Tesla's First Australian Inter-City Supercharger Is Open In Goulburn

As part of its Australian launch for the $100,000-plus Model S sedan, Tesla Motors committed to building a dozen different Supercharger stations by the end of 2015. The first station outside metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne is now open, in Goulburn near Canberra. It's now possible to drive Tesla's electric cars between Sydney and Melbourne, for free, without having to stop overnight to charge.

The eight-bay Supercharger station is open in the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, around seven minutes' drive south off the Hume Highway linking Sydney and Canberra. The Visitor Information Centre is located just off the main strip of Goulburn, and it's a seven minute drive to get back onto the Hume Highway either to travel north to Sydney or south towards Canberra.

Here's Where Tesla Plans To Build Its Supercharger Network in Australia

A Tesla Supercharger can deliver 270km of optimal distance driving range to a Tesla Model S in 30 minutes; a longer charge will increase the range available up to the car's 502km rated maximum if the full battery charging option is selected, otherwise the car will stop charging at around 90 per cent charge to maintain the best possible battery health and longevity. Tesla has installed 501 Supercharger stations around the world since the Model S' 2012 launch, with almost 2300 individual Supercharger bays available to customers.

Tesla's First Rural Aussie Supercharger Is In Goulburn

The Goulburn Supercharger installation is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere; there's a slightly smaller six-bay installation connecting Canberra and Melbourne in Albury-Wodonga. The combination allows Tesla Model S and Model X owners to drive between Australia's two largest cities and the national capital without stopping for more than an hour at a time to charge — the top Model S can fill its 85kWh battery from nearly empty to nearly full in that time. Charging at Supercharger stations is, Tesla boasts, also free for life.

Tesla Motors Model S: Australian Review

Other Superchargers are already up and running around New South Wales, just like the Goulburn one; there is a six-bay permanent Supercharger station at Wodonga on the NSW-Victoria border, and a temporary two-bay Supercharger at Euroa. Outside of those, there are four Superchargers at the Richmond showroom in Victoria, four Superchargers at the Star casino in Pyrmont in Sydney, and two of the five Superchargers at Tesla's flagship showroom in St Leonards on Sydney's north shore are open to the public 24/7. [Tesla Motors]

P.S — I drove a diesel Pajero down to Goulburn for Tesla's official opening ceremony for the Supercharger station there. Over the 362km round trip, I used 36 litres of fuel; at the average Sydney price today of 124.4c per litre, my trip cost $44.59. A Tesla would have done it for free, and its emissions would have only been that of the power station used to produce its battery's electrical charge.

Supercharged: Travelling From Sydney To Melbourne For Free In A Tesla Model S


Comments

    As inspiring as it is to see Tesla's make their mark (and I REALLY hope they become mainstream), that 30-60 minute time to recharge is still its Achilles heel. Compare that to ~3 minutes to refuel with petrol, and there's the issue in a nutshell.

    Recharge needs to get down to under 10 minutes for these to work, until then they will sadly remain a concept. Its ideology versus practicality.

      Grunt, what you say is partially true. For long trips, the charge time can be burdensome. However, For most people the weekly cycle looks more like - Drive to work (Average Aussie commute = 15.5k), Drive Home (up to 31k for the day - add in some extra for errands - call it 40k), Plug in Car, Get up in morning, unplug car, Drive to work...

      So, for commuting, electric cars are just fine. It is only for longer trips (outside of a single charge range) where it becomes an issue.

        For me, the commute is intercity, so its 100kms each way. Home to work to home is a discharge in the range of what the 30 minutes dictates, and if I forget, its a big issue.

        I get what you're saying, and its a good point, but its always the extremes with these things that dictate whether they become common or not. Ease of use cant be underestimated, and any potential problem will tend to get multiplied.

        As I said, I really want these to work, but a few of these things need to get sorted out for that to happen. For me, Tesla is also in the right position to get them sorted out, so mid to long term I have little doubt it'll happen, but its still got to happen.

          If you get the high capacity battery you will get around 500km's per charge I believe. Only downside is the high cost of the battery upgrade.

            Cost is an issue now, but these aren't mass consumer price points or vehicles anyway and by the time we're hitting the $30k-40k mark the tech (battery improvements and car efficiency) will potentially have improved to where the base mileage is beyond 500Kms, and there will be the added benefit of having a few more of these charge stations out there.

            The 15-30 min charge is an issue but I think it's less so for the long trips actually (where I'd say long is several hours). Generally you should be resting every now and again anyway, so you just need to co-ordinate a break to happen with hitting the charge station. I think the long term vision would also include having the ability to charge the car from work.

            Last edited 02/10/15 10:08 am

              You can say that but the difference between resting when you feel you need to and having to wait for your car to recharge is considerable. I could be very frustrating.

                Agreed, but that'll be less of an issue the more stations pop up, and depending where you charge you may not have to wait a full 30 mins.

                As for 'forgetting to charge the car', they're working on having that automated as well - http://www.livescience.com/51791-tesla-electric-car-robot-charger.html

              Battery tech is certainly moving fast. In my earlier post below I gave the example of new Titanium dioxide with aluminium batteries out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology looking promising. They almost Quadruple capacity. That's just one new battery as well. It's certainly an area for R&D to make big money. If they achieve 2000km per charge you wont need fuel stations, just recharge where you stop for the night.

              I agree that long trips can be planned and 30-60 mins really isn't that long for a planned trip. You have to stop for food at some point.

              Last edited 02/10/15 10:23 am

                If they achieve 2000km per charge you wont need fuel stations, just recharge where you stop for the night.

                Indeed, although even at 1/2 of that 90% of people wouldn't need to use a charge station I imagine. A quick Google search has Brisbane to Sydney as a 10 and a half hour 922KM drive, and I'm guessing a lot of people don't bother to drive that far in a single day.

          What happens when you forget to put petrol in your car?

        All well and good if you have power in your garage but mine only has a light socket and I can't see the body corporate being too happy with me running extension leads from the apartment down to the garage to facilitate charging, nor can I see my landlord agitating to get power in all the garages.

        The other thing is that I don't really see EVs as the way forward. At best they will form part of a mix of renewable technologies that, together, will allow me to keep putting petrol in my car for a long time to come.

      To get similar convenience, they'll probably need to switch to swappable battery packs at some point. That's what this Taiwanese company is doing for scooters:

      http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/5/7484171/gogoro-smartscooter-electric-scooter-removeable-battery

      The "recharge" time now turns into the time it takes to remove the depleted packs and insert the recharged packs. Up to a point, it doesn't matter how long it takes to recharge the old packs: the station just needs to have enough on hand that it they always have charged packs on hand.

      This also allows for old battery packs that no longer hold their charge to be removed from circulation, rather than slugging the owner with the cost of replacing them in one go.

        Interesting tidbit - Tesla trialled a 90-second battery swap station outside LA, but basically noone needed or used it.

        A quick search of Google suggests there are thousands of batteries in a Tesla S, and the overall weight of them is about 400kgs. That doesnt sound very convenient to swap out... Even if they are in 50 kg "lots" its still not something that will happen. If there are 8 batteries in a toy, do you only swap out one?

        For a scooter, different story. They weigh a tenth of a car, and can get by on a far smaller battery setup, making swappable batteries relevant, but a car is a little bit bigger.

        As I've said a couple of times, I want these to work, and am really only being the devils advocate here, but they ARE issues that people will have concerns about. Cost is the other one, but thats something only time will solve.

          Hi Grunt, the chassis of the Tesla is effectively the battery, the swap out method that was pointed out by @campbellsimpson was effectively similar to going to an automatic car wash, you'd drive over a bay and the entire underside of the car would automatically be removed and a new one automatically put in its place :) If you do a bit more googling you'll find videos of this method.

            Interesting, hadnt considered that. Thanks crypt.

          "its still not something that will happen".

          What? Tesla already trailed it.

          Long term they would be mad to back swap outs as battery tech is advancing fast. New batteries out of MIT have quadrupled capacity and significantly improved charging speed already. Read: Titanium dioxide with aluminum batteries out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So in theory you could end up getting 2000km's out of a full charge. That changes everything!

          Last edited 01/10/15 3:40 pm

      Is forgetting to charge your car really that different to forgetting to fill the tank? I imagine if you own one, getting out and plugging it in will become second nature.

      Also - re the 30min charge time: there was a blog post from someone who owns a Tesla talking about their trip from Syd to Melb, and they pointed out that Tesla's plan is to have chargers every 200km between major cities. Since charging a battery is non-linear (fast at first, gets slower as you approach 100%), you could fill the batter to 50% in 10-15min, which would be far more practical.

        The obvious difference I see is that I only have to put petrol in my car once a fortnight or so and, if I filled it, it could easily be once a month. OTOH, I'd be feeling like I need to top my batteries up all the time. It becomes especially apparent when the low fuel warnings start. My car basically badgers me until I put fuel in it. I can put up with that once or twice a month but if it was happening every few days it would get old very quickly, methinks.

      Grunt. If you time your trip just right, you would stop for lunch while your car is charging. By the time you're finished eating, the car is ready to go. As others have said, any city driving would not be a hassle at all.

        Yeah, I get that, and as I've repeatedly said, I WANT these cars to work, but people are imagining perfect scenarios when thats not how the world works. If you time things right, not a problem. If you time it wrong, big problem, because you dont have a powerpoint on every corner like you do with petrol stations. Its not a problem to fill your car up now on the way to work, or home, but people still run out of petrol on the freeway.

        All I'm saying is that for real world conditions, there are some significant things that can, and will, make people think twice. And at the moment thats enough to stop them spreading. We DONT live in a perfect world and you need to make allowances for stupidity.

        Someone mentioned that Tesla trialed a system where they simply replaced the battery for you in 5 minutes. Great, except for several things. One, it wasnt used. Two, those batteries cost anywhere from 15,000-30,000 to replace, a significant cost to Tesla in the long term if that cost ultimately gets lumped onto them. Three, it was only trialled in one location that I saw. So how common would they be?

        Anyway, I'm debating this far more than I wanted to. For me, that 30-60 minute recharge is something plenty of people will baulk at.

    Pardon my ignorance, but i still don't understand why they can't incorporate solar panels into the roof or car body to help increase its capacity by providing a constant charge..

      Because the wattage gained by the solar panel would be less than the extra wattage required to move the mass of that solar panel. Solar panels aren't strong so it's mass would be added to the structural requirements of the frame, meaning they cannot replace other mass in order to be incorporated. So installing one would result in a loss not a gain.

        I doubt that's true. A bonnet, boot and/or roof made of solar cells would not be significantly heavier than a bonnet, boot and/or roof made of steel or aluminium, I wouldn't think. Open your car's bonnet and you'll see the strength comes from structural members, not the bonnet skin. The other thing is that solar cells would be putting power into your batteries all the time, not just when you are driving. Park your car on the rooftop carpark at work and it would possibly be fully recharged by the time you're ready to go home, all for free.

        I think it is more about cost-effectiveness and manufacturing methods than anything else.

      Probably because there's no cost/benefit to it. At a guess it would add a couple miles of range. You wouldn't get much more than 300 watts off the roof of a car with current tech. Easier to get that additional range through better software.

    The solar panels wouldn't provide enough charge to really make a difference but yet also bump the price up a bit for cost of components. Assuming you could have solar cells that generate 120W across the roof of the car, in direct optimal sunlight for an hour you would generate 120Wh, or .12kWh of energy. The Tesla battery is what, 70kWh or similar? That would mean the car would need to sit in the sun for over 550 hours to fully charge the battery - assuming 10 hrs a day of optimal sunlight (unlikely but let's roll with it), you'd be looking at roughly 110 days to fully charge the battery.

    As far as supplementary power goes while you're driving: the 70D has a 245kW motor, but even assuming a lower cruising power of 50kW, 120W of solar panels would contribute less than 1% of the energy required to drive the motor.

    That's my guess as to why Tesla didn't worry about putting panels on the roof of their cars anyway

    Noting your point, but accordingly to the article you only need to charge it at home overnight, at 270km optimal charging range per 30min charge.

    2 Days! in Euroa to charge your batteries. I assume you mean a 2-bay supercharger.

    Great to see Tesla starting to roll out supercharging stations in Australia. Once we can go along the Eastern coastline from top to bottom major cities will be a huge practical step forward for electric vehicles.

    Just wondering - Is Tesla aware yet that there is more to Australia than Sydney and Melbourne, and the road connecting them?

    The elephant in the room is the life (useful life) of the battery. I recently test drove a model S and got down to the nitty gritty tough questions...Tesla didn't have the answers...
    1. Q. what does the battery warranty cover? A. failure. Q. what determines failure? A. well we haven't had any yet...not a straight forward answer...) Q. in 3 years when my range has dropped from max 500km to max 250km is that considered failure? A. No Q. so what do I do then? A. Well, we don't expect people to keep the cars beyond 3 yrs, that is why we have the guaranteed trade in.. My response, the guaranteed trade in is on financed cars only, you pay a deposit, interest then balloon payment, and the guaranteed trade in price is based on the base model S and then a smaller proportion of any "upgrades" that includes higher up models, so on a top of the range the trade % is much less than a base model. Q. how much is a new battery? A. we don't have that information in Australia yet. Q. guess based on the USA? A. well, it's the most expensive part of the car so we would recommend trading in.. Q. what is required for servicing? A. We recommend a non-compulsory (for warranty sake) annual service to do software upgrades and change the coolant. Q, cool, so that should be around $100? A. no, based on the US prices we estimate $1000. Me, ehh, I'll go look at a 3yr old Porsche Panamera for the same price...PS the build quality of the Tesla as a car is..lets just say..American.. Conclusion, you need lots of money and to basically be buying the Telsa as an electric car enthusiast. We do need people like that to keep driving this tech forward, unfortunately that person wasn't me...yet..

    Hardly free when you pay a fortune for your electricity. Unless you have solar panels and charge during daylight hours.

      Invalid argument... There was a figure floating around here on Gizmodo that stated a full recharge for a Tesla S would cost about $20 in Electricity.
      Meanwhile in your average Sedan in the same class... You are looking at around a $100 petrol bill.

      I know which I would prefer.

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