How to find Free Charging, some Hot Tips from a long term EV owner.

To be very clear if you purchased a $70k+ vehicle and saving money on refueling is the only focus you’ve missed the point, lower long term servicing and repair plus the far longer lifespan of a Tesla are just as important. Throw in the high safety rating and the additional storage a Tesla provides and ownership is a broad package.

Without doubt the best EV charging is at home, even 30 cents a unit grid power is at least half the price per distance driven than a similar size and performance petrol car. If you charge off peak, even cheaper. Those using home solar are reducing their fuel cost by up to a factor of 8. Best of all parking at home is safe, no door dings from lazy parking, no stray shopping trolleys, there’s big savings to be made from avoiding the panel beaters.

What about all those free Tesla destination chargers? These are not free, they’re complimentary, almost all Tesla destination chargers are owned by a local business that have installed them to support EV owners. The electricity is not paid for by Tesla, it’s paid for by the small business that would prefer you drop in and buy a product rather than you sitting in your car watching Netflix.

Is there an app that shows all the free chargers? I get asked this question often in public and the answer is “not specifically”, the best way to find them is to log on to Plugshare, find the busiest and always in use chargers in the metro area and its a sure bet they’re free.

So what is the best free charger in WA? The one at your home, it’s never ICED, it doesn’t require an app, you won’t get panel damage and best of all it’s free to use any time you like.

While on the subject of free, TOCWA have a free loan of charging cables and spare tyres for members, membership is $20 per year via this link.

So you want to drive an EV across the Nullarbor?

Clearly the quicker (and possibly cheaper) option is to travel across Australia on a commercial jet, so if you’re not sure you have the patience and planning skills take the airport option. For those more adventurous read on.

By late 2023 the WA state government will have enough fast DC chargers installed between Perth and Eucla to provide a fairly comfortable trip, once you get into South Australia its anyone’s guess, SA do have a charging rollout planned but it’s very Adelaide centric, so for the next 12 months or so most charging requires knowledge and patience.

To keep this a moderate length read I’ll focus on the drive between Port Augusta and Norseman, a distance of 1,670km. There is  already an article on TOCWA’s website discussing the Perth to Kalgoorlie section.

The road – It’s generally good the whole way with a long sections of chip seal surface that increases energy consumption. There are no overtaking lanes but considering it’s mostly flat and straight with good visibility overtaking is relatively easy. Despite the road being good I highly recommend you take a full size spare tyre and wheel combo, in the unlikely chance you get a tyre issue it will be a major one rather than a slow leak from a tech screw. Be aware Roadhouses don’t replace tyres, they sell fuel, food and drink.

What to do/take:

  • Make sure your cold tyre pressures are correct, keep monitoring those pressures throughout the journey.
  • Study Plugshare thoroughly before you leave, especially the comments. While charging during the journey check Plugshare for your next stop just in case there’s any late changes. Always check into Plugshare so other EV drivers on the Nullarbor can plan ahead. Edit: it has become very apparent that the number of EVs crossing the Nullarbor have increased significantly through November and December 2022, there is a chance you could arrive at a charge point that is already in use, it is in your best interest to plugshare your journey so other drivers can liaise with you. The simple 30 second task of checking into plugshare by yourself and other EV travelers could save you 3 or 4 hours of wasted time at the next charge stop.
  • Take the correct charging cable plus plan B and C cables. The correct cable is a 3 phase Juice Booster 2 or KHONS cable, the Tesla GEN2 UMC to 3 phase tail is a plan D and should NOT be used on Nullarbor 3 phase outlets unless you’re desperate.
  • I can not stress how important it is to follow the mantra of ALWAYS BE CHARGING, do not cut your charging session short at a working charge point because you think the next one is faster or cheaper.
  • Telstra is the only choice for any chance of phone reception (of course if you fit in your roaming Starlink dish you’re king of the Nullarbor).
  • Keep yourself busy and the charging time won’t appear so slow, Nullarboring is a term used by people with no imagination.
  • Have the BOM app on your phone – The air temp and wind direction can have a big effect on your range, plan ahead and add more charge than you require to be safe.
  • Take a relaxed attitude about the facilities, most of the infrastructure is pre 1976, it’s generally clean but worn out. Producing clean water, electricity and keeping everything operational is expensive due to being so far from a capital city so don’t expect much value for money. Take note that due to staff shortages most locations have cleared up the dishes, closed the bar and hopped off to bed far earlier than you expect.
  • Wear a Diplomatic hat – like much of the country, regional areas are struggling to find staff, those on site are working long hours, you are one of a hundred customers that day. Keep in mind by allowing EVs to charge Roadhouse management are doing you a favour rather than making a profit from selling electricity.
  • Understand that some new staff members have no idea the business has a charge point, it can be a interesting conversation.
  • Leave early arrive early, getting on to the road just before sunrise is a great way to start the day, plan your first charging stop for a late breakfast. Traffic is almost non existent in the early morning, visibility is good and it’s easier to spot wildlife. By late afternoon it’s best to be parked up with the car on charge while the rest of the tourists are frantically racing to their next destination while driving into a blazing sunset with no hope of seeing a Roo about to smash the headlights.
  • Take into account as you drive east you’ll lose an average of 15 minutes of daylight every 400kms, on the drive west you’ll gain 15 minutes.
  • Be very aware of the change in time zones as the Nullarbor also has its own AWCT time from Cocklebiddy to the WA border, you may roll up to a Roadhouse thinking its 6.30pm when it’s actually 7.15pm and the staff have locked up for the evening.

What not to do:

  • Do not plug in without seeking permission, if you have a passenger get them to go seek out a staff member while the driver parks up and gets the cable ready.
  • Do not Hypermile, it’s not necessary with the biggest gap between chargers being 200kms. It may be okay to drive slower in the early hours of the morning when the roads are virtually free of traffic but during daylight hours anything less than 90kmh has the potential to aggravate other road users.
  • During overnight stops don’t try and charge too fast if you don’t need to, plan to have your car finish charging just before expected departure. If you charge at the highest rate and the breaker trips during the night you may not realize and could end up wasting time in the morning.
  • Do not turn off the air conditioner on warm afternoons, a warm interior reduces driver concentration, set the aircon to 22.5C and all will be fine.
  • Do not drive fast through the RH car parks, most are Limestone and can be in poor condition with cavernous potholes that are difficult to see, on most occasions it’s less than walking pace or you may end up rattled.
  • Don’t plan to drive too far in one day especially if you’ve booked accommodation in advance.

Port Augusta

It’s difficult to understand why PA doesn’t have DC chargers considering its on a T junction of 3 busy highways. There’s two AC charging options in town, we prefer to use the Majestic Apartments that are centrally located and very secure. The accommodation is very nice with washing machines and dryers in the rooms. Although it’s not necessary to be a guest to use the Tesla HPWC it’s wise to ring at least half a day in advance, ask permission and provide an accurate arrival time, that way the staff will place a witches hat in front of the car charger and open the security gates when they see you pull up. Reception normally refuse payment, a big thank you and some quality chocolate won’t go amiss though. Coles, Woolworths and Big W are all within 200 metres so you can stock up before heading west.

Kimba

Milton tyres has been generously offering EV charging since May 2016, they recently upgraded to a 32amp three phase outlet that makes charging even easier. Payment is dependent on the length of stay. Keep in mind that unless prior arrangements are made this service is only available during business hours Monday to Friday.

Poochera

This town is almost deserted but it has gem of a little old country pub with a 3 phase 32amp outlet that’s easy to access. The bad news is the Pub doesn’t open to 4.00pm, the good news is you can ring ahead and arrange payment via BSB. Jeff and Karen have kindly offered this service since May 2016 after a visit by WA Tesla owners Matt and David.

Ceduna East-West Motel

There’s two Tesla HPWCs with handy parking, payment is currently $25 at reception before plugging in. I highly recommend you take the 10 minute walk to the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel for a meal.

Penong Caravan Park

This location has handy 32amp 3 phase outlet located in the centre of the Caravan Park, payment is a $10 service fee plus 40cents a kWh, the service fee includes the use of the facilities such as showers and camp kitchen. Penong is another example of friendly South Australian country people making up for the lack of government support emanating from Adelaide.

The Nullarbor Roadhouse

The 3 phase outlet is on the rear of the main building to the left hand side as you look from the road, payment is $30 via the Cafeteria. Add plenty of extra charge at this location as a coastal headwind driving west could leave you struggling to get the next charge point.

Border Village

As you may see from Plugshare comments Trevor is the go to person at this location, ask for him at reception and he’ll guide you around to the rear workshop. Charging is strictly limited to 20amp 3 phase, that’s okay if you have a model 3 or Y drawing 3 x 16amps but it’s also where the Tesla Gen2 UMC to 3 phase tail comes unstuck, charging at 20amps single phase is unnecessarily slow. Charging is complimentary in the hope that you’ll sit down for a meal or stay overnight.

Eucla

This site is no longer allowing EV charging.

Mundrabilla

This site has a 32amp 3 phase outside one of the motel rooms, payment is $40 all you can charge but management would much prefer charging in daylight hours or at least avoided between 9.00pm and 6.00am due to the electricity system they have in place.

Pro tip- Stand just inside the roadhouse doorway to gain Telstra reception.

Madura Pass

The good news is Madura has a crowd funded 22kw DC charger in the old garage next to the fuel bowsers, the bad news is that due to staff shortages the garage door is only open from 7.00am until 5.00pm. I would advise not to arrive in the late afternoon as at 5.00pm the power is switched off, the doors closed and the fuel attendant rushes off to serve food in the bar, such is life on the Nullarbor currently. Be aware that all but one of the staff at Madura are extremely friendly, unfortunately one has an allergy to Electric Cars and is best left alone. Payment is a donation to the RFDS.

Cocklebiddy

An easy 32amp 3 phase to find, right next to the large Eagles cage with a sign that says TV outlet. The sit down meals here are always worth a try.  RFDS donation for payment.

Caiguna Roadhouse

This location has the famous Biofil DC charger that was installed in January 2022, this 50kw unit is powered by a converted diesel generator that consumes used cooking oil from the roadhouse kitchen. Despite some difficulties with solidified fuel on cold winter mornings the Vegpod has served its purpose by encouraging the WA state government to extend the DC charger network across to the WA border. Payment is a $50 service fee plus cost for energy used, staff are required to start to unit. Update 5/11/2022: Nullarbor Roadhouses are still struggling to find staff, Caiguna employees are extremely busy and will start the generator if you contact them well ahead. My suggestion is to avoid stopping here for a DC charge until their circumstances improve. By all means stop in and grab some food and drink or charge from 15 amp overnight.

Balladonia

At the rear of the western side of the main building is another crowd funded 22kw DC charger, the payment is $1.00 per unit as recorded on the DC chargers screen. You will need to go into reception first to get a key. Be patient and follow the instructions exactly or the whole 2 minute process will have to repeated. Be warned, don’t skimp on charging here because it’s $1 a unit and the next location is a flat fee for all you can charge, that method may leave you short of range and possibly stranded.

Norseman

Ring at least half a day ahead during shire office hours and arrange the $37 payment via BSB or dropping into reception (a 7 minute walk from the 3 phase outlet at the oval). Make sure you provide contact details and your number plate as one or two greedy EV owners have plugged in without prior arrangement. If you walk for 4-5 minutes directly east from the oval you’ll locate some public toilets and a laundry.

Rob and Robin have crossed the Nullarbor 5 times in their Tesla Model S and charged at each location multiple times.

Driving a Tesla from Perth to Kalgoorlie

The drive towards Kalgoorlie is generally a little more difficult than the return journey due to Kalgoorlie being 450 metres higher above sea level than Perth. The extra 15-20kms range your car will consume heading east requires a bit of extra charging time along the way, not much but it should be factored in. Of course a strong tail wind or head wind will reduce or increase charging times. We know that by late 2023 Synergy will have installed multiple fast DC chargers at 2 or 3 sites along this route making the journey far more comfortable, until then it’s AC charging all the way.

The road – The highway between Perth and Kalgoorlie is mostly in reasonable condition but considering the importance of the Goldfields to the WA economy I believe it should be better. There are still a few sections lacking overtaking lanes and a few areas with poor drainage that create potholes easily, there are not many but keep a sharp out each side of Merredin. Don’t drive slow on this highway as you’ll just aggravate other drivers, 95 in a 100 zone is okay, keep in mind that most vehicles on this road are part of a business and don’t have time to sit behind a Tesla that didn’t charge enough at the last stop.

Perth GPO to Kalgoorlie is 593kms with 3 useful (and reliable) AC charging stops along the way, Merredin, Southern Cross and Koora Retreat. Most vehicles could get by with one stop at Merredin although I suggest you stop at all three to break up the journey. The overall trip will take the same time as AC charging speeds are all equal. Merredin is a friendly little town for a first time visitor but eventually you’ll want to keep moving. On the return trip to Perth I 100% recommend you charge at all 3, you’ll be none too pleased if you bypass a perfectly good charging option to find the next one being used by another EV.

If you’ve never driven this trip before I highly suggest you leave home early to arrive early, this way any unplanned hurdles won’t leave you crawling into Kalgoorlie after dark, hungry and tired. If you can get through Midland and into Mundaring before morning peak traffic you’ll set yourself up for a comfortable day, the end game is to be in Kalgoorlie before Sunset with your car on charge while you enjoy a well earned drink.

Merredin has two different useful charging locations, the most convenient one is the Tesla destination chargers behind the visitors centre, these are currently complimentary, don’t forget to pop in to the VC and thank the lady behind the counter for making a charger available.

Merredin Visitors Centre

Southern Cross has a very robust 3 phase 5 pin outlet at the Oval, it’s currently available 24/7 and free to use. You will require a 3 phase cable such as a Juice Booster 2 or KHONS cable. A Gen2 UMC with 3 phase tail will work but only through 1 phase restricting your charge rate, these are okay for home use but personally I think they’re a very poor option for country areas. I’ve never known Southern Cross to be ICED or broken but still plan to arrive here with at least 100kms of range remaining, there’s currently no other 3 phase options in town.

Koora Retreat installed one of the states first Tesla destination chargers as a way of helping the EV community, the original owners have moved on due to ill health but the new owner is keen to continue helping EVs. Payment is a very reasonable 50 cents a unit via BSB, follow the instructions on the paperwork inside the charging cabinet and be generous, without these charging options very few EVs would have visited Kalgoorlie in the past 6 years. Be aware phone connection often drops out near Koora Retreat, combined with the lack of signs and difficult to spot entry it requires a sharp eye to locate. The best guide I can provide is the entrance is 69.5kms east of Southern Cross.

How to make the car charge faster? Go for a walk, be a tourist, have a long lunch, talk to people, download and edit some photos. Keep yourself occupied and it won’t be a drag.

Finally Plugshare is by far the best option for Western Australia, ABRP is just an extra assistance for those that may need it. And don’t forget: Always Be Charging, Always Bring Cables, Always Browse Comments and Always Be Considerate/Courteous.

Buying a used EV: without the FUD

Guest post by TOCWA member Matt Kocaj

The influx of new electric vehicle models (EVs) and especially the recent arrival of the Tesla Model Y, heralds a rush of EV owners listing their “old” EVs for sale as they swap or upgrade to the new hotness.

I then saw this recent article by a well respected publisher in the Western Australian automotive community. It really ground my gears! “grinded my gears”? Who knows!? 🤷‍♂️ I was frustrated.

The article is a problem in my opinion because it might leave a used EV buyer to have misinformed expectations about electric vehicles and their batteries. So to set the record straight, I’m going to quote a few sections from said article, and correct the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). Hopefully those who care for the details, and getting an EV with as much range remaining as possible, will appreciate the following explanations.

EV Batteries degrade like your phone. But much slower.

Degradation is the natural chemical process that an EV battery undergoes as it’s used. As energy goes in and out of the battery many many times, it loses the ability to retain the same amount of energy as it did when it was new.

Various studies, and Tesla’s own data, suggests the average degradation is around 1 per cent of the original capacity per year.

It doesn’t work like this, firstly because degradation isn’t a function of time, but closer to a function of kilometres (km) driven. The more energy in and out of the battery (its “cycles”) the more degradation. Lithium based batteries have a finite lifetime. This is why your phone battery won’t last as long 2 years in, compared to when it was new.

Tesla battery degradation
This image was taken from an article on electrek.co which uses Tesla data.

As you can see the degradation is mostly linear after about 50,000 km. But in the first part of the EVs life the capacity drops a little faster. In the case of a Tesla we know that some vehicles have well over 90% of the original capacity after many 100s of thousands of km. Other vehicles may be closer to 80% like mine (~2.5y old and 116,000k on the odometer/ODO).

It seems that the less “work” the car does in terms of demands on the battery, the longer it will last. Many EV owners are quite happy to share how their batteries have degraded after 1, 2, 3 or even 5 years of use.

It seems that how an OEM manages a battery has a huge role to play in the longevity of the battery and minimising degradation. I know someone with a gen1 Nissan Leaf who is down to 50% of the original capacity. These batteries are not liquid cooled like a Tesla and generally considered some of the worst cells on the used battery market because of the poor design.

You should definitely ask about the battery degradation

But don’t expect too much when it comes to your local “automotive workshop”. They probably won’t have a clue.

Most automotive workshops should be able to access this data by plugging into the onboard diagnostics (OBD2) port, or in some instances it could be relayed using remote connectivity.

In the case of a Tesla for example, the data you’re after isn’t accessible simply by plugging in a generic OBD2 link. Tesla also doesn’t make it easy to find on the vehicle’s user interface or in the mobile app. You will need a bit of DIY to install a relatively inexpensive adapter and download an app to connect to the car and capture the values.

Read on to see some tips on getting the exact figures from your seller.

Don’t try to reverse engineer estimated range into battery capacity

Between them it allows you to calculate the battery capacity and compare it to the original capacity.

No, it doesn’t.

Most EVs have a series of complex formulas, variables and historical driving data that form the “estimated range in km” displayed inside the vehicle. It’s for this reason that it’s often not useful to try to estimate battery degradation working back from these “range” numbers. The only reliable way to know is to extract the raw values from the car’s computer and use those. One example from a friends Tesla:

full pack when new: 52.4 kWh 
nominal full pack: 48.2 kWh

Therefore this battery has 91.9% of its original capacity remaining. That’s about 8% degradation. That’s pretty normal I’m finding for a 2020 model and 24,000 km on the clock.

EV km and ICE km are not the same

Everything in a car is going to wear and degrade over time and especially when it’s under load or working hard. The moving parts are especially important in an ICE vehicle (Internal Combustion Engine; a non-EV) and this is why it’s conventional to use the km on the ODO as a primary indicator of the wear and tear and a big input to one’s assessment of the value of a used vehicle.

With EVs, this is not as important as the battery degradation. Yes, it will in most cases, correlate strongly with the km driven. But not always. An older EV driven very gingerly may have far less degradation than a near new EV with a young driver who wants to drag everyone at the lights.

An EV battery may be covered under a specific warranty

Tesla for example, quote a very specific warranty for various models ensuring that over a given lifetime (in years), a known capacity is warranted.

Tesla battery warranty: AU capture, Aug 2022

If the battery falls below this remaining capacity inside the age (years) or km driven, then the battery can be claimed for replacement under said warranty. This is good news for used EV owners and supports the real-world data we have measured above. A 10-year old Tesla is not going to be “dead” as I continue to see speculated online. It just won’t get you as far as it would have when it was new. Much like your phone. These EVs will change hands in the used car market for some time.

Ask your seller what the battery degradation is. It’s more important than km

Ask the dealer or private seller what the remaining capacity is. If they don’t know or haven’t already printed it out for you, they may know someone who can help them capture it and give you the figures. Use the above chart as a rough guide to see if the remaining capacity is average for the km on the odometer. This should give you an idea of how much work the vehicle has been subject to in its life so far. Higher values (remaining capacity) are obviously better and will correlate with fewer km driven.

If you don’t feel like you’re getting the answers you want or your seller strikes you as the kind that doesn’t really have a good handle on the workings of batteries, then reach out to the folks here at TOCWA. We have a very friendly community of EV enthusiasts willing to lend a hand or share helpful advice.

Happy (informed) shopping.

Matt is an EV and battery enthusiast. He and his children enjoy pulling apart kids’ toys and “upgrading” them with recycled lithium batteries. Matt has been a Tesla owner since 2020 and is passionate about helping others cross the chasm into the new world. Matt has friends that ride horses purely for leisure. Soon his friends with ICE cars will be driving them purely for leisure too.

copy of the original referenced article can be found in the Wayback Machine in the event the source is updated after publishing.

What accessories do you need for your new Tesla? Don’t spend a single dollar until you read this.

The above question gets asked on a regular basis on Tesla forums and there’s no perfect answer, what I will say with certainty is an accessory that’s very useful for one Tesla owner could be completely useless for you and vice versa. As the Grail Knight says “Choose wisely”.

To focus this discussion I’ll break it down into 2 areas – Charging assistance and finally Exterior and Interior Accessories.

Charging assistance – Charging also breaks down in to two areas, Home charging and Public/Travel charging. The set up you need at home depends on the average distance you expect to drive per week and if you’re planning to make use of home solar or the Synergy EV plan that’s available between 11.00pm and 4.00am. If you wish to ask a question about a home charging set up on any TOCWA social media make sure you provide as many details as possible for a faster and more accurate answer. Public or travel charging accessories/cables is often determined by where you you expect to charge in public areas close to home and the locations and frequency you expect to drive in country areas. Sadly there is not yet one single charging cable to suit all occasions, the good news is TOCWA members get access to loan charging cables until you’re confident you know which cable suits you best.

Cables can be loaned or purchased outright from TOCWA.

Exterior and Interior accessories – There’s no shortage of businesses in Western Australia selling Tesla accessories such as after market wheels, paint protection, window tinting and much more, there’s also no shortage of Tesla owners who’ve used these services, the most obvious advice I can give you is meet up with one those Tesla owners that have had paint protection, window tinting or other product installed for more than 12 months, check the quality with a keen eye and ask lots of questions.

Some after market additions can be very useful over the life of the car, some can be a huge burden, take the time to make the correct decision.

Don’t forget TOCWA’s Ask Us Anything every Wednesday evening from 7.30pm for some useful advice on charging and accessories and/or check out some articles on this website.

Dealing with Electric Vehicle Misinformation

Social media can be very challenging day after day, handy for staying in touch with distant friends and relatives but an often a battlefield of mistruths, aggravation and division.

Like many other discussion topics, a mention of Electric Vehicles brings out a vast amount of opinions for and against, you have three main choices to deal with it:

  • 1. Delete all forms of social media and live happily ever after.
  • 2. Scroll fast without reading the article or any comments.
  • 3. I highly suggest you take up one of the first 2 options but if you want to engage please read the following:

There are two main types providing negative comments against EVs, those that just don’t know any better and are just repeating information they’ve seen/heard elsewhere without fact checking and those that know full well the information they’re providing is misleading/false. The second type are generally repeat offenders as they have skin in the game so to speak.

  • Only engage if you feel it’s absolutely necessary, if someone comments “I’ll stick to my V8 thanks” leave it be.
  • Have quality Australian based articles on EVs ready to go and provide the link when necessary.
  • Keep your comments polite no matter how abusive others become.
  • Keep in mind your comment/answer is aimed at the fence sitters more than the EV naysayer.
  • Provide evidence based facts not opinion.
  • For some responses a photo is worth a thousand words.
  • Mention your “EV” rather than your Tesla, being generic keeps prevents the discussion being side-tracked.
  • Be ready for the goalposts to be moved, when they are your comment has hit its target.
  • Avoid climate change discussion, many on social media only care about themselves.
  • Discuss energy independence, fuel and servicing savings, safety, performance, convenience.

The 21st Century is a world of self interest, tell them what they want to hear.

Portable Power Packs are Wasted on Recharging EVs.

A portable power pack (also referred to as a solar generator) is sold in a variety of storage capacities from 150Wh up to and beyond 2000Wh. At this stage they are generally very expensive in terms of dollars per Wh of storage, if you purchase a unit that fits your needs and plan to use it on a regular basis it’s a useful product, otherwise they’re a waste of money and battery resources.

A big gripe I have is many of the power packs on the market are advertised as being useful for recharging an EV, no doubt the larger units can charge an EV but making this part of a purchase decision is poor thinking. Why? A fully charged larger unit could potential add 8 to 10kms of range to a Model 3, handy in absolute desperation but with a Model 3 Standard having at least 330kms of range at 110kmh no one who adheres to the ABCs of EV ownership should be getting stranded. If you think you may be 8kms short of range, slow down by 5-10kmh, you may arrive 15 minutes later than planned but that’s better than sitting on the side of a road while trickle charging from a 27kg device that costs $2000 or more.

So how is a power pack useful- As I said if you’re going to use it on a regular basis away from home they can be very convenient, despite most cars having multiple 12v power outlets they’re never always close to hand, having the flexibility of multiple phone, iPad, Laptop and Camera/Drone battery charging outlets away from the car when a 240v outlet is too far away is fast and convenient, they’re also very handy keeping a portable freezer operating away from established power.

There are two main types of power packs, the larger ones have a built in inverter and one or two 240v outlets capable of running appliances such as TVs, power drills or kettles for short periods of time, the extra internals needed add to the purchase price and the overall weight. The smaller power packs rarely have a 240v capability so are generally less cost per Wh or storage. If you can get through a few days without a 240v outlet that makes your choice easier.

Testing a portable power pack

To run the test I purchased a Coleman 40Ah power pack as this was readily available at a wide variety of camping stores throughout Australia, it currently is the best value per Wh of storage and most importantly contains LifePo4 batteries. These are heavier but are more likely to survive the expected 2000+ cycles before storage capacity is down to 80% of original. The 40Ah power pack has 512Wh of capacity and could potentially power 8 devices at once.

Test one – See how long a 100% charged battery would last while cooling a 45-litre fridge/freezer down from 18C to -15C, this was done during the day in an outside but shaded area in temperatures between 23C and 30C. The pack supplied enough power to allow the freezer and the originally room temperature water containers to reach 0C within 95 minutes, this consumed 16% of the available battery. I stopped the test after 10 hours with the battery down to 5% and the internal freezer temperature -15C. The test was run entirely during daylight hours.

Test Two – See how long a 100% charged pack would maintain the fridge freezer at -4C. This test commenced at 8.05am and continued through two full days and one night, the maximum temperature during that time was 30.6C, the overnight minimum was 21.6C. I concluded the test after 35 hours with the battery level down to 4%.

Test Three – See how much charge my old fold out 100Watt solar panel can add to the power pack without shifting the panel to follow the direction of the Sun. Considering there was early morning tree shade and a small amount of cloud cover in the late afternoon the 80% added to the battery was very handy. The Coleman 40Ah power packs inbuilt MPPT was a significant advantage. A 120W solar panel or shifting the panel once during the day would have provided a 100% charge.

Test Four – Can the solar charging keep up with a Fridge/Freezer set at -4C? Yes, the F/F requires around 65% of the battery over 24 hours, the 100W solar panels replaced 80% during daylight hours.

To summarise: portable power packs can be a handy accessory if you purchase the correct size for the planned tasks and use it on a regular basis.

Rob.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your Tesla

(Essential reading for new owners and a handy review for existing Tesla drivers.) Written by Pete Petrovsky

If this is your first EV or first Tesla, congratulations on taking the first step towards helping to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy with a car that is completely changing the entire automotive industry for the better. You’ll be glad to know you’ve ordered the world’s safest car, which is an absolute pleasure to own and drive and you can wave Goodbye to petrol station visits and most servicing. Did you know Tesla doesn’t have a mandated service schedule? That said, there are a couple of recommendations. How much will servicing your Tesla set you back? In Australia, the Tesla recommended servicing and maintenance will cost $111 in the first three years compared to $1,725 or about 15 times as much for an average Australian internal combustion engine vehicle over the same 3-year period. But that’s just where the savings begin. Did you know that even if petrol was free, you would still be better off with a Tesla? To find out how far ahead you can expect to be after three years see: https://www.tocwa.org.au/2021/11/26/tesla-model-3-economics-compared-to-an-average-australian-petrol-car/

With all that enjoyable, safe and low-cost motoring to look forward to, you’re no doubt eager to hit the road, but perhaps you’re wondering whether you know everything you should before jumping behind the wheel of your shiny new Tesla. While I aimed to be comprehensive, the following should not be considered an exhaustive list of everything there is to know about owning an EV, but hopefully it should make for a good and informative start.

Paying For Your New Tesla

There have been a couple of instances in Australia where reservation holders had their email accounts hacked and consequently, while under the impression they were transferring their funds to Tesla, instead, they were unknowingly making the transfer to a scammer. I believe Tesla has now put in place various measures such as using your car’s VIN number as the account number but a good tip is to first transfer a negligibly small amount and check with Tesla that they received your funds and then use the exact same account details to transfer the balance. This is the method I used for our first Tesla in September 2019 and it worked well, however, with there now being a considerable backlog, you’ll need to allow enough time to ensure you are ready to take delivery as soon as your car is ready, otherwise you may run the risk of being pushed back in the queue as your car may be reassigned to the next reservation holder for that model car and trim. Please note, if you’re financing your Tesla and your bank or other loan provider is making the transfer for you this may not be an issue, but if you are going to be transferring the balance owing on your car yourself it pays to be cautious as you may not get a second chance.

Insurance

You’ll want to ensure you take out comprehensive car insurance before driving your new Tesla for the first time. There are numerous variables that go into determining insurance premiums including the insured value, the excess, where and how the car is parked, your driving history, your demographics, the age of the youngest driver, your no claims bonus, personal versus business use, how much you expect to drive the car as well as optional extras such as a hire car and so on. It’s important you take these and any other relevant factors into account when arranging your car insurance. In terms of who are the most Tesla and EV friendly insurers in Australia, TOCWA members report the lowest premiums from RACWA and Budget Direct ranging between approximately $900 a year or lower to about $2,000 a year or more for a Model 3, but please do shop around as far and wide as you feel appropriate and please let us know if you happen to find better like-for-like rates with another insurer.

Vehicle Delivery

Before picking up your car I recommend that you download the Tesla app here: https://www.tesla.com/en_AU/support/tesla-app and set up an account. Tesla may have already let you know that the delivery experience will be fairly fast, possibly as short as 5-15 minutes. You may therefore want to consider reaching out to an experienced Tesla owner to run you through the controls and settings before you drive off for the first time. Alternatively please see this video about how to best set up your new Tesla I generally recommend setting the car up with the following options turned on:

  • ◦ Lights – Auto
  •  ◦ Auto High Beams – Off
  •  ◦ Windscreen wipers – Auto
  •  ◦ Regenerative Braking – Standard
  •  ◦ Stopping Mode – Hold
  •  ◦ Charging – 90% for cars with NCA batteries or 100% for cars with LFP batteries
  •  ◦ Autopilot
  •  ◦ Set speed – Current Speed
  •  ◦ Automatic Blind Spot Camera – Enabled
  •  ◦ Blind Spot Collision Warning Chime – Enabled
  •  ◦ Forward Collision Warning – Early
  •  ◦ Lane Departure Assistance – Assist
  •  ◦ Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance – Enabled
  •  ◦ Automatic Emergency Braking – Enabled
  •  ◦ Obstacle Aware Acceleration – Enabled
  •  ◦ Traffic Aware Cruise Control Chime – Enabled
  •  ◦ Green Traffic Light Chime – Enabled
  •  ◦ Walk-Away Door Lock – Enabled
  •  ◦ Driver Door Unlock Mode – Enabled
  •  ◦ Car Left Open Notifications – Enabled
  •  ◦ Lock Confirmation Sound – Enabled
  •  ◦ Close Windows on Lock – Enabled
  •  ◦ Auto High Beam – Off
  •  ◦ Display – Auto
  •  ◦ Brightness – Auto
  •  ◦ Trips – Rename the last trip meter to: “Lifetime – Do Not Reset!”
  •  ◦ Trips – Rename the second last trip meter to “New Tires”
  •  ◦ Trip Planner – Enabled
  •  ◦ Online Routing – Enabled
  •  ◦ Sentry Mode – On (Remember to turn back on after a software update.)
  •  ◦ Dashcam – Auto and On Honk (Remember to turn back on after a software update.)
  •  ◦ PIN to Drive – Enabled
  •  ◦ Glovebox PIN – Enabled
  •  ◦ Cabin Overheat Protection – On (Please note this will be automatically disabled when the battery state of charge drops below 20%)
  •  ◦ Software Update Preference – Advanced

TOCWA

At any time, but ideally prior to taking delivery of your vehicle, I would encourage you to become a TOCWA (Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia) member. TOCWA is the officially sanctioned Tesla club for WA and a not-for-profit volunteer-run group facilitating communication, advocacy and community for Tesla Owners and reservation holders within WA. 

TOCWA is always willing to help anyone considering buying an EV but for best value I would urge you to become TOCWA member as the cost is just $20 a year and I’d be surprised if you don’t get this back several times over. Firstly, as a member you will be invited to join the weekly ‘Ask Us Anything’ Zoom call run by the Club Secretary where you’ll get the opportunity to have your questions answered by veteran Tesla owners with years of invaluable experience. The Club Secretary and Chairman who are among some of the first Tesla owners in Australia, have driven well over 200,000 kilometres in each of their Teslas around WA as well as on trips across or around Australia and they and many other members are always happy to share their years of experience. You’ll also be invited to monthly in person Casual Meet Ups and many other events as well as being able to borrow charging equipment, spare tyres for long road trips and other equipment at no cost. You will also be able to purchase some chargers and other accessories at substantially discounted prices. Being a not-for-profit organisation, the club is able to buy in bulk or at wholesale prices and offer the items to members at no mark-up. For example, the club sells the Khons Kwik charger to financial members at $750. the cheapest price I’ve seen on the internet is $1,280. For full disclosure, I am a proud TOCWA committee member. To join the club please visit: https://www.tocwa.org.au/membership-join/

Synergy EV Home Plan

Once you’ve taken delivery of your Tesla, I recommend signing up for Synergy’s EV tariff ‘trial’. If you’re still on the Synergy A1 tariff your electricity rates won’t change apart from between the hours of 11PM to 4AM during which time your tariff will drop by about 30% from currently 29.3273 cents to 20.4651 cents. Whether you charge your car during this time or not, the tariff applies to your entire home’s electricity draw. If you are on any tariff other than A1, please give me a call to determine the best course of action. 

In order to qualify for the Synergy EV Home Plan, you’ll need to provide proof of ownership but the car cannot be registered in a business name. To find out more see: 

https://www.synergy.net.au/Your-home/Energy-plans/Electric-Vehicle-Home-Plan

Plugshare and Charger Network Apps

A must for all EV owners is the Plugshare App which lists most if not all EV chargers available to the public in Australia and around the world. The browser based version can be found here: www.plugshare.com and these are the Apple iOS and the Google Android versions.

An alternative is A Better Route Planner which can be found here: https://abetterrouteplanner.com/ and these are the Apple iOS and the Google Android versions of the app.

You may also wish to download the following EV charging network apps and set up an account and a payment method such as a credit or debit card so that when you arrive at one of these chargers you can plug and charge without stress or wasting time worrying about setting up an account.

Apple iOSGoogle AndroidWebsite
ChargefoxChargefoxChargefox
SmartchargeSmartchargeSmartcharge
ChargePointChargePointChargePoint
NextchargeNextchargeNextcharge

Chargers, Cables and Adaptors

Only cars ordered before 9th July 2022 will come with an included UMC (Universal Mobile Connector) which will work on a standard 10A home powerpoint. It will also come with a 15A adapter also known as a “pig tail” and you can also purchase other after-market tails such as the 32A, 5-pin, 3-phase one, which among many other places, can be found here: https://www.evseadapters.com/products/australia-32a-5-pin-adapter-for-tesla-gen-2/ or https://braumach.com.au/products/tesla-model-3-y-20a-gen-2-mobile-charger-cable-adapter-2017-22-aust-stock?

For a faster, permanently wired and wall-mounted home charging solution, you can consider the Tesla HPWC (High Power Wall Connector) https://www.tesla.com/en_AU/support/home-charging-installation/wall-connector The HPWC is very reasonably priced but the installation pricing from the installers listed on the Tesla website is in my opinion exorbitant. If you require an installer, or if you’d like to discuss other charging options please feel free to contact me and I’ll try to put you in touch with a reasonably priced installer in your area.

For charging at untethered public AC chargers you will require a Type 2 (a.k.a. Mennekes) EV cable which can be purchased from TOCWA or others such as https://evse.com.au/product/7-metre-type-2-to-type-2-ev-charging-cable-22kw/ Please note, these cables can come in various configurations. I recommend the 22kW 7-metre version. Although a 5-metre cable is considerably cheaper, it’s not uncommon to find yourself “ICED” which is where the EV charging bay is blocked by an ignorant or inconsiderate driver of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. In these situations, the 7-metre cable should be long enough to reach an adjacent parking bay.  

For more great information about charging your Tesla please see the following article: https://www.tocwa.org.au/advice/charging/

Accessories

If you’re interested in buying accessories for your new Tesla, I highly recommend attending the TOCWA Ask Us Anything Zoom call and speaking to the existing Tesla owners first. In terms of vendors, this is the link to the official Australian online Tesla store: hhttps://shop.tesla.com/en_au There are also now many third-party vendors. The two main Australian sites are: https://tesloz.com.au/ and https://tessories.com.au/ but you can also explore Amazon and many other online shopping sites.

EV Knowledge

As a new EV owner there will be some new information you’ll want to take on board, including charger knowledge, public charging etiquette, and lots of Pro Tips that you will find helpful. As a minimum, it’s good to know about the ‘ABCs’:

  1. Always Be Courteous

Electric vehicles are a disruptive technology and although it’s becoming rare, you may come across some people whose livelihoods or whose identity may be threatened by the rapid shift to sustainable transport. You may also find yourself ICED or there may be other situations where you’ll be tempted to let the person know exactly what you think, however, it is always best to remain calm, respectful and courteous and if all else fails it may be best to prevent any escalation and walk away. Please also remember that being an EV owner and/or driver you’re representing other EV owners and/or drivers.

  • Always Be Charging

Owning an EV is in many ways similar to owning a smartphone. There’s nothing worse than a dead phone and although it’s very rare for a Tesla to ever run out of charge you don’t want to find yourself in that situation so it’s a good idea to plan your longer journeys around charging points and to always have a contingency plan because you could get to a charger only to find it’s not working or taken up by another EV.  

Although this is changing at a fast pace, you will soon learn that with Teslas still being a relative novelty, it’s not uncommon to be stopped by a curious member of the public who is fascinated by your Tesla and is eager to ask you about your experience. (The most common questions are: How long does it take to charge? What’s the range? Do you have to pay for the charging? How long will the battery last before it needs replacing?) It’s great to spend some time answering these questions but a good pro tip is to ask the person to wait one second while you plug your car in and ensure its charging. That way your car can be filling up with electrons while you talk, rather than finding yourself engrossed in the conversation only to realise you could have been charging for the last twenty minutes.

  • Always Bring Cables

As already mentioned, your Tesla will come with an included Universal Mobile Connector (UMC). If you’re using the UMC as the means of charging your Tesla at home, it can be inconvenient to wrap it up and take it with you each time and it’s easy to forget too, therefore, Tesla recommends the Tesla high Power Wall Connector (HPWC) but there are also other options. That way you’ll be able to always keep the UMC in one of the three convenient storage spaces of your car, either under the bonnet in the ‘trunk’ or in the well under your main boot or in the boot itself. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to charge you’ll have a cable ready to plug into any 10A or 15A power socket or a 32A 3-phase outlet if you bought the additional adaptor pig tail. For a faster and more convenient charge, there are an increasing amount of Type 2 (a.k.a. Mennekes) AC chargers at shopping centres, fast food outlets and other locations and many of these are untethered requiring a BYO Type 2 cable. You may also choose to carry a 10A or 15A extensions cable.

  • Always Browse Comments

As already mentioned, the Plugshare app should be considered a must for any EV owner. One of its numerous handy features is to see if a charger is being used before planning to charge there, but It’s also a good idea to take note of the last successful charge and to read any comments that the person may have written. It may also pay to check the opening hours of the charger as some may be located behind gates that may be locked outside of opening hours. Some chargers such as those located at car dealerships may be reserved for the dealership during opening hours and kindly made available to the public afterhours. Using these chargers outside the public times may result in the owner making the charger unavailable to the public.

  • Adjust Battery Consumption

As already mentioned, it is very rare to find a Tesla run out of charge, however, should you find yourself in this situation, if you haven’t done so already, ensure you have set your destination in the car’s navigation system and follow any of the car’s warnings.

Another very good option may be to reduce your speed. You’ll be amazed just how much of a difference a drop in speed of 10km per hour can make. As a rough rule of thumb, it could reduce your consumption by about 10%.

You could also try to use the air-conditioning system or the fan instead of open windows or to use seat warmers rather than the heater in winter.

You may also consider increasing the pressure in your tires by pumping them up to say 45 PSI but only do so if it’s safe and always ensure you keep your tires below the maximum recommended limit.

Public Charging Etiquette

Last but certainly not least, a few things about public charging etiquette. It’s important to realise that an EV charging bay is exactly that. It shouldn’t be confused with a parking bay. Think how you would feel to arrive at a charger with a low state of charge in desperate need of a top up only to realise the charger is being taken up for hours by an inconsiderate EV owner who may have reached a full charge some time ago or worse still who hasn’t needed to even plug in. Furthermore, the Tesla Superchargers are now charging idle fees at a rate of $1 per minute, particularly when half or more of the stall are being used, so treating a public charger as a parking bay may prove expensive.

As the table below illustrates, the fastest charging rates can be achieved between approximately 10% and 65% state-of-charge but for more tips on the best and most efficient way to charge at a fast DC charger or a Tesla Supercharger, please see this article: 100% a Waste of Time: Why charging to 100% is defeating the purpose of Superchargers

 It may also be helpful to log into the Plugshare app to register your charging session so that others intending to charge at that location can plan their journey accordingly. Logging your charging session into Plugshare is by no means compulsory, especially at a busy metropolitan chargers but it may be particularly helpful at remote locations. Another useful alternative may be the Need to Charge service.

It’s also important to realise that there is no such thing as a ‘free’ charger, there are only complimentary chargers. This is an important distinction, because many businesses who have agreed to host EV chargers, (some after numerous pleas by EV enthusiasts), have done so in good faith for little if any monetary reward. If a business, agrees to host, service, maintain and cover the electricity consumption costs, not to mention the capital costs associated with procuring, purchasing and/or installing and commissioning the EV charger, the least we can do is to buy something at the business. It also goes a long way to explicitly thank the establishment for signalling and hosting the charger and it doesn’t hurt to leave a tip either. There are also some chargers such as the Biofil units running on used chip oil which require the manual starting of a generator, such as those put in with the help of Jon Edwards and the crowdfunding from the WA EV community at the Caltex service station in Jurien Bay or the Roadhouse in Caiguna. It may be worthwhile giving the business a call beforehand to let them know of your expected arrival time. Unless there are other EVs waiting for a turn, once charging, it’s advisable to charge for at least 20 minutes or so before the attendant has to return and turn off and pack up the charger. If you can’t charge for at least 15 minutes or so, please offer to pay for a full charging session as it can be annoying for the attendant to have to leave paying customers to come out to turn the generator on for you only to have to come back a couple of minutes later to turn it off to recoup a couple of measly dollars.

Lastly, a tip for new owners. If you’ve noticed your car only has a single reversing light, don’t worry there’s nothing wrong, the car only comes with one white reversing light on the left as the right one is a fog light. Hopefully this will save you a phone call to Tesla as they get a few of these every day. Update: Soon after this article was published Tesla began shipping Model 3s with two reversing lights. Therefore, there will now be some models delivered around the end of February or early March 2022 with a single reversing light but the later models will have two reversing lamps as well as bigger indicators. (By the way, some very early Model S cars also came with just one reversing light.) 

For further information please see: https://www.tesla.com/en_AU/support/after-taking-delivery and if you get stuck you can reach out by calling the TOCWA helpline on 6262 3131.

Pete Petrovsky

Pete Petrovsky is an active TOCWA (Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia) committee member and a long-time EV enthusiast. He placed a $6,000 deposit for a Model X (#39) in 2014 but when it came to taking delivery he couldn’t justify the cost, so instead, he and his wife decided to buy two PHEVs and wait for the Model 3. In March of 2016 they bought the Holden Volt and a couple of weeks later the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and on the day it was unveiled, Pete ordered the Model 3. After selling the Outlander, in September 2019, Pete took delivery of the Model 3 and despite still loving their Volt, Pete and his wife are now looking forward to ordering the Model Y as soon as it becomes available in Australia.

When he gets time, Pete posts videos on his ‘Tesla Ahead of the Curve’ YouTube channel. He is a long-term Tesla shareholder and over the last eleven years has been responsible for more commercial rooftop solar PV in Perth than any other individual. In 2016 Pete added grid electricity to his role and since October 2020 he has been Managing Director of Imppact Energy Consultancy. In July of 2011, Pete also installed one of the first ‘oversized’ 6KW solar PV systems in Perth, which to this day continues to power their home and both EVs with free sustainable energy.

Glass in Cars

Written by Nigel Farrier

There has been a lot of discussion going around about how the glass roofs on cars cause the car to get too hot making the air conditioning useless. Also people wonder about getting sunburnt through the glass roof.

As a (retired) medical practitioner as a skin cancer specialist and a scientist I can answer all these questions and more.

1 Ultraviolet light.

Lets first discuss UV radiation. There are basically 3 types of UV – UVA, UVB and UVC. The latter is the most damaging of all. UV light is one the electromagnetic spectrum with shorter wavelengths than visible light. UVA is the closest to visible light.

Fortunately UVC, whilst being the most damaging, is completely absorbed by the atmosphere so none ever reaches our skin. UVB is the middle group and is the one that causes sunburn. UVA has the longer wavelength and is assocaited with skin aging.

So what about glass? Remember that not all glass is equal so this is a generalisation. Glass is designed to let light through so UVA, being closest to the visible spectrum, can penetrate glass but only about 60% actually gets through. Fortunately UVB is totally absorbed by glass.

Glass fitted to the front windscreen of cars lets through UVA as above. A lot of side windows are slightly tinted in modern cars so a much larger proportion of the UVA is absorbed. Roof glass, certainly on the Teslas, is coated with a variety of filters that blocks most of the UV light. According to Tesla the roof absorbs at least 99% of all UV radiation. So it will not cause sunburn and little to no skin aging. You would have to sit in your car in bright sunshine constantly for at least 100 days to get the same UV dose as standing out in the sun for 1 day. Quite insignificant.

2 Infrared light.

At the other end of the visible spectrum is red and beyond that infrared and just as UV is divided into 3 bands so is infrared. Unfortunately is is not named as easily as UV but near, middle and far infrared. Near IR is the closest to visible red.

So does IR get through glass? Well once agin the answer is that depends. IR is a form of light, not heat. The heat is transferred by molecules vibrating.

So as before the near IR wavelengths are let through by glass as they are closest to the visible bands. The energy from near IR is too large to excite atoms in molecules from vibrating.

The middle band of IR is often referred to as thermal IR. This band will cause molecules to vibrate and ‘heat’ up (actually generate heat). This radiation is strongly absorbed by matter (glass in this case) so does not get through. But it will heat up the glass. Far IR is the same although has a lower energy state.

The glass on Tesla motor vehicle roofs has several coatings to absorb a lot of this energy before it enters the cabin. As already stated virtually no UV gets into the cabin and the IR is absorbed by the coatings and the glass in the roof. This does cause it to heat up which can then radiate that heat into the cabin (and out into the atmosphere as well).

As an interesting experiment try using an infrared camera to look at items through a glass window. You wont get a very clear picture at all even with the IR LEDs that a lot of security cameras have.

So there we have it. Certainly do not panic about the UV radiation through the glass roof. With regard to the infrared yes it will slowly heat up the glass and then the interior of the car. So does a metal roof. It heats up in the sun and radiates the heat into the car and the car heats up.

So what can we do to prevent this? Most people rush out and buy shades for the roof, put on tinting and so on. Lets cover these ‘solutions’.

Window tinting – from an aesthetic point of view a lot of people really like tinted windows and I can understand that. But it does not make much difference to the IR heating up the windows which then gets radiated into the cabin. It also make ZERO difference to the amount of UV getting in in modern cars. If you want window tinting that’s fine. Do it.

Roof tinting – there was some problems in the early days of putting the tinting on the inside of the roof causing the roof glass to crack. That may have been solved now but personally I am still hesitant about putting tinting on the inside. The glass roof still gets hot.

There is a ceramic coating that can reflect some of the IR light and this is put on the outside and probably helps a bit but it needs to be replaced after some years.

The Tesla glass roof already has at least 3 layers of coating on it to prevent a lot of the problems (hence the problem that some people think the roof is rusting due to an orange hue it got).

Inside roof shades – these are similar to the windscreen shades that a lot of people use. They still dont stop the roof glass from getting hot and several makes actually impede the view from the rear windscreen as they hang down at the back.

What is the answer then? Here are my tips for an enjoyable experience in your Tesla.

Firstly leave the air conditioning on when you leave the car in the sun. You have almost certainly used it whilst driving to where ever you needed to go so it has already done its job of cooling down the interior. For it to keep the interior at that temperature it will use less energy to maintain it than it does to get it down to that temperature.

This is a really great idea if you are parked up at a charger and plugged in as the power from the charger is used to keep the car cool rather than the battery pack providing you are not plugged in to a 10amp socket as the air conditioning may need more power than that can provide so some battery use may happen.

If you are leaving your vehicle parked always try and put it in the shade with or without leaving the air conditioning running,

If you are leaving your vehicle parked for quite a while (and its in the shade) you can leave the air conditioning set to keep the cabin below about 40 degrees C using the cabin overheat protection mode.

Still dont want to do any of this? Why not just turn on the air conditioning from your Tesla app on your phone giving it enough time to cool the cabin for your arrival?

None of these will work once the battery state of charge falls to below 20% (neither will sentry mode).

Whilst on this subject of air conditioning I would also like to cover some of the misunderstandings regarding what is in a Tesla. I must admit for the first few months of ownership I was convinced the air con was not very good until I found out a few things (such as leave it running).

During the hot weather I have mine set at about 22.5 deg C and on AUTO (experiment to find your own preferred settings). It works fine. You wont feel a blast of cold air on your face as in other vehicles as they have small outlets that can be directed at your face. Teslas don’t do that. You can direct the vents towards you but you wont feel it and this is why a lot of people say the air con is useless. Its not. The cabin gets down to its temperature very efficiently and the fan (when on auto) slows down.

I leave mine set to auto and let the car take care of the interior itself. You have just been used to something different and therefore feel its not as good. It is.

In summary then. You wont get sunburnt from the UV. The roof glass will get hot so don’t keep touching it. Try touching the metal roof of any car that is out in the sun. You will burn your hand just the same. Tint the windows if you want to for aesthetic reasons (and it may decrease slightly the UVA getting in through the side windows). Before you go out and spend a lot of money of roof tinting, shades etc before you have taken delivery (I know several people that do this) just try it out first.

I sit with my completely bald head only 2 inches from the roof and even in the 40 degree heat we get here I do not feel the need for anything except my cars air con.

Explaining the Nullarbor EV Chargers

As you may have seen in recent news retired engineer Jon Edwards has designed, built and installed a Biofil DC charger at Caiguna on the Western side of the 1200km drive between Ceduna and Norseman, this provides a handy boost for the adventurous EV owners crossing the Nullarbor when border openings allow. Before I continue let’s make one thing very clear, you’re under no obligation to drive across the Nullarbor, commercial air travel is faster, safer and probably cheaper, but as Ferris said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it”.

Below I’ll discuss the charging available at the locations that are spaced evenly apart.

Before attempting to drive an EV across this part of Australia remember that Plugshare is the only app with the accuracy to plan charging stops, also don’t rely on apps to predict your energy consumption and arrival times, the road surface and wind direction plays a major part in how far you’ll get on a charge, play it safe and always plan to arrive with at least 30kms of range remaining. If you wisely plan your daytime and overnight charging stops the less time you’ll spend topping up the batteries.

Balladonia 22kw CCS2 DC charger

Departing Norseman and driving East the first well spaced charging stop is at the Balladonia Roadhouse, 190kms from Norseman, which has a 22kw CCS2 DC charger plugged into the 32amp 3 phase outlet. Compared to the latest 250-350kw DC chargers popping up close to Australia’s populated areas 22kw appears prehistoric, but in reality they’re a pretty handy short term solution that doubles the charging speed a model 3 can get from the existing 3 phase outlet and better still triple the charging speed available to a Hyundai Kona.

Caiguna, 181kms drive from Balladonia, has a 50kw DC charger powered by a Biofil generator, politely ask the counter staff to start the charger then go and enjoy the air conditioned Cafe.

Madura 22kw CCS2 DC charger

Madura, 157kms drive from Caiguna, has a 22kw DC charger plugged into the 32amp 3 phase outlet, payment is a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service tin located in the dining area.

Eucla, this location is 182kms east of Madura, charging is via a 32amp 3 phase outlet in the Laundry of the Eucla Motor Hotel. Be aware that this outlet is not available between 9.00am and 3.00pm, if you expect to arrive at this time maybe use the Border Village charge point, 12kms to the East.

Nullarbor Roadhouse 32amp 3 phase

Nullarbor Roadhouse, 197kms drive from Eucla, has a 32amp 3 phase at the rear of the building close to the motel units.

Penong Caravan Park, 223kms east of the Nullarbor Roadhouse, has a 32amp 3 phase (it has been prone to tripping at 28amps so plan accordingly). Penong is part of the South Australian grid so is likely to get a reasonable speed DC charger before too long.

Cocklebiddy, Mundrabilla and Border Village also have handy 32amp 3 phase outlets if you want to shorten the driving distances between charge sessions or wish to try different accommodation on the return journey.