them.
Firstly, just to clarify, it is a fully electric vehicle, so if the battery goes flat, we come to a halt (no hybrid technology here).
How far does it go between charges? MG (yes, it’s an MG) claims that the car can travel 260 km on a full charge and our experience is that this is accurate, although using your aircon does reduce your range by about 10 per cent.
Do you worry the battery is going to run out? Around the Gold Coast, where we live – not at all. To all intents and purposes, it behaves very much like any other car – except that it is very quiet and surprisingly zippy to drive. There would be very few occasions when the battery range is tested ‘around town’. On the other hand, long distance travel does present some challenges.
To test the range of our EV, Jill and I recently went on a journey to Warwick in the Southern Downs to see the sunflowers. This is one of our favourite adventures, although it was the first time we’ve actually found them blooming in abundance, just outside of Allora and then further south near Murrays Bridge. It took some planning and ‘the kindness of strangers’ to make the journey, but make it we did.
So, testing our ‘range anxiety’ (who needs another anxiety in the 21st century?), we ventured forth in the following stages.
On day one we travelled from Southport to Toowoomba:
- Stage 1: Southport to Toowoomba, totalling 180 km. No problems getting there, we arrive with 50 km worth of battery life left and that was with the aircon blasting away.
- Stage 2: Recharging in Toowoomba was difficult as the unfamiliar App telling us where to recharge seemed to be leading us up the garden path. What’s more, the few recharge stations that exist favour Tesla and mostly couldn’t be used on our car model. Eventually, after a bit of guess work, we arrive at Charlton and discover the one charging unit that does work for us – phew! We plug in and after 40 minutes of rapid charge (about the length of time it takes for a coffee and a chat) we have 80 per cent battery life, which is about a 200 km range. We go on our way rejoicing and since we’re enjoying ourselves so much, we stay the night in Toowoomba.
I mentioned ‘the kindness of strangers’ earlier. While recharging at Charlton a gentleman got out of his car and struck up a conversation. This happens often since people are generally very interested in the novelty of the EV phenomenon. This gent was different. He knew much more about electric cars than I did (which isn’t saying too much.) More importantly, he knew how to modify the App we were using to ensure that we only found recharge points that actually worked for us – no more wild goose chases.
Secondly, he knew, for a fact, that there was a charging station in Warwick (84 km away) and that immediately gave us the encouragement we needed to travel south the next day to see the glorious sunflowers. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even get this gentleman’s name, but thank you Sir if you read this, as your generously shared knowledge made all the difference to us.
On day two, we travelled from Warwick to Southport:
- Stage 3: A comfortable 84 km range-anxiety-free journey to Warwick, made delightful by the discovery of sunflower fields in full bloom close to Allora. We also ventured to Murrays Bridge and discovered even more of the glorious yellow fields. Then back to Warwick to recharge for the journey home. The charging station in the centre of town is exactly where our kindly stranger said it would be. We plug in and head off for our obligatory cup of coffee. We return after an hour to a fully charged car.
- Stage 4: A leisurely 186 km trip back to Southport via Boonah.
In total, our journey was approximately 500 km, with two recharges along the way.
Just a few points to finish off with.
While I have always considered myself a die-hard ‘petrol head’, I am now shifting. EV-dom doesn’t feel like a fad or a phase. EVs are fun to drive and have real ‘character’.
The total cost for the driving part of the journey was $6.50 at Charlton, with the recharge at Warwick free! This may be part of a campaign by provincial towns to attract EV tourists, and if so, well done Warwick!
About 40c per litre of the petrol price goes to pay a road tax every time you fill up. I doubt that EVs will ever have to pay a road tax, at least not in the near future as taxing a clean energy vehicle would disincentivise EV purchasing.
In the meantime, Jill and I have successfully tested the limits of our EV by venturing to our Western Region from the Gold Coast. Sure, it did take some planning and there were a few frustrating moments as EV newbies, but once we’d received some kindly advice from the knowledgeable stranger, we were good to go. ‘Range anxiety’ – ha, never heard of it!
First published in Key Notes, the magazine of St Peter’s, Southport in May 2021 (amended with author permission for anglican focus).
Editor’s note: if you have an interesting story to tell about your personal, parish or ministry climate and creation care initiatives, please email Michelle McDonald via email@example.com. She would love to hear from you.Jump to next article