As we depart Hobart, the hum of our Polestar 2 replaces the familiar engine roar, underscoring a commitment to a sustainable journey ahead. Electric vehicles, or EVs, as they’re most commonly referred to, are revolutionising the way we travel, reducing carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. To put this statement to the test, Swedish automotive brand and EV manufacturer, Polestar has invited us down to the Apple Isle and generously lent us a car to test drive. With a range that can cover the entire 200-kilometre journey from Hobart to Freycinet National Park, we venture forth, knowing we are leaving behind a smaller ecological footprint.
Sustainable Pit Stops
Tasmania’s pristine landscapes come alive as we cruise along the coastal highway, making us stop and appreciate their beauty. Every kilometre paints a picture of the delicate balance between nature and human existence, from picturesque vineyards to rolling hills dotted with sheep. It’s difficult not to want to preserve the landscape we find ourselves quietly zipping through.
Although this road trip is not just about the destination—it’s about the journey and the sustainable choices we make along the way. Tasmania’s towns and villages offer opportunities to recharge our vehicles and ourselves. There are 80 public charging stations, plotted around the island state, from bustling cities to regional towns. And thanks to $500,000 in Tasmanian Government grants spent during 2020 and 2021, there are 18 fast chargers across the state—helping you get on the road quicker.
Keeping in tune with the purpose of our road trip, we stop at Devil’s Corner for lunch. This striking vineyard and winery has embraced a holistic approach to environmental stewardship, making it a shining example of sustainability in the wine industry. From soil health management to water conservation and biodiversity preservation, every aspect of vineyard management is approached with a deep respect for the land.
You can expect a smorgasbord of local seafood from Freycinet Marine Farm, just a stone’s throw down the road in Coles Bay. Or, grab a rustic wood-fired pizza made to order from Tombolo Freycinet, operating inside the cellar door. The menu is seasonal, so expect to peel-off slices topped with everything from prawns to mushrooms and three kinds of cheese.
For those who aren’t driving, opt for a premium guided tasting to sip through cool-climate tipples, including Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Sparkling.
The aforementioned Freycinet Marine Farm is also a noteworthy stop, even if it’s just for the delicious steaming bucket of mussels swimming in a creamy, white sauce—French style. This sustainable aquaculture enterprise, embraced by Freycinet National Park, offers a unique and immersive experience that showcases the best of Tasmania’s abundant seafood harvest. Indulge in a platter of succulent oysters, renowned for their creamy texture and briny essence. And don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the sweet, tender scallops that melt in your mouth. Each bite is a testament to the farm’s commitment to quality and the region’s rich seafood heritage.
Silent Wheels, Majestic Views
As we approach Freycinet National Park, excitement builds. Over millions of years, the forces of nature have meticulously carved the rugged peaks and breathtaking cliffs that define this awe-inspiring landscape. The towering granite peaks of The Hazards command attention, their distinctive shapes standing as sentinels overlooking the turquoise waters of Wineglass Bay. Our EV glides through the park’s entrance, leaving only tire tracks as evidence of our passage.
A few winding corners later, we arrive at Freycinet Lodge, our home for the night. Freycinet Lodge is more than just a place to rest your head; it’s a sanctuary. The lodge’s architecture and design embrace the natural curves of the landscape without disturbing the views. Solar panels harness the power of the sun to provide renewable energy, while rainwater collection systems and water-efficient fixtures reduce water consumption. The lodge’s restaurant follows suit, with a farm-to-table ethos, paying homage to the region’s culinary heroes, from local farmers, fishermen and artisans. By embracing these sustainable practices, Freycinet Lodge sets a high standard for environmentally conscious hospitality.
Nearby, guests have access to the spoils of Freycinet National Park; whether it’s a guided hike or kayaking, there’s an adventure to suit everyone’s curiosity. The property alone has its own hidden sandy gems in the name of Richardsons Beach and Honeymoon Bay—both secluded beaches, sheltered from the masses, and all yours to enjoy.
Driving Towards a Greener Future
Our road trip becomes more than a personal quest for sustainability; it’s an opportunity to learn about electric vehicles and the undergoing transformative shift in the automotive industry. I must confess, before getting behind the wheel of the Polestar 2, the idea of an electric vehicle had never crossed my mind. While it had become a hot topic in recent times, I was content with my trusty petrol-powered Golf, oblivious to the possibilities. However, everything changed when I experienced the exhilaration of instant torque, the seamless acceleration that only an electric motor can deliver. It was a whisper, a quiet hum, yet it spoke volumes about the future of transportation. I was able to travel through a place I adore, leaving behind the slightest mark, like footprints in the sand—a feeling other Australians are chasing.
According to the 2023 American Express Global Travel Trends Report, 81% of Australian adults are interested in going on a holiday in 2023 with minimal environmental impact. 56% of them are more mindful of the eco-impact their travel decisions have. Hiring an EV on your next road trip is just one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint when traversing through a destination.
The Polestar 2’s sleek and contemporary design blends Scandinavian elegance with sportiness. Its clean lines, minimalist aesthetic, and aerodynamic profile make a striking statement on the road. The signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights illuminate the way, while the distinctive LED rear light cluster enhances visibility and adds a touch of modernity.
Inside, it’s powered by a state-of-the-art electric drivetrain that delivers exhilarating performance. Dual electric motors—one at the front and one at the rear—generate a combined output of up to 408 horsepower and instant torque, propelling the car from 0 to 96km per hour in just over 4.5 seconds. The standard all-wheel drive ensures optimal traction and stability, making every drive a thrilling experience, especially when it comes to tackling Tasmania’s notorious winding roads.
While the technical aspects of the Polestar 2 are undoubtedly fascinating, the attention to materials truly captured my interest. The next car in the lineup is the Polestar 3, and we got a little sneak peek at the details. Expect seats to be meticulously crafted using synthetic materials and recycled PET bottles. This innovative approach ensures comfort and contributes to a more sustainable manufacturing process. In a commendable effort to combat marine pollution, reclaimed fishing nets, a common ecological threat, will be ingeniously repurposed to create the car’s carpets, cementing the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
The technology capabilities of the Polestar 2 are nothing short of impressive, particularly when it comes to embarking on a road trip. At the heart of the car is an expansive 11.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by Google. This integration opens up a world of possibilities, granting access to various apps and services. With the seamless integration of Google Maps, you can effortlessly navigate your journey while the intuitive Google Assistant stands ready to assist you with any inquiries or tasks. Gone are the days of fumbling with your phone or taking your eyes off the road. Simply command Google to adjust the seat warmer or queue up your favourite playlist on Spotify without lifting a finger. The hands-free experience ensures that your attention remains focused on the road ahead, keeping you safe and connected while traversing the remote corners of Tasmania.