Corey Stenhouse grew up loving performance vehicles.

At 22, his Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo was used purely for the adrenaline rush felt when he revved its engine around the dusty outback streets of his home town, Broken Hill.

“I reckon most young P-platers in Broken Hill have had a loud car or a Commodore or something, and it just grew from there.”

Now 34, Corey gets his adrenaline rush from something a little different. An electric vehicle (EV) that can top zero to 100 kilometres per hour in a modest 4.4 seconds.

Mr Stenhouse says his Tesla has served him well in outback NSW.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

While it may not give the grunt of a revving V8, Mr Stenhouse believes the torque, power and intelligence make up for it.

According to Mr Stenhouse, EVs are the future of performance vehicles, and can now be modified, tuned and altered in ways never done before.

‘Unlike anything in a petrol or diesel car’

While most EV purchases are made for the cost-saving and environmental benefits, it’s not often they’re favoured for driveability and performance.

“Driving an EV is a completely different feeling of power, it’s like a foot on your chest when you take off, it’s zero delay, ultimate torque … unlike anything in a petrol or diesel car,” Mr Stenhouse said.

“In my opinion, it’s much more enjoyable to drive than an internal combustion engine that needs gears and servicing, has a lot of running costs and is heavy on fuels.”

Instead of an engine in the bonnet, the free space is used as a second boot.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

Mr Stenhouse can control his EV through a phone app – its windows, air conditioning, security, and the engine.

For an extra fee, he can even download a software update that makes the car go faster.

“There are a lot of guys now who remap engines through a laptop.”

“We’re talking the same technology with EVs so being able to tune your electric motors on laptops or over the updates.”

A passion for performance vehicles, and a career fixing and maintaining large fuel-powered machines, haven’t deterred Mr Stenhouse from making the switch over to an EV.

Mr Stenhouse works with mining machinery, like this underground loader.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

In fact, he’s developed a keen interest in the way electric vehicles work and how they can be modified.

“I did a short electric vehicle course because I don’t believe mechanics should be left in the dark with this technology,” Mr Stenhouse said.

“Obviously you’re dealing with high voltage, so it was more, ‘This is what you can touch and this is what you stay away from.'”

Distance and charging times

Mr Stenhouse lives out on a station that is centred on renewable energy, and he and his wife have plans to eventually operate entirely off grid.

“Buying the Tesla, being in the middle of nowhere, we certainly had hesitations but with EVs there’s substantially less servicing,” he said.

“You don’t get a service book at 10,000km, you just don’t have the same drive train to service.

“You’re literally looking at a battery pack and a couple of electric motors.”

Mr Stenhouse says his EV is left on charge when he’s at home, so the battery is full.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

With little set-up needed, a simple 10amp wall plug will sufficiently charge an EV, although it can take up to 24 hours to charge fully from empty.

“On a full charge you can get 500km but on a long trip it’s a little bit less because the car isn’t regeneratively braking.

“Typically on a long drive we’re looking for a charger about every 400km.”

Fast charger network near completion

The NRMA has been working on establishing a statewide network of EV fast chargers, so vehicle owners can safely travel to any part of the state without “range anxiety”, or in other words, the fear of running out of charge.

The NRMA has installed a fast charger in Broken Hill that can charge an EV in about 40 minutes.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

NRMA’s head of EV charging and networks Suzana Barbir said it was hoped establishing more fast chargers in regional centres would help open the minds of prospective electric vehicle owners.

“What we’re doing is creating a footprint of chargers all around NSW so when more and more people are ready to purchase EVs – and we get more EVs into the country – they can certainly be guaranteed there’s a charger ready for them,” she said.

Fast charging stations are due to be installed in the remote NSW towns of Wilcannia and Cobar in the coming months, which will mean EV owners can soon travel from Sydney to Broken Hill with ease.

“We know how popular Broken Hill is as a tourist location so it’s exciting that you’ll soon be able to drive from Sydney without fear of losing charge,” Ms Barbir said.

‘Analogue vehicles’ still loved

Mr Stenhouse said it has been hard to put a fault to his electric vehicle, after six months of owning it.

But despite the gradual and inevitable shift to EVs, “analogue vehicles” and the grunt of an internal combustion engine will always have a place in his heart.

“I’ve still got a 78 HZ One Tonner V8 and I have no plans to get rid of it,” Mr Stenhouse said.

Two cars.Mr Stenhouse says V8 engines will always be dear to him and other car enthusiasts.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

“I do enjoy the sound and the rumble of a V8.

Even though his work relies on the manufacturing and handling of internal combustion engines, Mr Stenhouse believes the future is in EVs.

“It’s about moving with the times. We don’t ride horses anymore,” he said.

“It’s important that we do stay up to date with technology and if there’s a better way of doing something then we should be running with that.”

Extracted in full from: Electric vehicle an unconventional choice for ‘performance nut’ and mechanic Corey Stenhouse – ABC News

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