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Alpine A110 Ready To “Peak” Interest.

Automotive history is littered with names that have disappeared and then, to the joy of the hardcore, been resurrected. In rallying circles the name “Alpine” is synonymous with elegance and good looks, and the brand’s name has been given an injection here in Australia with the release of the Australian Premiere Edition Alpine A110. A recommended retail starting price of $97,000 comes along with it and for the money there’s a pack of standard kit.

An aluminuim chassis and a turbocharged 1.8L petrol engine, with 185kW and 320Nm of torque powering down through the rear wheels, plus double wishbone suspension, see a zero to one hundred time of 4.5 seconds and a 44:56 front to rear weight distribution take the new Alpine to levels surpassing its hey-day. The alloy chassis is bonded and riveted for structural rigidity, plus adds to the weight loss regime. Even more weight has been lost from using lightweight Sabelt sports seats at 13.1kg each, and Brembo brakes that incorporate the parking brake into the rear main calliper. This world first innovation saves another 2.5kg. All up, the Alpine A110 clocks the scales at just 1049 kilograms.

The proven double-wishbone suspension ensures that as the car moves and follows the road surface, the tyre’s contact patch remains consistently flat on the road. Kinetics sees the tyres press harder onto the road the harder the Alpine A110 corners. A conventional strut setup would have the tyre’s move to a position that offers less grip. Double wishbones means more suspension travel and due to the lightweight it means the actual suspension settings can be softer and more absorbent. That lightweight aids the handling further with the use of hollow anti-roll bars. This combination means that Alpine were able to specify rubber that initially looks small but in testing proved to be ideal. Michelin supply the Pilot Sport 4 and in a 205/40/18 & 235/40/18 front and rear combination on Otto Fuchs alloys.

Although it’s an inherently safe chassis, the Alpine A110 still comes with the essentials of electronic safety. Anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control are standard. There’s a smattering of luxury items in the forms of an active sports exhaust, a sound system from renowned French audio gurus Focal, carbon fibre interior trim, leather trim on the Sabelt seats, and brushed alloy pedals. The driver is looked after by a driver focused design ethic; the binnacle is small yet clearly laid out and easy to read, the steering wheel is of a suitable diameter and heft, and all round vision is engineered in to be high. Satnav and climate control are also standard as in smartphone mirroring.

Contact your Renault dealer for more details.

Hyundai Gets Fastback For The i30 N

Hyundai has revealed the new 2019 i30 Fastback N in Europe. The sophisticated five-door Fastback N is the second high-performance model from Hyundai’s N Performance division, following on from its sibling the i30 N hot-hatch, which arrived in Australia in March to critical acclaim. The Hyundai i30 Fastback N incorporates many of the design signatures of its hatchback sibling. The elegant i30 Fastback shape has been merged with the dynamic features of the i30 N five-door, such as the dynamic-looking N Grille, and N front and rear bumpers, both highlighted by a red character line. A blacked-out side sill further underscores the model’s sportiness.The new 2019 i30 N Features the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine first introduced in the i30 N hatchback. Like the i30 hot-hatch, the Fastback N is offered in Europe in both Standard and Performance iterations. The Standard Package engine delivers 184kW and uses 7.0L/100km on the official combined cycle. The Performance Package engine generates a maximum power of 202kW and uses 7.1L/100km on the official combined cycle.

The engine delivers a maximum torque of 353 Nm in both specifications. An overboost function further increases torque up to 378Nm and is activated when the maximum torque threshold is reached. The European i30 Fastback N with Standard Package accelerates from rest to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and the i30 Fastback N Performance Package version accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds. The i30 Fastback N is capable of a maximum speed of 250 km/h. The i30 Fastback N’s rear visual features a twin-muffler exhaust and a cohesive rear spoiler that flows neatly into the line of the liftback. A glossy black accent is inserted to highlight the spoiler and further develop the N performance theme.The horizontal design theme of the i30 Fastback N instrument panel conveys an elegant impression and is offered in Europe with a choice of two infotainment systems. There is a Display audio system with an eight-inch capacitive LCD touchscreen, an integrated rear-view camera and Bluetooth connectivity.

Alternatively, there is a Navigation system featuring an eight-inch capacitive touch screen and a seven-year free subscription to LIVE services. Both infotainment units feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which provide a seamless on-screen interface to users’ smartphones for the control of music, telephone or navigation functions. A specific N mode screen menu offers customisable settings for the engine, rev-matching, exhaust sound and Performance Package settings.The 2019 i30 Fastback N features Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance technologies, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Driver-Attention Warning, Lane-Keeping Assist, High-Beam Assist and Intelligent Speed-Limit Warning. Inspired by motor sport, the Hyundai N range was derived from the company’s successful participation in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the Touring Car Racing (TCR) International series. The N line-up was born in Namyang, Korea, at Hyundai’s global R&D Centre, developed and tested at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring and honed to suit Australia’s uniquely challenging roads and driving conditions by the Hyundai Motor Company Australia engineering and development team.

Complete Australian pricing and specifications will be available closer to the local launch of the Hyundai i30 Fastback N in the first quarter of 2019.

SUV, Hatch or Wagon?

SUVs like the Volvo XC40 look really cool!

 

The ever popular Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Station Wagons like the new Ford Focus are brilliant.

 

Why do most women like the SUV, wagon or hatchback shape?  These are the preferred vehicles that women are driving.  SUVs definitely offer that extra status not to mention size.  It seems too that Teal coloured cars are the ones that most excite the ladies.

SUVs are hitting our road on mass, thanks to the buyers, female and male, preferring their practicality, safety and room.  You can buy FWD only SUVs, which if you never go in search of the wide open spaces outside of Suburbia then these types of vehicle will do all your townie jobs nicely, and often with plenty of room to spare.  AWD equivalent SUVs are more expensive anyway!

SUVs are bigger than anything else on the road besides trucks and buses, so anyone will likely be attracted to the safety aspect of owning an SUV.  Many guys will like the fact that their special other half drives a big safe SUV, which often ends up carrying the kids too.  Having a higher ride height does give you a commanding view of the road ahead, and generally speaking, the extra ground clearance works wonders should you be into off-roading.

SUVs are easier to get in-and-out of, and for loading child seats, child accessories, and library book and shopping bags.  Generally speaking you step inside an SUV, rather than sink down into them- like in a hatchback.  When it comes loading cargo into the boot the space is usually large, higher and easier to access.  That said, there are some nicely designed station wagons and hatchbacks that are very practical.

Downsides to owning an SUV are that they cost more to feed; cost more to maintain, and they generally need more wizardry and expensive technology to defy the laws of physics should you want to drive them quickly around corners.  Still, manufacturers are beginning to build a wide variety of SUVs to suit your tastes.  You can even buy convertible SUVs or 2-door coupe SUVs – which pushes the contemporary envelope somewhat.

So if you are a lady on the lookout for a nice new SUV – perhaps Teal coloured or close to it, that is competitively priced then there are some models you may consider.  OK, you men could consider this as well – though you’ll probably prefer a silver, black or white colour (though flaming orange and buttercup yellow is said to get a guy’s heartrate up).  So, how about a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, BMW X3, Ford Ecosport, Ford Escape, Ford Everest, Foton Sauvana, Haval H2, Hyundai Sant Fe or Kona, Jeep, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-3 or CX-5, MG GS, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross or Outlander, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Renault Koleos, Skoda Kodiaq, Subaru Forester or XV, Suzuki Vitara, VW Tiguan, or any of the Volvo XC models?  Modern, safe and great multipurpose vehicles, this list is a good mix to get you thinking.

But if you don’t go the SUV way, there’s plenty of savings to be had by sticking to a hatchback or station wagon instead.  If you spend most of your time travelling within the confines of Suburbia then the SUV size might not make so much sense if a Station wagon or Hatchback will do.  And even at their most practical, an SUV is a bit more difficult to park in the tiny city car parks – unless you have an SUV with all the self-parking aids.

If you think that a good small hatch or station wagon will suit your needs just as well, you will enjoy the benefits of this type of vehicle being cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, more fun to drive and, thanks to the swelling tide of SUVs on the road, you’ll be bucking the trend and looking pretty cool.

Here’s some wagons or hatchbacks you might like to consider: Volvo V60, VW Golf wagon or hatch, your good old Toyota Corolla wagon or hatch, Subaru Forester or Impreza or Liberty, Skoda Octavia Wagon, Renault Megane, Proton Preve, loads of Peugeots, Nissan LEAF (Electric Vehicle), Mitsubishi ASX, a Mini, MG3, Mercedes Benz B-Class or C-Class, a Mazda 3 or 6, Kia Cerato or Soul, Hyundai i40 or i30, Honda Civic, Holden Astra, Ford Focus or Mondeo, Citroen C4 or C5, BMW 3 or 5 Series wagon, Audi A3 or A4, and Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Holden Confirms Camaro Is Coming

The long talked about will they-won’t they car from GM is confirmed. The Camaro is coming but there’s a catch. Of course. Ford US is building the Mustang in both left and right hand forms and therefore is able to amortise the cost. Here in Australia that lands in 5.0L form at somewhere north of $60K. Holden has confirmed the Camaro, to be imported and converted to right hand drive, at $85,990 recommended retail. THEN there are government charges to be added so it’s a fair bet to say it’ll be over $90K. It effectively has the legendary nameplate of Mustang at something like $20K LESS than the car GM brought out in the mid 1960s to compete against the “pony car”.However there are one or two tempters. The Mustang has a four cylinder or a 5.0L V8. The Camaro will be fitted with a V8 only and at 6.2L is over a litre bigger in capacity. That will translate to a potentially better driving experience for some, as the torque output is 617Nm, a full 61Nm better than the Ford product. Peak power is the same, apparently, at 339kW but of course you’ll need to drive around at something like 6000rpm to take advantage of those. The sole transmission choice is an eight speed auto, complete with paddle shifts. Specification will be the GM speak “2SS” and metallics only will be the paint choice. Bose audio will feature inside, as will a heated tiller.

Thankfully there will be vented leather seats, an under-rated part of the equipment list for Australian spec cars that come with leather seats in the Australian heat. There will be an eight inch touchscreen for sound and controls, whilst outside the Camaro will roll on twenty inch diameter alloys wrapping Brembo stoppers. Rubber will come from Goodyear and will be their Eagle tyres, and at a hefty 245/40 front and 275/35 rear combination grip levels shouldn’t be a problem.

Current first year delivery figures are expected to be between just five hundred to six hundred. This is purely down to Holden Special Vehicles getting a handle on the conversion process. “Our business model has always been to provide a niche offering with strong connection and support to our customers and, with just 550 available in our first model year, we are excited to get the product in customers’ hands.” says HSV managing director, Tim Jackson.

Expected deliveries are due to start in the next few weeks.

Historic Holden Could Be Yours.

In Australia’s diverse and rich car & motorsport history there are few combinations of letters and numbers that get the heart beating like A9X. Almost a mythical being for some, the A9X was a code given to an options list for Holden’s LX Torana. Some sources say that the car was closer to the UC Torana that was released at around the same time as the VB Commodore. Just 33 hatchback shells were produced by General Motors Parts and Accessories (GMP&A) for sale to race teams.One of these rare machines is coming up for auction via Pickles Auctions in Perth. There’s a fair bit of history attached to this one. Noted 1970s racer Ron Hodgson had purchased from Holden three bare A9X hatchback car shells. Two of these were transformed into race spec cars. The other was effectively shelved in the case of needing spares. As it eventuated the shell was to be built into a working and running vehicle for a collector. A Group C specification 308cid engine and Warner T10 gearbox, plus Selby suspension and brakes, were fitted. The owner to be, Pat Burke, held onto the car for some years until Burke’s collection was broken up. Noted Western Australian collector Paul Terry purchased the vehicle and was delivered to his stable of cars at the Esplanade Extravaganza Gallery in Albany.It’s appeared in a book and was barely driven. One notable excursion into the public eye was in 1992, driven for just two laps at the Albany Round The Houses. The car’s current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, says this was the first time he saw the vehicle. He bought it in 1993 and apart from some very judicious laps at Barbagallo Raceway, north of Perth, it remains in a largely untouched and almost pristine condition. There’s also the amount of kilometres covered in thirty years: just 475 kilometres and all of those are either track and event based or movements with 200 of these driven in the 25 years the current owner has had it in his garage of cars. It’s never been road registered.Pirelli P7 rubber wraps classic gold centred Simmons wheels, with an overall specification of 225/50/15. The body is also largely pristine, in the classic black and white combination, and there are black Recaro seats plus racing gauges. Being a pre-noise pollution and emissions reducing car it’s a full, unfettered, exhaust and engine combination.

Pickles have the car listed from August 23 until September 2nd.

Mercedes A-Class Arrives For August

Mercedes-Benz have updated their A-Class range and they go on sale here in Australia in August. There’s been quite a few technical additions, a change to the motorvation, and repackaging to provide more room inside. The first model to be released will be the A200, with the A180 and A250 to come before Christmas.

Perhaps, however, the prime attraction is what’s called MBUX. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience is a voice activated and controlled natural language recognition system. The words “Hey Mercedes” are the starting point, and this will allow a driver to speak and enter a navigation destination, select music types or stations, make end end phone calls on the go, send texts, and operate vehicle functions. An AI system will modify the MBUX as it learns the vocal styles of the user/s. You can find out more about it hereA new engine foe the A-Class is the 1.33L, 120kW, 250Nm petrol fed four. That’s mated to a new seven speed auto which is good for a 5.7L/100 kilometre fuel economy (claimed,combined). This is inside a 4419mm length, up from 4299mm. The wheelbase goes to 2729mm, an increase of 30mm from the previous model. Extra width of 16mm and internal repackaging has 9mm and 22mm extra shoulder room front and rear, with 7mm and 8mm extra headroom as well.There’s been a twenty kilo weight reduction, part of which comes from a reduction of the window trimming. This aids visibility all around. Even the boot has been increased, with a new 370L capacity, up 29L.There’s new 18 inch “Aero” alloys, a pair of10.25 inch digital screens that tie in with the MBUX system, keyless start, wireless smartphone charging for compatible handsets, LED headlights, and NTG 6 MB Navigation. Safety levels are huge, with nine airbags on board (front, pelvis side and window bags for driver and front passenger, side bags for rear occupants and knee bag for driver. Mercedes-Benz also add in as standard Active Brake Assist with a semi-autonomous brake function. Active Lane Keep Assist, Active Park Assist with M-B’s Parktronic, and Blind Spot Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, and high quality reversing camera.

Mercedes-Benz are quoting $47,200 plus on roads and dealer delivery, with an expected on-sale date of August 10.

German Odds And Ends: VW Crafter Van & Audi TT

They’re the lifeblood of the small courier driver business, of the larger postal delivery services. LCVs or Light Commercial Vehicles come in various shapes and forms, including the van. There’s plenty to choose from and Volkswagen has just made that choice even more difficult.

The Crafter range offers a more car-like experience both inside and out. There’s the Medium wheelbase, Long wheelbase, Long wheelbase with Overhang, the cab chassis versions in both single and dual cab options and with single and dual rear wheel designs. All up a new Crafter comes in a minimum of 36 versions but with 4 body styles, 3 lengths, 3 heights there’s a total of 59 derivatives including front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, and 4MOTION all wheel drive. The starting price for the immense range is for the Crafter 35 TDI340 LWB (Long wheelbase) SCC (single cab chassis) 8 Speed with auto and FWD at $48,290. Just two hundred more sees you in the Crafter 35 TDI340 MWB (Medium Wheelbase) Van 6 Speed Man ‘RUNNER’ front wheel drive.

There’s different load capacities that are dependent on which drive configuration is chosen. Tick the front-wheel drive option and there’s a cargo capacity of up to 18.4 cubic metres and a maximum cargo space height of 2196 mm. Total permitted weight is between 3.55 to 4.0 tonnes. Load width between the wheel arches is 1380 mm and cargo space length is 4855 mm. Have the driven wheels at the other end and the permitted total weight ranges from 3.55 to 5.5 tonnes. The load width on the heavy vehicles with dual rear wheels has been increased in comparison to the previous model by 402mm, thus allowing it to be loaded using a wider range of standard carriers.Inside it’s a more comfortable workspace. LED lighting has been fitted, the base model has four way electric adjustment and there’s a higher level of comfort available. Called ergoActive, it’s part of a German health and safety campaign to help drivers look after their postures and driving positions. Central locking is standard, dual zone climate control is available, and the Trendline package offers extra features such as a second 12V socket, chromed highlights, and front fog and cornering lights.

Dimensions wise there’s the medium wheelbase 5986mm, a long wheelbase at 6386mm, and the overhang version with 7391mm. Engine wise there’s a 2.0L diesel that offers either 340Nm or 410Nm. More features and details will be released in coming months. Head to Volkswagen Australia for more information and to register for updates.

Audi‘s iconic TT coupe made its world debut in 1995 and was available for sale in 1998. The 2018/2019 update brings exterior and interior changes, and updates to the drivetrain. There’s a six speed manual, and a new seven speed DCT or dual clutch auto. The S Line package or magnetic ride drop the ride height by 10 millimetres and work with the progressive steering and four link rear suspension to further enhance the already fluid handling.Standard wheels are 17 inches in diameter, with 18, 19, and 20 as options. These complement the redesigned front and rear, with interior features accessing the Audi drive select dynamic handling system that’s available from the base model, a rain and light sensor, heated exterior mirrors, and the multi-function steering wheel plus This allows the infotainment and voice control system to be controlled entirely using the steering wheel. Also standard are the illuminated USB ports as well as Bluetooth for wireless pairing of devices. The front has a more assertive grille and is flanked by stylish air vents with the rear featuring a subtle work-over to the classic lines.The new TT is due for Australia in the first six months of 2019. Head to Audi Australia to register your interest.

2019 Kia Sportage Has Arrived.

Korean car maker Kia has given its Sportage mid sized SUV a mid life makeover. There’s some exterior enhancements, interior updates, and changes to the safety packages.
Safety: Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) are now standard across the range. Diesel transmission: an eight speed auto is standard for any diesel engined model.
The Si has as standard: ABS, ESC, Downhill Brake Control, Hill Start Assist, reverse parking sensors, rear view camera with dynamic guidelines, Lane Keeping Assist, AEB with Forward Collision Warning, High Beam Assist, 3-point ELR seatbelts in all positions, six airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, and impact sensing auto door unlocking. Also standard on the Si is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, engine immobilizer, remote central locking, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, 6-speaker audio unit, cloth trim seats, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, power windows front and rear, Bluetooth functionality, 2.0-litre MPi engine or 2.0-litre CRDi engine, 6-speed automatic on petrol and 8-speed on diesel and 17-inch alloys with 225/60 R17 tyres.Next up is the Si Premium. Satnav is standard, as are front parking sensors, LED DRLs, 225/55/18 rubber and alloys, DAB and an eight inch touchscreen, plus ten years worth of SUNA satnav. SLi adds a tyre pressure monitoring system, powered driver’s seat that’s adjustable for ten ways, and LED rear lights. The GT-Line ups the ante even further with Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 8-way power front passenger seat, Intelligent Parking Assist System, LED fog lights, GT-Line sports pack (bumpers, side sill and grille), panoramic sunroof, flat-bottomed sports wheel with gear-shift paddles, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, hands-free power tailgate, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, 19-inch alloys with 245/45 R19 rubber and LED headlights with auto levelling.Exterior design changes have the rear lights tidied to provide a more integrated look and better brake light visibility. LED lamps up front for the GT-Line provide a better lighting spread, plus the bezels for the fog lights in the Si and Si Premium have been sharpened for a more assertive road presence. Even the wheels have been changed in design for a new, fresh, look.
Interior room has been increased with a 30mm lengthening of the wheelbase. Overall length has moved to 4485mm, an increase of 45mm, with headroom and legroom increasing by up to 19mm. A subtle lowering of the bonnet’s leading edge adds to raising pedestrian safety levels.Underneath are changes that aren’t easily seen but will be noticed on road. Revised and relocated suspension components. The suspension bushes have been moved, wheel bearings have been stiffened, as have the bushings. The rear suspension cross member was also uprated to reduce vibration input to the cabin and the whole rear subframe has been mounted on uprated and isolated bushings.
Motorvation is courtesy of a 2.0L petrol four with 114kW and 192Nm of torque, 2.4L petrol with 135kW & 237Nm. The diesel is 2.2L of capacity with 136kW and a thumping 400Nm of torque.Pricewise: Si 2.0-litre petrol: $29,990. Si 2.0-litre diesel: $35,390. Si Premium Petrol: $32,290 (D/A $31,990). Si Premium diesel $37,690 (D/A $37,390).
SLi 2.0-litre petrol: $36,790. SLi 2.0-litre diesel: $42,190. GT-Line 2.4-litre petrol: $44,790. GT-Line 2.0-litre diesel: $47,690.  Head to the Kia website

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Is On The Way.

Hyundai‘s big SUV, the Santa Fe, has received a substantial makeover and it’s heading our way. The sheetmetal has been completely reworked, safety standards have been lifted, and overall ride & build quality has been improved. The Active petrol starts from $43,000, with the diesel at $46,000. The Elite kicks off at $54,000, and Highlander at $60,500, with these being the manufacturer’s list price. Here’s what we’ll be getting.Santa Fe comes in three trim levels: Active, Elite, and Highlander. The Active offers a choice of a 138kW 2.4L petrol and six speed auto or a revamped 440Nm diesel and eight speed auto that’s new to the Korean brand and gears can be paddle shift selected. The petrol’s peak torque of 241Nm is available at 4000 rpm. The diesel offers the peak amount from 1750 to 2750 rpm. Economy for the petrol is quoted as a reasonable 9.3L/100km on a combined cycle. The Elite and Highlander are specced with the EURO 5 compliant diesel and is quoted as 7.5L/100km for the combined. The exterior has been sharpened and flattened all around. Design cues from the Kona are strong, with the signature Cascading Grille, which is in a carbon effect finish on Elite and Highlander, split level lighting system being balanced via reprofiled tail lights which are LED lit in the Highlander. In between is a reprofiled body including a strengthened look to the wheel arches. Overhang at the rear has increased, and the overall length has gone up too. It’s an increase of 70mm to 4770mm and wheelbase size is also up, to 2765mm. Hyundai has also relocated the wing mirrors to the door panels. Height and width are impressive at 1680mm and 1890mm. Drive is courtesy of the HTRAC AWD system which is standard in all three and ride is thanks to revamped MacPherson struts and multilink rear. The HTRAC system comes in three drive modes, Comfort, Sport, and Eco, with torque being apportioned front or rear depending on which mode is selected. Sport has up to 50% shifted rearwards, Comfort up to 35%, and Eco goes to the front wheels. The rear has been stiffened and components realigned to provide more travel. Suspension rates have been further adapted for Australian roads so the Santa Fe will sit more comfortably on the road yet will follow contours precisely. Weight has been saved by utilising aluminuim for the front steering knuckles and rear carrier mountings for a total of 3.6kg and 5.6kg for each side.Safety has gone up a notch or two also. The physical structure of the Santa Fe has been improved with fifteen percent more high tensile steel and fifteen hot stamped components, up from six. Then there’s the standard list of equipment. Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian and cyclist detection (with autonomous application), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA)Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) are in all three.A couple of other nifty features are auto opening tailgates for the Elite and Highlander when the Smart Key is detected, and there’s a “Walk In” feature for the second row of seats that folds them flat, allowing easier rear seat access. The sound system in the Elite and Highlander is a ten speaker setup courtesy of Infinity. Highlander also features a smartphone charging pad for compatible items.

Head to Hyundai’s website for more information.

The Electric Highway.

One of the appeals of the Australian landscape is its huge gaps between the cities, allowing an almost uninterrupted view of the beautiful world we live on. That also means that using a car not powered by diesel or petrol may be limited in its ability to traverse the distances between them.Come the Electric Highway. Founded by the Tesla Owners Club of Australia, TOCA, they took up a joint initiative with the Australian Electric Vehicle Association to literally fill in the gaps. With a smattering of Tesla supercharger and destination charger points mainly spread along points of the east coast and largely between Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, a driver can now drive no more than 200 to 300 kilometres before seeing another charging point. The network is made up of 32 amp three-phase chargers which are about 200km apart on average, with the furthest distance between charge points being 400km. Most are capable of adding 110km of range in 30 minutes.

Tesla itself is looking at another eighteen superchargers around Australia by the end of 2019 which is complemented by the Australian Capital Territory’s decision to install fifty dual Electric Vehicle charging points at government sites in order to reach its zero emissions goal by 2022 for government cars.

Although most states have so far effectively failed to get on the electric car wagon, Queensland has bucked that trend by investing heavily in charger points.In that state, EV drivers can travel from Coolangatta to Cairns, and west from Brisbane to Toowoomba, using the government’s fast charger network, which is also vehicle agnostic. This means that the charger points are able to deal with the various car charging point designs, which does beg the question of why a global standard appears to not have been settled on. The rollout was completed in January of 2018.It’s also worth noting that the Western Australian government owned power company, Synergy, did assist the TOCA initiative. In WA alone, more than 70 charge points were installed in towns and roadhouses on all major roads in the south and east of the state, as well as some remote locations in the north.

The initiative, a team effort by Synergy and the WA branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, is installing three-phase charge points in towns and roadhouses on all major roads in the south and east of the state, as well as some remote locations in the north.

WA’s regional utility, Horizon Power, also contributed to the roll-out, with installations of 3 phase outlets in the Kimberley area.

“We’re endeavouring to show that there is ‘people power’ behind the drive to EV’s, and hopefully governments can follow,” said Richard McNeall, a TOCA member and coordinator of the Round Australia Project.Currently most charger points are free, however there is a mooted change to this, but not at a huge impost. With pricing yet to be settled upon it’ll be worth looking out for press releases on this matter.

UK car maker Jaguar Land Rover has also announced plans to add a charging network in Australia, ahead of the release of its first EV, the I-PACE all-electric SUV, later this year. JLR Australia says the up to $4 million network would include 150 changing stations, using 100kW DC chargers provided by Jet Charge.

Plug Share is the site to go to to find out where the charge points are located.