Electric vehicle car rental review, driving around Brisbane

Brenden Wood
4 min readFeb 4, 2024

My recent electric vehicle rental car experience in Brisbane was an intriguing yet challenging adventure.

Recharging an electric vehicle at Brookside shopping centre

Excited to test the electric driving experience that was thrust upon us after I selected the ‘mystery car’ option on the rental car company’s website, we embarked on a journey from Brisbane Airport, winding through Brisbane’s far northern suburbs of North Lakes, Kallangur and Mango Hill, eventually reaching the far southern suburbs of Logan and Beenleigh.

Our first time charging an EV car

This was our first EV experience and our real test came when we needed to recharge.

After arriving at Brookside Shopping Centre with the car at 37% charge, we had to figure out the charging process.

Dashboard display on the the Polestar electric vehicle

Downloading the Elanga app and paying a $5 fee to join the electric vehicle charging network seemed like a hurdle.

Partially charging the car for about 15 minutes, it cost us $6.03 at 60 cents per kilowatt. We recharged the car an extra 8% for that cost.

If we returned the car under-charged, the rental car company was offering to recharge the car at 80 cents per kilowatt to an 89% charge.

Recharging the rental car at Brookside shopping centre

A fully charged EV rental car at 90%

Eager to explore Brisbane on our second day, I headed back to the Brookside shopping centre at 7:30am to revisit the EV charging station to charge the car to its maximum level of 90%, for a total cost of $24.81. The EV charge went from about 45% to 90%, and took 55 minutes.

The display on the Elenga electric vehicle station at Brookside shopping centre

Final day driving the EV rental car

We spent our second day driving through Brisbane’s southern suburbs, but we needed to charge the car to 89% before returning it to the rental car facility at Brisbane Airport.

The Polestar electric vehicle rental car in Brisbane

At about 4:30pm we neared Brisbane Airport with the car at 36% charge. Finding a public charging station became an ordeal.

Not many EV charging stations in Brisbane

Between Google Maps and the electric charging company’s app, we searched for public charging places in and around Brisbane’s CBD.

To our shock we found a whole bunch of locations that were displayed by the maps that weren’t available to the public.

We found four public EV stations at the Evie Charging Stations, located along Airport Drive which leads to Brisbane Airport, but they were either occupied or malfunctioning.

The four Evie Charging Stations at Skygate Shopping Centre near Brisbane Airport. The charging station in the middle wasn’t working.

Three cars had their occupants sitting patiently in their cars waiting for their vehicles to charge from mid-30% charge levels to a full charge. And, we didn’t have the time to wait 45 minutes for the next charging stations to become available.

We used 34% of the battery on our final day — and we were looking to charge up to 89% to meet the expectations of the rental car company.

Electric vehicle rental car review

The overall charging process was inconvenient, and it impacted our tight schedule in Brisbane.

The scarcity of charging stations contributed to our decision to return the car prematurely.

Despite the unique driving experience, the hassle and additional cost of recharging made the trip less enjoyable than anticipated.

After we handed back our rental car, it was marked by the employee as having only having a 56% charge

EV costs versus petrol costs

The expenses incurred in recharging were higher than expected, totalling more than $50 to recharge, with a sign-on charge by the rental company included in that price.

Comparatively, this cost was approximately 20–30% more than what we would spend on fuel for a hybrid vehicle and slightly less or on par with the cost of operating a traditional petrol cars.

We drove a Polestar series 2 standard range single motor (SRSM) 69kw electric 2WD SED.

EV car rental again?

Reflecting on this experience, I find it unlikely that we will choose an electric vehicle as a rental car again in the future. The inconvenience, lack of charging infrastructure, and comparatively higher cost have left us with reservations about the practicality of electric vehicle rentals, especially for short trips with time constraints.

Total electric charge cost

Day #1 — Sign-on fee for an Elanga electric charge = $5
Day #1– 8% charge at 60 cents per KW = $6.03
Day #2– 45% charge at 60 cents per KW = $24.81
Day #2 — Recharge by the car rental company from 56% to 90% at 80 cents per KW = $18.22
Total driving kilometres: 220km
Total cost: $54.06

Listen here to my podcast review of the electric vehicle rental car experience in Brisbane.

#ElectricCars #RentalCars #Brisbane

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