THE FIRST ever Tesla electric vehicle to drive around Australia made a pit-stop in Port Augusta on Thursday, September 7 on its way back to Sydney.
Richard McNeall became the first person to drive an electric vehicle unsupported around Australia, then drove through the middle of the country, before leaving the car with David Cann and Ted Strudwicke in Darwin.
David and Ted have been given the task of driving the vehicle back to Sydney via Adelaide, making stops in Alice Springs and Uluru on the way.
Only one person has driven an electric car around the country before Richard, but that journey was supported by a generator.
David said Richard’s successful mission proved that electric cars are more than capable of withstanding long-distanced journeys.
“The proof is in the pudding and there are powerpoints everywhere now,” he said.
“The whole point of the exercise was not only to put those powerpoints in, but also to create awareness.
“We wanted to make sure people know that you can do absolutely anything in an electric car.”
Richard filled the boot of his car with three phase power sockets for the journey, handing them out to local businesses along the way who were prepared to install the car chargers.
With the Tesla Model S’ fuel range lasting about 400 kilometres, Richard ensured that the distance between powerpoints did not exceed his car’s travel capacity.
We wanted to make sure people know that you can do absolutely anything in an electric car.David Cann
David and Ted stopped at the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, which is – along with Big 4 Holiday Parks and Majestic Oasis Apartments – one of three locations with electric vehicle charging facilities in Port Augusta.
With the mission accomplished, David believes that once charging infrastructure is fully established nationwide, there will be “absolutely no negatives to electric cars.”
“Once you’ve owned an electric car you’ll never go back,” he said.
“They’re almost maintenance free because there’s nothing to change … no spark plugs, no fan belts, no oil filters.
“Then there’s the fuel cost ... we’ve driven from Darwin to Alice Springs, Alice Springs to Uluru, then down to here, and we've spent a grand total of $32 on fuel.”
While the Tesla vehicles are considered quite expensive, David said more affordable models are set to be released in 2019.