First up the Performance, Long Range and Standard variations of a Model Y all have the major reasons to buy a Model Y in the first place: Excellent internal storage space considering its outside dimensions, good rear seat legroom, comfortable upright front seats, a high level of safety for occupants in a crash, all can legally tow 1600kg with trailer brakes, the most efficient pure electric drivetrain for its size and weight, and lastly but most importantly full access to the best and most reliable charging infrastructure in Australia, that being the Tesla Supercharging network.
As each month passes and reliable DC chargers installations increase around Western Australia the more the Standard Model Y will be able to travel without compromise. If you live in the Perth-Albany-Augusta triangle and don’t care about brutal acceleration or all wheel drive traction the Model Y Standard is the best choice of the 3 variations.
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
Leg 2 105 km
Leg 3 105 km
Leg 4 31 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.
As you may have seen Tesla have opened up 5 sites in NSW for use by non Tesla Electric Vehicles, the first of many sites that will open up partly due to being NSW state government funded but also due to being in areas with low Supercharger use providing a great opportunity for Tesla to make better use of assets. As time passes it’s fully expected Superchargers will open up at many locations across Australia.
Why is this a wise move?
As mentioned above making better use of assets is beneficial to Tesla, rarely used Supercharger stalls getting 79 cents a kWh is far better than sitting empty for most of the day.
The more high paying customers Tesla have the higher the incentive to expand at a faster pace
A highly reliable working Supercharger network is great marketing for Tesla, a good example are sites in Dubbo, Tamworth and Bathurst when we visited those locations in late 2022 ours was the only Tesla Supercharging, yet on each occasion the nearby generic DC charger was broken. Non Tesla EV drivers may soon realise that not only does Tesla has a better product in terms of charging but also Tesla is an auto maker that actually care about after sales service.
Tesla can’t build the nations DC charging infrastructure on its own, unfortunately the alternative to Tesla DC charging infrastructure is in a poor state with no signs of improving, there doesn’t appear to be much urgency to keep the equipment reliably maintained, if competition for charging dollars doesn’t motivate some changes I’m sure the various governments who hand over large amounts of taxpayer dollars to install chargers will be motivated to carefully choose who the money goes to.
The most recent Tesla Superchargers in Karrinyup, Williams and Margaret River are V3, the 2017 built Eaton Superchargers are V2. Those who’ve charged at Eaton will have noticed each charging stall has two cables, the second cable is a retrofitted CCS2, that’s the one 99.9% of WA Tesla owners will use. V3 chargers are vastly superior as each stall is capable of delivering up to 250kw depending on the vehicle battery type and size, starting percentage and battery temperature. The V2 stalls at Eaton have a maximum output of 145kw for each pair of stalls (1A&B, 2A&B, 3A&B), meaning if you plug into stall 1B not long after a car has plugged into 1A your initial charging speed will be very slow. The trick is to avoid parking next to another car if possible. The slower charging speeds at Eaton are only a nuisance on busy Saturday mornings on a long weekend. To get the best charging speed set navigate to the Supercharger and the car will automatically preheat the battery pack before arrival, on cool days this makes a significant difference to the starting charge rate. A second tip for the fastest charge rate is to arrive with approximately 10% range and depart with 60-80% depending on the distance to the next chargers. Arriving with only 10% is advice I would never give with any other type of charge point in Australia, the fact is Tesla Superchargers are vastly more reliable than any other DC chargers in this country.
Why not charge to 100%?
Basically 80 to 100% takes longer than charging from 10 to 60%, wasting time defeats the main purpose of a Supercharger. Be aware that when a Supercharger gets busy charging may get limited to 80%, the phone app will provide a notification, if charging past 80% is absolutely necessary it can be overridden. You can read more here: Charging to 100% is a waste of time.
Don’t overstay you visit- Once your car has completed charging you have 5 minutes grace to move the car, failure to do so will result in a backdated per minute surcharge added to your Supercharger account, as the phone app will pre warn you there’s no excuse.
The recently released EV sales figures by the EV Council of Australia provides a stark reminder of how poor the generic (non-Tesla) charging infrastructure is in this country.
The EVCs figures show that 3.39% of all light vehicles sales for Q1,2,3 2022 were electric, this includes Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV). When those figures are broken down it also shows that two vehicles dominated EV sales, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, these two variants alone made up 53.2% of EV market share, the other 46.8% was from a combination of 93 variants. If you remove the 35 PHEV variants from the figures Tesla has a 64% share, it also shows that despite the Electric Vehicle Council highlighting a figure of 3.39% the reality is removing Tesla and PHEVs from the sales figures reduces this to 1.007%, in effect the 58 variants of pure EV that do not have a Tesla badge make up just 1% of the light vehicle market. This large difference in sales between Tesla and the remainder is made even more interesting when you consider Tesla do not spend money on advertising.
Despite claims of purchase price and lack of choice deterring Australians from buying an Electric Vehicle I have no doubt the biggest barrier is a fear of being unable to charge away from home, petrol and diesel vehicles have been extremely convenient in regional areas for decades and the buying public expect no compromises. For a Tesla owner who lives close to or between one of the 5 east coast mainland capital cities charging is reliable and convenient due to the Tesla Supercharger network, in the south west of the country Tesla owners have a similar convenience. Each location has a minimum 3 and sometimes 8 charging cables, the reliability rate is extremely good. On the other hand, non-Tesla EVs (legacy auto) must rely on a mix of different branded chargers with a variety of payment systems. These DC chargers are few and far between with only 1 or 2 units at each location and many being broken or out of operation for weeks at a time, the situation is shambolic and the EV buying public are becoming very aware of the problems. Tesla currently have only two variants of EV for sale in Australia with an average purchase cost of $80,000, price and lack of choice has very little bearing on a sale, a convenient and reliable charging infrastructure does.
Unfortunately, the Federal governments promised “DC chargers every 150kms” is just a talking point that will continue through to the next election. Every month of delay is crushing legacy auto while at the same time helping cement Tesla as the dominant sales leader for many years.
You cannot charge Electric Vehicles from media releases.
Hopefully by late 2023 this article is barely relevant due to Synergy’s installation of fast DC chargers in Jurien Bay, Northampton, Billabong and the Overlander Roadhouse. In the meantime the trip is comfortable if you plan correctly and show some patience.
This section is energy hungry and can catch out first timers. A long range Tesla can normally make this section on one charge, a performance model maybe if conditions are favourable but unfortunately unless you get a howling tail wind and a warm road a standard range Tesla will need to to stop and top up charge at the Lancelin type 2 AC charger or the Jurien Bay 40kw DC charger. There is a Tesla destination charger in Cervantes but at the time of writing that unit was reported as having an issue, check Plugshare before venturing in to Cervantes.
If you’re passing through the far quickest option is the TOCWA DC charger at the West End. No cable is required but you’ll need the Smartcharge app. For those planning to stay overnight there are 3 different Hotel/Motels with Tesla destination chargers.
Geraldton to Denham/Monkey Mia, 432kms
No matter which Tesla you have it is wise to plan a charging stop, Northampton has a Tesla destination charger, toilets, a good bakery, an IGA and a few other close by shops but is only 52kms from Geraldton, more of a handy stop on the return trip.
The best option is the Billabong Homestead that has supported EV charging since early 2016, there’s a Tesla destination charger next to the self contained rooms (transportables) and a 32amp 3 phase outlet in the caravan park for those that wish to camp. To get safely through to Monkey Mia 1 to 2 hours of charging is required at this location, the good news is the sit down food is fairly good, it has a bar and there’s satellite TV.
Play safe at Billabong and add more charge than the car calculates, when you turn west towards Shark Bay a strong sea breeze can eat into the remaining range very fast and give you a nervous last 100kms.
It’s highly likely you’ve planned at least a two night stay so 10amp trickle charging (portable UMC) will do the trick. For something a little faster the RAC resort in Monkey Mia has a type 2 outlet, to use this you require a BYO type 2 to type 2 cable.
As per usual I highly recommend making full use of the Plugshare app, be sure to browse recent comments at each location you plan to use.
Carry a KHONS 3 phase cable or EVSE as a back up, you will notice many Tesla destination chargers in regional areas have a 5 pin 3 phase outlet nearby, so if the Tesla charger fails drivers have a plan B.
Add in an extra day or two and make a side trip on the way back via Kalbarri, Port Gregory and Horrocks, we’ve stayed overnight at all 3 of these locations with 10amp trickle charging easy to find.
No matter how hot the forecast is for Shark Bay take a jacket, the afternoon south-westerly can get fairly cool by sunset.
Overall just plan correctly, take your time and enjoy the drive.
The Tesla UMC Gen 2 (mobile connector) was introduced into Australia in mid 2019, all Tesla’s ordered before July 9th 2022 were provided with this charging cable for free, any buyers who ordered cars after that time have the option of purchasing from Tesla for $550 or looking for an aftermarket alternative. Many choose to stick with the Tesla product as it’s still one of the lower priced cables available.
Most owners make use of the included 10amp or 15amp plug. For home charging this provides enough charge for drivers that average up to 120kms per day, keeping in mind that the average Australian car of any fuel type travels only 38kms per day.
A common practice among Tesla owners is to purchase what is known as the Tesla UMC to 3 phase tail (approximately $150). This is a well made adaptor that connects straight into a 5 pin 3 phase outlet, this increases the potential power available to 32amp single phase, very handy for home charging if the electrician installing the 3 phase socket gives it the all clear. A Tesla owner could then add up to 300kms a day while parked at home.
Despite its low price and versatility at home the 3 phase tail has an Achilles Heel when used in regional areas on long trips- it’s NOT 3 phase, it’s only single phase.
A Tesla model 3 or Y has an 11kw 3 phase onboard charger, 11kw is only possible when the car is connected to a power source with a minimum of 3x 16amps, most 3 phase outlets in regional areas are 20amp or 32amp so that’s not an issue, the issue is the Tesla Gen2 UMC plus tail is limited to 32amp single phase, that’s 7.4kw from a 32amp outlet, or 5kw from a 20amp outlet. A prime example of how crippling this can be is at Border Village in South Australia, where the power outlet is limited to 20amp 3 phase. A Tesla using the correct 3 phase cable can charge at 2.4 times the speed as a Tesla using the Gen2 UMC. Border Village is one of the better roadhouses but hanging out there for many hours longer than necessary should be avoided.
A correct 3 phase cable (also known as an EVSE) drawing 16amps from each 20 or 32amp wire is unlikely to trip the breaker even over a long charging session, drawing 32amps through one phase for hours on end adds to the possibility of tripping a breaker, that’s not a situation you need while asleep or away from phone connection.
Lastly, drawing 32amps single phase on a site with low generating capacity at certain times of the day can cause the maintenance chief to get a bit agitated, a reliable electricity supply is critical to regional locations, at least one regional roadhouse that I know of has now barred EVs from charging after 7 years of goodwill.
What cables are best:
There are a number of 3 phase EVSE cables available including the high priced but extremely tough Juice Booster 2, the Kwik Mode 2 EV charger or the KHONS 3 phase charger. All have type 2 plugs on the car end and are easy to operate and store.
Over the past 7 years I’ve plugged into the vast majority of official Plugshare 3 phase outlets across Australia, I can confidently say if you use the correct equipment your journey will be smooth, if you try and save a few dollars you’ll soon regret it.
The Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia host or attend on average 20 events per year. Many are club events, but we are also very happy to accept invites to display Teslas’ at festivals, field days, sustainability shows and much more. The Tesla owners attending these events have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to talk to the public. The WA Tesla community have provided this service since 2015.
The events committee consist of:
Jared Hawke – Jaredhawke@bigpond.com 0487 362 111
If have an event you would like our club to attend, please get in contact.
Western Australian Tesla’s represented for the 8th year at the annual Como Rotary Car Show. Come along for a chat and talk to some experienced Tesla owners including event committee members Jared (0487 362 111), Paul and Alex (0428 994 832). If you are keen on finding out about charging cables, there will be plenty on hand with owners willing to provide the correct information on how and where to use them. Hope to see you this Sunday 2nd October 2022 any time between 9am and 3pm.
To be very clear if you purchased a $70k+ vehicle and saving money on refueling is the only focus you’ve missed the point, lower long term servicing and repair plus the far longer lifespan of a Tesla are just as important. Throw in the high safety rating and the additional storage a Tesla provides and ownership is a broad package.
Without doubt the best EV charging is at home, even 30 cents a unit grid power is at least half the price per distance driven than a similar size and performance petrol car. If you charge off peak, even cheaper. Those using home solar are reducing their fuel cost by up to a factor of 8. Best of all parking at home is safe, no door dings from lazy parking, no stray shopping trolleys, there’s big savings to be made from avoiding the panel beaters.
What about all those free Tesla destination chargers? These are not free, they’re complimentary, almost all Tesla destination chargers are owned by a local business that have installed them to support EV owners. The electricity is not paid for by Tesla, it’s paid for by the small business that would prefer you drop in and buy a product rather than you sitting in your car watching Netflix.
Is there an app that shows all the free chargers? I get asked this question often in public and the answer is “not specifically”, the best way to find them is to log on to Plugshare, find the busiest and always in use chargers in the metro area and its a sure bet they’re free.
So what is the best free charger in WA? The one at your home, it’s never ICED, it doesn’t require an app, you won’t get panel damage and best of all it’s free to use any time you like.
While on the subject of free, TOCWA have a free loan of charging cables and spare tyres for members, membership is $20 per year via this link.