Electric dream

Mar 19, 2021

Intyalheme Project Manager Hannah Farrow on her new experience: driving an electric vehicle.

Ear­li­er this year I moved to Alice Springs to con­tin­ue my new role as Project Man­ag­er for the Intyal­heme Cen­tre for Future Ener­gy. Intyal­heme is lead­ing the Alice Springs Future Grid project on behalf of Desert Knowl­edge Aus­tralia (DKA). Future Grid involves a con­sor­tium of key ener­gy stake­hold­ers across the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry, which are col­lab­o­rat­ing on a series of tri­als to remove bar­ri­ers to fur­ther renew­able ener­gy pen­e­tra­tion in the Alice Springs elec­tric­i­ty sys­tem. Ulti­mate­ly this process will inform the path­way to show how Alice Springs can achieve the NT tar­get of 50 per cent renew­able ener­gy by 2030

Excit­ing­ly, Intyal­heme has a Nis­san Leaf, as part of the DKA fleet, which I’ve been able to use since. It’s also not the first elec­tric vehi­cle (EV) in Alice Springs, with Tes­las gain­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly notice­able fol­low­ing in the past few years.

I was keen to avoid devel­op­ing any sort of range anx­i­ety and so I set out to learn what the range was and where I would be able to charge the car. And impor­tant­ly, find­ing which sites I could reach, along the Mac­Don­nell Ranges. First up I found the EO Uni­ver­sal EV charg­er at Alice Springs Town Coun­cil to be excel­lent (close to the hotel where I was stay­ing, fast, and pow­ered by solar on the shade struc­tures over the carpark). The PlugShare web­site helped iden­ti­fy oth­er charg­ing loca­tions. In total there are 11 plugs of var­i­ous types in Alice Springs (cor­rect at the time of writing). 

When not charg­ing at the Town Coun­cil I can also use an adapter for an ordi­nary sin­gle-phase house­hold con­nec­tion. Although slow­er to charge, hav­ing the car plugged in at work dur­ing the day will increase the avail­able range by at least 100km. Plen­ty, giv­en dri­ving between work at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct and home is under 30km return. I choose to charge at the Precinct, because it is pow­ered by about 40% renew­able ener­gy from the DKA Solar Cen­tre. As the amount of renew­able ener­gy in the Alice Springs grid increas­es, the car’s emis­sions will decrease even further. 

My first week­end in Alice Springs I was ready to hit the Ross High­way and the East Mac­Don­nell Ranges. The car was ful­ly charged – dis­play­ing 253km as my range. While using the air­con dropped this range to about 230km I fig­ured Trephi­na Gorge about 80km away, one-way, was a real pos­si­bil­i­ty. As it was an unusu­al­ly cool day at 23°C, I was able to use only the fan rather than the air­con; and set­ting the cruise con­trol to 100km per hour we reached the des­ti­na­tion eas­i­ly. I was even able to press on to reach the Ross Riv­er Resort, adding a fur­ther 25km to the total distance. 

On the way back to town, the air­con was back on and the cruise con­trol set. Arriv­ing back in town with 12% ener­gy left in the bat­tery and 38km remain­ing range. In total I cov­ered 185km, and with the remain­ing 38km I now know I would feel com­fort­able tak­ing the ful­ly-charged car over 200km, which is excel­lent. Since this trip I’ve set­tled into a rou­tine of dri­ving the car between work, around town, here and there; plug­ging it in on either Wednes­day or Thurs­day, and real­ly not wor­ry­ing about it. 

I have tak­en to the EV rou­tine quick­ly, I’m impressed with its per­for­mance, and I hope to see a strong future for elec­tric vehi­cles in Alice Springs. 

Other Intyalheme Stories

A clean and connected energy future for Alice Springs

Aug 14, 2020

Lessons learnt during the Alice Springs Future Grid project will directly inform Australia's clean energy transition.

DKA Hosts Their Excellencies, General the Honourable David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley

Aug 10, 2020

Desert Knowledge Australia was honoured to host His Excel­len­cy the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, at the Desert Knowledge Precinct.

New leader for Intyalheme

July 21, 2020

The Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy is pleased to announce that Tristan Simons has been appointed to the role of General Manager.