Using the Delta chargers across the Nullarbor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a difference a DC charger makes, the WA EV Network has just crossed the halfway mark.

In September of 2019, a few days after our long-awaited Model 3 arrived on top of a tilt tray truck in our driveway, we took the pristine Tesla on a 360 km family road trip from Perth to Hyden.

Although we had been a two PHEV family since April of 2016, this was the first time we owned an electric-only vehicle, also known as a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) or PEV (Pure Electric Vehicle). With no internal combustion engine generator to rely on anymore, we had our first experience of ‘range anxiety’ when the car began warning me to plan my next charge because “all known charging locations will be out of range soon.”

Not long after the car began prompting me to “stay below 105 km/h to reach destination”. Being a new car, I was not only keen to test it out and to see what would happen if I ignored the warning but I was also curious about this ‘range anxiety’ phenomena that was often cited in EV articles and YouTube videos at the time. I kept Autopilot set to 110 km/h and not long after the warning changed to prompting me to stay below 100 km/h and then to below 95 km/h.

When the projection chart showed we’d get to Hyden with just 2%, much to my wife’s and I think the kids’ relief, I lost my nerve and I put the car into Chill Mode and slowed right down to 90 km/h.

We ended up getting to Hyden with 4% or 20 km of range and immediately after arriving I plugged the car into a 10A socket at the Hyden Tennis Club.

I didn’t have much luck with getting access to the 3-phase 32A socket at the closed Visitor Centre and I couldn’t get through on the phone either, but I managed to find a 15A socket in the shed on our friend’s property where we were staying. As I was keen to show off the car and took our hosts along for a test drive, when it came time to go back home, we couldn’t leave until after 2 PM as we had to wait for the car to finish trickle charging on the 15A socket in the shed. Being a Performance (Stealth) Model 3, with roughly 73.5kWh of usable battery capacity, it takes approximately 30 hours to charge from 0-100% on a 10A socket and about 20 hours using a 15A plug.

What a difference one proper DC charger makes

Fast forward to December 2023 and Hyden has just become the 26th location to be commissioned on the WA EV Network. It means that we’re now in the back half of the rollout because when complete in early to mid next year, the network will consist of 49 much-needed EV charging locations averaging approximately 200 km apart all the way along the coast from the Northern Territory border to the South Australian border and also to Kalgoorlie.

With the WA EV Network marking it’s halfway milestone, I couldn’t resist taking the same car, this time four years older and with over 110,000km on the odometer, on the same Perth to Hyden road trip. Perhaps still traumatised from the last experience, my wife and the kids were more than happy to leave me to my own devices so I set out on my own this time and about four hours later I arrived in Hyden with 9% and plugged into the freshly commissioned Hyden 150kW Kempower unit (I was aiming for 10%). Only half an hour later I had gained about 300 km of range which would have been enough to allow me to head back with a top-up at Williams but I got chatting and before I knew it, another 20 minutes went past and the car was already charged to 100%. (Once the Brookton charger is commissioned next year, a 20 to 30 minute charge in Hyden will be enough to get to Brookton for a quick top up on the way to Perth.)

Four years earlier, we had no choice but to trickle charge for 20 to 30 hours, which is a little like pouring petrol through a clogged-up straw. Comparing the two experiences is night and day, it is like comparing a rabbit to a tortoise. In other words, it’s just not comparable. Think about it this way, compare going to the beach for 20 to 30 minutes versus 20 to 30 hours or going to the shops for 20 to 30 minutes compared to 20 to 30 hours or popping into work for 20 to 30 minutes as opposed to a marathon 20 to 30 hour shift. Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the two time frames aren’t even in the same ball park.

In case you’re wondering, even though Tesla may be starting to roll out 1 megawatt (1,000kW) V4 Superchargers or Megachargers to service its Semis, the power of most DC (direct current) chargers these days will range between approximately 50kW and 350kW, putting the 150kW Kempower unit a little below the middle of that pack. Although some of the newest EV models, such as the recently delivered Cybertrucks are capable of charging at 350kW it doesn’t mean that a 350kW charger would be more than twice as fast as a 150kW unit. The limiting factor is the current generation of EVs, which in Tesla’s case, top out anywhere between approximately 190kW and about 250kW, depending on the model and its corresponding battery chemistry.

For those who think that a 20-to-40-minute time period to recharge a car is still too long, I’d like to point out something that I discovered on my 17-day trip around Australia in the Model Y RWD, the slowest and shortest-range car that Tesla makes. While I was charging at the various roadhouses, as suggested by TOCWA (The Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia) Chairman Rob Dean, I began to observe other people refuelling their ICE cars. I can tell you that the notion that people refuel their ICE car in 5 to 7 minutes on a long road trip is a fallacy. Granted, while it is possible, it happens very rarely and while most people may stand by their car with their hand on the bowser nozzle for six or so minutes, they will very rarely hop straight back behind the wheel to drive for another four hours. Instead, they will repark the car and they’ll use the restrooms, grab something to eat or drink and stretch their legs for a while. It means that an average roadhouse stop takes 20 to 30 minutes which is about as long as a Tesla Supercharger takes to recharge a Tesla. In fact, when my brother and I together with both families drove two Teslas along the 900 km route between Melbourne and Sydney earlier this year, we only needed to stop twice and both times our cars were charged to 100% before our food even came out. (By the way, as illustrated in this article, the last 20% of an EVs range takes the longest to charge and is often unnecessary.)

As an aside, for those reading this article who don’t yet own an EV or for the single EV families who are thinking about replacing their second car, it may be worthwhile to note that we no longer manufacture the Falcons and Commodores in Australia and hence we have no choice but to buy what the rest of the world sells and whether by legislation or market forces, the whole world is going electric. It, therefore, won’t be long before there won’t be much of a choice. That said, with ICE cars representing old technology what do you think a second-hand ICE car will be worth in 5 or 10 year’s time? Probably as much as a Walkman or DVD player is worth today. It’s old technology and when the world moves on, the old technology that’s left behind always plummets in value.

Getting back to the WA EV Network, yes, we all wish the WA State government made available a larger sum of money so that, similar to NSW, we could have had a network with an average uptime of 99.95% with ‘chargers that just work’. In case you’re wondering, yes, you guessed it, I am talking about none other than the Tesla Superchargers.   

That said, I think I echo the sentiment of most of the WA EV community, when I say that we are very thankful for this much needed and critical public infrastructure. Although, as mentioned, we would all have preferred a slightly larger sum of money but we are nevertheless not only thankful for the $21.6 million but we’re thankful for Synergy and Horizon Power listening to TOCWA (The Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia) and the wider EV community when it came to the design of the network. As a result, it means we have a fantastic network which is fit for purpose.

By exclusively utilising only the Combined Charging System standard using only CCS2 cables and Type 2 charging points instead of the discontinued and obsolete CHAdeMO connectors, we’ll have a network that is built for the present and the future instead of the past. It means we have reliable and much faster 150kW Kempower chargers on the grid-tied portion of the network rather than the 50kW alternative. It means that with AC backup chargers every location can charge a minimum of three EVs at a time. It means we have idle fees to stop EV drivers treating the EV charging bays as EV parking bays, we have a credit card payment solution, we have a resilient system than can operate in emergency situations when the mobile network goes down, we have some but admittedly not enough drive-through locations allowing for EVs towing trailers, caravans or horse floats to charge without unhitching. We have a great network.

We have a world class network second only to Tesla’s Supercharger network and once completed, the state government will have provided most of the backbone of this critical public infrastructure for the private sector to backfill, but there is one glaring omission and that’s the inland Perth to Port Hedland route along the Great Northern Highway.

As TOCWA Secretary Harald Murphy has identified, it doesn’t make sense to have a road network that only services some towns and not others it doesn’t make sense to have an EV highway that leaves out major towns and regional centres. It’s a matter of equity, it’s a matter of access, it’s about tourism and it’s just not right to ignore and forget about places like Mount Magnet, Meekatharra or Newman to name just a few. With the WA EV Network having reached its halfway point yesterday, and with the retirement of Bill Johnston, (who said “I’m not saying no” to the proposed addition), the incoming State Energy Minister Reece Whitby has an ideal opportunity to announce the extension to the network.

It should be noted that the blueprints for the WA EV Network came from University of Western Australia Professor Thomas Braunl’s 2018 report which proposed three options for the network. All three options, included the Perth to Port Hedland route along the Great Northern Highway and the projected cost was estimated at $18.9 million, $23.6 million and $28.9 million for the Minimal, Proposed and Extended options respectively. (These were 2018 figures, therefore, if adjusted for WA inflation (All Groups) these numbers would be approximately 20% higher at $22.4M, $27.98M and $34.27M.) For reference the WA State Government has invested $21.6M into the WA EV Network.

The inland route from Perth to Port Hedland will cost less than $5 million and it needs to be announced now while we have the processes and the human and other resources in place rather than starting again from scratch in one or two years’ time. (To put the $5 million figure into perspective, just one freeway onramp costs about $20 million. To put it another way, there are 137 local governments or councils in Western Australia and some of them spend $20 million on just landscaping in one year alone, whereas the WA EV Network is critical public infrastructure that will benefit hopefully all Western Australians for not just one year but for 5, 10 or many more years into the future.)

Please join TOCWA, AEVA and the wider EV community in calling on Minister Whitby and the WA State Government to finish what they started and to complete the WA EV Network thereby making EVs accessible to all Western Australians, irrespective of where they live.

The minister can be contacted on the following links:

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/premier-and-cabinet-ministers/reece-whitby

https://www.reecewhitby.com.au/

https://x.com/ReeceWhitby

https://www.facebook.com/ReeceWhitbyMLA/

Please note, this article was edited on 21 December 2023. The changes consisted of the inclusion of the paragraph quoting Professor Thomas Braunl and the accompanying map, which were inadvertently left out of the original version.

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 received his long awaited first Tesla, a Model 3 Performance. Despite still loving their Volt, Pete and his wife took delivery of their second Model 3 in December 2021 and a year later a Model Y RWD which two days later Pete drove around Australia in 17 days. In his spare time, Pete also runs the ‘Tesla Ahead of the Curve’ YouTube channel and is also a long-term Tesla shareholder. Pete can be reached on X @Ahead_of_Curve

What’s with Ravensthorpe?

Since being installed on 9 October 2023, the WA EV Network 150kW Kempower Fast DC charger in Ravensthorpe has been waiting for the installation of a transformer by Western Power. Ravensthorpe is a vital link to Esperance and it’s unfortunate that it appears that it won’t be ready for the summer school holidays, which is peak season for EV owners wanting to holiday in the Esperance region. Let’s hope that Western Power finds the appropriate resources to promptly install the transformer so this vital link to Esperance can be completed before Christmas.

The EV Charging Bottleneck Soon to Arrive on the Nullarbor

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

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

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

The near future

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

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

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

The gap:

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

Who is providing a solution?

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

Who could provide a solution?

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

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

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

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

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

How much do 19 inch Gemini Wheels and Tyres improve the Energy Efficiency of the Model Y Performance?

The only way to correctly test energy efficiency is by having two similar cars driven on the same roads at the same time over a reasonable long distance.

This test was conducted using two almost identical 2023 White Model Y Performance vehicles built in the Shanghai factory within days of each other. Both had covered over 1,600kms in the first week of ownership. Both had aircons set to 22°C. Both had cold tyre pressures of 42psi. Both had two occupants. It is crucial to note that neither car used the Williams Supercharger to navigate to and thus battery preconditioning was NOT used to avoid contaminating the results. During the test, the cars were driven no closer than 60 metres at highway speeds with the biggest gap being approximately 400 metres. Each car drove the front position for half the journey.

Cars were driven at the speed limit (max 110km/h) as much as possible with overtaking of slower traffic only conducted on designated overtaking lanes. Luckily traffic flow was generally good during the whole test.

To be clear, the test was conducted mostly on the Albany highway, a coarse road surface that’s consumes plenty of energy and is often used by Tesla drivers visiting the Great Southern.

Over the total 272km test (136kms south, 136kms north), the Performance model Y with factory fitted 21 inch Überturbines averaged 178Wh/km while the Performance model Y with the 19inch Gemini rims and hub caps (acquired from a new standard range model Y) averaged 158Wh/km, an improvement of 11%. That’s not a typo, that’s eleven percent with every other aspect of the two cars being identical.

There’s two main factors that cause the difference in energy efficiency: The 21inch Überturbines have what could be described as “sticky” Pirelli tyres, great for putting down the power and torque of the dual electric motors under extremely hard driving, but energy hungry in general driving. The 21 inch wheel/tyre combo has less smooth tyre surface and more rough wheel surface on the outside of the car. The Gemini wheels have more smooth tyre surface and a fairly smooth hub cap so airflow at higher speeds is less interrupted. If you’re a City Slicker, the 21 inch Uberturbines are fine. If you plan on long distance driving away from reliable DC charging, the energy wasted may be an issue.

Model Y
Performance
21″ Überturbines
Model Y
Performance
19″ Gemini
Leg 1
31 km
212Wh/km195Wh/km
Leg 2
105 km
168Wh/km149Wh/km
Leg 3
105 km
200Wh/km175Wh/km
Leg 4
31 km
105Wh/km95Wh/km
Total
272km
178Wh/km158Wh/km
TOCWA Note: Distance per Leg is approximate
  • Leg 1: Byford to Albany Hwy T junction. Moderately uphill, average speed 64 km/h
  • Leg 2: T junction to Williams Woolshed Supercharger. Moderately downhill, average speed 97 km/h
  • Leg 3: Return Williams Woolshed to T junction. Moderately uphill, average speed 102 km/h
  • Leg 3: T junction to Byford. Moderately downhill, average speed 71 km/h

Conditions: dry 22°C to 29°C, light winds. Start time 9.30 am, finish 1.15 pm.

Überturbines (left photograph), Geminis (right photograph). Both “Since Charge” screens did not reset to zero as per normal after Supercharging???

This test was conducted by Harald Murphy and Rob Dean, two of the most experienced long distance drivers in Australia.

The WA EV Network has Arrived!

The much-needed WA EV network is here! Geraldton and Northampton are the first two sites to have been commissioned and, as of today, both are now operational. Geraldton boasts two 150kW fast DC chargers which are ready to replace the temporary 50 kW TOCWA (Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia) DC charger that has been a godsend for hundreds of EV road trips. Northampton has one 150kW DC charger as well as a 7kW AC charger.

One of two 150kW Kempower DC chargers at Geraldton
WA EV Network Map

EV drivers eager to hit the country roads during these school holidays, will take comfort in knowing that each 150 kW charger shares its capacity across two CCS2 cables which means that up to four EVs can charge at any one time. If two EVs are sharing a single charger, the 150 kW capacity will be shared between the two cars, however, if the two EVs are spread across the two chargers, drivers may be able to draw up to the full 150 kW rate, which is good for a peak charge rate of approximately 1,000 km an hour in WA’s most popular EV, the Tesla Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive. This means that the majority of charging sessions are expected to take approximately 20 to 25 minutes, which is not only the minimum recommended break duration on long road trips but also just enough time to use the bathroom and grab a drink, coffee, or a bite to eat.

From left to right: Carl Van Heerden – Synergy, Sandra Giry – Synergy, Liam Dunphy – HEC, Pushpa Gurung – Synergy, Diarmuid O’Donovan – HEC, Jong Yiing Yang – Jetcharge, Harald Murphy – TOCWA, Guy McHugh – Synergy, Mary Davadra – Synergy, Sean Henderson – Jetcharge.

Geraldton and Northampton are the first of a total of 49 charging locations that will span the state, enabling EV drivers to fast charge every few hundred kilometres from the Northern Territory border, along the coast, all the way to the South Australian border. The WA EV Network has been funded by the WA State Government and will be available on the Chargefox network, however, a simple swipe of a credit card will be sufficient to get the electrons flowing. (This feature is not currently activated but it is coming soon.)

Originally the brainchild of Professor Thomas Braunl, the WA EV network, which comprises of Synergy and Horizon Power chargers, will add to the existing charging assets, including Tesla’s Supercharger network, the RAC Electric Highway, as well as other networks and dozens of commercial, donated, or crowd-funded chargers, such as the 50 kW AEVA DC units in Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe. You can find the WA EV Network chargers on the Chargefox app or for a complete listing check out www.plugshare.com

Full House at the First Test-Charge with four EVs charging simultaneously
The Northampton site at 202 Hampton Rd, Northampton
A successful test-charge in Geraldton. The Geraldton site is located at 31 Foreshore Dr, Geraldton.
The cafe across the road from the Geraldton charger will be a handy place to take a break on long road trips.

Australian Y Tour – Two Brand New Model Ys around the country at once

TOCWA committee members, Harald Murphy and Pete Petrovsky took delivery of their brand new Model Y’s on the first day in Perth.

But why just take delivery when you can go on an epic road trip?

Becuase it hasn’t been done before, and what better away to raise awareness of both what’s possible, and what obstacles actually exist.

Pete Talks to Chris Vanderstock about the AUSYTour:

To follow the adventure, use this link

The Model Ys are coming

The first batch of Model Ys have arrived at Fremantle Port today in preparation for the first WA deliveries over the next few weeks.

Nearly 800 new Teslas so far this quarter

Tesla Opens Model Y Reservations in Australia!

From the 14th of March 2019, the day Elon Musk unveiled his new Tesla sneakers and then the Model Y at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne California, Australians have been wondering when the car that is destined to become the world’s bestselling passenger vehicle will become available down under.

Elon Musk sporting his new Tesla Nike sneakers at the Model Y unveiling at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California. Photo: mashable.com

It was great to see production begin in California’s Fremont factory in January of 2020 with deliveries following only a couple of months later on the 13th of March. We then had little choice but to spend almost the next year and a half eagerly watching YouTube videos of ecstatic new Model Y owners posting their reviews, and we were all buoyed when we saw right-hand drive orders open in countries like Hong Kong on 2nd of July 2021 and later in the UK on 15th of October last year. We were also glad to see the Model Y fully approved by Australian regulators in September 2021.

When the Australian order page briefly went live on 9th of April 2022, Aussie EV fans were on tenterhooks. Some Tesla enthusiasts such as TOCWA Chairman Rob Dean and his wife Robin got a chance to almost place an order before the reservation page was taken offline but not before they got a chance to take a screen shot. (As reported by The Driven, there was also at least one Australian who managed to pay a deposit that weekend, but their money was later refunded and the order cancelled.)

Rob and Robin Dean’s screenshot of the Tesla Model Y Order page on 9th of April 2022

Rumours and speculation ensued but finally this morning the well-worn ‘Stay Updated’ button was finally replaced with the long-awaited invitation to ‘Order Now’. So yes, it’s finally happening, Australians can now place their Model Y reservations!

 To begin with, Australians are being offered two variants. The entry level Rear-Wheel Drive (which used to also be referred to as the Standard Range Plus) but now known as simply the ‘Model Y’ and the top of the range Performance. Both versions will be made in Shanghai, and they’ll initially only be available in the 5-seat configuration.

The Model Y shares approximately three quarters of its parts with the Model 3 and to the superficial eye it looks almost identical but there are differences. Although both cars share the same platform and powertrains, being an SUV, the Model Y is heavier and bigger in all three dimensions. It is about 41mm wider, 56mm longer and 183mm taller with about 27mm more ground clearance at about 167mm. That said, the Performance with its 21’’ Überturbine wheels will ride a little lower.

Tesla Model Y and Model 3, dimensions comparison. Photo: Tesla Owners Online

As one would expect, the Model Y has more leg room and it’s easier to get in and out thanks to its higher seating positions. I found this to be a handy YouTube video with a real-world comparison between the rear seat leg room of the 3, the Y and the Model X. You can also refer to TOCWA’s very own Grumpy Old Man’s YouTube video at the 4’35” mark. Nigel is currently in the UK taking the Model Y through its paces.

There are also other differences, the most obvious being the Model Y’s hatchback versus the Model 3’s sedan boot design. Additionally, the Model Y’s three rear seats can recline into three positions, and they can also fold down individually compared to the 60:40 split in the M3. There’s also a handy button in the boot of the Model Y enabling the rear seats to automatically fold down and there’s also a hidden manual rear door release. The factory glass tinting on the Model Y is also different in that it runs all the way to the end while the Model 3 tapers off about 60cm from the bottom. Some of these features are demonstrated in this YouTube Video by Tesla Raj starting at the 9’35”mark.

Photo: Teslarati / Tesla Raj

The Model Y also has an additional smaller boot well or sub boot as can be seen in this video at the 5’30” mark and the front boot or frunk is about three inches deeper. There are also two side compartments in the boot as opposed to just the left one in the Model 3. As one would expect, the Model Y has considerable cargo volume, almost 50% more than the Model 3, with the M3 specified at 649 litres and the MY at 971 litres with 5 passengers, or 2,158 litres with just a driver and front passenger.

In terms of acceleration, the Model Y is only a little less lively at 3.7 seconds versus 3.3 seconds for a 0-100km/h sprint for the Performance models and 6.9 compared to 6.1 seconds for the entry level Rear Wheel Drive versions.

Being a larger and heavier car, the Model Y Performance is rated at 514km of WLTP range which is 33km less than the M3P. The Rear-Wheel Drive is rated at 36km less at 455km. When it comes to real world range, however, the EPA standard is a closer approximation with the MYP rated at 488km. Furthermore, this range will be reduced on rough country roads where there is little opportunity to use regenerative braking or when driving in the rain, in cold weather, going up hills, against a headwind or towing. Speaking of towing, the Model Y should be rated at 1.6 tonne braked or 750kg unbraked, as reported here by Bridie Schmidt in The Driven.

As one would also expect, the Model Y is more expensive, however, as I have touched on previously in this article, the Total Cost of Ownership is what is important rather than just the sticker price.

To check prices and delivery time frames see the Australian order page and if you like what you see don’t hesitate to reserve what in the next 3-5 years I’m tipping will become Australia’s bestselling car, first by revenue and then by volume. Considering that EVs account for only about 2% of Australia’s new car sales and the world is currently gripped by supply chain bottlenecks, I realise it’s a big call but to double down further and to be clear, I’m not saying it will just be the best-selling electric car, or the bestselling SUV, or the bestselling car in any other segment, I expect either the Model Y or the Cybertruck to become Australia’s best-selling car, period. With Australia accounting for less than a fraction of a percentage point of Tesla’s global sales volumes, the harder question is whether Tesla will have a global best seller before it tops the rankings in Australia or vice versa.

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 received his long awaited first Tesla, a Model 3 Performance. Despite still loving their Volt, Pete and his wife took delivery of their second Model 3 in December 2021. In his spare time, Pete also runs the ‘Tesla Ahead of the Curve’ YouTube channel and is also a long-term Tesla shareholder.

(13 June’22: the range estimates in the 3rd last paragraph of this article were corrected to correctly reflect the figures as per the Tesla website.)

A Quarter of a Million Kilometres in Seven Years and the Tesla Model S is Still Going Stronger Than Ever

Having waited nine months for their Model S to arrive, it’s no wonder Rob and Robin refer to their Model S P85D as their “baby”. Back in 2015 Tesla deliveries in Western Australia were fairly rare, there was no delivery centre, no showroom, no service centre or local Tesla employee to hand over the cars. Each delivery experience was unique. In Rob and Robin’s case, Tesla sales requested they collect their Model S from a transport depot in Canning Vale a suburb in Perth, Western Australia. The car was clean, charged to 90% and the key fobs were handed over with little fuss. There was no one trying to sell window tinting or seat protection, less talk and more driving, the way it should be.

The car had plenty of features but only two they really cared about, firstly it was insanely fast, and second, they could charge it from their excess home solar power. In those days the Deans “couldn’t care less about supercharging, software updates, autopilot or the massive touchscreen on the dashboard.” They also weren’t bothered by the fact that in 2015 Tesla was a very small car company, living on the edge, with no service or support within 3,000kms of Perth, but to them it was worth the risk to support the only car maker taking EVs seriously.

The plan for the car was fairly simple, have some fun, take a regular weekend drive camping and attend a few car shows, maybe clock up 20,000 kms per year. The only long trip Rob & Robin had initially planned was in winter of 2016 when they were preparing to drive from Perth to Broome and back, but that trip turned out to be so enjoyable it became a catalyst for many more trips to all parts of Western Australia and eventually a visit to every state and territory including:

Home (Mandurah) -Exmouth-Broome return, 4,900kms June 2016 AC charging only

Home-Shark Bay return 1,800kms November 2016 AC only

Home-Albany-Esperance-Kalgoorlie-Perth return 2,000kms April 2017 AC only

Home-Adelaide return 5,600kms December 2017

Home-Tom Price- Newman-Marble Bar-Port Hedland-Onslow-Exmouth return 4700kms April 2018 AC only

Home-Kalgoorlie-Leinster-Yalgoo-Shark Bay return 3,100kms October 2018 AC only

Around Australia clockwise including Tasmania 19,620kms Sept-Oct 2019

Home- Exmouth- Yardie Creek-Kalbarri- return 2,800kms June 2021

Home-Eucla-Esperance return 3,000kms January 2022

More than a dozen other trips between 700 and 1,800kms at 140 overnight destinations.

Seven years and 250,000 kms later they still love the car as much as they did the first week they had it, so much so, they can’t wait to buy another Tesla. This time it will be the Model Y which they plan to use as their second car, because they say they’ll never sell the Model S P85D.

To hear more about Rob and Robin’s experience with their Model S click on the video below or try the following URL: https://youtu.be/7uvoFdJsmDM

I interview OG Tesla owners Robin and Rob Dean to get the first-hand account with their 7-year old Model S after they recently competed 250,000 kms in the P85D.

Q&A:

How has the battery held up?

In short, it’s not an issue, it’s all been as expected. After 250,000kms the car’s range is 420km in the city and 370km on the highway which is roughly 10% less than new, but as expected, the first 5% of battery degradation was much faster than the last 5% which is now barely noticeable.

What are your total out-of-pocket running costs? I just had the 4th set of tyres fitted, the average lifespan has been 81,000kms per set. I’ve kept with Michelin’s paying between $350 and $410 per tyre fitted. All up including two minor repairs it’s added up to $4660.

How much do you think you’ve saved on fuel?

Who cares? Well okay, put it this way, if the bloke up the road had the time to drive his less powerful and slower high performance V8 250,000kms over the past 7 years he would have consumed $39,000 worth of fuel at city prices. If I paid full grid price for the electricity consumed the cost would be $11,500, the fact is charging has cost us virtually nothing as most charging has been free from our home solar system. The car also comes with free lifetime supercharging and most of the AC charging we’ve done around Australia has been complimentary and the few dollars spent on DC charging is immaterial.

What about servicing?

It’s often incorrectly claimed that Teslas don’t need servicing; it all depends on how much the owner values their vehicle. As this car spends a large amount of time far away from a service centre, I’m happy to spend some cash making sure it’s in the best possible condition. $1,300 over 250,000kms is money well spent.

Any warranty repairs?

At 160,000kms Tesla replaced the rear drive unit due to the milling noise showing up in some early Model S vehicles, the car was in the care of Tesla service for just a few hours. The MCU was replaced at 220,000kms under a recall due to a potential eMMC failure, this took half a day at Tesla service.

What don’t you like about your Model S?

The paint appears soft and has suffered more than previous cars have from loose stones (chip seal) on country roads. Tesla also make unnecessary changes to the charging screen via software updates. At one stage, the Tesla charging screen was perfect, but not anymore. Some bored tinker-man in California adds complexity for no reason.

What has turned out to be surprisingly good beyond your expectations?

As I said earlier Supercharging didn’t interest me, and to be honest if it didn’t exist I’d still be just as supportive of EVs, but after experiencing the simplicity, reliability and convenience of Tesla Supercharging on both sides of Australia I can see how important the Supercharging network is to encouraging everyday Australians to change from petrol to electric transport.