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

Model 3 – Ken’s 3 day review

On our recent trip to California for the Tesla Owners Group meetup, Harald and I hired a pair of matching Model 3s through Turo.  They were both from the initial production run and therefore had the long-range battery, premium interior, single motor and in basic black.

We are unlikely to see this model in Australia in the initial release, as like Europe, we’ll probably get the two dual-motor options – the long-range, premium dual-motor and the performance dual-motor.

The conference was in Milpitas, and we flew into San Francisco, so there was a nice combination of interstate driving and local roads.  After getting my head around 4-way stops in San Francisco, I headed out onto I-280.  If you’ve driven a Model S, the Model 3 feels very familiar.  The single-motor Model 3 feels a little slower than my uncorked S75D, but snappy enough for easy acceleration.  The regenerative brakes feel similar also.

The main standout was the feeling that the 3 was much more nimble.  This is not really a surprise given the reduced weight and wheelbase, but it was nice in unfamiliar road conditions to feel like you could point it and go.  The suspension felt a little firmer than the S, but again, this is likely mostly related to the difference in weight.

The single screen was a novelty for about the first hour, and then I stopped noticing that it was any different.  The vehicle I had was running a late v8 software version, but those who’ve upgraded to v9 will notice some similarities that we’ve inherited from the Model 3 software design.  I don’t have any driving shots as I was by myself, but this image was taken while supercharging.

The third of the screen closest to the driver contains items that would appear on the Model S/X driver display and the remainder of the screen is laid out very similarly to the main display.  One key difference is that because it’s all touchscreen, you can interact with the drivers display in a few ways.  The steering wheel controls were also different with the scroll wheel and paired buttons replaced by a scrollwheel which could be pushed side-to-side as well.  I had mine set up for the cruise speed and for audio control, and both options were intuative.  It was sometimes tricky to advance the music track without also clicking pause, but I’m sure I would have got more used to it over time.

Annoyingly, the vehicles we hired did not have Autopilot enabled, so I wasn’t able to test that, but I assume it will respond much the same as any other Tesla with Autopilot.

Interior appointment was excellent.  The seats were firm and comfortable and I think the rear seats were a little nicer than those in the Model S.  Because there is no hatch, and therefore no need for hinge structure in the roof, the rear headroom felt better, and it was a perfectly fine place for two adults to sit.  The Model 3 is narrower, and this would make it tight for three adults in the back, but certainly workable for shorter trips.  The front ventilation is amazing, with the touchscreen controlling where the air is directed for driver and passenger – you can move the stream up and down, as well as set it as a single stream, or split.  There are no moving parts in this system as I understand it – the air is directed by varying the amount at the top and bottom edges of the vent channel.

Luggage space is obviously much smaller than an S or X, but still very usable.  The frunk is similar in size to that on a dual-motor S (I’m not sure how much smaller it gets when you have a dual-motor 3)

The rear space is quite different as the Model 3 is a sedan rather than a hatch.  The boot lid opens high and the lip is small

The main difference in practicality is that it is somewhat narrower, and therefore can restrict some types of cargo.  I routinely put my road bike, with both wheels still attached into the S with the seats folded down with little fuss.  Testing this on a  Model 3 required removal of one bike wheel to fit through the opening to the back seat area.

That said – it was still quite doable, and I doubt it would present much of a challenge – It felt similar to the space in my previous Audi A6, for which I needed to do the same thing.

Over the few days I used the car, I loved it more and more.  Its smaller overall size made it much nicer to drive, and easier to park and manouvre.  Whether the smaller storage spaces would bother me is hard to gauge.  While in California, I was able to ride in the then-new dual-motor performance Model 3

This was an eye-opening experience.  The acceleration felt on par with a P-series S, although on the spec-sheet it’s *only* 3.5 seconds to 60mph.  I walked away from that experience seriously considering replacing my S75D with a performance 3 – it’s likely to land in Australia around $A100,000 which is quite a bit less than I paid for my S.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments below, and I’ll try and answer as many as I can.

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.

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 90km/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 (especially when using the Jurien foreshore charge point).  Please update Plugshare for fellow tourists – if someone has logged in recently it gives them the confidence to make the journey.

  • The Alkimos Tesla charger is a handy top up point if conditions are favourable enough to attempt the 380km journey to Geraldton in one drive, a better option is to stop at Cervantes or Jurien Bay for one hour and add 50 to 100km of range to the battery, Cervantes has the more convenient charging option, Jurien has more entertainment options, perhaps try one heading North and the other heading South.
  • Geraldton has two locations with Tesla charging options, Oceanwest Geraldton were the first to install charge points when no one else in town had any interest in supporting the cause, Oceanwest have accommodation and nice walks along the beach if it’s not too windy.
  • 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.
  • Wooramel is 120km South of Carnarvon, they do have a 3 phase outlet but it requires a large gate to be unlocked to gain access, plans are in place to install a more convenient Tesla connector, accommodation is very basic here but also clean and good value.
  • Carnarvon has two locations with Tesla charge points, both are central to town with secure parking, Seaview has circa 2012 built apartments that would suit couples who travel light, an easy walk to get food and drinks. 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 3 phase power outlet at the RAC resort, at the time of writing it was due for repair so ring ahead, if you are planning to stay overnight in Coral Bay 15A single phase would suffice.
  • 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.

Tesla 2016 Nullarbor Road Trip

In 2016, David and Matt drove from Perth to Adelaide to demonstrate that such journeys in an EV are quite possible – at that time, there was no specific charging infrastructure, but of course, you can charge an EV wherever there’s a plug.  There is much more infrastructure even in the two years since.

David’s report follows:

Matt and I planned this trip to prove an Electric Vehicle, a Tesla in particular, could drive from Perth to Adelaide across the Nullarbor, without purpose built chargers or facilities, and without having to camp in caravan parks with slow charging. The fastest the car can charge from AC is 32A 3-phase which provides 100km of range per hour, and this is what we wanted to use.

The Tesla performed brilliantly. We had planned dawn to dusk driving or charging for the first three days, and all daily destination targets were achieved. Auto-pilot drove most of the way and only faltered when we crossed into South Australia into the rising sun where the contrast between the road markings and the surface was very low.

On day 1 we charged in Merredin (at CBH grain silo) and at Southern Cross Town oval.

Merredin Town was the only one to say they could not help, but the CBH manager lent us his ICE to drive into town whilst the Tesla was charging and we found 3-phase at the Nissan dealer who agreed to allow EVs to use it in the future. We then walked round the Town recreation centre and found two 3-phase outlets which reception said we could use – we took photos of them back to the town council to gain official approval for next time.

We had to reach Kalgoorlie by 4pm for the local press and welcoming committee at Main roads, and our electrons were running low. Normally we would just reduce speed from the standard speed limit to improve efficiency but we couldn’t do this because of our deadline, so we arrived with 11km in the tank. Matt had to do a few demonstration launches and by the time we got to our night charger at the Oasis centre we had exactly 1km in the tank. Not an electron wasted. We knew we were charging by the netball court, but we were directed actually onto the courts, which felt secure with fences round us. When we got back later the courts were all full (except ours) and we had to wait until the game on the neighbouring court finished to drive out.

On day 2 we left 15 minutes late, charged at Norseman Town oval and so got to Balladonia road house 15 minutes late. Here the outlet was in an awkward location and we wanted to prove that we could still get close enough (rather than use our new 3-phase extension lead). Matt managed to fit into the tight space with 50mm margin on both sides. The manager Gregg promised to move the obstruction in time for Matt’s visit on the way back and for future EVs. However, this cost us another 15 minutes so we were 30 minutes late  leaving Balladonia.
It was getting near peak roo time so we slowed down, and the car watched the road ahead and kept us perfectly in lane whilst Matt and I were free to scan the bushes on either side. No worries in the end, except we arrived an hour behind schedule in the dark.
The later arrival presented a problem for the following day since we only had 15A single phase charge at Caiguna and we needed a full tank to make the next 3-phase at Border Village. 14 hours of charging would achieve this but we only had 13 hours to dawn when we had to leave without a full charge.

We left next morning missing a few electrons. Although we knew there was not much altitude difference over the whole day, our power use initially was too high at the speed limit. It turned out we were climbing steeply to the Madura pass before descending the escarpment into SA. But we don’t regen all the extra power we use on the way up, and it is not comforting when the car is panicking and telling us we will not make our destination and to turn round immediately – we reduced speed to 80-85km/h to hold the range left on arrival to be greater than zero, and road trains started whizzing past.
We stopped to spruik Teslas and try to convince the roadhouses on the way to accept the sockets we were providing free, and are hopeful of Cocklebiddy and confident of Mundrabilla. Next time this gap will be bridged. We had now stopped climbing so the power drain was less, so we decided to catch up to one of those roadtrains which had overtaken us and set the Auto-pilot to one car gap and accept the slipstream. Magic – our power use dropped dramatically and we were able hold 102km/h most of the way to Eucla.
At Eucla we had 12km to go to Border Village with 12km in the tank. We stopped to do some more spruiking and discussed taking a 15 minute charge even at 15A or to go very slow climbing through the Eucla gap.
At Eucla the receptionist said no, they didn’t have 3-phase power and what was it anyway, that the manager was not available and that she did not know about electricity. I asked to speak to the person in charge of maintenance, and the receptionist said he could be anywhere on site. Did he have a mobile phone? Yes. Do you want me to ring him? Yes please. But when Dave arrived he said no worries and plugged us into a beautiful 32A 3-phase at the laundry. The manager Amanda then appeared and we agreed a cost of 88c/kWh and even persuaded her to accept a free Tesla HPWC for next time (if Tesla approve this site).
So we arrived in Border Village with plenty of electrons and only did a courtesy charge there on the socket we had supplied. In fact, we were restricted to 22A from this outlet because of doubts about the wiring, so it was fortunate that we did not actually need a charge here.
We were now 30 minutes behind schedule but arrived at Nullarbor Roadhouse just before sunset, to plug into another of the sockets we had supplied.

The last two days were planned to be easy, with some spare time in case of problems in the first three days.

Matt took the manager Ross for a few launches at sunrise the next day (4), then we left across the true treeless plain to Penong Caravan park where a 20A and a 32A 3-phase awaited. We tested both successfully and then settled on the 32A and went to the Penong Hotel for a small pint. Soon Visible Tesla advised us that charging had ceased, so we rushed back to find the 32A could not hold the current and dialled it down to 26A. This put us behind schedule again and we tried pushing back up to 29A which held. The manager Graeme promised to look at this for next time.

At Ceduna Men’s shed the reception committee had left, but Matt said he would catch them on the way back. The car decided the 20A socket here was not fit for more than 15A, so we had more time to chat with Rodney and the local electrician Jamie. Karen at Poochera Hotel was very welcoming and we were soon plugged into one of her bar customer’s workshop across the road. Although this socket held 20A well, we decided to dial it down to 15A since this would be sufficient overnight. Payment for the electricity was by means of a bar tab with Karen, and she advised that she could ensure a 3-phase outlet would be available to any future EVs staying with her, on the same basis.

The next day seemed too easy, with the 50A outlet on offer at Kimba hospital and 32A at Port Augusta main square. But our 32A plug did not fit into the 50A socket, so our hospital contact took us into town to Bridgestone Tyres where Charlie said no worries. He had just had a new 20A 5-pin wired up, and by parking in a neighbours drive and snaking our extension lead, 32A to 20A converter/ cut out and 20A plug through his workshop we could reach it. However the car did not detect any supply so we deduced that the neutral had not in fact been connected. Charlie would now get the sparky back but in the meantime had another 20A even deeper in his workshop. We were now very glad we had bought the 10m 3-phase extension cable the day before we left. After donating a couple of bottles of WA wine we left with sufficient charge for Port Augusta. On the way Iron Knob offered cool drinks so we went in to find a ghost town taken over by Emus, and no functioning facilities. We arrived in Port Augusta to find the green box housing the 3-phase sockets locked, and the receptionist at the Town council knowing nothing about it and not able to contact Daniele. We left a message for him on his mobile and started to explore the area in 3 phase outlet search mode, soon discovering a 50A attached to the back of some automatic loo facilities. We wanted to settle the question of 32A plugs into 50A sockets so plugged in and after a bit of elbow grease made the connection. We were plugged into our own facilities, but had to park on the grass to avoid cables across the footpath. We were also in full view of the Town offices so it wasn’t long before rangers came to protect their grass and their loo. Fortunately were able to show our email exchange with Daniele and suddenly the key to the green box was found and we moved to an official parking spot there, which only involved a 2m cable across the path. We were instructed to remain with the car at all times and to replace the lock once we were finished. We charged to 90% hoping to use the Percedos charger out of the door of our room at Hotel Flinders to top off overnight (and to avoid the batteries sitting at 100% for long). Unfortunately we were iced in, although Matt did manage to add 90 minutes of charge at 9A early the next morning.

The last day was too easy with a strong tailwind and we drove the 320km to Adelaide at the speed limit (no plus offset because of the average speed cameras) with 60kms to spare. I had been unable to use auto lane change, and only discovered in Adelaide that I had not enabled this in my personal driver settings!

The power for this 2850km trip was supplied free by the town councils, but
we paid a total of $140 to the various commercial locations. We also gave Ceduna Men’s shed a donation of $50 and supplied outlets to Nullarbor Roadhouse and Border Village costing $41 each.  We also bought a 10m, 32A 3 phase extension cable for $313.

Although this trip required detailed planning, with several reserve locations since we were not sure what we would find at each location (access, wiring, compatible outlets), it should now be easy to replicate since the details of all visited outlets are on  Plugshare.

The gap between Balladonia and Eucla is now bridged at Mundrabilla and
Cocklebiddy, so there will be no need to charge on single phase anywhere between Perth and Adelaide. We took 5 nights on the way and visited more chargers than necessary (to test them out and talk Tesla), but only 4 nights were really required, and less if driving after dark.

Western Australia is now connected to the rest of Australia by fast AC outlets.

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.

 

WA Pioneers

In 2014 Tesla advised that they would ship the first cars to Australia – there would be no servicing support or charging in WA – despite this, eight said yes.

They were transhipped from Sydney in December 2014 after the Sydney Grand Opening and arrived here in February 2015.

Original owners received a single phase 40amp wall charger, and were delighted to discover the UWA REV chargers (30amp single phase) around Perth. The Tesla mobile charger was not available at delivery, so we could not escape the metro area.  UWA imported a Percedos 16amp single phase charger for us from Germany, but when it arrived it was restricted to 13amps so as not to exceed the capacity of the 15amp caravan park sockets. It did, however, enable us to break out of Perth.

 

Some early long drives in WA include:

David & Lindsay to Kalbarri and return – S85 – July 2015 – 1200km in 4 nights

20 hours charge in Dongara, 40 hours plugged into Kalbarri laundry and 20 hours Jurien Bay through a motel window – only 10/13 amps via the Percedos.

Nullarbor Steve drove his new P85D back from Melbourne – November 2015- 3880 km in 9nights

No 3phase, 540kms on one charge Nullarbor roadhouse to Caiguna, 536kms on one charge Caiguna to Coolgardie.

Then 3 Phase pigtails with the red Euro connector for the Tesla UMC and other external EVSEs became available,  we started supplying 3 phase sockets to fill the gaps, and planning 3phase trips.

Matt & David drove Mat’s P85+ across the Nullarbor to Adelaide – May 2016 – 2850km in 5 nights

All 3phase (arranged by sending AEVA 3phase sockets in advance), except 15amps overnight at Caiguna.

Matt K – Adelaide to Brisbane and return to Perth – P85+ – June 2016 – 10000km

Tesla Superchargers from Melbourne to Brisbane (via Sydney) and 3phase, External EVSE, 10m 32amp 3phase extension cable and 32A and 20A pigtails. Dual on board chargers.

Richard McNeal Round Oz, Sydney to Sydney return via WA – August/September 2016 – 16000km

Some 3 phase, but 4 EVSEs failed. Balanced dual 15amp octopus charger, 17kw on board charger. Max of 700kms in one day.

Rob & Robin to Broome and return – P85D – July 2016 – 5400km in 13 nights

Mixture of 3phase and single phase.

Cable Beach, Broome

David, Vernon, Lindsay to Broome and return – S85 – October 2016 – 5000 km 3 nights each way

All 3phase (arranged by sending AEVA 3phase sockets and installing Tesla wall connectors in advance). Single 11kw on board charger. Max of 720kms in one day.

Rob & Robin to Shark Bay and return – P85D – November 2016 – 1900km in 3nights

All 3phase.

Shark Bay

Nullarbor Steve to Launceston return – P85D – March 2017 – 7650 kms in 11 nights

3 phase most of the way. Single 11kw on board charger. Max of 1012kms in one day.

Rob & Robin to Esperance, Kalgoorlie and Kalbarri – P85D – April 2017 – 8 nights

Mixture of 10 amp and 3phase.

David, Lindsay to Esperance, back via Hyden – S85 – April 2017 – 2400km in 5 nights

All 3phase (arranged by sending AEVA 3phase sockets and installing Tesla wall connectors in advance).

 

The AESY group (AEVA sponsored by Synergy) are trying to cover all the main roads in WA in a 100kms grid of 3-phase sockets. If you any ideas for locations please contact the AESY member below:

Richard Chapman              Pilbara

Rob Dean                                 Goldfields

David Lloyd                            Kimberley and Nullarbor and Coral coast

Jon Edwards                          South West

Christopher Jones              Great Southern and Wheatbelt east of Perth

Glenn Elliot                            Wheatbelt north of Perth

 

 

Interview with ABC Kimberley

In September, TOCWA Secretary, David Lloyd was interviewed by Stephanie Coombes of ABC Kimberley about electric vehicles and WA’s remote North-west:

STEPHANIE: I suggest it is pretty unlikely that you would imagine riding around the red dust in an electric car but here’s the thing there is a big push under way at the moment to make the Kimberley electric car ready. That means getting charging points every hundred kms or so. The Kimberley is one of the last frontiers for electric cars, but believe it or not even now it’s possible to drive from Broome to Kununurra in an electric car. David Lloyd is an electric car enthusiast, and that’s to save the least. He’s the secretary of the Tesla Owners Club Western Australia and a member of AEVA. Good morning David.

DAVID: Good morning Stephanie How are you.

STEPHANIE: I’m not too bad. First of all you’ve driven from Perth to Broome in an electric car. What was that like.

DAVID: Ah it was so much fun – that was in the early days before we had 3-phase installed everywhere. This makes the charging 3 times as fast. We had to try to cover the gaps, working out the wind and elevations.

We had to charge at 80 mile beach in a welding shed there and then drive the 380 kms to Broome which was near the limit of the range of the car at that time. That was fine but we had a big easterly which effects the range, so we had to turn the AC off and arrive dripping into Broome. That was a great adventure. It is all different now since Eco Beach are installing 3-phase and the car’s range is now 500kms.

STEPHANIE: So even then even before there was a big movement to get electric cars it was possible. It is just that it took someone like you who is a little bit fanatical perhaps about electric cars to make it happen.

DAVID: Yes. We did that run in October 2016. A couple of people had done it before without any 3-phase which is even more remarkable.

But we had arranged to have 3-phase installed on the way. Cable Beach Club put in a Tesla destination charger for us. It was lovely to arrive to that – it was a welcoming sight to see the Tesla sign. But since then FreshWater Resort  Kununurra, Timber Creek Hotel, Ranges resort Karratha, Seaview Appts Carnarvon have or are installing destination chargers. So all the main centres from Perth to Broome and beyond have Tesla destination chargers.

STEPHANIE: It’s quite incredible to think that things have changed so quickly already since October 2016 I mean that just over a year ago.

DAVID: Yes, Tesla have done a big push here at our request, but also AEVA (Australian Electric Vehicle Association). We have partnered with Synergy to distribute ordinary commercial 3-phase sockets, as you see in welding sheds. Now all cars can use these, all EVs can charge from them, they give 22kw of power which is about 100kms of range per hour. They are perfectly viable but just don’t look as pretty.

STEPHANIE: Now tell me a little bit about this new push to get the Kimberley completely electric car suitable.

DAVID: So, AEVA has decided to reduce the gaps from 300kms which is suitable for the older Teslas (now 500 kms for new Teslas). We want to reduce that down to a 100kms grid over all main roads in WA, and to do that we have got to talk to all the roadhouses, hotels, restaurants everywhere on the road. In some cases unfortunately there is not even a kettle every hundred kms so we cannot do 100kms in Kimberley but we can get it down to 150kms. Larrawa Station has just joined up for instance. We are talking to all the stations, so they can get in on the act. Once the 3phase sockets are installed, then the route will be very easy for a number of cars because there will be choices of where to charge. You won’t have to charge at every point and can skip them and go onto the next one.

STEPHANIE: How much would it cost if you are station owner. For example would you give a certain amount of money and expenses to charge up an electric car.

DAVID: Well we offer to pay for electricity certainly and if generated locally it is more expensive. So the owner of the facility would charge the EV owner for the electricity. Even generated electricity is cheaper than buying petrol -we get more range out of the electricity per $ than petrol cars. We can supply the sockets free to any location in the Kimberley that wants to have one and fits into our grid, let us know. We will post one out to you. All you have to do is install it.

Then you can get customers staying at your premises, buying your meals or staying overnight with you.

And you can charge for electricity as you wish- it is up the location.

STEPHANIE: And here’s the thing you guys are going to be captive while you’re charging your car. Not as quick as filling a tank of petrol. So you do have a bit of a captive audience.

DAVID: That’s right we are even targeting service stations since they can make more money selling electricity than petrol. The margins are higher. We will hang around a bit more. We will go shopping, go to the stores, patronise the local businesses as well, and go to the local tourist sites in the area of course.

For a day charge EVs will spend longer.

In practice however with a 500kms range, mostly we will only need to charge at night and this takes just 20 seconds to plug in and leave the car and thats it.  But we will be staying with a local service provider obviously and buying meals locally. It’s good for tourism.

STEPHANIE: Now you obviously as I said earlier been driving around in an electric car before people thought that it was possible even. Are you going to miss these adventuring days where electric cars and charging stations are not that common place.

DAVID: Yes definitely definitely it has been a wonderful experience being one of the pioneers. It is so much fun planning the routes, working out the distance to go and time to go. Sometimes you turn up to a socket and there is no power. It has been great fun.

It’s going to become commonplace. The market is going to be flooded with EVs. The Tesla model 3 is only US$35,000 so it will change the market totally. There will be 100s of thousands of them coming.

The pioneering days are over unfortunately.

STEPHANIE: David thanks so much for your time, OK.

DAVID: It has been a pleasure, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE: That was David Lloyd – he is an electric car enthusiast definitely loves his electric car.

 

It would be great to prove Stephanie wrong and show her the cars in Broome at the ABC office soon!