Using Tesla destination chargers (HPWC)

A Tesla destination charger is also known as a High power wall connector (HPWC), it has two variations, the rarely seen 40amp single phase that was issued to owners and venues up until late 2015 and the most common and more versatile  32amp three phase (22kw) that can also be connected to a single phase circuit. Technically the HPWC it’s not actually a charger but better described as a smart device that provides safe AC electricity to the vehicle’ s onboard charger, the charging power is limited by both the electricity feed to the HPWC and also the capacity of the onboard charger, a vehicle with an 11kw onboard charger connected to a 22kw HPWC will only charge at a maximum of 11kw, the same vehicle connected to a 6kw limited HPWC will only charge at a maximum of 6kw.

Although a Tesla HPWC is restricted to a maximum of 22kw (32amp three phase) they still have two advantages over DC charging, firstly AC charge points are multiple times cheaper to install per kw of power available compared to DC chargers. Secondly AC charging speeds may be slower but are very consistent and predictable right up to a battery state of charge (SOC) above 97%, DC chargers on the other hand have a large variance in charging speed depending on battery SOC, this can be confusing for new EV owners.

Publicly available HPWCs are provided by Tesla but on the vast majority of occasions owned by the property it’s connected to, prior to late 2017 the installation fee was covered by Tesla, since that time almost all installations have been paid for by the buildings owners, in regional areas this can cost upwards of $1500 per unit, this is a significant cost for EV’s that may or may be few and far between over the next couple of years.

Although most publicly available Tesla HPWCs are referred to as free to use they are better seen as being complimentary for customers. In other words a shopping centre that’s installed a charge point is expecting the EV owner to be a paying customer even if you only buy a drink, no one is monitoring purchases but any drivers taking electricity without supporting the location is an unwelcome member of the EV community that will spoil it for other owners in that area. If the local council has installed a charge point they’re not expecting you to sit in your car, they’re expecting you to get out and boost the local economy (keep in mind, there are ratepayers less than happy with their local council installing charge points), anyone seen sitting in a EV getting free electricity is sure to get a negative mention at the next council meeting.

Tesla HPWCs in regional motels and service stops are very much “not free”, the owner, management or staff will likely see you drive in from the main highway. Some charge a per kWh cost others charge on a time basis, those that don’t charge for the electricity have a high expectation you’ll stay overnight or buy lunch, at this stage electricity is still expensive in regional areas, if they don’t see a business case to continue providing a charge point it will soon get disconnected. In every occasion when using a regional Tesla HPWC always thank the owner/manager, it goes a long way.

A few tips:

  • Don’t trust the Tesla touchscreen maps to display the correct power rating of the HPWC, cross reference the location with reliable comments on Plugshare. Often newly installed units have not been adjusted up from the factory setting of 6kw, if you’re the first visitor to that location it’s always a possibility.  A few Tesla owners have been know to open the HPWC and increase the setting, personally I wouldn’t do that, firstly it’s not my property and secondly there could be a very good reason it’s at that setting. Best to mention it to the owner who will call out the electrician.
  • If the HPWC is not displaying a Green light it’s very likely switched off at the meter box, often in regional areas management will do this so EV owners make the effort to go in a say hello. Even if the HPWC is switched on its always good policy to ask permission before plugging in the car, it only takes a minute and provides goodwill for future EV owners.
  • If the HPWC is switched on but fails to charge it may need a reset, unplug from car, press and hold red “Reset” button on left side of HPWC until the light on the front of the unit goes out, let go of red button and wait until light goes back to normal (about a minute), then attempt to charge, this may take two attempts.
  • The biggest tip I can give you is ALWAYS BE CHARGING, if you are in a country area don’t bypass a HPWC that you know is working for one that hasn’t been used in a while.

Electric Vehicle Road Tripping

It won’t be long before the majority of roads and highways around Australia have fast DC chargers close enough to satisfy the demands of any driver travelling long distance, fast convenient and always reliable, as good if not better than the fuel bowsers around the country and as a bonus far cheaper. Until then long distance electric vehicle driving is possible for those willing to be flexible in their journey. I’m not talking about long distance between Adelaide and Brisbane using superchargers, that’s a stroll in the park in 2019 and shows what’s in store for all EV drivers in all parts of the country.  I’m referring to outback travel on roads far from the comfort of the big cities. These types of journeys can certainly be done in the Hyundai Kona and if you pack lightly and don’t mind a challenge a Renault Zoe, but due to the high proportion of Tesla drivers planning long distance trips over the next 12 months this has been written with that brand in mind.

To conduct a long distance trip safely and successfully the 3 Ps are required- Planning, Patience and Politeness, without them it’s best to stay at home.

General vehicle preparation including tyres

Although electric vehicles require far less servicing than a traditional vehicle it is still good practice to schedule a service with Tesla before a long trip if one hasn’t been done recently. Tesla vehicles rarely have issues that make then unable to drive but it’s better for a technician to find a potential fault in the workshop than you finding out on a remote highway on a hot afternoon. If the air conditioner hasn’t been serviced for a few years’ it’s best to get that looked at as even in June-July the aircon will still get a lot of use across large parts of the country. Don’t forget to ask the technician to test the 12 volt battery; this is unlikely to fail completely but having the battery warning light illuminate when you could be 800kms away from the nearest auto electrician could make for a nervous drive.

Tyres need to be in top shape before departing, this should be at the forefront of your thinking if the trip will take you far away from a same day tyre replacement, unless they are near new (less than 15,000kms) you should consider starting the trip with a complete new set, it’s always possible to use the original ones around town at a later date. This may be considered an unnecessary expense but worth it rather than risk spending 3 or more days stuck in a dusty outback roadhouse waiting for a replacement tyre to be trucked in.

Tyre repair kit– yes always carry one but keep in mind this is extra security, tyre repair sealant is not a sufficient solution in many regional areas, it will not repair the damage caused by a pothole, carry a full size spare wheel and tyre combo together with a strong scissor jack and a flat wooden block to rest it on. Your vehicle is very unlikely to get a flat tyre but being stuck on a hot and lonely country road for hours on end waiting for vehicle support will remind you many times over to be prepared.

Air suspension – For the many vehicles with air suspension its best to only make use of the low setting when gaining extra range is essential, on many vehicles continual use of the low setting on long trips will result in an uneven tyre wear and a rapid reduction in tyre life.

– Firstly try and make use of the locations that have made the effort to install charging facilities, generally most of these locations have a reasonable accommodation offering, there are a few across the Nullarbor that still have 1970s decor but importantly the rooms are clean. Accommodation can appear to be expensive at many locations but considering the high cost to produce electricity and freshwater as well as pay staff it’s understandable. If you’re keen for a bit more adventure take a swag and stay in the campgrounds, the bonus from this is plenty of social contact from fellow travelers wanting to discuss your electric vehicle. It’s important to note that although most overnight stays have free EV charging they can and sometimes do ask for a fee, considering I know of no accommodation in Australia that offers free petrol I think paying for electricity when requested is not beyond reason.


There’s two different ABCs in charging, the first ABC is Always Be Charging, in other words plug in before starting a conversation with a curious onlooker and check the vehicle is charging via the phone app on regular occasions so the departure time is not delayed. The second ABC is always have charging plans A, B & C, that is when you arrive at a location with a rarely used charging point don’t expect it to be readily available or working just because it’s listed on plug share, plan B is arrive with enough range remaining to find another useable charge point and plan C is prepare to use anything available including a 10amp power outlet. Once you have plugged into 10amp take the time to go for a walk, invariably a useable 3 phase outlet will be found along the way.

Always keep in mind that finding electricity and charging isn’t the issue, the hurdle most times is charging speed, remember that no matter the situation the much maligned 10amp power point will get you out of trouble, it can be excruciatingly slow but useful while looking for a faster alternative.

Public relations

In these early days of electric vehicles every driver and his passengers are ambassadors for the cause when visiting regional locations, many of the owners or managers of locations that have a potential charging point may not have much understanding of electric vehicles and could also be very sceptical of their usefulness, what they do often have is a vast experience with backpackers and other tourists behaving poorly. Never forget that remote locations with a charging point are doing you a favour rather than the other way around, no matter how grumpy the owner/manager/staff may be they control the power supply to your vehicle and for the EVs that follow, stay positive and keep smiling.

Please note:

  1. Many locations provide free charging for customers, this is a handy bonus for early EV drivers that should not be abused, an EV driver that sits beside their vehicle getting a free charge without making a financial transaction will soon spoil it for others, if you don’t like the food, drink or prices it’s best you go charge elsewhere.
  2. Do NOT post negative comments on plug share, if you have an issue with the location take it up with the management directly, but before you do be absolutely sure the problem is the location rather than your lofty expectation.

Driving style

How fast should you drive?- As much as possible drive to the conditions, between Adelaide and Cairns that’s fairly straight forward as the charging points are close enough together to hold the speed limits all trip, in many other country areas gaps between useful charging points are larger sometimes requiring energy management. If I could recommend a speed to cruise at it would be 95km/h for two reasons: First off, if you’re charging the car from 3 phase power, 95km/h is very close to the sweet spot between energy consumed and time to replace it, in real terms consistently driving faster than 95km/h will lose you time over a full day; Secondly, and probably something many people overlook, 95km/h keeps the vehicle in the general traffic flow, that is the amount of times per day you’ll be overtaken by a vehicle or need to overtake another vehicle is reduced. Yes you will be passed by a number of sedans and SUVs but they can do that comfortably. Driving at 110km/h then getting stuck behind a road train or caravan for the next 20 minutes is a pointless exercise.

Tailgating trucks – I highly recommend you DON’T do it, it does save energy through slip-streaming but the amount of energy saved will never make up for the damage caused from stones or other items kicking off the trucks rear tyres. If you’re not going to pass a large vehicle sit back 200 metres to allow other vehicles the space to do so.

Driving at slow speeds to save energy – There’s enough charging points available now to make this unnecessary for vehicles with a range of 320kms or more, if you need to drive at speeds of less than 85km/h do so in the early morning before most vehicles get on the road, keep in mind that holding up trucks and semi trailers by driving at slow speeds is both dangerous and inconsiderate, many of the other road users are at work and have a time schedule to stick too, remember that before setting off on a long drive.

Equipment needed – As far as charging cables go it depends on the route you’re taking, but if your not sure take that doubtful cable anyway, they are easily packed in the rear storage compartment.

The best all round piece of charging equipment is the Juice Booster 2, yes it is pricey but very versatile and robust, this device is adjustable from 10amp single phase all the way up to 32amp three phase. As a back up for that the EVnomics 3 phase tails combined with a Tesla Euro adapter can be rolled up tightly and stored away for emergency use. The most important piece of charging equipment is the one you will rarely require, the Tesla supplied UMC should never leave the vehicle unless in use, this is your plan C, don’t ever leave it at home.

Extension leads – A quality 15amp extension lead will always come in handy, 10 metres is sufficient as combined with the UMC it gives you 17 metres between vehicle and power outlet.

A 32amp 3 phase extension lead may be necessary at some locations, if you have access to one and have the space take it along.

Non charging equipment – everyone has their own list of favourite supplies but here are a few extras that will often come in handy:

4 outlet power board with short cable – very useful when away from the car and you have a multitude of  portable devices that need charging. Avoid using power boards to charge any electric vehicle.

Fold out window shades – These are $2 each and are a handy option for blocking the glare through the side windows when driving just after sunrise or before sunset.

Tin fruit and ice coffee in the esky – another handy edition for dealing with an early morning sunrise that shines straight in your eyes and makes driving extremely difficult, just pull over to a safe parking spot, open up the tin and enjoy breakfast while taking in a spectacular sunrise.

2×1 metre tarp – small enough to store easily in the vehicle, very handy for placing items on when re packing a vehicle on damp or dusty ground.

Spare rags and a large plastic garden bag – on some occasions you’ll go out to the vehicle in the morning and find the charging cables damp, combined with a thin layer of red dirt it’s not something you want to be packing back into the vehicle, use the cloth to wipe off the excess water and pack the whole lot into the garden bag, generally the next charging stop will give you time to tidy up the cables correctly. The rags also come in handy for wiping off red dirt from the tailgate and door gaps, this way you and your passengers don’t transfer dirt into the interior.

Toilet paper and hand soap – all roadhouses and tourist parks provide these items, they’re just rarely available when needed the most.

Insect repellent – forget Sharks, Crocodiles and Snakes, the Mosquito could very well be your biggest health issue in many parts of Australia, have a small tin of repellant ready to use at all times.

A handful of $1 coins and a bag of laundry powder – Most roadhouses have a few washing machines, while the vehicles on charge its a handy time to get some housekeeping done.

One percenters

Communication 1 – On occasions you may find the staff member behind the counter is new to the location and has no idea an EV charge point even exists, to avoid a communication issue check the comments and photos on plug share so as to pinpoint the charger location before arrival, also ring ahead where possible and get the name of the manager who’ll be on duty the day of your arrival.

Communication 2 – mobile phone reception is hit and miss across large areas, generally it drops out for short sections between towns, roadhouses and mine sites, as a matter of interest the Tesla vehicle appears to hold reception for a touch longer than a stand alone mobile phone.

Power outlets – Many of the older single phase power outlets in regional areas have suffered from the extreme climate conditions as well as endless abuse from tourists, very often it’s impossible to tell if there’s a fault until you plug in, on occasions an outlet will look dodgy, if you’re not sure don’t even consider using it, there’s always another close by that’s in good condition. Three phase outlets are generally tougher but you may find one that has become brittle with old age or has scorch marks around the fitting, same deal applies, plug in to a safe 15amp outlet and take the time to find a 3 phase in better shape.

Breakers tripping off – I’m sure you’ve heard the saying about doing the same thing again and expecting a different result, on most occasions this goes for electricity breakers, continually resetting a breaker at home is one thing but doing it at a tourist park or roadhouse is soon going to attract the attention of the manager who may well decide that electric vehicles are a bit too complicated and are no longer welcome. Also breakers are not always easy to access, the staff may not be familiar with the meter box location, it may need a key or worse still, the breakers are poorly marked due to old age, it can be an exercise in wasted time. The best option is to drop the charging amps via the car and reset the breaker, if it trips again unplug the vehicle and try a completely different electricity circuit. Don’t be greedy, show patience, it’s better to get a slow charge than no charge at all.

If possible avoid using extension leads – The shortest possible cable provides better charging efficiency, less cable heat and less cable for a pedestrian to trip over. Obviously don’t stretch the cable out between the vehicle and power point like a washing line, and yes, I have seen this done.

Secure the plug firmly – 10amp sockets are often very loose, if you’re using a shared power board make sure the socket can’t be accidentally dislodged by another tourist, last thing you need is to wake up in the morning to find charging has stopped and your departure is delayed.

Depart early, arrive early – firstly don’t plan your driving down to the last minute, if you calculate it’s possible to drive X number of kilometres between sunrise and sunset don’t expect to achieve it on every occasion, very often you’ll get held up for short periods of time due to many factors, as well as adding some spare time into the days schedule leave as early as possible, in the early morning there’s far less traffic and also a better opportunity to get some scenic photos. The plan should be to get to your last stop for the day well before dark so it’s easier to set up charging, have a shower and settle down for dinner.

Finish charging the battery just before departure on cool mornings – This method provides just a touch more warmth in the battery and slightly improved range early in the drive.

Don’t stress if early energy consumption is high – Very often on a cool morning energy consumption will appear unusually high even at lower speeds, this is partly due to a cooler battery but mostly due to cold tyres. As the tyres warm up the pressures increase and the energy consumption should return to expected levels, this could take 10-40kms depending on the road surface.

Drive slower at the start of a journey – During a long drive between charging points where energy conservation may be necessary drive slower early and build up some credit in the battery, this is especially the case during early morning starts when there’s less traffic on the road and far more opportunity to sit on 80-90km/h without irritating other drivers, this way if your range projections get messed up due to a strong head wind or rain you won’t find yourself with range anxiety and the need to drive at low speeds on a busy road.

Don’t arrive at an untested location with less than 20kms of range – Untested also refers to the charging point not being used recently by a reliable source, arriving at a power point to find it doesn’t work is one thing, having only a few kilometres of range remaining compounds the issue and limits your options in driving to a usable power point, most Tesla vehicles can drive beyond zero kilometres but some have been known to shut down with 10-15kms remaining, best not to risk it on a lonely country road.

Don’t bypass a useful charging point – this gets back to ABC- Always Be Charging, make use of the charging points when you can, the next one may not be useable, just because your vehicle can do 500kms on a charge doesn’t mean you should, especially if you have to drive slow enough that it holds up other traffic.

Add spare days to the trip – If you’re planning an extended trip add in some lay days in to the schedule, one day per week should cover any unexpected hold ups with slower than planned charging speeds or tyre problems.

Tyre care – This is far more than a one percenter as tyres are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. Correct tyre pressures should be maintained at all times, this provides the best energy consumption, longer tyre life and better handling and braking. Pressures should be checked and set at room temperature for best accuracy, on a warm day tyres may increase in pressure by 6-8psi, this is perfectly normal as long as all 4 tyres increase at similar rates. Most modern cars have a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), check it often to pick up any leaks before they become a serious issue.

Talk to those who have done the trip – Every state and territory has at least one EV owner that has completed a long distance interstate trip, make the effort to get in contact with them and discuss the finer details of locations along the route you’re planning to take, it may very well save you time and money.

Finally, remember you are a tourist first and foremost, don’t let the need for charging dominate your planning, try and attempt to plan charging around tourist activities as much as possible, that way the trip will be a positive experience rather than a burden.



Powerwall and Solar Panels

There has been a lot of positive articles out there on the attributes of the Tesla Powerwall and an equal amount of misinformation.

A lot of the attention is focused on the cost benefits analysis of both solar and indeed more so the Powerwall storage battery.  Often overlooked is the very basic practical advantages of a combined system and the subsequent feel good efficient use of power. Hopefully this article will dispel some of the myths.

At this time of the year the system is producing over 41kw of power per day which is more than double our daily power consumption.

There has been no need to use peak power from the grid and we try where possible to keep our consumption equal to what the solar panels produce.  

How you may ask?

Owning two electric vehicles, battery powered saws, drills, battery reciprocating saw, battery hedge trimmer etc. means that we can charge up all devices when the sun is shining – directly from the Sun.

Rather than directing excess solar production back to the grid at 7cents a kilowatt the Tesla Model S can consume the marginal power and more importantly can be calibrated to the extent that it will only use the level of excess power produced by the system and no more.  Whilst there are a couple of gadgets that you can install to automatically switch the excess power to the car it is simply a matter of reducing the amps to the car to maintain the equilibrium.  Easy to do on the cars charging screen.

When the sun rises in the morning its first priority is to power the house and then charge up the powerwall which is sometimes run down low whilst powering the house overnight.   All subsequent power generated is then directed as we see fit.

The Powerwall has been a fantastic addition and has kept the house going particularly in September and October last year when we had a 48 minute outage and a one hour 22 minute outage.  The house has three phase power and all of the essential circuits are backed up. 

There has been a lot of negative views on the ability of the Powerwall to back up a three phase home.   Our system has been tested twice just recently with all essential circuits operating as normal.   The storage capacity of the battery is well and truly sufficient to keep all of our essential services running for quite some time.   Exactly what we would expect.

There are a lot of unrealistic expectation out there which can only be satisfied by a significant increase in battery storage capacity or multiple power walls or commercial type of storage units.   Just depends on your daily power needs in times of grid power outage which after all is not all that frequent.

The feel good part is being able to charge both electric vehicles and appliances directly from the Sun and of course enjoying the financial benefits of lower power costs.

Article written by Martin

EV charging with diesel powered ChargePod skid – a solution for locations with inadequate power


Several electric vehicle drivers in Australia have made the long journeys away from the isolated City of Perth travelling to Darwin, Adelaide and even all the way around Australia. A few keen enthusiasts in the EV community have done an excellent job arranging 3-phase power points to be installed along these routes. While these have been much appreciated by those that have followed, many places are not well connected to the grid and the power supply is inadequate or more to the point not as reliable as required – phases are often not balanced and access is sometimes restricted. The ChargePod was developed to service these locations, with a simple easily installed skid with 50kW DC charging capability. A keen AEVA member has built a prototype unit and a fuel consumption and endurance test was undertaken.

Objectives of the test

  • Check the reliability of the ChargePod over an extended multiple EV charging session
  • Evaluate the equivalent diesel fuel consumption for each model of car charged

Test Outline

The test consisted of 10 electric cars being charged consecutively at roughly 1 hour intervals utilizing a 50kW DC charger powered by a diesel generator (ChargePod). The cars were predominately Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X which arrived with around 35% battery with a view to charging to around 85% to ensure the optimum charging range. The ChargePod was not stopped between charges but allowed to idle for the few minutes while cars changed representing what would happen in a real situation. The charge sessions were all started and stopped using the ChargeFox App.

Equipment used

  • 10 full electric vehicles consisting of 6 Tesla Model S, 3 Tesla Model X and a 2018 BMW i3
  • A Tritium Veefil 50kW DC charger with a Chademo and CCS2 connector
  • A near new (23h) 75kVA Cummins powered generator set.

Test sequence

  • ChargePod fuel tank topped up to 38mm from filler neck.
  • Start charging car – record start and finish battery %, car’s average kWh consumption rate, kWh added to car, session start and finish times.
  • Change subsequent cars and repeat recordings.
  • Complete all 10 cars then shut down.
  • Leave skid overnight to cool.
  • Use mobile fuel truck with calibrated meter to refuel ChargePod to 38mm from filler neck.
  • Record total fuel consumption for the test.

Calculation method

Using total kWh added to all cars divided by the total fuel consumed an average kilowatt hour per litre diesel consumed is established – this is 3.392 kWh per litre which is the ChargePod performance.

Using the lifetime average kWh per kilometre for each car (this depends on the car and the driving style and is recorded continually by the car) an individual litres diesel equivalent per kilometre for each car tested can be established


  • The ChargePod ran continuously for 9 hours 15 minutes and charged 10 cars without stopping.
  • the generator consumed 108.6 litres of diesel.
  • the total energy recorded as received by the cars battery packs was 368.4 kWh.
  • the average kwhr per litre delivered to the cars by ChargePod was 3.392 kWh/l.

Diesel fuel consumption equivalents :

  • BMW I3 is 4.392 L/100km
  • Tesla Model S range 5.011 to 6.014 L/100km
  • Tesla Model X range 5.689 to 6.957 L/100km

Conclusion :

A stand alone DC EV-charging skid powered by diesel generator for remote locations with inadequate power delivers fuel consumption results are very comparable but on most occasions better than equivalent diesel powered passenger vehicles.

Thanks to all the EV drivers who volunteered their cars  on the day and most importantly to Jon Edwards who provided the venue, equipment, knowledge and can-do attitude to build the Chargepod and complete the test.

Death by Tailpipe Emissions, What figure is acceptable?

2018 has been another year of increased electric vehicle sales in many other parts of the world, the concept has taken a firm grip and there’s no stopping the EV revolution, in Australia the story is slightly different.

There are many sections of industry and the public that can see the benefits of electric transportation; unfortunately we have a small group of politicians that believe otherwise. These people take every opportunity to attack EVs on TV, radio, the printed press and social media, they sprout complete nonsense but when challenged avoid debate. Why do they continue with anti EV propaganda?

For many it’s telling the loyal masses what they want to hear, in these voting groups EVs are seen as a Left wing Greens conspiracy to lower carbon emissions, “God help us all if we’re forced to drive electric vehicles” is the cry, all the charging station diners will only serve Latte’s and Quiche, Bob Menzies photos will be taken down and replaced with Bob Browns, the Hank Williams songs will be removed from the Juke box and replaced with the Electric light Orchestra. Its okay conspiracy theorists, Craig Kelly has an emergency video ready to play on continuous loop, it consists of Mad Max revving the V8 Interceptor, “she sucks nitro, 600 horsepower through the wheels”.


Now let’s put conspiracy theories, carbon emissions, climate change and the half joking aside and discuss something complete different, the nation’s road toll, last year approximately 1225 deaths. This figure has year by year steadily reduced in relation to overall kilometres driven due to vast amounts of money, time and hard work going towards reducing the crashes, injuries and deaths, but a figure that is still far too high. What is an acceptable number of road deaths above zero? Has a public figure or politician ever put a number to it? I doubt it.

This discussion on the road toll brings me to another cause of death and injury that stems from the transport sector, air pollution. This has been spoken about by various concerned groups for some time but until now has been lost in the background noise, I hope that this past Friday the 17th of August 2018 was the day the band stopped playing too loud and the crowd could hear the lead singer.

As you may or may not know Independent Senator Tim Storer has been leading a Senate committee on electric vehicles, the committee is taking submissions on a wide range of reasons for and against the uptake of EVs in Australia. Friday was the second of three public hearings and the Doctors for the Environment were able to have their say; it is now on record and in the same room as the people who were elected and paid to listen. In Australia an average 3000 deaths per year are caused by air pollution, half of those attributed to motor vehicle exhaust emissions, thereabouts 1500 deaths by tailpipe, remember that road toll figure? 1225, a road toll figure that has rightfully received many decades of attention and one that most people would agree is still far too high.

Tailpipe pollution has no favourites, the guy who rides his bike to work to stay healthy is breathing in the exhaust fumes of his colleagues driving to work and the person who likes to walk to the shop rather than catch the bus better hold their breath as the bus cruises past, there never was and there never will be clean diesel, and all the parents who drive their kids to school in the latest 5 star safety rated SUV because your family is precious, guess what, all the other mums had the same idea and their SUVs are idling in the drop off zone next to the kindy playground filling those precious lungs with exhaust toxins.

Some people may compare motor vehicle exhausts fumes to Cigarette smoking but there’s no comparison, the 85% of Australians who choose not to smoke are now free to avoid those fumes. The warning signs are everywhere, smoking is bad for your health and only adults can purchase Cigarettes at massively taxed prices in plain paper packaging with graphic photos printed on the pack, because it’s a burden on society that adds enormous cost and pressure on the nation’s health system. It’s a shame those kindy kids can’t be protected from exhaust fumes like they are from cigarette smoke.

Politicians can argue over many aspects of electric vehicles, they can muddy the waters with all sorts of unfounded claims and opinions, but they can’t argue about the fact that air pollution from motor vehicles is a massive burden on Australian society. Hopefully the Senators present at Friday’s electric vehicle senate committee hearing absorbed those facts from the Doctors for the environment and officially pass it on to their colleagues in Canberra. The unnecessary and time wasting behaviour from the small group of anti-EV politicians has to stop.


Perth to Exmouth Electric Road trip

The return trip is just over 2500km. Finding AC charging points is no problem, there’s a bit of downtime whilst charging but if you haven’t driven North of Perth before it gives you a bit of extra time for sightseeing, if you’ve driven this road many times before and have seen it all the downtime can be spent writing down all the reasons why DC fast charging would be very handy in these parts. *Update: The WA EV Network is in the first stages of installing DC charging along the Coastal Highway. By the end of April 2023 Geraldton should have 2 x 150kW DC chargers operating, with more DC charging options to follow in the near future in Lancelin and Northampton (July school holidays would be nice).

Good range is very difficult to achieve all the way to Northampton, the wind blows consistently and a tail wind never seems to blow when you need one, the second major affect on range is the coarse road surface, with charging points no more than 220km apart getting to your next destination shouldn’t be a problem but just in case be prepared to drop the speed back to 95km/h if it doesn’t hold up traffic.

The roads are well built all the way to the Exmouth turnoff, after that it’s a two way marked road but the edges don’t have much room for error. Be cautious of impatient drivers especially on the Perth to Geraldton leg, expect to see at least one act of stupidity from a random driver, fortunately more overtaking lanes are being built and the sooner the better, also look out for foreign tourists that forget which side of the road to drive on, generally first thing in the morning.

Charging options:
It is a good idea to study Plugshare before each destination, there are some handy tips.  Please update Plugshare for fellow tourists – if someone has logged in recently it gives them the confidence to make the journey.

  • Depending on your cars range it may be wise to stop at Lancelin type 2 to type 2 charger, this should ensure enough capacity to complete the 303km journey to Geraldton in one drive. A better option is to stop at Jurien Bay for 30 minutes and add 120km of range to the battery on the Caltex Biofil DC charger, this does require calling ahead to let them know your arrival time.  Cervantes has a Tesla HPWC as a backup charging option. *Reminder: Always check Plugshare for previous users comments.
  • Apart from the soon to be commissioned DC chargers, Geraldton has three locations with Tesla HPWC charging options, Ocean West Geraldton were the first to install charge points when no one else in town had any interest in supporting the cause.  Check plugshare for more options.
  • Northampton has a HPWC and 3 phase AC charging available.
  • Almost halfway to Carnarvon is the Billabong Homestead it’s on the highway next door to the roadhouse but under different ownership. Billabong has a Tesla charger, updated accommodation that may not be the Hilton but is clean and air conditioned, the Red car cafe has hot meals, hot drinks and a licensed bar.
  • Carnarvon has two locations with Tesla charge points, both are central to town with secure parking. Seaview has recently changed ownership (early 2023) so the availability of car charging is not currently known. The Carnarvon motel is a large property with a variety of room sizes and facilities, great spot for the kids with a swimming pool, games arcade and large dining area.
    When in Carnarvon the NASA Museum is a great value and worth the stop for an hour or two.
  • Coral Bay has a 20amp 3 phase power outlet at the RAC resort, if you are planning to stay overnight in Coral Bay 15A single phase would suffice. Note: a 20amp 3 phase power outlet DOES NOT support a 32amp plug, it is a different keyway. You will need to carry the correct 20amp cable or an appropriate adaptor.
  • The RAC tourist resort in Exmouth has near new 32A 3-phase outside the check in office, it sometimes gets blocked by the Coffee van in the morning but that’s not a bad problem to have at 7.00am. As most people would stay in Exmouth for at least one night 15A single phase would cover most needs.

Payment for charging:  Generally charging during overnight stays is complimentary (but not always so check plugshare) daytime charging is hit and miss, some locations have a set fee, some still haven’t worked out a charging fee and others are happy as long as you eat, drink and be merry. If you’re unsure the best option is always to offer to pay some cash, another good practice is to carry a bottle of wine or two as a good will gesture, every location is different.
*Keep in mind that in these early days every EV driver is an ambassador for the cause, so don’t forget to thank the owner/manager/staff for providing car charging.

Tyres:  Dongara, Geraldton, Carnarvon and Exmouth all have tyre shops, unfortunately most roadhouses no longer have facilities to help out. I highly recommend you carry a spare wheel and tyre combination, a good tip is to check the tyre tread for screws/nails while the car is charging, there’s a good chance a foreign object will lodge in the tyre while driving through a carpark slowly rather than on the open road.

In a few years time the Perth to Exmouth route will no doubt have DC fast chargers all the way, the journey will be routine and in many ways mundane, your Tesla will be just like every other car out there, so while it’s just AC charging be slightly adventurous and give it a go.

Updated March 2023.

The Demise of the Internal Combustion Engine

Many of the public and media commentators fail to pay full attention to the transportation disruption the world is about to go through, many consider it’s going to happen but believe the change will be very slow, a 30 to 50 year process is the general opinion.

Well here’s my prediction: by 2027 there will be no sales of new 100% internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) in Australia.

Car dealerships, if that concept still exists, will only stock battery electric vehicles (BEV) or Hybrid vehicles, at least 80% of those vehicles will be the less complicated BEV, the remaining sales Hybrid, anyone looking to buy a new internal combustion engine driving a mechanical drive-train will be in for a shock.

Most people reading this would very much doubt the above is even close to reality in Australia as there is a section of today’s population that will always want an ICE drive-train, yes that’s correct but there’s also a series of factors that will combine to fast track the demise of new ICE vehicle sales.

I will get to the biggest factor last but first it’s important to look at the timeline of Electric vehicle disruption:

  1. 2018-Most of the world’s car makers are preparing for an Electric vehicle future, due to bottlenecks in battery supply chains and other production constraints the initial build volumes will be low keeping prices high.
  2. Sometime before 2022 the average Electric vehicles total cost of ownership will be less than an equivalent ICE vehicle, this includes the lower life time servicing, repair and re-fuelling costs.
  3. By 2025 the initial purchase price of an EV will be less than the purchase price of the equivalent ICE vehicle. This is due to a number of reasons including; far higher production volumes, far lower battery costs and the clear fact that an EV with less than 20 moving parts is far less complicated to build than an internal combustion engine drive-train with over 2000 moving parts.
  4. By 2025 the excuses for not owning an EV will no longer exist, driving range per charge, recharging speed and availability of charging points will be perfectly acceptable for most drivers, for those that aren’t convinced that a BEV is suitable a Hybrid vehicle will cover their needs. For those who still need a brand new complete internal combustion engine drive-train vehicle they have 2 years before the price difference becomes too much to justify.

So what’s the biggest factor in the demise of ICE new car sales?  Put simply the country has too many now. Australian’s have had a long love affair with their cars, getting a driver’s licence and car was and in many cases still is a big deal to many teenagers, this carried on through their 20s right through to retirement. Cars offered freedom, a great way to socialize, and if you weren’t that sharp at school, no good at sport or would never win a beauty contest that didn’t matter you could always have a cool car.

That’s all about to change, cars are not so important to many teenagers anymore, it’s a tool to get from A to B, they have a smart phone and that’s more exciting, plus they can call a Uber to get from A to B. Then there’s the adult population that already have a license and live in a 2 or 3 car family, they already had an inkling that cars were money pits but it’s starting to hit home now, the most recent report from the AAA states that transport costs are almost $18,000 per household, that extra car taking up space in the carport is starting to look dispensable. Paying for a second or third motor vehicle that rarely gets used is a waste when public transport, car sharing or an Electric pushbike could reduce the transport costs significantly, some households have already taken this course of action, the money is better spent on home loan repayments or holidays, expect plenty more to follow suit as time passes.

On top of this there’s increasing reasons for the public to give up driving; speed cameras, toll roads, road rage, traffic jams, these inhibitors to a pleasant driving experience will not go away, for many people it’s a far better experience to be a passenger and catch up with social media, expect car ownership to reduce steadily over the next decade, public transport and Electric vehicle ride sharing will increase in popularity.

All those cars and SUVs that were purchased new between now and 2025 will still be useful, but they will be common and cheap on the second hand market. Due to the higher running costs compared to an Electric vehicle it may be viable to purchase a very cheap second hand ICE but certainly not viable to purchase a new one. The only ICE vehicles that hold any value will be rare classics from the days when Australian’s loved their cars.

By Rob Dean, driver of both EV and ICE vehicles.