It’s been more than two years since “ruining the weekend” entered the Australian vernacular, at least as it refers to electric cars.
As a little reminder, it goes something like this: ahead of the 2019 election, Labor dared to promise to support a transition to clean transport via a 50% EV sales target if elected.
The Coalition – led by prime minister Scott Morrison, along with ministers Angus Taylor and Michaelia Cash – swiftly launched an attack on this bold ambition accusing Labor, and electric vehicles, of threatening to ruin the weekend, and take utes away from tradespeople, and so on.
In classic Australian form, electric vehicle enthusiasts took up the challenge. And as we near the end of 2021, and enter the next election year, it’s encouraging to see that the mission has not died off to prove just how misleading this campaign was.
If anything, it is gaining legs.
A Facebook group started in early 2021 dubbed “I ruined the weekend” now has 547 members, many of whom have shown again and again that it is possible to get away for the weekend in an electric vehicle and (contrary to the group’s name) not have it ruined. Others have even towed things with their electric vehicles, from trailers to caravans.
Katrin Swindell took a near-1,000km journey along the WA coastline in her Tesla Model 3.
“Another weekend ruined, driving a total of 980km for a night in Bremer Bay which was overcast but beautiful,” she said.
She went on: “2 charging stops each way at the Williams Tesla fast charger and the Katanning visitors centre charger which gave us time for brunch/lunch and then a pot of tea/coffee and a chance to stretch our legs.
“I can confirm that the battery has better range than my bladder . Total cost of charging was $18 at Katanning, rest was free. Bremer Bay Resort provides free Tesla charging and we still have Tesla charging credits we are using at the fast chargers,” she said.
Tim and Meredith Budge with Peter and Jill Allan, took an estimated 270km journey one weekend in a Hyundai Ioniq with electric drivetrain.
“Collective ruining. Visited Kilmore, High Camp, Lancefield, Kyneton (for lunch and re-charge), Taradale then back to Melbourne. Checking respective bush blocks and enjoying country roads and fossil-free electric travel,” wrote the Budges.
Sam Blight took a casual drive and ruined a whole afternoon in his Kona Electric: “Afternoon ruin out to Yennyenning Lakes which are full this year after good rain.” You can feel the serenity.
Ant Day, who started the group, took a 1,500km trip to Esperance, ruining a three-day weekend with a visit to Edge of the Bay festival and along the way was horrified by some lovely wildflowers, then visiting some very nice beaches.
“On the way to the Edge of the Bay festival in Esperance. Those magnificent flowers in this incredibly biodiverse region ruined my long weekend more than the EV did!” he said.
“Esperance ruin day 2. Hard to describe how beautiful the beaches are in Esperance. Breathtaking. Apologies for the view, with an EV which drove flawlessly to get here, despite it being the weekend.”
Christopher Lees took a four-hour trip out to Nhill and even managed to find a Tesla Supercharger at which to top up driving range along the way: “Drove from Melbourne to Nhill yesterday. Sunny and no rain. Ruined the day!” he said.
Shane Parker said he was “Sad to report that the Tesla totally wrecked the Bridgetown Blues Festival for me this year.”
Parker also joined the “You can’t tow anything with an EV” club, as shown below. “Weekend completely stuffed. Apparently,” he said.
Jay Smith didn’t ruin the weekend – he went ahead and ruined a whole week, giving the new Victorian “Charging the Regions” network a good go.
“Why ruin the weekend when you can ruin a whole week?! Great to test out some of the new public EV fast chargers between Mildura and Melbourne last week ,” he said.
And the list goes on. With the holiday season upon us, there are no doubt now plenty of opportunities to ruin a whole summer break! And with another election upon us in early 2022, and a new target from Labor in the offing, there was never a better time than now to show that electric vehicles do perfectly well as transport options both during the week and the weekend.
If you want to join the Facebook group you can find it here, and you can read more road trips on The Driven here. We welcome stories about your own road trips, which you can send to [email protected].
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.