Is a Tesla more efficient in Summer? Yes but it’s a two edged sword.

The climate in the southern half of Western Australia is near perfect for a Tesla, warm and dry most of the time and winters where the temperature only drops below 5C for a few hours on the occasionally early morning, if you enjoy getting good Wh/km efficiency WA is the place to achieve it.

On the downside is the long hot summer of constant intense sunlight and high temperatures, this doesn’t generally harm the Wh/km figures recorded during longer drives but does put a serious dent in efficiency for those driving short (less than 15km) trips after being parked in an exposed area for even a short period during the day. Every time you drive off in a car with a hot interior the aircon is working hard to reduce the temperature, depending on conditions that could take anything from 10 to 30kms.

Teslas have an excellent feature known as cabin overheat protection, even on a 30C day this will consume up to 4% of the battery over 9 hours, personally I’ll happily accept a 4% loss each day over Summer but anyone who is not is free to turn cabin overheat protection off. Of course if car park designers who have a fetish for destroying trees allocated funds for solar panel canopies car parks wouldn’t be so hot.

So are all these hot Summer days killing your range?
Not really, it’s consuming far more energy between each charge but as this is caused by short drives and long parking sessions it’s not relevant unless you’re buying expensive electricity. Range is only a factor on very long drives away from reliable fast charging. When you go on a long drive the heat will have little effect on your Wh/km efficiency (it helps if you pre-cool the interior while plugged into shore power before departure).

Hot tips for a cool interior
Try to park in the shade even if it’s a 200 metre walk to your destination.
Get interior shades up, especially over the black dashboard.
Pre-cool the interior using the phone app about 5 minutes before arriving at your car.
If only parking for 45 minutes or less put the car in “keep” mode, this leaves the air-conditioner on and does not use any more energy than letting the car heat up then cooling it down again.

Driving the Norseman to Hyden Unsealed Road

A word of caution first, despite being continually maintained by the shires of Dundas and Kondinin any medium to heavy rain could make this road difficult to navigate in a couple of sections. Always check the yellow road condition signs before planning any departure. The weight limit is 5 tonnes although you will likely see some heavy haulage servicing the handful of mines along the road.

Officially the drive is 297kms but it’s best to use the distance of 299kms between the Norseman and Hyden DC chargers.

Is it worth taking this route?
Although this direct route is 88kms shorter than driving the sealed road via Coolgardie and Merredin the total driving time will be no more than 10 minutes difference, driving the Norseman-Hyden road is more of an adventure plus a break from the constant flow of fuel tankers and over size mining equipment travelling being Perth and Kalgoorlie.

When to drive it?
This is an early morning road, firstly there’s almost no other traffic, secondly it’s cooler when you stop for photo opportunities, thirdly if an issue arises you have a full day of daylight ahead to sort it out.

What to carry?
The normal common sense equipment including plenty of water. A spare tyre is a must, if you depart Norseman or Hyden with anything less then you’re taking an unnecessary risk that will end up costing you a lot of wasted time and money.

To cover the 299kms with the focus on enjoying the scenery rather than constantly monitoring efficiency I recommend a standard range Tesla charge to 98% and a long range Tesla charge to 90%. Unsealed roads consume more energy than sealed roads at the same speeds, on our recent trip our Model Y consumed 45kWh at an average speed of 75kmh.

On departure from Norseman Tesla navigation will direct you to drive north towards Coolgardie for approximately 8kms before taking a left hand turn towards Hyden, a better option is to drive south from the DC charger towards the Norseman town centre, turn west on to Ramsey Street which then continues on to become Mort Haslett Drive, this takes you across Lake Cowan via a gravel causeway, thus providing some excellent photo opportunities. Continuing on for another 15kms will join you up with the Hyden Road via a T-Junction.

At the 103km mark is a handy stop called Lake Johnston, this location has basic toilets, picnic benches and shady trees, up until now the only other traffic you’ll likely see is the shire of Dundas employees maintaining the road. This first 103km section we comfortably sat on 70kmh keeping in mind there were still some early morning Roos on the road.

From Lake Johnston onwards the road has straight sections far into the distance, 80kmh was easily maintained right through to Marvel Loch-Forrestania cross road, don’t forget to keep heading west at this point. You’ll notice new power lines for the nearby mine site plus some large areas of cleared scrub acting as a fire break, from this point on the Norseman-Hyden road becomes some of the best quality unsealed surface you’re ever likely to see. Approximately 63kms from Hyden the sealed road begins, continuing all the way to the Hyden DC charger.

Our recent drive took us just over 4 hours with a few short stops along the way, potentially it could be driven faster than that but it’s better to allocate 5 hours and enjoy a 20 minute visit to Lake Johnson plus a few 5 minute photo stops on the way.

Check out the Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail for more information on the route.

Is it Cheaper to Drive an EV Across the Nullarbor? Yes, but there’s a catch.

There has been a fair bit of discussion lately about the cost of recharging an Electric Vehicle compared to the cost of refueling a petrol/diesel vehicle on road trips. There is nothing like taking a set of near matching petrol and electric BMWs with a combined drive away price of $600,000 to prove that the petrol version is $14 cheaper to drive from Melbourne to Sydney. To be fair the energy consumption figures, energy prices and math couldn’t be faulted, I also commend those running the trial for getting out from behind the desk and conducting a physical test.

Nullarbor Roadhouse Fuel bowsers.

On the other hand the Climate Council put out a report claiming that road trip bills in Australia could be reduced by a 1/4 to a 1/5 driving an EV instead of a petrol car, now if “COULD” was in block letters with a disclaimer saying *EV must be driven within 300kms of home solar I could accept that, but no they double down by claiming Melbourne motorists looking to explore the Nullarbor Plain could save $594 by driving a battery-electric vehicle on holidays rather than an average petrol car. How accurate is that?

Despite the average DC charging cost between Melbourne and Perth being a very reasonable 65 cents per unit and fuel prices being high between (and including) the Nullarbor Roadhouse and Norseman (905kms), an electric car will be approximately 10% to 20% cheaper to fuel over the whole 3420km trip, that’s a $60 to $120 saving depending on the vehicles involved, the capacity of the petrol tank and how savvy the petrol car driver is. I think it’s best the Climate Council EV experts get out from behind their desk and go for a long drive to see how the real world lives.

WA EV Network & RAA of SA chargers currently cost 60c per unit.

So why is there a catch?
I have said this a number of times previously: Under most scenarios the fastest and cheapest way to get across the Nullarbor is to fly on a commercial jet, the whole event from home to hotel on the other side of the country is less than 6 hours, even in a petrol car a fast trip takes 2 full days. If you’re concerned about petrol or electricity costs you should also consider money spent on other items during your journey, such as food and drink and opportunistic purchases.

Always remember driving across the Nullarbor is an adventure not a money saving venture.

Using the Delta chargers across the Nullarbor

The four Delta 22kW DC chargers located between Norseman and Ceduna were crowd funded by the Australian EV community in two stages, the first two in early 2022 and the recent two in December 2023. Although nowhere near as fast as the hard wired DC chargers at locations such as Norseman and Streaky Bay in SA the Delta DC chargers are a reliable solution until government funded fast DC is rolled out from late 2024 onwards.

Despite proving to be very reliable the Delta chargers require patience and methodical following of the instructions or users will find themselves wasting valuable time. I’ve used these four chargers a combined total of 18 times in less than 2 years, heed my advice to save yourself a lot of frustration.

1. Only plug in when the charger LED screens displays “connect to EV”, plug in firmly and don’t have a stretched cable.
2. Check charging has started, if the car displays “charging stopped” unplug, close the charging port and reconnect when the charger displays “connect to EV”.
3. Once charging has clearly started check back in after 5 minutes, if charging stops it’s highly likely to be in the first 5 minutes. I’ve never had a charging session stop after 5 minutes but that’s not to say it won’t happen, if you have phone coverage use the app to check every 30 minutes or so.
4. Don’t sit in the car with the aircon running while connected to 22kW or slower charging, it consumes valuable power that should be charging the cars battery, if you want aircon comfort sit in the Roadhouse Cafe.
5. Be thoughtful how you park, all 4 locations are in areas with other activities going on, look around and consider if you may be blocking access and potentially getting your car scratched by a room service trolley.
6. If you’re planning to stay overnight DO NOT leave your car plugged into the charger ready for the morning, there’s only one charging option at each location, leave the charger accessible for other EVs.

Balladonia
If you’re wise you would have charged to at least 98% at the Norseman 150kW DC charger (if driving east), every 6 minutes at Norseman saves you 30 minutes at Balladonia, and a few dollars.
To speed up the process at Balladonia get the passenger to jog in to the Roadhouse Cafe and ask for the EV charger key while the driver parks around the back. Once the key switches on the charger the start up process takes approximately 90 seconds, a good opportunity to get shade on the car.
At the end of the charging session and just before charging stops use your phone to take a photo of the kWh consumed on the Delta LCD screen, make sure the photo is readable for the Roadhouse staff. Don’t forget to return the key when paying for charging.

Madura Pass
Park in front of the rusty vintage car and request EV charging in the fuel shop, a staff member will wheel the charger in to position and instruct you where to park, if you’ve parked in front of the vintage car you’ll only need to reverse up a few metres. Payment is to the RFDS in the fuel shop. Opening hours are strictly 7.00am to 5.00pm AWCT.

Mundrabilla Roadhouse
The Delta charger is located inside the accommodation compound on the western side of the Roadhouse building, in the middle of the day parking is easy but before 8.00am and after 3.00pm you’re likely to have to deal with vehicles parked in front of the rooms, it’s wise to reverse park so you won’t get blocked in. This charger is switched on ready for immediate use.

Nullarbor Roadhouse
The Delta charger is at the rear of the laundry on the western side of the building, reverse parking with the black water tank on your passenger side will provide morning shade as well as not block the laundry ramp. This charger is currently kept switched on so connection to the car is almost immediate. At the time of writing a fixed payment is made at the cash register and your receipt must be clearly displayed on the car dashboard whilst charging.

I hope this information assists you to have smooth and happy travels whilst crossing the Nullarbor.

Perth to Shark Bay is now an EV Cruise.

Now that the WA EV Network DC charger at the Overlander Roadhouse is available to the public the biggest gap between DC charging on the Perth to Shark Bay drive is 228 kms, once the Billabong Homestead DC charger goes live that gap reduces to 182 kms. This makes the 848 km drive (to Monkey Mia) a comfortable one day drive during the daylight hours of winter, it also means a standard range model Y could drive that trip at the speed limit while keeping the battery level between 20% and 85%. Take note, there’s no harm to the battery by going below 20% the potential issue could be queuing at a regional DC charger with no sentry mode available.

Northampton WA EV Network DC charger

Below is a suggested plan for those in a standard range vehicle, if you have a LR or Performance use the same plan but with a lower charge percentage when departing each charging stop. Plan for 9 hours of driving plus 90 minutes of charging spread over 3 or 4 charging sessions.

Jurien Bay, peak charge speed 115 Kw.
If your trip is on the weekend or holiday period depart early. Although this trip can be done in daylight hours a 6.00am departure will pay dividends at the first charging stop in Jurien Bay. Why? Because humans are ruled by their stomachs, it’s a sure bet that on a Saturday morning or School holidays the Jurien Bay chargers will have a queue while the passengers stretch out morning tea. Trust me, you really don’t want to get stuck behind a couple of short range legacy EVs trickle charging to 100%. Get going early and get ahead of the grazing sheep.

Geraldton and/or Northampton, peak charge rate 115 Kw.
The next charging stop is Geraldton so 80% is plenty to cover the 200 kms. Once you get close to Geraldton you have a decision to make, do you bypass Geraldton and push on another 52 kms to Northampton DC charger thus avoiding some of the Geraldton traffic or play it safe and “Always Be Charging”? This is up to you depending on how busy you think Northampton could be, keep in mind Geraldton has the capacity to charge 4 EVs at once, Northampton it’s only a 2 EV site.

The drive from Northampton to the Overlander Roadhouse is the biggest gap of 228 kms, even at 110 kmh in poor conditions a standard range could still drive this on 65% battery but the trick here is to keep charging until the charging rate drops below 45 Kw, this will generally be at approximately 85% on a standard range battery pack. Why is 45 Kw important? That’s the average charging rate you’ll get at the Overlander on the WA EV Network 50 Kw DC charger.

Little Lagoon Shark Bay

The drive between Overlander and Monkey Mia may only be 154 kms but has caught out many impatient EV drivers in the past, it’s a sure bet that sometime after lunch a strong westerly will blow significantly reducing range, don’t get caught short, add 154 kms of range plus a 20% buffer so your not hypermiling into Shark Bay after dark.

Foot note: Lancelin has both Tesla Superchargers and a WA EV Network charger, this is an optional stop on the way north on potentially busy days or if you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind the total 13km detour. Be aware that if you take this option and bypass Jurien Bay you’ll need to add enough charge to drive 303kms to Geraldton.

Model Y Tyres: be one step ahead to keep the costs down.

I’m hoping the instances I’ve seen in the past week with regards to uneven tyre wear on 2023 WA based Model Ys is just pure coincidence rather than being widespread across the Australian fleet, in saying that it’s best to be prepared by spotting any uneven wear early and booking the vehicle in for a check and alignment.

How can you spot an issue early?

If you look at the tyre surface from the front or the rear it can be very deceptive, tyre wear may look very even across the tread and wear on the outer edge is fairly easy to spot. On the other hand wear on the far inside edge is almost hidden until it’s too late, that’s why getting a tyre rotation or inspection done 10,000kms after delivery is well worth the effort. Taking the wheel/tyre off and rolling it slowly while carefully checking the surface will show up any early signs of uneven wear.

Check the inner edges when the tyres are off.

Why bother?

If a looming safety issue doesn’t sway you to be vigilant maybe some basic arithmetic  will, a 19inch tyre on a Model Y that has even tyre wear throughout its life should survive for at least 50,000kms, if you don’t correct uneven wear early the tyre is likely unroadworthy at 30,000kms, that’s approximately $800 worth of tyre tread wasted. For those vigilantly counting every cheap kWh of electricity you charge your Tesla with you may be wasting more on tyres per km than you’re spending on electricity per km.  If you have a Model Y with higher priced Pirellis it’s closer to $1100 wasted.

Fitting new tyres

Hopefully you get even tread wear and a high km lifespan out of original set of tyres but eventually they’ll need replacing. Unless you can find a compelling reason to change brands I’d recommend sticking with a similar Hankook 19, Michelin 20 or Pirelli 21 that Tesla factory fitted, often keeping it simple is the best method.
Without doubt most Model Ys in WA will be fitted with 19inch Hankook Ventus EvoS1 (255/45/19) I recently got a quote for these at $499 each, that’s reasonable but I highly suggest you make enough phone calls to get not only a competitive price but a tyre shop that will respect both you and your car.
Hankook have also recently introduced a similar tyre specifically for Electric Vehicles called the Ion AS, in the 255/45/19 size I received a quote for $539 each.

I’m sure you’re asking this question; “Is an EV specific tyre marketing BS?” The answer will be revealed soon as one of our members is currently putting the Hankook Ion tyres through a thorough long distance test across the top end of Australia.

In summary:
Keep a constant check on your tyres, it only takes two minutes while the car is on charge.
Correct the reason for uneven wear ASAP.
Phone around for competitive tyre prices in the weeks before you need new tyres not on the day you find your car unroadworthy.

Driving Tasmania is EV Heaven

Back in 2019 we drove a Model S around Tasmania for 9 days as part of a complete around Australia trip, at that time DC charging was almost non-existent, maybe 2 locations in the whole state, not that we used one as distances are short and there was enough AC charging outlets to get us by with a little bit of forward planning.

Fast forward to our most recent 17 day trip early this October. The Apple Isle has the excellent Electric Highway of Tasmania DC Network wisely spaced across the state, no cherry-picking locations in capital cities rather DC chargers placed that will assist the wider EV community. It should be no surprise that the Electric Highway of Tasmania is influenced by long term AEVA Tasmania members, it is a DC charger network for the people by the people. There is no longer planning needed to keep an EV charged, freeing up time to enjoy the twisty, hilly roads that fit well with the huge torque and regenerative braking of an Electric Vehicle.

You don’t need a Tesla to do this trip, a BYD, MG or Polestar will find the charging just as easy and roads a joy to drive.

Getting to Tasmania

This all depends on the EV you currently own and where you live, for some it is worth investigating flying directly to Hobart and hiring an EV. Much of the extra money you spend on airfares and car hire will be offset by the saving in food, accommodation and time on the mainland journey to and from the Geelong boat departure point. If you do not have a lot of spare holidays I recommend flying and hiring, if you have the spare time and are adventurous drive your own EV via the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry.

Spirit of Tasmania, Devonport

Going via the Ferry

The Spirit of Tasmania Ferry service with 2 adults and a car varies between good value and great value depending on the time of year. I recommend booking a day trip one way and night trip the other, if you do, I’d also recommend paying extra for your own cabin during the night trip. Make sure you book the return journey before leaving home if not you will end up on the growing list of mainlanders stuck in Tasmania for weeks longer than they expected.
The Spirit of Tasmania website is easy to negotiate for those that want to experiment with the availability and costs of return journeys at different times of the year. If you’re not too sure about a 10 hour trip across the often unsettled Bass Straight it’s worth it all when you drive your own EV off the boat and into a great adventure.

The Best Time to Visit is when Others are not

Most Australians visit Tasmania during the Summer, resulting in higher prices on the Ferry crossing, far busier roads, less accommodation, crowded walking trails, higher vehicle rental costs and generally a feeling that you are on the mainland rather than remote, tranquil Tasmania. I would recommend October or March/April/May, the weather is cool but not unbearable and most organised tourist events are still open.

Accommodation

We mixed it up with a combination of using a King Swag at tourist parks or booking a cabin or cottage. In October these were easy to book at short notice and were good value for money compared to mainland Australia. Just note that I said King Swag and not tent, some parts of Tasmania can be very cold and windy at all times of the year, a canvas swag will handle this, most tents won’t.

Mount Field National Park

Getting Meals

If you like your food and are not to fussed, I won’t spoil the adventure for you, folks who do their research won’t be disappointed. For the lazy grazers almost every regional town has an old pub with meals and an IGA store, the bigger locations such as Devonport, Burnie and Sorell have Coles and Woolworths. You will not go hungry or broke in Tasmania if you plan ahead.

The Roads

You will not be bored driving between locations, in fact you’d better be wide awake; major roads signposted 100kmh with 15kmh hairpin bends, steep climbs followed by steep descents, with large trees on one side and a rock face on the other. These are not rat runs like on the mainland, these are often the only road access between towns.

Must Do Locations

Leven Canyon
Queenstown Wilderness train
Wadamanna power station museum
Mount Field National Park
Lake Dobson (carefully and with the correct tyres)
Maria Island boat tour with Maria Island Cruises (Oct- May)
St Columba Falls

Locations Well Worth the Visit

Sheffield
Cradle Mountain
Lake Barrington
Dip Falls
Stanley
Zeehan
Strahan
Queenstown
Lake St Clair
The Wall
Miena
Oaklands town and Callington Mill
Salamanca Markets, Hobart
Cockle Creek
Richmond
Port Arthur
Triabunna
St Helen’s

I apologise in advance to any Tasmanians for any interesting locations I may have missed, I’m sure you’ll give them a plug in the comments.

And speaking of plugs, the AEVA National AGM and EV Expo is being held in Hobart on the first weekend of November 2024, start planning now for an Apple Isle adventure.

The EV Charging Bottleneck Soon to Arrive on the Nullarbor

Before I continue let me make something very clear, if you want to travel between Perth and the East Coast in the fastest, safest and often cheapest manner book an airline flight and get it over with, driving the Nullarbor is not for you.

Last week my wife and I completed our 7th trip across across the southern part of the country in an EV. By carrying the correct charging cables, studying Plugshare, having a flexible plan for overnight stops and not attempting to drive unrealistic distances in one day the journey is reasonably straight forward, it’s a trip many other EV owners make without any issues, in fact some of the staff at various locations along the route are guessing that 3-4 EVs pass through every week, that’s manageable on the current charging infrastructure but not for very much longer.

The Nullarbor Roadhouse three phase plug on the wall behind has been used to charge EVs more that 180 times.

The near future

From the West a series of fast DC chargers are now open (Merredin, Southern Cross) or within days of being open to the public (Coolgardie and Norseman). These WA EV Network chargers cover 722kms and could easily handle 5 to 6 cars in a one hour window, that’ll be sufficient for the next 2 or 3 years of EV growth. Through to mid 2024 WA EV Network DC fast chargers will continue being installed towards the east before stopping 78kms from the WA/SA border. This is a commitment the WA Government made in 2022 and appears to be on schedule.

From the East the RAA of SA are installing fast DC chargers at Port Augusta, Kimba, Wudinna, Streaky Bay and Ceduna, on our recent trip we noticed a few of the these chargers appear ready to be switched on for public use, they’ve been a long time “coming soon” and will make a massive difference driving between Port Augusta and Ceduna, 2 to 4 hour charging stops every 250kms will be reduced to 15-20 minutes every 200-250kms. Once the DC chargers east of Perth and west of Port Augusta are open to the public the number of EVs travelling across the country will rapidly increase from 3 to 4 per week to 3 to 4 per day at the very least. Not every EV owner wants to drive across the country but the many who do have often said they’ll do it when a few more DC chargers get installed, I’m confident the floodgates are about to open.

A number of these “Coming Soon” pins on Plugshare are weeks away from going live. Filtered to DC charging only.

The gap:

Considering the last DC charger east will be Ceduna and from the west Mundrabilla Roadhouse this leaves a gap of 558kms, not a problem for 3 or 4 cars per week as there’s currently 3 phase charging at Penong, the Nullarbor Roadhouse and Border Village, but when there are multiple cars per day the capacity of those outlets won’t be anywhere near enough. To add insult to injury the RAA of SA plan to install no more than a type 2 32amp single phase charger at Border Village, Nullarbor and Yalata, in effect two of the locations will be downgraded by a factor of 3. To look at it another way at Ceduna the RAA will have a rapid DC charger capable of charging at least 3 cars per hour, at the Nullarbor Roadhouse it will take 1 car 8 hours to charge.

Who is providing a solution?

A team of volunteer EV owners led by Jon Edwards who was the designer, builder and driving force of the Caiguna Biofil  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-17/first-fast-charger-for-electric-vehicles-installed-on-nullarbor/100762138  is both raising money and making every attempt to install at least one and hopefully two low power DC chargers in the 558km gap between Ceduna and Mundrabilla. Yet again, it’s the volunteers stepping up when business groups who receive taxpayer funds to build charging infrastructure are too slow to act. You can donate to the cause at TOCEVA Racing.

Who could provide a solution?

Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen likes to talk a good game, continual media releases, Facebook posts and Tweets promoting EVs. He’s certainly one of the reasons for a rapid increase in EV sales over the past year, perhaps he could step in and prompt the fast tracking of one or two DC chargers at Penong, Yalata or the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

The RAA of South Australia could seriously reconsider the decision to place a low powered single phase outlet at the Nullarbor Roadhouse. The RAA don’t mind a bit of publicity, 5 or 6 EVs queuing up at an RAA branded trickle charger in the harsh environment of the Nullarbor Plain is not the good publicity they think it is. C’mon RAA, install something useful and everyone’s a winner.

The NRMA are keen for new members, there’s no better way to promote their business and show how committed they are to current and future members by installing a similar DC charger to the one recently installed at Erldunda Roadhouse  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-11/electric-car-tesla-charging-prototype-outback-stuart-highway/102953618  in central Australia. Of course the best action is to install one before there’s a bottleneck rather than “coming soon” media releases.

The last and seemingly easiest action that would ease the bottleneck rather than fix it would be for Ampol  https://ampcharge.ampol.com.au/find-a-charging-station  to install a 75kw or larger DC charger at the Ampol service station in the small town of Penong. Below is Ampol’s mission statement, there would be no better way to back that statement than engaging with the Australian EV community that wish to drive across the country. “Powering better journeys, today and tomorrow. Our company has always been about more than fuel. Fuel may be the foundation of our business, but our motivation and purpose comes from the people, businesses, industries and communities we engage with.”

This is no longer a case of build it and they will come, it’s important that it’s built before they arrive.

A Tale of Two Motors

Test Number 2

After seeing the results from test number 1, How much do 19 inch tyres and wheels improve the performance of a Tesla Model Y, it was decided to do a second 272 km test (along the same route) between the same Model Y Performance with 19 inch Gemini wheels and tyres and a Standard Model Y with exactly the same wheel and tyre set-up.

The clear difference between these two vehicles is their drive units. The Performance Y has dual motors with a maximum of 393kW power, whereas the Standard Y has a single motor producing a maximum 194kW. The Performance Y is 88kg heavier than its standard range stable-mate due to a combination of different-sized battery packs (and chemistry difference) and the extra weight of its additional motor. The operating parameters of the two cars were identical with tyre pressures set to 42 psi cold, air conditioners set to 22°C and the same number of occupants in each car. You can read in the initial test all the steps taken to obtain an untainted result.

Model Y
Performance
19″ Gemini
Model Y
Standard
19″ Gemini
Leg 1
31km
206Wh/km198Wh/km
Leg 2
105km
164Wh/km165Wh/km
Leg 3
105km
153Wh/km156Wh/km
Leg 4
31km
98Wh/km105Wh/km
Total
272km
157Wh/km158Wh/km

Test start 9.05 am, completion 12.42 pm. Weather, clear skies temp 13 – 20°C. Moderate wind from the same direction for the whole test which reflects in the result for Legs 2 & 3.

Please note the Performance Y once again recorded a total trip of 271 km over a 272 km journey, the other two test cars both recorded 272 km.

Although the Performance Y is heavier than the Standard Y and also has a second drive unit which slightly adds to mechanical friction losses, these disadvantages are likely compensated for by it being about 14 mm closer to the ground. Since reduced ground clearance enhances efficiency at higher speeds, a test in stop/start city conditions would likely slightly favor the Standard Model Y.

Which is the best Model Y variation?

First up the Performance, Long Range and Standard variations of a Model Y all have the major reasons to buy a Model Y in the first place: Excellent internal storage space considering its outside dimensions, good rear seat legroom, comfortable upright front seats, a high level of safety for occupants in a crash, all can legally tow 1600kg with trailer brakes, the most efficient pure electric drivetrain for its size and weight, and lastly but most importantly full access to the best and most reliable charging infrastructure in Australia, that being the Tesla Supercharging network.

The Performance Model Y
$101,564 on road in Western Australia (as of 17/02/2024)
Check Tesla website for current pricing
74.5kWh usable NCA battery pack
514kms WLTP
Genuine range on coarse country roads 408kms.

This variation has the additions of dual electric motors, performance brakes, slightly lowered suspension and a few cosmetic additions, it also has a track mode setting if you can find a safe controlled track to let the car off it’s leash.
The Performance is brutally quick when required, the brakes are extremely good and the 21 inch wheels with Pirelli Pzeros look fantastic. Unfortunately the 21s are the only wheel/tyre combo available, these consume a lot of energy. If you’re happy to drive in the Albany-Perth-Geraldton corridor the 21s are fine, if you have plans for long country trips away from reliable DC charging you will have to drive with a bit more caution.

Long Range Model Y
$86,484 on road in Western Australia
74.5kWh usable NCA battery pack
533kms WLTP
Genuine range on coarse country roads 464kms with 19 inch wheels

This variation is often referred to as the sweet spot; Dual electric motors, very good acceleration, the longest range battery and priced so it does receive some tax breaks for business folks. It also has the choice of 19 inch Gemini wheels or 20 inch Induction wheels ($2400+tax), the Induction wheels will reduce range slightly so my advice would be to option the Geminis and purchase a $300 set of Induction wheel covers for city driving and refit the Gemini hubcaps on long trips away from reliable DC charging.
My guess is the LR will outsell the Performance by a margin of 5 to 1 in Australia, especially to those that think range anxiety is real. If I lived in a WA country town or towed a trailer more than 1000kms on a regular basis I’d consider the Long Range Model Y.

Standard Model Y
$72,639 on road in WA
(eligible for $3,500 state Government rebate – if no options)
57kWh usable LFP battery pack (the Ricky Gervais pack)
455kms WLTP
Genuine range on coarse country roads 370kms with 19 inch wheels

Despite having good sales already in WA this rear motor only variation is still massively misunderstood amongst the public, it may be the “slowest Tesla ever” with a 0-100kmh time of 6.9 seconds but the critically importantly 80-120km acceleration is plentiful. It may have the smallest capacity battery pack but it’s LFP chemistry means the battery pack is far more flexible, the LFP is very happy being charged to 100% on a weekly basis (even daily if you “just don’t care”), it may not charge faster than 170kW like the NCA packs but the LFP has a flatter DC charging rate that is less confusing to new owners.
Take note: The three fastest pure EV trips around Australia took 14, 16 and 17 days. All completed in Standard Range Model Ys.

As each month passes and reliable DC chargers installations increase around Western Australia the more the Standard Model Y will be able to travel without compromise. If you live in the Perth-Albany-Augusta triangle and don’t care about brutal acceleration or all wheel drive traction the Model Y Standard is the best choice of the 3 variations.