Each step in re­mak­ing the Hume was small, but over time they added up to com­plete trans­for­ma­tion

SYD­NEY TO MEL­BOURNE ONCE. MEL­BOURNE TO SYD­NEY TWICE. THROUGH 2018 I TRAV­ELLED THREE TIMES BE­TWEEN AUS­TRALIA’S TWO BIG­GEST CITIES WITH­OUT EARN­ING A SIN­GLE QAN­TAS FRE­QUENT FLYER OR VIR­GIN VE­LOC­ITY POINT. MOSTLY I STUCK TO MEM­ORY LANE.

Wheels (Australia) - - In­box - Let­ter of the month win­ner

Adam, the world needs more young car en­thu­si­asts like you, es­pe­cially when you make sound points about dumb road rules. En­joy 12 is­sues of Wheels on us, and be sure to share them with your mates.

That’s not what the tabloids called it when I was grow­ing up in Yass in the 1970s. Back then it was al­ways the Deadly Hume, in bold­face head­lines above re­ports of yet an­other hol­i­day week­end mul­ti­ple-fa­tal­ity crash on High­way 31.

To­day the dead­li­est thing about the Hume is its dull­ness. The killer curves of the Cul­lerin Range, driv­ing high­light of the weekly trips I used to make from Goul­burn to Yass and back again, were by­passed long ago. So was Ra­zor­back, the climb over the Great Di­vid­ing Range be­tween Pic­ton and Camden that added a lit­tle in­ter­est to any jour­ney to Syd­ney. Now the Hume also side­steps ev­ery town along the way.

All this has re­duced driver work­load for most of the jour­ney to neg­li­gi­ble lev­els. Set cruise, sit, steer, and stare at the safety of the once Deadly Hume.

The fu­ture comes slow and stealthy. It’s a bird­stalk­ing cat, not a fran­tic, bark­ing, car-chas­ing dog. The re­mak­ing of High­way 31 was a process that took decades. Most of my life­time, in fact. Each step was small, but over time they added up to com­plete trans­for­ma­tion.

Al­ready the first signs of the Hume’s next era are be­gin­ning to ap­pear...

Late in 2017, dur­ing the sin­gle Mel­bourne to Syd­ney drive I did that year, I was amazed to see a white Model S stop to recharge at the row of six Tesla Su­per­charg­ers in­stalled near the Dog on the Tucker­box near Gunda­gai.

On my fi­nal Hume trip of 2018 I made a stop at the big Shell ser­vice cen­tre near Euroa, specif­i­cally to take a look at the new ar­ray of four DC fastcharg­ers re­cently in­stalled there. These are avail­able to all EV driv­ers, not only Tesla own­ers. Each charger has two per­ma­nently at­tached ca­bles, one with a CCS Com­bined plug at its end, the other with a CHADEMO plug.

Two of them, man­u­fac­tured in Italy by ABB, can de­liver 150kw, way more than a Tesla Su­per­charger and enough to make charg­ing truly quick. They’re ap­par­ently the most pow­er­ful DC fast charg­ers in Aus­tralia right now but this month’s EV Me­gat­est showed that there are still wrin­kles to be ironed out. The other two charg­ers on site are 50kw units, de­signed and man­u­fac­tured in Aus­tralia by Queens­land-based com­pany Tri­tium.

The Euroa in­stal­la­tion is part of an em­bry­onic na­tional net­work be­ing in­stalled by Charge­fox, with sup­port from state-based mo­tor­ing clubs like the RACV, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Aus­tralian Re­new­able En­ergy Agency and the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment.

I’m con­vinced that EVS are the best way to make driv­ing a clean-con­science ac­tiv­ity, so I don’t want to crit­i­cise an ini­tia­tive that aims to has­ten their adop­tion. But I hon­estly can­not fore­see the Euroa charg­ers be­ing use­ful or utilised un­til some­thing is done to en­cour­age peo­ple to choose EVS in­stead of fuel burn­ers.

Then High­way 31 would re­ally be on the way to be­com­ing the Elec­tric Hume...

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