9000 Kilometers by Tesla Model S 85 from Brisbane to Northern Queensland
Guest Post: Marc Talloen, one of our EVannex VIPs (and a former blog contributor), sent us this fantastic article and some beautiful road trip photos.
A previous trip reported here about my Tesla return trip Brisbane – Canberra – Brisbane [Australia] illustrated my motivation for environmental protection, EVs and sense for adventure. This time around, I propped it up a notch higher proving that it is perfectly possible to combine this life vision and mission with a very enjoyable family holiday. N-Queensland has strong international tourism ace cards and beyond the beaten tourist tracks, this area really offers some magic and fun! The environmental and scenic diversity is vast and distances to some attractive spots can be considerable but with the 400km “Typical Range” available from the Tesla Model S we haven’t experienced any real range anxiety.
As I expressed to local press and ABC radio, I would like to reiterate here that writing this article fits my self-proclaimed mission of proving to Australians that with the Tesla Model S... the era of electric transport has started NOW and that with little equipment you can travel thousands of km far from Tesla Superchargers, Tesla Destination Chargers, or public charging infrastructure making use (where ever possible) of renewable energy resources. This is a reality and not a far-fetched dream!
Recently, I was encouraged to read about the Electric Highway initiative from the QLD Government. I wish that my practical experience reported in this article proves to the initiative takers that this project should include 3 phase charging from regular industrial sockets in existing public and private facilities, as well as destination charging such as those recently promoted by Tesla + Airbnb. This approach will relieve budget strain, drive an increased adoption rate of EVs in QLD and can act as a prelude for phased installation of DC chargers.
I would like to thank everyone who allowed me to top-up the car’s batteries at their premises. Your goodwill makes these long road trips possible and deserves remuneration. Some of you felt there wasn’t a need for that, but I was happy some goodies were accepted as tokens of my appreciation, in a good QLD fashion. I would also like to thank my friend Peter Hill at Ripple Multimedia, a passionate supporter of renewable energy and EV’s, for helping to correct a few of my photos.
Since May, I have completed two return trips to N-QLD. During the first one, I set a personal Tesla daily distance record of 948km without superchargers or destination chargers and I covered a distance of 1590km from home to Innisfail, 90km south of Cairns, in two days. This was a scouting trip to evaluate the challenges I would encounter undertaking a real lengthy holiday trip bringing along my spouse, her nephew (11Y) and niece (9Y) who would come over from Taiwan to spend their school holiday with us. For the second trip, odometer data shows that we covered 9002km in 48 days holidaying.
Over the course of both trips, I used a total of 40 different charging sites besides my own place from where I left with a 100% “range charge”. The number of my visited charging sites in specific areas is depicted on the map above, a screenshot taken from the Tesla central on-board screen: 4 Hervey Bay, 5 Rockhampton, 4 Mackay, 9 Airlie Beach, 3 Townsville, and 15 Cairns.
This total of 40 consisted of 20 sites with 3 phase 32A 5 pin sockets, 3 sites with 3ph 20A 5 pin sockets, 1 site with a private owned single ph 40A Tesla HPWC, 8 sites with single ph 15A sockets, and 8 sites with single phase 10A sockets.
Undertaking long trips requires preparation and planning as I described in my former article. Therefore, I decided to bring multiple EVSE charge controllers:
1) 1 Mister EV Maxicharger Type 2, max 22 kW, single + 3 phase from 10 to 32A
2) 1 e-Station ELPA EVR Type 2, max 22 kW, single + 3 phase from 6 to 32A
3) 1 Tesla UMC max 11 kW, capable of controlling charging up to 32A single phase and 16A 3 phase, but currently supplied to Australian Tesla buyers with only 1 dongle for 10A single phase charging.
Another J1772 adapter cable, expected to be useful when passing Townsville, arrived too late at my home.
The huge trunk and frunk space of a Tesla MS was very beneficial for this family trip. Four passengers, luggage “car support items” resulted in a “ballast” of about 400 kg but the Tesla handles the weight gracefully and the extra weight did only affect consumption a tiny bit, max 3%.
Charging time doesn’t need to be boring, once you've driven a few hours it’s a perfect opportunity to stretch your legs, do a bit of exercise, visit the local township and have a light meal in a local eatery!
For charging, our preference went to sites where renewable energy was available. Other places included showgrounds, industrial sites, holiday retreat parks, hotels, restaurants, houses, etc. See photos below.
In Hervey Bay and Rockhampton, both owners of solar businesses invited local press to spread the word of renewable energy powering the Tesla super EV and the future of electric transport. In Hervey Bay lots of visitors attended the event and a few people were heavily impressed leaving with Tesla dreams!
Three Tesla features that I particularly appreciate as very useful during long travels are the improved traffic aware cruise control (TACC), the automatic emergency braking and the automatic high/low beam headlights. These features are great improvements to safety and driving comfort, while also reducing the stress levels and the frequency of having to fiddle with controls. Automatic emergency braking occurred twice, once for a Kangaroo that was about to consider suicide and once for a pushbike that made a manoeuvre when we were driving on a narrow road! The car anticipated a potential accident, reacted faster than I was ready to do and did it smoothly.
While staying in the Whitsundays, I was also invited for a meeting with representatives of the regional council and the local press. This is a perfect tourist destination and (obviously) I feel it's best to share some photos of scenic spots I reached with the Tesla. Covering some terrain using dirt roads, we felt that the Tesla handled and behaved extremely well -- also thanks to the Smart Air Suspension feature of the car.
In Part 2 of my article, I will cover our Tesla travel from Proserpine through Ayr, Townsville, Tully, Mission Beach area, Innisfail up to Cairns.
In Part 3, I will cover the areas north of Cairns up to Cape Tribulation and the Atherton Tablelands.
Just in case you consider buying a Tesla Model S and my report helped you to make that decision... please note that Tesla is currently running a “Tesla Motors Referral Program” offering discounts. When designing and buying your Tesla, please feel free to use my referral link which is http://ts.la/marc4161
Note: a more detailed version of this article has been published by One Step off the Grid.