Cairns man embarks on epic Australian road trip in electric car

Cairns man Phil Smith travels across rural Australia to educate people about the pros and cons of long-distance electric vehicle (EV) travel.

He said driving his car on the east coast was relatively easy thanks to the regular fast-charging stations between Port Douglas and Melbourne, but that it was a different story further inland.

Mr Smith left Cairns about three weeks ago and has passed through Townsville, Rockhampton, Emerald, Longreach, Winton and Mt Isa.

He was in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, when he spoke to the ABC.

“Once you get away from the coast and start traveling through the countryside and outback of Queensland, there aren’t many places you can reload quickly,” he says.

“Fortunately, there is an app called Plugshare, which allows people to share places they have found where you can recharge.”

Mr Smith said he could safely travel about 400 kilometers between charges.

“You have to try to find places with high amp power outlets,” he said.

When Mr. Smith can’t find fast charges or even high-current outlets, he has to use normal 240-volt electricity straight from a wall.

“Using a normal 240 volt outlet will take more than a day to fully charge my car to allow it to travel 500 kilometers,” he said.

A dark colored sedan parked in front of a road sign.
Mr. Smith drives his Model 3 Tesla in Australia.(

Provided: Phil Smith


Cost counting

Mr Smith said the cost of electric vehicles was also a barrier.

“An entry-level Tesla costs around $ 65,000, which is not a cheap car,” he said.

“But if you take into account that you only have to pay for tires and brakes after purchase, and if you charge your car slowly from home, it actually comes down to being cheaper.

One of the reasons for Mr Smith’s trip is to raise awareness of the lack of fast-charging stations in rural Australia.

He regularly tweeted updates about his travels.

“I check in to the Plugshare app, where I comment on upload speeds, upload photos and make comments,” Smith said.

“Then I plan to travel to Katherine, then Darwin, Broome, then Perth, then Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania.

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About Juana Renfrow

Juana Renfrow

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