There are certain times in life when stress is inevitable, and for many, it is at its peak during the silly season.
But experts have shared a ‘simple’ way to help ease the pressures caused by life’s seemingly endless demands, claiming a road trip can do wonders for mental health.
And as I discovered during a recent four-wheel adventure in Tasmania, it’s even better when the car you’re driving is eco-friendly.
The Polestar 2, an electric vehicle (EV) that rivals luxury brands such as Tesla and BMW, finally arrived in Australia in late 2021 and has been attracting a number of impressive reviews ever since.
For someone like me who wanted a relaxing road trip escape, it was the ideal choice as it proved very easy to drive, even on the windy roads of Bruny Island.
Polestar Australia managing director Samantha Johnson said there were now almost 1000 “stylish and understated” electric vehicles on our roads, despite prices starting at just under $70,000.
“We had a great first year on the market. It’s fair to say that demand for the Polestar 2 has exceeded our expectations – there are almost 1,000 vehicles on the road now and thousands more on standby,” he told news.com.au.
“Our growth is certainly a reflection of changing attitudes towards EVs 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 technology offering.”
As someone who drives a Suzki Swift 2008 manual daily, the technology was almost a little overwhelming at first, but I adapted quickly.
The car’s large screen in the center of the cabin provided blind spot warning, active cruise control options and a reversing camera, all the comfort I needed to recover from the loss after returning home with my humble Swift.
But for those who own their Polestar 2, the car can do a lot more, Samantha advised.
“It was the first vehicle in the world equipped with the Android Automotive operating system with Google built in,” he said.
“The system, which has been developed in partnership with Google, includes Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store for downloading apps directly to the infotainment system.
“Try turning on your house lights from the driveway with Google Assistant the next time you drive one.”
One thing I was nervous about doing was charging this baby up as I had never driven an EV before. Before my weekend trip to Bruny, I also looked for charging points and was a little nervous about the fact that there were only two on the island.
A quick browse online also revealed that the lack of charging points for electric vehicles in general is often cited as the “biggest problem” with the switch from fuel to electric.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about the barriers to electric vehicle ownership, so it really comes down to education,” said Samantha.
“Range is often cited as a big issue, but Australians drive an average of around 35km a day, which is well within reach of electric vehicles that offer around 400km or 500km of range per charge .
“The lack of charging infrastructure is a close second, but there is significant investment from both governments and private enterprise to address the number of chargers in the market.”
Samantha said most Australians would have “the ability to charge overnight from their driveway” and homeowners can use the public charging network to “top up charging on longer journeys”.
But for those living in apartment complexes, for example, local governments were “working to combat challenges with street loading.”
“There is actually a huge demand for electric vehicles, but the difficulty is the supply,” he added.
“The federal government recently published a discussion paper to help shape the national electric vehicle strategy. With this, it is expected to introduce a fuel efficiency standard and a national approach to help give support for the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric and low-emission vehicles.
A recent study found that electric vehicles emit, on average, 29-41% less emissions than a typical fossil fuel car for every kilometer 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 is not afraid to call out others in the industry for their lack of action,” he said.
“Eliminating emissions is not just about producing an electric vehicle, but also about 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 ethically sourcing minerals and risk materials.
“As part of this commitment to transparency and accountability, Polestar also publishes an annual Life Cycle Assessment report for the Polestar 2 and shares the methodology with the industry to encourage them to do the same.”
With all this focus on doing good to the planet, you’d be forgiven for thinking this EV doesn’t have much “push” behind the pedals, but you’d be wrong.
This car feels good when you press the accelerator and its battery can last between 440 and 540 km of range depending on the model you buy (there are three).
When you add that medical experts have advised that road trips – and road trips – are good for our mental and physical well-being, a cheeky adventure behind the wheel (ideally a Polestar 2) is a no-brainer.
After all, it helps reduce stress, improves positivity, promotes happiness and is better for our environment.
* The writer drove a Polestar 2 courtesy of Polestar Australia
Originally posted as Polestar 2 review: Why road trips relieve stress and improve mental health