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Tassie ev roadtrip feature

Your Ultimate Tassie Road Trip Could Start With an EV, But Should It?

Ahh, electric vehicle road trip stories. They’re beaten to death by EV owners who want to prove they’ve accomplished the impossible. “Look how far we drove!” or “It’s really not that bad!” are often the conclusions they come to after their wife threatened to divorce them and their kids kept crying “Dad, are we there yet!” But I’m here to give you the truth about EV road trips.

I’ll tell you exactly how much it costs to rent an EV, charge an EV, and how much time I spent sitting at chargers on my road trip around Hobart, Tasmania.

However, before I get started, it’s important to share that Thrifty paid for my rental car. They didn’t have to, but I like the Polestar 2 and I hadn’t driven the updated single-motor long range model yet. I’m also a tight-arse journalist and Tasmania is a bloody expensive part of the country to visit (surprisingly) so I wanted to save a few bucks. Most importantly, they didn’t pay for my accommodation, food, or thoughts.

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Polestar 2 rear end
Simply put, the Polestar 2 is one of my favourite EVs to drive | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Why I Wanted to Hire a Polestar 2

To give you the backstory first, I’m here because I spent a few days in Tasmania with Polestar last year for World Environment Day. It was my first time in the forgotten land, I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to go back and explore the area on my own time, on my own coin (mostly, Thrifty supplied the car), and in the same vehicle.

Lucky for me, you can now hire a brand new and updated Polestar 2 through Thrifty. My 4-day hire with maximum damage waiver and other fees would have cost $501.27 which is a very reasonable price to pay for such a great car. The new model has up to 650km of WLTP range (one of the highest of any EV on sale in Australia) and fast charging capabilities of up to 200kW which makes it the perfect choice for road trips.

Good luggage space in the polestar 2
There’s heaps of space in the boot of the Polestar 2 | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

It’s also one of my favourite EVs to drive with heaps of power, comfortable suspension, and all the active safety features you’d expect like lane-keep assistance, active cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. More importantly for a road trip, it has ample storage space (enough for two large Samsonite suitcases), a large centre touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, and built-in Google Maps for finding your destinations.

Finally, a quick tip. If you’re looking to hire an EV for a road trip, I’d avoid any vehicle with less than 400km of range because they don’t have enough ‘headroom’ built-in for disruptions in temperature, broken chargers, driving styles, and sustained highway driving where EVs are far less efficient.

The Polestar 2 I was driving managed about 350-400km of range when driving through the backroads of Tasmania. These roads are twisty, you don’t regenerate much power through braking, and they’re fast.

Found a friend at dinner
My Tasmanian EV road trip would cover more than 600km of driving | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

My Tassie EV Road Trip Challenge

On paper, it was a simple task. Tassie is a small state with short distances between towns and there are plenty of chargers, most of them decently fast. To make it simple enough to follow, I’ve included Google Maps links that show you exactly where I drove and PlugShare links to the chargers I used with prices and speed.

Charging in swansea tasmania
Here’s me charging the Polestar 2 in Swansea after a long day of driving | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Day 1 – Hobart Airport to Airbnb in Little Swanport

Distance travelled: 240km, view the route on Google Maps
Cost to charge: AU$32.93 for 46.27kWh of energy
Time spent at charger: 1hr 24mins

This would be my second longest drive with 240km of mixed A and B roads through the Tasmanian countryside. First, I picked up the car from Hobart Airport before venturing past a few of my favourite spots including Coal River Farm for an epic hot chocolate, Pooley Wines, LARK Distillery, Old Kempton Distillery, and a nice bridge in Ross, before finally arriving at my Airbnb in Little Swanport.

I chose this route because there are plenty of chargers along the way. Using the PlugShare app I could see there’s a 50kW charger in Kempton and a faster 80kW charger in Oatlands. Of course, I’m here to test the car so I used neither charger and chose to range test the vehicle to see how much battery I would have when I arrived in Swansea to charge at the 50kW charger while I had dinner at The Branch.

The answer was around 40% battery or 200km of estimated range. You’re probably thinking “wow, that’s nowhere near the estimated 650km of range,” and you’d be right. But that’s exactly why I chose the updated Polestar 2, Tasmanian roads chew through the battery and you need as much as you can get.

Tasmanian ev roadtrip guide
Down by the water in Swansea | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Day 2 – Airbnb in Little Swanport to Bicheno and Freycinet Region

Distance travelled: 263km, view the route on Google Maps
Cost to charge: AU$8.98 for 17.44kWh of energy
Time spent at charger: 25mins

This was going to be the most beautiful day of the trip, but it was going to ask a lot of the vehicle and my stress levels if I didn’t do a little pre-planning. First, I had to charge the night before because there were no chargers or powerpoints at my Airbnb. Second, I had to top off the battery to get the most amount of range. Finally, I had to think about where I was going to charge and how much I needed to charge to get me back to the Airbnb and back to Hobart the next day.

This is just one example of the extra thought and planning you have to put in before you head out on a road trip in an electric vehicle. It’s not the end of the world (unless the charger you planned to visit is broken), but you do have to take that into consideration.

Thankfully, it all went smoothly and I was able to take in the epic views at Wine Glass Bay, eat the best oysters in the world at Freycinet Marine Farm, and pass the designated driver duties to my partner before having a few whiskies at Waubs Harbour Distillery in Bicheno. We finished up the day with a pizza at Devils Corner Winery, which we highly recommend, and dinner at the Homestead Restaurant in Swansea.

Charging the polestar 2 at triabunna
We stopped at this EV charger in Triabunna on the way back to Hobart | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Day 3 – Airbnb in Little Swanport to Hobart

Distance travelled: 106km, view the route on Google Maps
Cost to charge: AU$10.79 for 15.47kWh of energy
Time spent at charger: 41mins

The last day of long driving as part of my electric vehicle road trip in Tasmania was a simple 106km drive from the Airbnb in Little Swanport back to Hobart via the 24kW charger in Triabunna. It was also the last time I had to pay to charge the Polestar 2 because there are plenty of free chargers in and around Hobart CBD that offer 2 hours of free parking while charging. No more thinking about charging, yay!

Charging the polestar 2 in hobart
There are plenty of EV chargers with 2 hours of free parking and charging in Hobart | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Should You Hire an EV for Your Tassie Roadtrip?

On the final drive back to Hobart I also had time to reflect on whether or not I’d choose to do this trip again in an EV and whether I’d recommend it to you. My answer is yes, but ONLY if you book accommodation with an EV charger, or at the very least, have access to a wall socket to top-up charge overnight.

With the planning involved in charging the car, you’re constantly thinking about where and when you’re going to charge on what is meant to be a relaxing holiday. I’m an experienced electric vehicle expert and still spent time thinking about where I was going to charge, how much range I needed to add, and how much time it was going to take. Thankfully, the updated Polestar 2 has plenty of range so I didn’t have to think about these things too much, but the point stands.

Thankfully, if you want to try this for yourself and experience the updated Polestar 2 you can follow my roadmap and have an epic holiday in Tasmania. If you want to venture off my route without access to an electric vehicle charger overnight, you’re probably better off in one of Thrifty’s many petrol-powered vehicles.

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