Adjusting to EV range and driving conditions
As mentioned earlier, the quoted consumption and range numbers for the MG ZS EV Long Range are claims.
The first few hours of the trip driving out of Sydney’s peak hour congestion northward along the Pacific Motorway were going to be educational. From stop-start crawl to hilly, high speed, this drive would definitely impact driving range.
So it proved. Over 180km the MG ZS EV's consumption average was 21.5kWh/100km and the battery used 45 per cent of its stored capacity. Much of that consumption increase is down to the fact that electric motors consume more energy pushing through the air at higher speeds.
That contributed to a conservative range estimate to work with of about 300km. Another contributor was the battery pack’s trait of slowing the recharging rate dramatically above 80 per cent. To avoid even longer stops that would be the usual end point of a charging session.
Eighty per cent’s also the level manufacturers recommend recharging to because the NMC battery pack used in many EVs including the MG don’t take kindly to being constantly recharged to 100 per cent. On a longer trip you can get away with it though.
With that knowledge established and the Plugshare app opened, a plan for the rest of the drive emerged. The opportunity would have to be taken to top off the battery at a series of major towns along the way - Singleton, Tamworth and Armidale.
While Tamworth and Armidale were only 114km apart, a recharge was needed because there were no accessible chargers in the next 180km along the Waterfall Way to Coffs. Bypassing the Armidale charger would mean a stint of around 300km. Too risky!
Having to take such precautions would slow progress and so would charger speeds. There were only 50kW chargers on the route and no super-fast 350kW DC chargers. So no chance to test the MG’s 94kW recharging claim until Coffs Harbour.