Polestar Australia and a retired engineer have gone out of their way to prove a point: all-electric vehicles (EVs) can cross the notorious Nullabor Plain despite the obvious charging infrastructure challenges.
Yep, an example of Polestar Australia’s soon-to-be-released Polestar 2mid-size EV travelled more than 700km between the Western Australian towns of Caiguna and Southern Cross, but how did it do it?
Well, retired engineer Jon Edwards noted the proposed ‘EV highway’ in WA leaves a sizeable gap on the Nullabor and, therefore, stops EVs from being able to drive around the country, so he decided to solve the problem himself.
The solution? EV fast chargers powered by waste ‘chip fat’ (vegetable) oil from the Caiguna Roadhouse, of course. Dubbed Biofil, the new self-contained technology allowed the Polestar 2 to sustainably charge while fully off-the-grid and en route to Perth.
Biofil extracts energy from the waste oil via a generator, with the chip fat from the fryers coming from seed crops (canola, sunflower and others) that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and sunlight. The CO2 produced to power the EV fast chargers is the equivalent to that absorbed.
“Polestar is thrilled to share its passion for innovation and sustainability with visionaries like Jon Edwards,” said Polestar managing director Samantha Johnson.
“To turn a waste product into a CO2-neutral charging solution, which connects Australian EV owners from the east with the west, is the sort of ingenuity that has led to so many Australian innovations.”
Mr Edwards added: “The cost of installing an equivalent solar-powered EV fast charger is over five times the cost of building the Bi0fil fast charging unit.
“Solar energy would not have been economically feasible for such a low-traffic location, making Biofil the environmentally friendly interim solution for EVs driving across the Nullarbor right now.”
For reference, the Caiguna Roadhouse connects WA to South Australia, with it located 370km east of Norsemen and 370km west of the SA border. As a halfway point, it now enables EV drivers to conquer the Nullabor. Who would’ve thought?