Yeppoon (Queensland) gets pretty hot in February, so Arthur Hunt and his wife decided to go on a road trip to visit family in Tasmania in 2021. It’s 2,600 km away. Not only would the distance be an issue, but there was a Covid-19 outbreak in New South Wales and Victoria, through which they would have to travel. So, Tesla tripping to Tassie would be quite the adventure.
A bit of research showed that there are 42 Tesla Superchargers along the highways, plus many fast chargers installed by state governments, local government, and motoring and commercial organizations. In addition, there are over 700 slower 22 kW Tesla destination chargers installed in motels and shopping centers throughout Australia so that drivers can charge overnight or during extended shopping sessions. Naturally, the motels with chargers would be top of his list when making bookings. So, he did not anticipate any problem charging the Tesla during the trip down south.
The state borders were opened and hopefully would stay that way for the return trip at the end of February. They left home with a nearly full charge and 317 km of range. On the first day, they used the Bruce Highway chargers at Miriam Vale, Gin Gin, and Childers and reached the caravan park at Nanango with 58 km of range left. They plugged into an external power point on the cabin and added 165 km of range overnight — there was no charge for this. This was sufficient to get them to Toowoomba, 140 km away. There, they used the Tesla Supercharger at the golf club to get a nearly full charge while they had a cup of coffee. They headed down the New England Highway for Armidale and were pleasantly surprised to be able to use the NRMA 50 kW charger at Tenterfield free of charge to add 226 km of range during lunch. They arrived at Armidale with 86 km of range left and again took advantage of an NRMA charger while they stayed there with friends for two nights.
He doesn’t expect the NRMA chargers will remain free for long, just as the Queensland Electric Superhighway chargers started free and are now a pay-as-you-drive proposition. Will RACQ install chargers in regional towns in Queensland?
On their next leg, they drove to Bathurst, with charging stops using NRMA chargers at Tamworth, Scone, and Mudgee. They arrived at Bathurst with 63 km of range left but found five Tesla Superchargers and one NRMA charger next to the tourist information centre. Perhaps they are getting ready for electric cars in the races at Mount Panorama! At one of the Tesla Superchargers, it took only 40 minutes to add 260 km of range, which cost $17.86.
They found using adaptive cruise control and autosteer reduced the effort and ensured that they kept to the speed limit. The lack of engine noise meant that it is easy to go too fast if cruise control is not engaged. As they passed through towns, the car usually recognised the speed limit signs and automatically adjusted its speed, down and then up again.
They drove through some heavy rain and gained more confidence that the car would continue to steer accurately even when the road was difficult to see. The cruise control also ensured that a collision would be avoided if a slower car ahead was obscured.
In the first three days of driving, they have covered 1,450 km without any problem. Planning the charging to coincide with meal breaks and overnight stops meant that there were no significant delays. The variety of charge points was not an issue, as it didn’t matter to the car where the electrons came from. Having reached Bathurst, there was no hesitation in continuing even further on the Tesla trip to Tassie.
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