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ELECTRIFICATION exhibitions with test drive opportunities such last weekend’s Everything Electric Australia event in Sydney could become the replacement for erstwhile motor shows that were popular earlier this century and before, with one brand expecting to sell more than 100 electric cars as a result of the expo’s hands-on approach.

 

An evolution of last year’s Fully Charged Live show – presented by the Fully Charged YouTube channel – Everything Electric Australia carried forward the format’s focus on battery electric vehicles (BEV) and home energy technologies but on a much larger scale.

 

Big-name sponsors of the event included Polestar, NRMA, Origin Energy, MyCar and the NSW Government among a list of about 30 supporters and around 80 exhibitors. 

 

Although not all automotive brands that offer BEVs in Australia exhibited, the event offered a look at ownership and living with a BEV, covering off purchase, finance, options, recharging, insurance and safety issues as part of an overarching theme urging people to “stop burning stuff” and move over to cleaner, greener technologies and services.

 

This year, organisers were geared up for tens of thousands of patrons at the three-day event held at Sydney Olympic Park, which facilitated an extensive BEV (including motorcycle and e-bike) test drive operations emanating from surrounding car parks.

 

“There are more than 18.3 million cars on the road in Australia and while we’re seeing a huge increase in curiosity around EVs, the biggest barriers to Australians making the switch are psychological, not technological, said Everything Electric CEO Dan Caesar.

 

“Traditional dealerships are poorly positioned to educate on electric cars, and it can take multiple trips to showrooms to compare and contrast different brands, so to have 25 different EV models available to test drive in one place is an incredible opportunity that should be taken advantage of by any Australian thinking about transitioning over to an EV, either now, or in the future,” he said.

 

The range of BEVs on display (and available for test drive) included Polestar and its Polestar 2 line-up, MG with its high performance X-Power and MG 4, Audi with three E-Trons (Q4 Sportback, RS GT and the Q8 Sportback), Peugeot’s E-2008 SUV and E-Partner van, Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N, Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Kona Electric, Genesis GV60 and GV70, Renault’s just-released Megane E-Tech and the Kangoo E-Tech, and BMW’s iX1, iX2 and i4 sedan all attracting plenty of attention.

 

A spokesperson for one of the OEMs told GoAuto they expected in excess of 100 sales from the test drive/ride program over the three days. A similar result was expected by other manufacturers, all of whom favoured the test drive/ride format of the exhibition.  

 

“We want to convert these test drives and rides into sales,” said one OEM representative. “Get them in cars and feel what an EV is really like.”

 

Electric Alley, a collective BEV display featured the likes of LDV’s Mifa 9, Ford F-150 Lightning, the imposing Lotus Eletre, Cupra Born, Mustang Mach-E, AsiaStar electric van, LDV eDeliver van, Ford E-Transit and Tesla Model 3.

 

Challenging political rhetoric that BEVs would ‘end the weekend’ was a display from the Tesla Owners Club of Australia, focused on camping and outdoor accessories for various Tesla models.

 

Generating plenty of interest from patrons were the BEV conversion specialists which re-engineer classic models and light commercial vehicles with BEV powertrains, models that span from old VW Beetles through to classic Holdens to one-tonne utes and vans.

 

Though still in its infancy, e-motorcycles in Australia were well represented by home-grown Savic Motorcycles and, returning after a false start, Zero Motorcycles now distributed through the Peter Stevens Group with an extensive range of dual-purpose, off-road, sports and touring models. 

 

It is a different story for electrified motor scooters that already have a solid foothold in this country, underlined by a funky group of Fonz models and other brands at the exhibition.

 

A large slice of one hall was occupied by charging companies seeking to sign up customers or espouse the benefits of their particular chargers. A solar race car zone featured a brace of electric racing vehicles, among which was a dirt track racer.

 

Ironically, the NRMA was promoting its mobile BEV recharge service, running off an ICE-powered one-tonne ute.

 

E-bike brands were well represented, in particular off-road models that look like slimmed-down motocross machines without an engine in the usual place. They too offered test ride facilities and demo rides from off-road e-bike racing experts.

 

Additional to the actual exhibits were numerous on stage presentations on BEV-related topics from a line-up of speakers including YouTube stars Electric Viking, Engineering with Rosie and ColdFusion’s Dagogo Altraide, moderated by Fully Charged Show presenters Imogen Bhogal, Jack Scarlett, Elliot Richards, Dan Caesar and Simone Annan.

 

Many other BEV-related topics were covered off at the exhibition with 50 expert live sessions discussing topics such as mythbusting, guidance on a first BEV purchase, future-proofing the home, reducing food’s carbon footprint, and how to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions. 

 

Other subjects included vehicle fleets, climate change and energy security.

Everything Electric Australia 2025 is scheduled for March next year.  

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