There are certain times in life when stress is unavoidable – and for many, it peaks during the silly season.
But experts have shared a “simple” way to help ease pressures caused by the seemingly never-ending demands of life, stating a road trip can do wonders for improving mental health.
And as I found out during a recent four-wheel adventure in Tasmania, it’s even better when the car you’re doing it in is eco-friendly.
The Polestar 2, an electric vehicle (EV) that rivals luxury brands such as Tesla and BMW, finally arrived in Australia towards the end of 2021 and since then it has been attracting a string of impressive reviews.
For someone such as myself wanting to get away on a relaxing road trip, it was the ideal choice, as it proved super easy to drive – even on the windy roads of Bruny Island.
Polestar Australia managing director Samantha Johnson said there are now almost 1000 of the “stylish and understated” EVs on our roads – despite the fact prices start at just under $70,000.
“We’ve had a great first year in market. It’s fair to say that demand for Polestar 2 has certainly exceeded our expectations – there are almost 1000 vehicles on the road now and thousands more in the pipeline,” she told news.com.au.
“Our growth is certainly a reflection of the shifting attitudes towards electric vehicles in Australia, particularly given cost of living pressures.
“More broadly, we also see our sustainability narrative resonating with customers, along with the minimalist design and tech offering.”
As someone who drives a manual 2008 Suzki Swift on a day-to-day basis, the tech was almost a little overwhelming at first, but I quickly adjusted.
The car’s large screen in the centre of the cabin gave blind-spot warning, active cruise control options and reverse camera, all of which I’ve needed consoling to recover from losing after returning home to my humble Swift.
But for those who own their Polestar 2, the car can do much more, Samantha advised.
“It was the first vehicle globally to be equipped with the Android Automotive OS with Google built in,” she said.
“The system, which has been developed in collaboration with Google, features Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play store for downloading apps straight to the infotainment system.
“Try turning on your house lights from the driveway using Google Assistant next time you drive one.”
One thing I was nervous about doing was charging this baby up as I’ve never driven an EV before. Ahead of my weekend jaunt to Bruny, I also looked up charging points, and was a little nervous about the fact there were only two on the island.
A quick browse online also revealed a lack of charging points for EV vehicles in general is often cited as the “biggest issue” with moving from fuel to electric.
“There are lots of misconceptions about the barriers to electric vehicle ownership, so it really comes down to education,” Samantha said.
“Range is often cited as a big issue, but Australians drive an average of around 35km per day, which is well within reach of electric vehicles that offer around 400km or 500km of range per charge.
“A lack of charging infrastructure is a close second, but there is significant investment ongoing from both governments and private enterprise to address the number of chargers in market.”
Samantha said most Australians would have “the ability to charge overnight from their driveway” and owners can use the public charging network to “supplement charge on longer journeys”.
But for those living in apartment complexes for example, local governments were “working to combat challenges with on-street charging”.
“There is actually a huge amount of demand for electric vehicles, but the difficulty is supply,” she added.
“The Federal Government recently released a discussion paper to help shape the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. This will hopefully see the introduction of a fuel efficiency standard, and a national-based approach to help support a transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric and low-emission vehicles.”
A recent study found electric vehicles emit, on average, 29-41 per cent less emissions than a typical fossil-fuelled car for every kilometre driven in Australia.
But as Samantha pointed out, while making and/or owning an electric vehicle is a start, it’s certainly not the end.
“As a company, Polestar isn’t afraid to call others in the industry out for their lack of action,” she said.
“Eliminating emissions isn’t just in producing an EV, but also reviewing, auditing and refining the manufacturing process.
“We are committed to tracking and reporting on the impact of our supply chain by monitoring our CO2 emissions and ethical sourcing of risk minerals and materials.
“As part of this commitment to transparency and accountability, Polestar also releases an annual Life Cycle Assessment Report on the Polestar 2, and shares the methodology with the industry in a bid to have them do the same.”
With all this focus on doing right by the planet, you’d be forgiven for thinking this EV doesn’t have much “oomph” behind the pedals – but you’d be mistaken.
This has car has some serious welly when you push down on that accelerator and its battery can last between 440km and 540km of range dependant on what model you buy (there are three).
When you add in that medical experts have advised road trips – and travel – are good for our mental and physical wellbeing, a cheeky adventure behind the wheel (ideally a Polestar 2) is a no-brainer.
After all, it helps to reduce stress, enhances positivity, promotes happiness – and is better for our environment.
* The writer drove a Polestar 2 courtesy of Polestar Australia