Tesla declared its intentions for the Australian market last year when it revealed plans to build a 'Supercharger' EV recharging network that would reach from Melbourne to Brisbane.
The first of Tesla's local Supercharger stations opened late last year, both in Sydney: one at its St Leonards showroom and the other at Star Casino.
Today, the EV-maker has announced that eight of the fast-charging devices will be installed at Goulburn’s visitor information centre in New South Wales, launching in the coming weeks.
Goulburn is ideally placed just off the Hume Highway (since it was bypassed in the 1990s) between Sydney and Canberra, or as a waypoint on the Sydney to Melbourne journey.
Its position means that, regardless of which version of the Model S one drives, owners will soon be able to complete the Sydney to Canberra journey with minimal interruption - and with free electricity.
Superchargers are now available to Tesla customers free of charge for the life of the car (Model S 60 owners previously had to pay $3000 for access), so strategic stops for electric juice will realise a ‘free’ trip between the two capital cities.
Tesla owners could theoretically also branch out from Goulburn in other directions without paying for the electricity - including return trips to Batemans Bay, Gundagai, Cooma and destinations in between - but the Sydney to Canberra route will arguably be of most interest to owners at this stage.
In fact, the Model S has already found customers in the Nation’s Capital, who will no doubt welcome the news that a supercharger will soon be within easier reach.
The Goulburn location plays a dual role for Tesla, as the carmaker plans to cover the Melbourne to Brisbane corridor via Canberra and Sydney with superchargers by 2017.
The chargers will be placed roughly 200km apart, so the Goulburn location serves owners covering routes both to and from Melbourne, Sydney and surrounding Canberra heading either north or south.
The Model S with the greatest range is the P85D, which is capable of just under 520km on a full charge.
The ‘60’ on the other hand is good for around 390km, but the newly launched 70D will soon take its place as the entry-level Model S in Australia, boasting an improved range of 440km.
Customers could therefore use one of the two superchargers currently available in Sydney to achieve a full charge, drive to Goulburn and wait 20-30 minutes for a ‘half’ charge, and then continue on to Canberra.
The distance between the two cities is roughly 300km, depending on your start and end points, but the rigours of sustained 110km/h driving and the hilly Southern Highlands could reduce the Model S’s maximum range.
Canberra and Goulburn are around 90km apart, so Model S owners will need to factor that distance into their plans along with distances covered in Canberra if they’re to achieve a ‘free’ Sydney to Canberra return trip.
Here’s how we see it:
In the 70D, depart Sydney on a full charge and stop in Goulburn for a half-charge of around 20-30 minutes - both to and from Canberra.
The 85kWh models should have sufficient range to complete the journey with a single half-charge in Goulburn on the return journey to Sydney - assuming favourable ambient temperature, wind speed et cetera and provided the owner doesn’t cover too many kilometres while in Canberra.
If you don’t encounter gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures the entire time (which is the norm for a Canberra winter), your Model S 85 variant should make it from Sydney to Canberra and then back to Goulburn for a fast charge, before continuing on to Sydney.
We can’t wait to try it…
Tesla is yet to announce which location will be the next to get the supercharger treatment, but expect the Sydney to Melbourne corridor and new locations within Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to be the priority.