Highway travelling at slower speeds

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Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by Chuq »

Hi everyone, I'm hoping to get some advice from those who have done longer trips. Technically this topic isn't specifically about EVs, it is somewhat related.

When travelling longer distances in my Leaf, I prefer to travel at slower speeds to extend the range. This has only been in Tasmania so far, where most highways are 100-110 km/h and have many sections where they are only a single lane each way. I usually travel at 90 km/h if there are vehicles behind me and no opportunity to overtake - to minimise inconveniencing other drivers - and 70 km/h otherwise. If there is a side road off the main highway, I will prefer to take it, as these is usually very little traffic on these roads and the speed limit is often lower (80 km/h).

My question related to the highways on the mainland, specifically the Hume Highway, which I haven't travelled for some time (as a teenage passenger 25+ years ago). Since everything is bigger on the mainland, I think my logic may be reversed :) I'm using Victorian examples here but the question applies generally.

If I was to travel the Hume Highway, would travelling at 70-80 km/h be a problem? I would expect it to be two lane each way for almost its entire length, and therefore with vehicles able to overtake at any time, would I be inconveniencing other drivers?

If I was to take a side road (e.g. C-roads through Kilmore, Benalla or Wangaratta) would this be single lane each way - therefore *more* of an inconvenience to other drivers, since they are unable to overtake easily?
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Re: Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by mikedufty »

In WA it is illegal to travel that slowly (more than 20kph below the limit) on a Freeway. Is the Hume designated a freeway? I'd be inclined to take the side roads anyway, 40kph slower than the general traffic flow seems quite likely to increase the chance of incidents or accidents. Still a speed difference off the freeway, but less likely to be convoys of tailgaiting vehicles, and people off the freeway need to be prepared for bicycles, tractors etc anyway.
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Re: Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by dgh853 »

On dual carriageways like the Hume Highway driving at 70kph would be dangerous when traffic is heavy i.e. near the outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne. In between it wouldn't cause much of a problem but getting passed by trucks doing at 100-110kph can be pretty unnerving if they are trying to pull out into the fast lane with such a big speed difference.

A general comment on slow EV driving this is that driving at relatively low speeds is really giving EVs a bad name. "I saw an EV and it was only doing 80kph on the freeway - EVs suck". We don't want to be giving ICE owners an excuse not to buy EVs. As our EVs are capable of driving at the speed limit we should drive them like the majority of people and be within ~10kph of the limit. If that means we need to charge more often to be safer and also not be the subject of ridicule then I think that's what we should do.
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Re: Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by adelaide-ev »

Having driven in SA, WA Vic and Tas I wouldn't be planning on doing less than 90km/hr on a freeway, expressway or major highway.
You may get lucky for a stretch of roadworks at lower speed or behind a grey nomad but generally you need to be able to keep up to speed and take the range penalty into your planning.

Taking the "B" road is preferable 99% of the time - I still base calculations for those on doing at least 80km/hr although if no traffic you can sometimes do a little less. Also likely to be more small towns with more charging opportunities. You can usually find somewhere to pull over to let others pass if needed.

As an example Melbourne to Adelaide main highway not too busy daytime from Ballarat to Tailem Bend but still drove at 85-95kmhr with the odd few km behind a slower caravan. However come 6pm it's a transport corridor - large trucks sitting on the maximum speed and definitely not a safe place for small electric cars trying to conserve range.
And yes, it's a bummer having to drive slowly with a short range ev but until we have more charging stations that's just how it is.

Experience in WA was awesome on the RAC Electric Highway - with fast charging stations 50-60km apart - could just fast charge 10-15 minutes and then drive at 110km/hr without even looking at the range til the next stop. EV freedom!

So for the Hume - I'd be looking at the old highway for much of the trip _ only using the new part for selected sections where range will be ok if you drive at normal speed.
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Re: Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by 4Springs »

I'd echo everyone else here.
We travelled on that road up to Canberra last year. As I was driving I was thinking about the trip that you are thinking of undertaking. There are just so many vehicles! Even something going 90kph slows the whole four lanes down, as the cars from the left lane move over to the right to go around it. We came back via the A1, which is still a great road but with far fewer cars (unless that was to do with the days we were travelling).
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Re: Highway travelling at slower speeds

Post by PiMan »

I've been that driver who drove slow to save range on a freeway; pretty sure I pissed off everyone behind me. I was justified because I still ran out of charge before my destination.
I'm never doing another road trip again unless I am 100% confident that I can do it at or near the speed limit.
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