Readying for the Nullarbor. Image: Hurry Krishna
In July, our intrepid road tripper Hurry Krishna took to the road in her trusty Hyundai Kona EV and shared the journey in a series of blog posts with The Driven. You can read them here.
Now, Hurry Krishna shares her “lessons from the road” in an EV on one of the world’s harshest and trying road trips: The Big Lap.
Lesson 1: EV road-tripping, like most other things in life, gets easier with practice. Day 2 was half as hard as Day 1; Day 23 was a piece of cake (or, in our case, a croissant at the lovely WA coastal village of Esperance).
It’s a piece of cake – well, a croissant. Image: Hurry Krishna
You do get a lot of practice when driving Perth-Sydney return. 137 hours and 29 minutes of practice to be precise, according to our Kona-EV 2022, spread out over 25 days, across 9211 kilometres.
That Road Down Under
‘Standing at the limit of an endless ocean
Stranded like a runaway, lost at sea…’
(as the Icehouse song goes)
National Highway 1 – Eyre Highway, 1600 km east to west, at the southern end of the Great Southern Land. A road with an awesome reputation.
The driving myths, carved from 1970s memories, are of second-hand rust-buckets driven on patched, unsealed roads, with screaming kids in the back seat, rushing to see family on the other side of the continent, in the middle of the school summer holidays… You get the picture.
Now a fully sealed thoroughfare, the Eyre Highway, according to the Australian Automobile Association, is one of the safest roads in the country. So, for those of us who have grown wiser with age (and not older), time and road are both on our side.
Just three days into our drive, at the Balladonia Hotel, we meet Bryan Taaffe who is riding an odd-looking thing called a recumbent bike, setting a world-record for the fastest pedalling around Australia!! Every day on this road, he is overtaken a hundred times or more by gigantic trucks and road trains. Some days he is so lonely, he talks to himself.
Bryan’s fearsome feat puts our comfy little drive into perspective. Still, with just 3 DC chargers in about 2000 kilometres and none that qualify as super-fast, a little advance planning is helpful.
Bryan Taaffe. Image: Hurry Krishna
Phone connections are patchy on the Nullarbor. But Boost (Telstra’s cheaper retail arm) gives us enough connectivity to ring ahead each day to arrange accommodation for us and charging for the car.
So, no, you do not need to hire a satellite phone, except to impress your American buddies, who have learnt from reading Bill Bryson, that here, in the land down under, one can easily ‘stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback’ (Australia: Down Under, p. 20).
In July, the chances of baking are zilch, especially as we are driving a 2022 Kona with all the mod-cons of climate control.
And, if the experts are right, an EV with fewer moving parts is even less likely to break down than an ICE car of similar vintage.
If in the most unlikely circumstance, you did have a problem, you are not likely to be stranded for long as several hundred vehicles drive along this road every day.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Lessons from the Road next week.