Model 3 in Australia

Australian owners and reservation holders were invited to a viewing of Tesla’s new Model 3 at events in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  A few Perth owners made the trip over to get a first look. Tesla freighted in some vehicles from the North-American production run, and as such, they were left-hand-drive models, but otherwise, much the same as we expect to see in 2019:

There were many Tesla staff on hand to answer questions about the cars, and invitees were given a short time to view them up close and inside:

The viewing has generated fresh enthusiasm for Tesla in Australia, despite the possibility of a wait for the right-hand-drive models to begin shipping.  There was a broad range of demographics represented in those that had signed up.

Tesla report that there are around 2500 existing owners in NSW and 1400 in Victoria.  TOCWA is aware of around 200 owners in WA.

We had hoped to see a display in Perth, but we will likely need to wait until our showroom arrives.

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.

Preston Beach Meetup – 21st July

On Saturday, we’re hosting our next drive day for TOCWA members.

We’ll meet at Dome Rockingham from 12pm (with a view to leave by 12:30-45pm) and drive to Footprints at Preston Beach for a late lunch.

There are two Tesla HPWC chargers at Footprints for those that need it, but most should be able to do the return trip on a charge.

We’ll send out an email seeking RSVPs shortly along with membership renewals, so please stay tuned for final confirmation.

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.


Lots of interest at Motor Pavilion

For the last few days, a few of us have been at Motor Pavilion at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It was great to meet so many people who were genuinely interested in electric vehicles, and specifically, Teslas.  We fielded many questions and did our best to present even handed answers.  The two model S and two model X vehicles were clearly a popular addition to the show, and we got quite good at syncrhonising the “Model X-Mas” easter egg.

If you were one of the people that came along, and would like another look, or more information, please get in touch as we have a number of owners around the Perth area (and further afield) that would be happy to meet up.

Sylvia Wilson meetup – April 17th

Sylvia Wilson (from the Central Queensland Tesla Interest Group) will be in Perth from 17th to 21st April as part of about her round Oz Tesla Tour.

We (along with AEVA) are organising a catch up at Coast, Port Beach on April 17th at 6:00 for all interested Teslans. Please come along for a drink, dinner or a chat. Look forward to seeing you then.

Prof Ray Wills and Prof Thomas Braunl will be attending and speaking on the need for DC charging infrastructure, to complement the 3phase Synergy sockets we have distributed,  and we hope several government departments and media will be present.

Tesla Drive Day – York – April 8th

As noted earlier, our next Tesla drive day is a couple of weekends away on Sunday 8th April

The day will start at Edgecombe Brothers Winery from 9am to 10am.  We will be leaving the Swan Valley at 10am to arrive at York by 11.30am, parking in York will be adjacent to the RV area at Pioneer Avon Park on Lowe Street.  This is a short walk from the York Palace Hotel, our 12noon lunch venue.

If there are any other friends or family who are interested in attending this event, they are also welcome (subject only to capacity at the venues).  There will be some vehicles attending who have room for additional passengers.

A copy of the lunch menu will be forwarded through to all attendees who have RSVP’d in the next week, along with any further information.

Please email as soon as possible to confirm attendance as our lunch venue does have a limit of available seats.

If you wish to attend at the Swan Valley (breakfast and/or coffee) meet up or the York (lunch) meet up only please also advise attendance numbers.