Polestar 2 electric car crosses the Nullabor with innovative fast charger


Volvo’s electric car spin-off Polestar has used its new Polestar 2 sedan to cross Australia’s expansive Nullabor Plain, thanks to a new fast charging station powered by leftover cooking oil.


Former Volvo performance division turned electric car brand Polestar has crossed a 700-kilometre stretch of the Nullabor Plain in southern Australia, with the help of an innovative new fast charger powered by used ‘chip fat’.

Measuring approximately 1100km across at its widest point, the Nullabor Plain – a 200,000 square-kilometre expanse of flat (and nearly tree-less) land across South and Western Australia – is typically considered beyond the capabilities of modern electric vehicles, given its high speeds, vast distances and lack of suitable charging infrastructure.

However, retired Australian engineer turned inventor Jon Edwards has developed a new electric car fast charger known as BiØfil which, rather than solar panels or energy from the electrical grid, is powered by waste vegetable oil (or ‘chip fat’) from the Caiguna roadhouse.

Located at the aforementioned restaurant, the BiØfil charger sits 370km west of the South Australian border, and 370km east of the Western Australian town of Norsemen, one entry point to the Nullarbor Plain.


With the Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor that completed the journey quoting 540km of claimed WLTP driving range on one charge, the Caiguna charge point – which can deliver 50kW, enough to charge the car to 80 per cent in over an hour – was sufficient to allow the Polestar electric car to cross the Nullarbor, using a 720km stretch of tarmac.

The charger connects the gap between the networks of electric vehicle fast chargers under construction in Western and South Australia – dubbed ‘EV highways’ – removing a barrier that would prevent the ability to drive an electric vehicle around Australia.

Prior to the Caiguna-based charger, electric car owners looking to cross the Nullarbor would need to use polluting diesel-powered generators, which can only provide slow AC power at 7-11kW (as reported by the ABC), for a full charge in approximately seven hours.

While the BiØfil charger uses a combustion-engined generator to extract energy from the waste oil – powering the zero-emissions electric car with fossil fuels – Polestar says the charger is “an entirely net-zero exercise”, thanks to the way the vegetable oil is produced in the first place.

“The vegetable oil for the fryers comes from seed crops, such as canola and sunflower, which absorb CO2 and sunlight, and the CO2 produced to power the charge system is the equivalent to CO2 absorbed,” Polestar claims.

Jon Edwards, the inventor of the BiØfil charger, said: “The cost of installing an equivalent solar-powered EV fast charger is over five times the cost of building the BiØfil fast charging unit. Solar energy would not have been economically feasible for such a low traffic location, making BiØfil the environmentally friendly interim solution for EVs driving across the Nullarbor right now.”

Samantha Johnson, Polestar Australia managing director, added: “Polestar is thrilled to share its passion for innovation and sustainability with visionaries like Jon Edwards.”

“To turn a waste product into a CO2-neutral charging solution, which connects Australian EV owners from the east with the west, is the sort of ingenuity that has led to so many Australian innovations.”

The 2022 Polestar 2 electric sedan goes on sale next month (February), priced from $59,900 before on-road costs.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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