Day 6 – Port Macquarie to Kiama

Overview > Day 1 to Noosa > Day 2 to Gold Coast > Day 3 to Coffs >
Day 4 in Coffs > Day 5 to Port > Day 6 to Kiama

Driving conditions:
We travelled at the designated speed limit – mostly 110 kmh on the highway –
using Cruise Control (no re-gen) and with the Air Conditioning on all the way!

With a long day sitting in the car ahead of us, we start the morning with a brisk walk out along the breakwall to Town Beach (pictured below), before packing the car for our journey south.

Town Beach at Port Macquarie

We have done the maths, with some help from Google Maps and PlugShare, and figure that a full charge at Karuah will give us enough range to make it all the way to Kiama – if we have to.

It is an easy drive down the highway to Karuah, interrupted only by a couple of slow zones for road repair and clearing of vegetation near the verge. The 195 km journey takes us just over 2 hours, with cruise control and air con boosting our comfort levels (and depleting our battery levels) all the way.

Google Maps advises that the distance from Karuah to Kiama is 340 km, so before hooking up to the charging station at Karuah we dial the battery’s maximum charge setting from 80% to the 100% ‘Long journey mode’, to notch up some extra range capacity. This gives us a little extra range assurance – in the case that the chargers at Pheasants Nest are unavailable we should be able to make it to Wollongong, if not all the way to Kiama. (Always planning ahead!)

Adjust battery charge limit

Connecting to the 350 kW Chargefox chargers at Karuah wasn’t all smooth sailing – the screens on both chargers aren’t working, and the charger we connected to cut out after charging for less than a minute. A call to the Chargefox support line resulted in a full restart of the charger (they had seen the same problem yesterday), after which the session commenced without incident. While the battery is busy refreshing its electrons, we wander into town to pickup an apple turnover at the bakery for morning tea, and stock up with takeaway sandwiches from the nearby cafe for lunch later in the day.

Charging at Karuah

55 minutes later we unplug and merge back onto the highway heading south, with 95% charge giving us an estimated range of 386 km for the 340 km journey to Kiama. (Time: 55 mins. Cost: 39.84 kWh @ 52c/kWh with NRMA disc. = $20.72)

Dash charge display at Karuah

The last leg

We take a lunch break at the Hawkesbury River rest area, before continuing on the highway south via the North Connex tunnel, which thankfully avoids a stop-start journey down the busy Pennant Hills Road, followed by stints on the M2, M7 and M5 motorways.

As we approach the Picton Rd turnoff from the M5, the dash display advises that we have enough remaining stored energy capacity to reach Kiama, having benefited from some regen braking down through the M11 tunnel and along the M2 motorway giving us a 50 km buffer for the last leg – but we decide to continue 5 km past the turn off to check out the Ampol charging stations at Pheasants Nest.

We haven’t used the AmpCharge network yet, so we are keen to give it a try and check that our account works, plus check out the Pheasants Nest charging infrastructure for possible future excursions.

Charging the car at Pheasants Nest

The charging facilities here are among the best we have seen – 6 outlets on the south bound campus, and another 6 on the northbound side of the highway. We have the southbound outlets all to ourselves; we hook up for a 25 minute session to depart with a 72% charge – an estimated range of 316 km for a comfortable 95 km run down to Kiama. (Time: 25 mins. Cost: 30.156 kWh @ 69c/kWh = $20.81)

Dash charge display at Pheasants Nest

As we have said previously – top up when you CAN, not when you NEED to!

AmpCharge ID stickerAmpShare tip: The charger number/code (you will need this number to activate the charger through the AmpShare app) is located, in tiny print, at the bottom of the QR code label, adjacent to the handle return slot.

I couldn’t get any response from the charger screen, so all interaction was through the AmpShare app, and knowing the number of the outlet was critical in initiating the charging session.

Kiama Blowhole

Finally back in Kiama, we charge to 100% overnight, just to check the full long range capacity, in case we ever need to go that far. We have a 7kW Tesla Wall Connector, which will give the battery a good slow charge and a cell balance on our overnight EV charging rate of 8c per kWh – the cheapest rate we have paid all trip!

Dash charge display after slow charging at Kiama.

The 100% charge indicates an ‘Eco’ range of just under 500 km, which is more than ample for our daily needs, and to quell any ‘range anxiety’ for our occasional inter-urban trips. (Time: 12:00am to 6:00am. Cost: 37 kWh @ 8c/kWh = $2.96)

Energy Costs

Total cost of electricity for the trip: $138.08
Total distance: 1464 km
Cost per 100 km: $9.40

Estimated cost of petrol for the same trip: $254.50
Total distance: 1464 km
Cost per 100 km: $17.60
(@ 8 litres / 100 km / 2.20/L)

Cost for same distance if charging at home rate: $22.14
Total distance: 1464 km
Cost per 100 km: $1:51

So, while an EV is very cheap to run around town, charging at home @ 8c/kWh,
maybe not so much for a road trip where you are paying nearly 10 times that @ 60-70c/kWh!

Back to the start! >>>

Overview > Day 1 to Noosa > Day 2 to Gold Coast > Day 3 to Coffs >
Day 4 in Coffs > Day 5 to Port > Day 6 to Kiama