In the latest video from One Lap, Kyle takes a stripped Model 3 Performance around a race track and gives it a fairly glowing review. This made me consider what the track situation is really like for EVs, right now in Australia.
If electric cars are going to replace ICE vehicles, that means race-going vehicles are also going to need charging facilities. While any EV could go to the track, the most likely right now is going to be the Tesla Model 3. Not only does it feature Track Mode v2 in the Performance model, but it is also the highest-selling EV in Australia.
The most likely scenario I can imagine is attending a track day where you charge up at the start of the day, run the car through the morning and go charge up during lunch, ready for another run in the afternoon. For this reason, I’m really focusing on Fast charging solutions, so searching for a 240v at the track isn’t practical given how few km per hour that adds.
I’m also going to assume that getting home isn’t an issue either and you’re staying in pretty close proximity to the track, this would allow an overnight charge before heading home.
For this exercise, I’ve selected a range of Australia’s most popular racing tracks and calculated the viability of racing an EV there, based on its proximity to charging.
Charger location: Bathurst
Charging type: 1x 50kW charger with CHAdeMO and CCS2 connectors from NRMA.
Distance to charger: 4.1km (7 minutes)
Round trip: 8.2km (14 minutes)
Viable: Barely. You’d have to be extremely lucky to find this 1 charger empty and even then at just 50kW, it’ll be a fairly lengthy charging experience. Because this one is a regular road for most of the year, this would require a race weekend to be racing at all.
Phillip Island Circuit
Charger location: Cape Paterson
Charging type: 2x 50kW charger with CCS2 and CHAdeMO connectors from Chargefox
Distance to charger: 46.4km (46 mins)
Round trip: 92.8km (92mins)
Viable: No. By the time you add charge time to the trip time, this is not worth it.
Sydney Motorsport Park
Charger location: Sydney Olympic Park
Charging type: 1x 50kW charger with CCS2 and CHAdeMO connectors by NRMA
Distance to charger: 23km (21mins)
Round trip: 46km (42mins)
Viable: Barely. It’d be incredibly risky to rely on 1 charger being free. While there are a couple of 3 phase outlets around the area, these are subject to fairly random availability and require additional cables.
The Bend Motorsport Park
Charging location: Keith
Charging type: 2x 350kW charger with CCS2 and CHAdeMO connectors by Chargefox.
Distance to charger: 124km (1h 16 minutes)
Round trip: 248km (2hrs 32mins)
Track: Winton Motor Raceway
Viable: Yes. This could work, although you’d have to be lucky to have the day’s schedule accommodate a couple of hours break between morning and afternoon sessions.
Hidden Valley Raceway
Charger location: Cairns
Charging type: 1x 50kW CCS2 and CHAdeMO
Distance to charger: 2,349km (25hrs)
Round trip: 4,698km (50 hrs)
Viable: Absolutely not. Fast charging options in the NT are basically non-existent. There are some 3 phase options, but that can’t be relied on, so this is a not in any way viable.
Symmons Plains Raceway
Charger location: Meadows
Charging type: 1x 350kW charger with CCS and CHAdeMO connectors by Chargefox
Distance to charger: 27.4km (21mins)
Round trip: 54.8km (42mins)
Viable: Yes. Assuming you find the charger available, you could actually achieve this. There’s also a 50kW fast charger nearby as a backup.
Wakefield Park Raceway
Charger location: Goulburn Supercharger and Service Station
Charging type: 8x Tesla Superchargers, 1x 50kW and 2x 350kW chargers from NRMA
Distance to charger: 10.7km (10mins)
Round trip: 21.4km (20mins)
Viable: Yes. There is also a HPWC right at the circuit which may give you a few km of range over lunch.
Charger location: Camberwell
Charger type: 6x Tesla Superchargers
Distance to charger: 24.1km (28mins)
Round trip: 48.2km (56mins)
Viable: Yes. There is also a 1x 50kW Chargefox option at Monash University.
Now for the best track to charging experiences. Located close to Albury Wodonga is a driver training center from Wodonga TAFE. This track hosts track days from local car clubs and is also used by Albury-based Supercars teams like Brad Jones racing.
Charger location: Barnawartha
Charger type: 2x 350kW chargers, 2x 50kW chargers from Chargefox
Distance to charger: 1.2km (2 minutes)
Round trip: 2.4km (4mins)
Viable: Yes, absolutely. This track offers the most number of chargers, closest to any tracks looked at today. Being just 2 minutes away, you could potentially charge and race all day.
Fixed race circuits are obviously the easiest ones to solve, but in time, as more racing categories go electric, more mobile solutions for street circuits will need to exist.
A number of racing circuits also feature go-kart tracks. This is another motorsport category that is going electric and will also need charging options.
Let us know in the comments if you’re keen to take your EV to the track, but the lack of charging is preventing you from doing so.