The regional Victorian town of Cobram has a population of just 5,389 people, but now has a great, central location for recharging your EV. Having grown up in Cobram, I was keen to visit and try these for myself, which I managed to do this weekend.
The charging facilities are provided by a Delta 100kW DC City Charger on the Everty Charging Network. The charger is located (Plugshare link) is located at Federation Park, Punt Road, Cobram, the site offers 2 generously sized parking bays, clearly marked as Electric Vehicle parking.
The two parking bays are separated by 2 yellow bollards that protect the charging infrastructure. You will need to watch your doors when opening.
The charger itself offers 2x CCS2 connectors, which suits 95% of the EVs available in Australia, so a good decision by Everty and these can both DC fast charge vehicles simultaneously at 50kW. While the speed is not the 350kW we see from an Ultra-fast Chargefox or Evie charger, these regional locations are happy to have any charging infrastructure and this will inevitably improve over time.
If you’re wondering why these charging providers don’t simply jump to put in the fastest chargers available, the answer is cost. The faster the charger, the more power is required.. this means the charging unit itself costs more (as does the associated charging infrastructure) and the power demands on the site. Depending on what power is available at the location, these differences can be measured in the hundreds of thousands, making the return on investment for the site significantly greater.
When I first pulled into the site, I nosed into the adjacent disabled parking spot and then reversed into the charging spot on the right. With a Tesla Model 3, the charging port is in the rear left tail light, so reaching it was going to be a challenge. I backed right to the back of the parking bay and despite there being long cables available, having it run down from the charger, under the rear bar of my car, then back up to the charging port, I couldn’t make it reach. It is likely that I could have pulled forward and routed it around the back of the car, but I chose to relocate and pull into the left charging bay.
With the car parked on the left of the charger, there was no problem in reaching the charging port, actually, there was so much cable it was on the ground. I lifted it up and looped it over the hook on the side of the charger.
The Cobram charger is located close to Restrooms, Shopping and a Park, which is great for those travelling with kids. My daughter and mum played at the park, while I downloaded the Everty app, created an account and registered a credit card. With the app setup, I was then able to select the charger on the map and select Start Charging.
I checked the display on the charger and despite this being a brand-new location that opened in May this year, the screen had already been scratched. This is disappointing to see but does show why solutions without displays are popular.
My charging session lasted around 30 minutes (including the app setup time) and in that time I managed to get around 50kms of range back in the car. Discussing the experience with my dad, I highlighted that that charge cost just $3.17, so in the event you charged for 500km of range, that’d cost around $30, given the flat rate of $0.30/kWh.
Right now, a DC fast charger with a couple of plugs is ok in Cobram, given the town’s modest population, but that won’t last long. In the event the chargers were busy, the closest alternative charging locations are Yarrawonga or Shepparton. Cobram is a bit of a destination town, and while locations like the RACV Resort have AC charging options (BYO Type 2 cable), DC fast charging is critical for those travelling long distances.
A number of EV owners are starting to discuss the need for charging infrastructure that supports pull-through charging. Now there are a number of EVs on the market that support towing, so it does make sense that this is accommodated, but these do still represent a small percentage of the overall fleet. At major charging hubs (like Euroa) along regular routes, these larger and longer charging bays are possible given there’s existing trailer parking, it would be fairly easy to engineer charging options in that area of the parking lot.
What’s also great to see is a seat and tables close by, which are sheltered by solar panels. The bin is appreciated, great to dispose of rubbish from your travels that may sound like a strange thing to call out, but far too many sites lack this basic infrastructure. There are also toilet facilities a small walk away, so the site selection here was great.
Overall the charging experience here is good, the parking bays are great, the price is right and the cable length should accommodate most EVs, we just need more of them.