Tesla Dominate EV Sales Figures, But Why?

The recently released EV sales figures by the EV Council of Australia provides a stark reminder of how poor the generic (non-Tesla) charging infrastructure is in this country.

The EVCs figures show that 3.39% of all light vehicles sales for Q1,2,3 2022 were electric, this includes Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV). When those figures are broken down it also shows that two vehicles dominated EV sales, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, these two variants alone made up 53.2% of EV market share, the other 46.8% was from a combination of 93 variants. If you remove the 35 PHEV variants from the figures Tesla has a 64% share, it also shows that despite the Electric Vehicle Council highlighting a figure of 3.39% the reality is removing Tesla and PHEVs from the sales figures reduces this to 1.007%, in effect the 58 variants of pure EV that do not have a Tesla badge make up just 1% of the light vehicle market. This large difference in sales between Tesla and the remainder is made even more interesting when you consider Tesla do not spend money on advertising.

From State of Electric Vehicles October 2022 report

Despite claims of purchase price and lack of choice deterring Australians from buying an Electric Vehicle I have no doubt the biggest barrier is a fear of being unable to charge away from home, petrol and diesel vehicles have been extremely convenient in regional areas for decades and the buying public expect no compromises. For a Tesla owner who lives close to or between one of the 5 east coast mainland capital cities charging is reliable and convenient due to the Tesla Supercharger network, in the south west of the country Tesla owners have a similar convenience. Each location has a minimum 3 and sometimes 8 charging cables, the reliability rate is extremely good. On the other hand, non-Tesla EVs (legacy auto) must rely on a mix of different branded chargers with a variety of payment systems. These DC chargers are few and far between with only 1 or 2 units at each location and many being broken or out of operation for weeks at a time, the situation is shambolic and the EV buying public are becoming very aware of the problems. Tesla currently have only two variants of EV for sale in Australia with an average purchase cost of $80,000, price and lack of choice has very little bearing on a sale, a convenient and reliable charging infrastructure does.

Unfortunately, the Federal governments promised “DC chargers every 150kms” is just a talking point that will continue through to the next election. Every month of delay is crushing legacy auto while at the same time helping cement Tesla as the dominant sales leader for many years.

You cannot charge Electric Vehicles from media releases.

Driving Perth to Shark Bay in a Tesla

Hopefully by late 2023 this article is barely relevant due to Synergy’s installation of fast DC chargers in Jurien Bay, Northampton, Billabong and the Overlander Roadhouse. In the meantime the trip is comfortable if you plan correctly and show some patience.

Perth-Geraldton, 410kms

This section is energy hungry and can catch out first timers. A long range Tesla can normally make this section on one charge, a performance model maybe if conditions are favourable but unfortunately unless you get a howling tail wind and a warm road a standard range Tesla will need to to stop and top up charge at the Lancelin type 2 AC charger or the Jurien Bay 40kw DC charger. There is a Tesla destination charger in Cervantes but at the time of writing that unit was reported as having an issue, check Plugshare before venturing in to Cervantes.

Geraldton

If you’re passing through the far quickest option is the TOCWA DC charger at the West End. No cable is required but you’ll need the Smartcharge app. For those planning to stay overnight there are 3 different Hotel/Motels with Tesla destination chargers.

Geraldton to Denham/Monkey Mia, 432kms

No matter which Tesla you have it is wise to plan a charging stop, Northampton has a Tesla destination charger, toilets, a good bakery, an IGA and a few other close by shops but is only 52kms from Geraldton, more of a handy stop on the return trip.

The best option is the Billabong Homestead that has supported EV charging since early 2016, there’s a Tesla destination charger next to the self contained rooms (transportables) and a 32amp 3 phase outlet in the caravan park for those that wish to camp. To get safely through to Monkey Mia 1 to 2 hours of charging is required at this location, the good news is the sit down food is fairly good, it has a bar and there’s satellite TV.

Play safe at Billabong and add more charge than the car calculates, when you turn west towards Shark Bay a strong sea breeze can eat into the remaining range very fast and give you a nervous last 100kms.

Denham/Monkey Mia

It’s highly likely you’ve planned at least a two night stay so 10amp trickle charging (portable UMC) will do the trick. For something a little faster the RAC resort in Monkey Mia has a type 2 outlet, to use this you require a BYO type 2 to type 2 cable.

As per usual I highly recommend making full use of the Plugshare app, be sure to browse recent comments at each location you plan to use.

Carry a KHONS 3 phase cable or EVSE as a back up, you will notice many Tesla destination chargers in regional areas have a 5 pin 3 phase outlet nearby, so if the Tesla charger fails drivers have a plan B.

Pro-tips

Add in an extra day or two and make a side trip on the way back via Kalbarri, Port Gregory and Horrocks, we’ve stayed overnight at all 3 of these locations with 10amp trickle charging easy to find.

No matter how hot the forecast is for Shark Bay take a jacket, the afternoon south-westerly can get fairly cool by sunset.

Overall just plan correctly, take your time and enjoy the drive.

Why do my tyres wear faster than another Tesla’s tyres?

First up there is a myth that EVs wear tyres faster than a similar size petrol vehicle due to the extra weight. There has not been a detailed study on this and to be clear if there was a widespread study with dozens of vehicles over many years and large distances the far smoother accelerating and braking of an EV would offset tyre wear from the extra weight. The problem is the myth has a strong foothold so many EV owners use it as an excuse for their excessive tyre wear.

Tyres have a large amount of information moulded on to the sidewall.  As well as the sizing there’s also the speed index, weight index and tyre wear rating, a number normally between 200 and 500. A higher number suggests a longer lasting tyre but there is a possibility that a small amount of grip could be sacrificed so think carefully before changing from the tyres fitted in the factory by Tesla, especially the performance models.

So even after considering the tyre wear rating you’re still getting far less distance from the same tyre/vehicle combo as another Tesla owner, why could this be?

Poorly maintained tyre pressures – Stick to the cold pressures recommended by Tesla and check them on a regular basis. Keep in mind to check during the first few hundred metres of a drive before the tyres heat up.

A high amount of driving on coarse chip seal country roads.

A high amount of driving in built up areas with stops signs, traffic lights and most of all roundabouts.

Failing to rotate the tyres.

Possible misalignment due to a family member hitting a kerb or a pothole and not owning up to it.

And lastly, your driving style. No one wants to hear this but the combination of low centre of gravity and lack of engine noise lulls EV drivers into thinking they’re driving slower than they really are, but in reality your cornering faster, accelerating faster and generally putting the tyres under more pressure than you would in most petrol cars, continually driving like this scrubs the tyres out in no time at all.

Charging an EV at Caravan Parks

Over the past 7 years we have stayed in every state and territory of Australia and charged overnight at well over 100 different caravan parks, cabins and other accommodation that fall under the category of tourist parks.

There are some great sites, many over the top with attractions that never existed 30 years ago. Some are dusty, run down, patched together and best described as rustic. Some owners and managers are very EV friendly, others spend too much time watching Sky After Dark and will grudgingly let you plug in only to provide a running commentary on why EVs are City cars (even though you’re at a site 1200kms from Darwin). The one constant is getting a charge is always possible and, although slow, extremely convenient while you’re  relaxing.

The majority of locations have enough power to supply a full park of Caravans or RVs on a hot afternoon. However be aware that some have issues due the business expanding faster than expected, they are pushing their luck and eventually come unstuck just before dinner time on a hot day when the power shuts off. This shouldn’t be happening with a correctly build power system but on the rare occasion it does. Generally the power outage forces all the Grey Nomads to shut off their air-conditioners and venture outside thus easing the load when power is restored. A second issue to look out for are power outlets in poor condition due to having a hard life from careless tourists and a harsh coastal climate. If you think the power outlet looks dodgy find a better one, always take the safe option.

Tourist Parks factor in the cost of electricity to any site fees, a powered site is normally $8 to $15 more than an unpowered site. That does not mean you have full rights to plug in and charge for 20 hours straight, random power consumption of non EVs has been factored in not an EV potentially consuming 60kwh on one nights tariff. On most occasions I would suggest you offer to pay extra to charge the car, especially at a smaller privately owned business, very often the reception will refuse payment because you asked politely. Remember to wear your diplomatic hat for the benefit of you and the following EV owners.

Tips when plugging in:

Avoid using extension cords when possible. The only time I’ve needed one is when using a Tesla Gen2 UMC with the flat plug, these are difficult to fit it to many power bollards. If you do require an extension cord use the shortest 15amp possible.

Avoid making your charging cable a tripping hazard, keep some slack on the ground under the charge port and tape the cable to the lower section of the bollard so charging doesn’t get interrupted by someones foot on a dark evening.

If you have plenty of time to get enough charge required for the next leg of your journey set the amps lower and charge slower for longer, this way there’s less chance of any charging interruptions that could delay your morning departure.

Don’t be concerned about charging in the rain but do keep the charging unit off the ground in low lying areas as most tourist parks have firm ground with poor drainage.

Last of all don’t forget to turn off your air conditioner while charging, if you don’t plan for this extra consumption the charge percentage the next morning will be far less than expected.

The Downsides to Road Tripping with a Tesla Gen2 UMC plus Tail

The Tesla UMC Gen 2 (mobile connector) was introduced into Australia in mid 2019, all Tesla’s ordered before July 9th 2022 were provided with this charging cable for free, any buyers who ordered cars after that time have the option of purchasing from Tesla for $550 or looking for an aftermarket alternative. Many choose to stick with the Tesla product as it’s still one of the lower priced cables available.

Most owners make use of the included 10amp or 15amp plug. For home charging this provides enough charge for drivers that average up to 120kms per day, keeping in mind that the average Australian car of any fuel type travels only 38kms per day.

A common practice among Tesla owners is to purchase what is known as the Tesla UMC to 3 phase tail (approximately $150). This is a well made adaptor that connects straight into a 5 pin 3 phase outlet, this increases the potential power available to 32amp single phase, very handy for home charging if the electrician installing the 3 phase socket gives it the all clear. A Tesla owner could then add up to 300kms a day while parked at home.

Despite its low price and versatility at home the 3 phase tail has an Achilles Heel when used in regional areas on long trips- it’s NOT 3 phase, it’s only single phase.

The downsides:

  • A Tesla model 3 or Y have an 11kw 3 phase onboard charger, 11kw is only possible when the car is connected to a power source with a minimum of 3x 16amps, most 3 phase outlets in regional areas are 20amp or 32amp so that’s not an issue, the issue is the Tesla Gen2 UMC plus tail is limited to 32amp single phase, that’s 7.4kw from a 32amp outlet, or 5kw from a 20amp outlet. A prime example of how crippling this can be is at Border Village in South Australia, where the power outlet is limited to 20amp 3 phase. A Tesla using the correct 3 phase cable can charge at 2.4 times the speed as a Tesla using the Gen2 UMC. Border Village is one of the better roadhouses but hanging out there for many hours longer than necessary should be avoided.
  • A correct 3 phase cable (also known as an EVSE) drawing 16amps from each 20 or 32amp wire is unlikely to trip the breaker even over a long charging session, drawing 32amps through one phase for hours on end adds to the possibility of tripping a breaker, that’s not a situation you need while asleep or away from phone connection.
  • Lastly, drawing 32amps single phase on a site with low generating capacity at certain times of the day can cause the maintenance chief to get a bit agitated, a reliable electricity supply is critical to regional locations, at least one regional roadhouse that I know of has now barred EVs from charging after 7 years of goodwill.

What cables are best:

There are a number of 3 phase EVSE cables available including the high priced but extremely tough Juice Booster 2, the Kwik Mode 2 EV charger or the KHONS 3 phase charger. All have type 2 plugs on the car end and are easy to operate and store.

Over the past 7 years I’ve plugged into the vast majority of official Plugshare 3 phase outlets across Australia, I can confidently say if you use the correct equipment your journey will be smooth, if you try and save a few dollars you’ll soon regret it.

Events Committee

The Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia host or attend on average 20 events per year. Many are club events, but we are also very happy to accept invites to display Teslas’ at festivals, field days, sustainability shows and much more. The Tesla owners attending these events have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to talk to the public. The WA Tesla community have provided this service since 2015.

The events committee consist of:

  • Jared Hawke – Jaredhawke@bigpond.com 0487 362 111
  • Paul Vianna
  • Sharlene Mavor
  • Alex Davis

If have an event you would like our club to attend, please get in contact.