Tesla chargers officially launched
By PETER OLIVER in ‘The Goulburn Post’
October 2, 2015
THE installation of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest Tesla Supercharger station in Goulburn is the first step in creating an ‘electric highway’ between Sydney and Canberra.
That’s the aim of The Goulburn Group, who have long pushed for the eight chargers in Goulburn – the first outside a metropolitan area in Australia.
And yesterday’s simultaneous official opening of additional Tesla chargers in Albury could see that electric highway stretching down the Hume to Melbourne.
The Goulburn Supercharger was officially opened at the Visitor Information Centre in Sloane St yesterday, as part of an agreement between Tesla Motors and Goulburn Mulwaree Council. Tesla Motors leases the eight car spaces from Council and pays for the electricity supply to charge compatible vehicles.
For Goulburn Group member Alex Ferrara, while there were a number of factors which led to the chargers coming to Goulburn, it was the City’s location that sealed the deal.
“Geographically, it makes complete sense for Goulburn to have electric vehicle charging stations, because it’s at that sweet spot between Sydney and Canberra,” Mr Ferrara said.
“Having more electric vehicle charging stations opens the door to more sustainable transport.
“The reason we identified Sydney to Canberra is that Sydney has the highest population in the state, and Canberra has the largest number of electric vehicles registered in any city in Australia.
“Connecting those two seemed like a no-brainer.”
Fellow Goulburn Group member Peter Fraser predicts a “huge shift” towards electric vehicles over the next five years.
He compared the introduction of electric cars into the market to “the end of the horse and buggy days”.
“In a sense, what’s happening over the next five years is the same as what happened to the horses and buggies when the motor vehicle first came in over 100 years ago,” he said.
“In Goulburn, we’ve been lucky enough to become a focal point in the early adoption of electric vehicles, and it’s already having an impact.”
The Goulburn Group has been lobbying politicians, from Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Geoff Kettle to the ACT’s environment minister Simon Corbell to Wingecarribee Shire Council in the Highlands for the installation of further fast charging units, which can cater for non-Tesla vehicles.
The feedback, so far, is positive.
“The big advantage of the Telsa charging stations is that they’re a DC fast charger; you can plug your car in, and have quite a lot of juice in your tank in a short amount of time,” Mr Ferrara said.
A “fast charge” means Teslas can load up for 270km distance with a 30 minute charge.
For other electric vehicles, there is a system which performs fast charging, but it’s not cheap. Each unit is valued atupwards of $30,000, plus connection costs.
In the meantime, a level 2 AC-charging station has been installed with the Tesla supercharger in Goulburn, and in the Wingecarribee, which can provide non- Telsa electric vehicles with power.
With some models taking up to six hours to charge, these are perfect, Mr Ferrara says, for “destination charges”, allowing the driver to spend the day exploring the area while the car refuels.
“(The AC-chargers) are quite cheap, so there’s this trade off between the really expensive fast chargers and the cheaper, slower units,” he said.
“This is early adoption stage, so the demand isn’t quite there at this stage, but we’re on the tipping point.
The biggest stumbling block for the electric car, other than the price, is the range. Aside from the Tesla, most other electric vehicles only have a “real life” range of 100km. Once these cars get on the highway, the range quickly drops away.
“That’s the big hassle, which is why it makes sense to have these chargers every 100km between Sydney and Canberra,” Mr Fraser said.
“It’s not really workable for people who want to go on a trip, but it certainly is workable for people who want to come and visit Goulburn, for example.”