Photo tour: NRMA Electric Vehicle Drive Day, Western Sydney May 2023

    If Australia is going to accelerate the switch from polluting noisy petrol/diesel vehicles to clean electric vehicles (EV), winning the hearts and minds of individual drivers & business fleet managers is critical to help people understand why EV’s are the future of motoring.

    This weekend in Western Sydney at Sydney Motorsport Park the NRMA is hosting a free EV Drive Day event, giving locals and EV curious Sydney-siders an opportunity to drive an electric vehicle accompanied by an accredited driving expert.

    I drove there to check the event out for TechAU, appropriately in a media loan Hyundai Kona EV, the most efficient electric car I have driven to date.

    EV’s available for test drive included models from Tesla, Kia, BYD, Hyundai, Cupra, Nissan, BMW, MG and Volvo. Future EV Drive Day events are planned for Wollongong and Armidale later in 2023.

    As always at an Australian EV event the hard-working volunteers from the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) had several different EV’s owned by their members on display for the public to examine.

    The test drives were very popular with a big queue lining up to do them. There were also quite a few stalls where people could find out about current and emerging EV vehicle models as well as talk to industry experts about buying, owning and charging EVs.

    BYD was well represented with its own stall as well as being next to the SIXT EV rental stall which had a prominent orange colour Atto 3. By coincidence, the next stall in that row for Simply Energy/Engie had a third Atto 3 parked next to it which they had rented from SIXT to drive to this event.

    Drive day general public visitors during the weekend and fleet managers previously during the week had the opportunity to connect with EV industry professionals including a good variety of Australian EV accessory suppliers such as EVSE chargers, NHP Delta chargers and Wallbox chargers.

    Of course, being an NRMA and NSW Government co-hosted EV promotion event there were stalls for both organisations where you could learn about what they are doing to help improve EV infrastructure, check out some popular EV’s, as well as see an NRMA patrol truck that is setup to add range to a stranded NRMA member EV which has an empty battery.

    Of great interest to me as an EV reviewer who loves road trips were the displays showing the planned big expansion of NRMA EV charging sites across NSW and Australia, co-funded by the NSW and Federal governments.

    Carly Iriving-Dolan NRMA’s CEO of Energy and Infrastructure commented on the recently announced $78.6 million partnership with the Federal Labor Government to build 117 fast charging sites across the national highway network:

    “We are working with a number of great EV charging solution providers for the National electric vehicle charging network”.

    “The chargers used and output of the chargers will vary across the rollout based on the needs of drivers at the locations the NRMA will build in”.

    “Each of the chargers will feature CCS2 and CHAdeMO plug types allowing all EV driverS with modern EVs to charge”.

    While the specific charger brands weren’t mentioned in that quote there was a possible hint at today’s event with NRMA branded charging stations prominently on display: Kempower (NRMA stand) and ABB Terra 360 (IPD Gemtek / ABB Stand).

    NRMA Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Robert Giltinan, said the organisation was excited to give people the opportunity to learn more about EVs and jump behind the wheel in a comfortable environment:

    “As Australia’s largest mutual representing more than 2.7 million Members, we don’t want anyone left behind as the world shifts towards electric transport. We will continue to work in partnership with government, industry and community to provide information and solutions to ensure everyone can understand and benefit from the transition.”

    NSW Government Executive Director Energy, Colette Grigg commented

    “Under the Electric Vehicle Strategy released in 2021, the Government is investing $633 million to drive sales of electric vehicles to more than 50% of new passenger vehicles by 2030-31, and to support construction of enabling public charging infrastructure. It’s expected that the vast majority of new vehicles sold in NSW will be electric vehicles by 2035.”

    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.

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