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Birdsville

LWI

Member
Dec 16, 2014
12
80
Melbourne, Australia
Birdsville.jpg


Hi all. Been lurking for 5 years but have not posted in the past. Talking to 2 Melbourne enthusiasts about my current trip, they requested a photo if successful. (“No photo – didn’t happen!”). It has been my most difficult trip in the Tesla. No existing known recharge points North / North West of Bourke were shown on Plugshare, requiring forward planning. High levels of consumption on the Birdsville Development Road due car set up and conditions, VERY hard going and extreme energy management required. Left Melbourne Sunday, arrived Birdsville Thursday. R and R for a few days here in Birdsville before a slow and a more relaxing trip home. I don't think an EV has been here before.
 

raynewman

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,517
538
Brisbane, Australia
View attachment 426578

Hi all. Been lurking for 5 years but have not posted in the past. Talking to 2 Melbourne enthusiasts about my current trip, they requested a photo if successful. (“No photo – didn’t happen!”). It has been my most difficult trip in the Tesla. No existing known recharge points North / North West of Bourke were shown on Plugshare, requiring forward planning. High levels of consumption on the Birdsville Development Road due car set up and conditions, VERY hard going and extreme energy management required. Left Melbourne Sunday, arrived Birdsville Thursday. R and R for a few days here in Birdsville before a slow and a more relaxing trip home. I don't think an EV has been here before.
Excellent. Would appreciate more entries on PlugShare if possible.
 
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meloccom

Moderator Aus/NZ
Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2008
2,431
1,382
Sydney Australia
View attachment 426578

Hi all. Been lurking for 5 years but have not posted in the past. Talking to 2 Melbourne enthusiasts about my current trip, they requested a photo if successful. (“No photo – didn’t happen!”). It has been my most difficult trip in the Tesla. No existing known recharge points North / North West of Bourke were shown on Plugshare, requiring forward planning. High levels of consumption on the Birdsville Development Road due car set up and conditions, VERY hard going and extreme energy management required. Left Melbourne Sunday, arrived Birdsville Thursday. R and R for a few days here in Birdsville before a slow and a more relaxing trip home. I don't think an EV has been here before.
That's a great achievement, can you tell us where you were able to charge. Just the town name or approximate location if the peron or business who let you charge is a bit reticent. This can help with the efforts of AEVA/TOCA to roll out more EV routes.
 

LWI

Member
Dec 16, 2014
12
80
Melbourne, Australia
To answer the above:

I will ask the relevant people on the return trip if they would mind going on PlugShare, and add them if they approve.

The Tesla is a P90D. My “maximum” range at 100kms/hr without AC is now around 430 kms. It is only a tiny amount more than my original P85 (I have the 90 “A” pack). My degradation has been minimal – 2.5% after 3.5 years, 60000kms – which I consider excellent.

Melbourne to Windorah was travelled at road speeds without energy issue.

On the Windorah to Birdsville leg the first 120kms was on the Diamantina Development Road that has a typical centre strip seal. On leaving Windorah the trip computer gave me various warnings with a 5% remaining charge at destination prediction. We managed around 150wh/km at 70kms/hr, making good energy gains over the Tesla trip energy calculation, with the charge at destination growing to 14%. Then onto the Birdsville Development Road, which at best can be called a gravel road. I tried the first 10kms at normal tyre pressures (45psi) and it was absolutely not acceptable for both us and the car. I lowered the pressures to 36psi and it at least became bearable. I had a southerly wind (which kept the dust from other vehicles away to the right but increased energy use) and limited my speed to 50kms/hr to preserve both tyres and energy. My usage varied from 170 to 210wh/km at this speed, which more or less followed the Tesla demand graph. The remaining charge at destination stayed around 14% level for the 268kms of gravel “road”. The total distance was 388kms, and I arrived at Birdsville with 42kms showing. The journey took 7.5 hrs. It was very hard going, very tiring. My wife and I shared the drive equally on 1hr stints.

Charging Locations (Plugshare): Euroa Supercharger, Narrandeera NRMA CHAdeMO, Hillston 15A, Cobar 20A 3ph 14kW (32A 3ph outlet which tripped at anything over 20A!!), Bourke Tesla 22kW destination charger.

Then: Cunnamulla (32A 3ph 22kW), Charleville (32A 3ph 22kW), Quilpie (20A 3ph 14kW), Windorah (20A 3ph 14kW), Birdsville Campsite 15A. The most important attribute of the Tesla making such trips bearable is the 22kW total onboard chargers.

Well spotted, Blue H. The windscreen damage worsened on the return journey from Perth – replaced when back in Melbourne. Since then I have been up to Cairns, as well as a number of South Australia trips.

I’ll take some pictures of the road on the way back, and if anyone is interested I will post them next week.
 

LWI

Member
Dec 16, 2014
12
80
Melbourne, Australia
Regarding the charging locations, as requested I talked to the generous suppliers of the charging facilities used for this trip and can confirm:
Birdsville, Cunnamulla, Charleville and Hillston are now on Plugshare.
I have donated to Quilpie a 3ph 32a 5 pin switched outlet (as thanks for their assistance with my trip) which they undertook to install, thus overcoming their 20a limitation. When installed I will add to Plugshare. Windorah Western Star Hotel Motel has applied to Tesla for a HPWC; they may fit a 3ph 32a outlet depending on the response from Tesla.
May I suggest that it would be good if local Tesla owners with an interest in opening up a fully inland route North - South could find charging outlets in Bedourie and Boulia, the distances are doable and would link to the A2 - A6 routes currently available. Also, the Bedourie to Birdsville route is being sealed so would eventually open up Birdsville to others not as insane as me.
 

ZeeDoktor

Member
Dec 3, 2019
250
402
Sydney
Great going! I'm planning a trip to Birdsville in June 2020 and thus far have a rental 4x4 diesel booked - but if that's doable in the Tesla I'd much rather do that! There's nothing within about 850km around Birdsville on plugshare yet - any idea when Windorah might come online?
 

LWI

Member
Dec 16, 2014
12
80
Melbourne, Australia
Hi ZeeDoktor
I too had wanted to experience Birdsville for some time, and was considering hiring a suitable vehicle, until I read that ordinary vehicles do successfully travel this route. I have always had the view that anything an ICE vehicle can do, the Tesla can match or better, hence my journey. One issue I failed to mention above is that I travelled the Birdsville Development Road section on the very high setting of the air suspension. I would not have been successful on the normal or high setting; as it was at a few places the windrows were interfering with the underside. Because of the energy required on the very bad surface, lower tyre pressures, undulating nature of the road and the corrugations I had to keep the speed under 50kms/hr to keep to the target 180 - 200wh/km to achieve the range required. This also enabled me to stay on the very high suspension setting, which was constantly checked and speed reduced to ensure it stayed up. I chose to travel in and return just before the Big Red Bash, as the graders work the road to its best to accommodate the traffic (which really does worsen the road conditions). If you don't have air suspension or lifted springs you will be grounding much more often which will worsen your energy use (and possible damage?).

I will get in touch with both Quilpie and Windorah and PM their response and contact details to you. Expect a PM in January as my Quilpie contact may be enjoying a Christmas break.

I have reserved a CyberTruck - it will be a lot easier (and quicker) next time.
 

ZeeDoktor

Member
Dec 3, 2019
250
402
Sydney
Hi LWI,

I've contacted the Western Star a week ago after posting here, and they just replied stating Tesla aim to to have a destination charger put in at their hotel by Easter. Be interested to hear what your Quilpie contact has to say too.

I did the BRR in 2014, and going back for an 80km run in June (hence the trip). It's a magical landscape, and to think I could travel there with a carbon minimal footprint is very cool!
 
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