Electric motorcycle trek proves Australia’s EV readiness

Duncan Mallord with his electric motorcycle outside Lake Eyre Yacht Club
Duncan Mallord with his electric motorcycle outside Lake Eyre Yacht Club

Duncan Mallord, an Adelaide-based executive at global engineering company Hatch, has demonstrated that it is possible to venture into the outback on a fully electric motorcycle.

Mallord has just completed the road trip of a lifetime. Starting at one of the lowest lying parts of the country, at Lake Eyre Yacht Club in regional South Australia, Duncan rode an electric motorcycle 1880km to Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko in NSW in a trip that totalled 102 hours. What’s more, the trip cost a grand total of $15.50 in charging fees.

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Mallord traded in his petrol-powered Harley Davidson for his electric motorcycle in November 2021 after a road accident one day on his daily commute to Adelaide from his home in Victor Harbor. His motorcycle was a write-off, but fortunately Duncan only sustained a broken hand and ribs in the collision. 

Duncan had already considered going electric, not just because of their efficiency and green credentials, but also based on their performance, and decided that was the moment to make the change. 

“Electric vehicles are an important part of the move towards sustainable energy, but the charging infrastructure still has a way to go, and there has been a bit of a reluctance in Australia to make the shift across. Here, there is also a lack of government incentives to do so, which has sped up the transition in other countries,” Mallord said.

“I wanted to make a statement that they are a viable option now, not just sometime in the future. Now that I have done it, I have no concerns over the availability and reliability of the charging points, which is one of the primary concerns of the everyday user. I know where they are and how quickly I can charge my bike and set off again.” 

The trek was not without its challenges, with Duncan having to plan the route in advance to ensure he had access to a charging station when required. 

Now that state transport authorities, breakdown service providers, and the developers of charging stations all have detailed maps of charging stations within every state, drivers can easily plan long trips and pinpoint where to find somewhere to recharge their vehicle. 

“To be able to complete such a huge trip and have change from $20 is quite extraordinary,” Mallord said. 

There was the odd hairy moment during the ride, most notably when Duncan caught sight of hundreds of kangaroos lined up roadside on one leg of the journey between Copley and Hawker. 

“I was on high alert to ensure that if any decided to make a charge, I could steer well clear of them,” Mallord said.

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“With the electric motorcycle not making a noise, they all just stayed still because they weren’t spooked by the engine, which was a relief.” 

Duncan is already planning an even longer trek.

“The next one is going to be the first ever electric motorcycle crossing of the Nullarbor,” he said.