Like it or not, EVs are the way of the future. They’re faster. Provide better torque. More control on and off-road. And can even make your 4X4 turn on the spot with some fancy trickery. Unfortunately, they’re not the be-all-to-end-all just yet. Sure, charge times are dropping drastically. Most EVs can be charged around 400km range in less than an hour. But you still can’t get EV fuel from a jarry can, making outback travel significantly more of a hassle.
One clever Aussie reckon’s he’s got a solution though. Chicken Parmi’s. Alright sure, he didn’t mention them by name, but we can fill in the blanks. Jon Edwards, a Perth based EV enthusiast has ponied up over $200k to help grow the states EV infrastructure, and he’s had some interesting experiments along the way.
His first serious spell was known as the ‘ChagePod’, essentially a diesel generator strapped to the back of a 50kW charger. The idea was the entire unit as one could be dropped off at outback roadhouses, much the same a some road houses currently do with shipping container style diesel systems.
“Their 350kW charger would give 600km range in less than 20 minutes”
Despite running on diesel directly rather than mains power, the ChargePod still produced good results. A 9.25hr stress test managed to charge 10 EVs from the unit. Doing some rough calculations, the ChargePod worked out to be around 5L of diesel for 100km of charge in each EV. The charger’s manufacturer Tritum reckons you could gain around 600km range hooked up to the ChargePod for a little over 2hrs. By comparison, their 350kW charger would give 600km range in less than 20 minutes.
But what’s all this about Chicken Parmi’s we hear you say? We’re getting there. Despite the ChargePod giving comparable fuel economy to any diesel, Jon still copped a lot of flack for running an EV off diesel. The solution was a simple system, used cooking oil. Jon worked out a typical outback roadhouse will accumulate around 55L of waste oil a week. When strained, and stored, that’s enough to charge around 6 EVs passing through. The roadhouses not only dispose of their old cooking oil for free, they can charge a pretty penny for the privledge of charging an EV in the middle of nowhere. Of course, as EV’s become more popular, they’ll quickly out strip their supply of waster cooking oil and will need to look at more permanent systems, but baby steps eh?