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Brisbane - Winton Road Trip

Hi All, long-time lurker, first time poster. We've had a 2016 Model S 75D for nearly 2 years now and decided to do a road trip to Winton from Brisbane via Carnarvon Gorge. I thought I'd post a thread about the charging experience for future use.

A bit about us, we are 2 parents and 2 kids (7 and 9). My young boy is a keen dinosaur fan, hence the enthusiasm for a road trip to the dinosaur capital of Australia. I learned from other threads on this forum that other Tesla pioneers had trodden this path before us, so I was keen to give it a go.

As mentioned above, our car is a red 75D. Well, it was a 60D, but I unlocked it to 75kWh about 9 months ago. I also have a CCS2 adapter. It has 95,000km on it and gets (claims) about 440km on a 100% charge. For charging, we borrowed an EVSE from TOCA which included tails for 32A 3-phase, 20A 3-phase, 15A single phase, 10A single phase. I also took a 3 phase extension cord and the UMC that came with the car.

I used Plugshare for my planning to figure out where to stay. I typically targeted hotels with chargers or 3-phase power points. I budgeted on 180Wh/km, which I later found out to be an under-estimate. More to come...
 
The map below shows the planned trip. With overnight stops in the place shown in red. We headed out to Roma and Carnarvon Gorge first, before making our way back via Biloela (my wife's Uncle lives there) and the M1.

1657540278918.png
 
Hi All, long-time lurker, first time poster. We've had a 2016 Model S 75D for nearly 2 years now and decided to do a road trip to Winton from Brisbane via Carnarvon Gorge. I thought I'd post a thread about the charging experience for future use.

A bit about us, we are 2 parents and 2 kids (7 and 9). My young boy is a keen dinosaur fan, hence the enthusiasm for a road trip to the dinosaur capital of Australia. I learned from other threads on this forum that other Tesla pioneers had trodden this path before us, so I was keen to give it a go.

As mentioned above, our car is a red 75D. Well, it was a 60D, but I unlocked it to 75kWh about 9 months ago. I also have a CCS2 adapter. It has 95,000km on it and gets (claims) about 440km on a 100% charge. For charging, we borrowed an EVSE from TOCA which included tails for 32A 3-phase, 20A 3-phase, 15A single phase, 10A single phase. I also took a 3 phase extension cord and the UMC that came with the car.

I used Plugshare for my planning to figure out where to stay. I typically targeted hotels with chargers or 3-phase power points. I budgeted on 180Wh/km, which I later found out to be an under-estimate. More to come...
Welcome, @Willy81 Thanks for posting about this trip, I feel like this will be in my future!
 
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This is a 3200km round trip. So here goes...

Day 1: Brisbane - Roma (492km). We knew this would be a big day and started with the battery charged to 100%. We first headed to the Toowoomba supercharger and topped up while we had a coffee. To say it was fresh was an understatement...

1657540970847.jpeg


The next leg to Roma was 352km. I knew this would be a stretch and I was right. I was hoping to do it in a single hit, but had made a contingency plan of stopping at Chinchilla showgrounds for a top-up. This turned out to be necessary. The stop at the showgrounds was only about an hour and cost us $20 on a 3-phase powerpoint. The staff there seemed to be reasonably familiar with EV's dropping in.

1657541033708.jpeg


We only did an hour charge, but this was probably a little too short. Pretty soon on this leg, the car started warning me to conserve power. We ended up getting to Roma with about 5% battery left. That night we charged at the motel (Roma Explorers Inn). The motel owners were very good and moved a car so we could access the Tesla charger.
 
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Day 2-3: Roma - Carnarvon Gorge (243km). This was an easy stretch. I had pre-arranged with the staff at the Breeze caravan park to charge on a GPO and they opened a switchboard for me. I used the TOCA loan EVSE at first (set to 13A), but found after a few hours it had stopped, but no breakers had tripped. I reset it and the same thing happened again. I ended up swapping to the UMC and it worked fine all night. I didn't have a great sleep as I was worried it would stop charging. Also, we had no phone reception so I had to check manually (and it was pouring with rain). Later I realised the park was running a diesel generator and the voltage was 220V. I suspect instability in the power is the reason the EVSE charger stopped. Eventually after 2 nights it was fully charged. You should have seen the looks we got in the caravan park... Several people were intrigued about how we were charging out there. One guy asked if it was worth the hassle. I replied that 99.9% of my driving is in the city and I don't want to drive a 4WD around the city for the once in a blue-moon I go bush. He said fair enough and walked away. Haha

Carnarvon Gorge was spectacular despite the 2 days of constant rain. We were staying in a Safari tent and the charge box was about 100m away. A bit of a trudge in the rain with an umbrella.. Despite the weather, we still managed a 13km hike which impressed my wife and I that the kids managed it and better still, enjoyed it. I highly recommend the Ampitheatre and Mickey's Creek was excellent for an introductory walk on day 1.

1657541437385.jpeg
 
Day 3: Carnavon Gorge - Barcaldine (550km / 12.5 hours). Our biggest day! By this stage, I had realised that our phones don't work out bush. We are with Belong, which despite being Telstra does not work in the small towns. The Tesla had 3G, but our phones did not. Before leaving Carnarvon Gorge I logged onto the campsite's slow wifi, then checked the ABRP app to get the terrain profile to get to Barcaldine. I found there was a small mountain range between Emerald and Barcaldine. Great.... I snapshotted a screenshot for future reference, as well as useful hotel phone numbers etc from Plugshare.

We started off fully charged to 100% and headed to Emerald (241km). This trip used more battery power than expected (possibly due to the heavy rain and frequent stops for cattle crossing. For charging, I rang ahead to the Midlander Hotel in Emerald and the staff were very accommodation. They charged $25 and it ended up taking 5 hours to charge back to 100%. We killed time by taking the kids to the cinema just down the road. The next leg to Barcaldine was 309km. The car was again warning me to conserve power. I needed to watch the speed and the power usage on the small mountain range climb. We arrived again with less than 10% charge. The hotel (Barcaldine Country Inn) had a Tesla wall connector in front of a different room. The family staying in that room arrived just after us and understood our predicament. I used the same hotel on the return leg and wasn't so lucky with a free parking spot. A bit of creative parking was required.

1657541802016.jpeg
 
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moa999

2020 3 SR+ MSM
Mar 4, 2020
2,144
2,178
Sydney, AUS
We are with Belong, which despite being Telstra does not work in the small towns. required.
The Telstra MVNO trick. The various MVNOs including Belong, Woolworths, Aldi and plenty more only have access to a designated portion of the Tesla network which excludes the most remote areas.
Afaik Boost is different and has full access
 
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Day 4-6: Barcaldine - Winton (286km)

We made it to Winton!

1657626256088.jpeg


At 281km, the stretch from Barcaldine to Winton should have been fairly easy, but for some reason the car was telling me to reduce speed to get there. I dropped speed to 105km/h and a convey of cars caught up, so I let them pass and then tucked in behind them for some slip-streaming. Haha. I think we arrived with around 50km range left. I suspect the cold weather (about 6 degrees) at the start of the trip made the average power usage high, but it dropped down towards the end of the trip.

We stayed at the Boulder Opal Inn which was the only hotel listed on Plugshare. They have a 3-phase 32A GPO and the managers were happy to point this out to us. It was about 3 doors down from our room. When we got there, it was vacant, but later that evening the guests came back. Thankfully, I borrowed a 3-phase extension lead from TOCA and ran the cable across to our room. Problem solved. This photo was taken before I moved the car.

1657626395742.jpeg


On day 2, we came back to the hotel and found that someone had put a padlock on the 3-phase outlet. When I asked the managers, they said the owners had instructed them to lock the outlet and charge $35 per charge! They seem to think that EV's regularly visit since they are the only "charger" in town and are costing them a lot in power bills (I can't imagine they get more than 1 a month). After I left the hotel, I was charged $105 for charging! I emailed them and explained that I only charged twice and my second charge was a small one. From Tezlab, I worked out the first charge was 62kWh and the second charge was 17kWh. So in total about $30 worth of power (assuming 40c/kWh, which is probably a bit high). I asked them to point this out to the owners and they politely refunded me $35. Still extortion, but what can you do.. I've updated PlugShare with these details.

On day 2 we headed to the Australia Age of Dinosaur Museum. This was the highlight of the trip as my 7 year old son is a dinosaur fanatic. The museum is just outside of town at the top of a small mountain. There was a beautiful twisty road up into the mountain. Perfect for a bit of fun in a Tesla :).

1657626987049.jpeg


We had also planned to visit the Dinosaur Stampede exhibit which is 100km out of town on an unsealed road. Sadly the recent rain had caused them to restrict this road to 4WD only. So we had to sit this one out and entertain ourselves around town. Fun fact for you electrically minded folk... the whole town was once run on DC electricity. They converted it to AC which meant electricians had to go from house to house replacing motors, etc. I found this out from the Winton open-air cinema, which was really interesting and cool to see they are preserving it.

1657627560849.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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Day 7: Winton - Longreach (179km)

Another easy run. Unfortunately there are no hotels in Longreach that provide a charger. I contacted the council prior to the trip and they told me I could charge at the showgrounds. I contacted them a few days before arriving and they told me the showgrounds were closed due to muddy conditions, but they had found another 3-phase outlet at the Rotary Park. This turned out to be about 200m from my hotel (Longreach Motor Inn). I rang the council when I got there and they sent a crew around to unlock the box. Inside were 2 32A sockets. I plugged the car in at 5pm and came back at 10 to move it to the hotel. Too easy. I've since contacted the council again and they gave me permission to add this site to PlugShare. They said they have been in discussions for getting a charger installed.

The guy at the Motor Inn was also quite interested in the Tesla. He said they used to have a 3-phase outlet in the back shed, but it was removed during renovations. He said they've been trying to get a charger for 3.5 years!

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We actually crammed a lot into our short time in Winton... visiting the Stockman's hall of fame (which was really good), followed by a boat cruise. Yes, you read that correct, there is a 10km long "river" (lake?) called the Thomson river where they run boat tours. The next day, we did the QANTAS founders museum before hitting the road from Emerald. I really enjoyed the QANTAS museum. Heaps to see and the history of the first aviators is amazing. They were very brave and so innovative.

What is this?

1657627941456.jpeg


Yes, an internal combustion engine. Turbocharged 18-cylinder prop engine that made over 2000kW. Apparently it was insanely loud and notoriously unreliable. My friend who works for QANTAS said they were the "most reliable 3 engine plane made" (they have 4 engines and most airports kept a spare). Haha
 
Day 8: Longreach - Emerald (416km)

Another big stretch. My original plan was to do Longreach to the small town of Alpha, charge for an hour and then head onto Emerald. However, given the car was using more power than I budgeted, I decided to charge in Barcaldine again, spend some time exploring the town and then to a short charge in Alpha. This worked out well.

First we headed back to Barcaldine and charged at the same hotel again for a cost of $20. Unfortunately the guest in that room had parked in front of the charger and I had to do a funny angle park to reach the cable (see earlier photo). We spent a few hours exploring the Australian Workers Museum in Barcaldine and this allowed us to charge up close to 100%. Based on our experience from day 3, we knew the 309km leg to Emerald would be stretch, so we planned to stop at Alpha showgrounds for a top-up. I rang the council from Longreach and they said to call them when I arrive. I said "I don't think my phone will work there". They said "if you have Telstra, you'll be fine". Surprise, surprise, when I got there, no reception. So we went old-school... I walked into the corner store and asked for the closest phone box. The locals must have laughed seeing a Tesla pull up to use a phone box.

Amazingly, the phone box worked and they are free (I didn't know this). This time, I spoke to a different lady who didn't know what I was on about. She rang around and ended up telling me that all staff had gone home for the day and I would just have to go the showgrounds to check if it was unlocked. I got there and to my suprise it was open. Once inside, we cruised around looking inside every box we could find, until I spotted this white box which I remembered from a photo on PlugShare. Inside were two 32A outlets. Horray!

1657628529447.jpeg


A short 45 min charge was all that was required and we got to Emerald comfortably. That night we stayed at the Midlander again and charged up to 100%. The staff at the hotel were most accommodating.
 
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Day 9: Emerald - Biloela (313km).

We knew this would be a big stretch as it's the biggest leg we've done. Depending on how I configured ABRP, it was telling me I'd make it with 5% or I had to go to Rockhampton to charge on the QESH DC fast charger. This is pretty much driving past the Biloela turn-off and was a 100km / 2 hour detour. After having a look at the terrain profile on the ABRP app, we decided to risk it, charge to 100% and take the direct run. By this stage, I was very used to watching the estimated end of trip battery estimation, switching the car to range mode / chill acceleration and taking it easy on the hills. We ended up getting to Biloela with 14km left! That night we charged on GPO at my wife's Uncle's place. Gotta love those country sunsets..

1657628777478.jpeg
 

moa999

2020 3 SR+ MSM
Mar 4, 2020
2,144
2,178
Sydney, AUS
Great to see you fighting the good fight with hotels. From Plugshare looks like you were the 3rd person this yr, but the 2nd in a fortnight, so maybe that's what sent the owner off a bit.

Stage 3 of QESH has chargers planned for Dingo, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach and Winton.

But as you show the Barcaldine- Emerald stretch is pretty big and they probably also need something in Alpha for the older or shorter range EVs.
 
Great to see you fighting the good fight with hotels. From Plugshare looks like you were the 3rd person this yr, but the 2nd in a fortnight, so maybe that's what sent the owner off a bit.

Stage 3 of QESH has chargers planned for Dingo, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach and Winton.

But as you show the Barcaldine- Emerald stretch is pretty big and they probably also need something in Alpha for the older or shorter range EVs.

Yeah I agree, this is a long stretch, even for a 75kWh Model S. A charger at Alpha would be perfect. Still, it's so good to see these chargers going in. It would have made my trip a 1000 times easier.
 
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Day 10: Biloela - Brisbane (603km / 8 hours)

The trip home was a dream. We headed from Biloela to the QESH fast charger at Miriam Vale. I had intended to charge for 25mins, but the kids had such a good time at the park close to the charger that we charged for 40 mins. We saw two other Teslas at this charger. One arrived just after we started charging. The owner was very friendly and said she had enough charge to get to the next charger North. The other Tesla arrived just as we finished. Again, a very friendly owner. After Miriam Vale, we also topped up at the QESH charger at Gin Gin (30 mins). There is a famous bakery around the corner from the charger.

We also stopped at the supercharger at Gympie (20 mins). Having fast chargers available is so good. I was really able to enjoy the Model S on the highway. Overtaking is a breeze :)

1657630032792.jpeg
 

Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
2,506
2,878
Sydney
The Telstra MVNO trick. The various MVNOs including Belong, Woolworths, Aldi and plenty more only have access to a designated portion of the Tesla network which excludes the most remote areas. Afaik Boost is different and has full access

All the MVNOs including Boost only have access to the “wholesale“ part of the Telstra network, i.e. the bits they allow these virtual operators to access.

I believe that covers about 98% of Australia’s population. The last 1.6% of population or whatever (which covers a huge area by the way) is exclusively Telstra footprint only, and I reckon Telstra will never let that go because that is a major bit of their competitive advantage.

Also Telstra plans to close 3G in mid 2024, and all 3G-only towers will be replaced with 4G before then, which will work a lot better.
 
The Stats
3270km, 629kWh of charging and average efficiency of 192Wh/km.
Total charging cost: $150 (including the Winton rip-off hotel of $70). Predicted petrol cost: $525 (assumed 8L/100km, $2/L)
1657630148219.jpeg


So what did we learn from this?
  • Always ring ahead. It's a good idea to check with hotel staff that the charge point is working, is accessible and they are happy for you to use it. This is also a good idea if you are relying on a GPO in a remote location.
  • Make sure you enter your destination in the nav, so that you can get an estimate of battery state of charge on arrival. This number seems pretty accurate.
  • If you're pushing the range limits, learn how to use the ABRP app. Being able to see the terrain profile before/during the trip is useful. It can save a bit of stress if you realise the start of our trip is a constant ascent, but the second half of the trip is a nice descent. Also regular small hills will chew up battery.
  • I also found that to try and save range, it's a good idea to turn off cruise control on the hills. It does a damn good job at holding the speed to exact kilometre, but it will also jump to 100kW in no time. So if you come to a small hill and you know there's a decline on the other side, turn off cruise control, let the car drop 5km/h and pick up the speed on the decline.
  • Learn how to use PlugShare to check available chargers. If there are no chargers in town, then contact the council. It seems most towns have a showground with 3-phase outlets.
  • Make sure your phone will have reception in the bush. As I mentioned earlier, we are with Belong who are owned by Telstra and claim to cover 98.8% of the population. Apparently this does not cover the small regional towns and only works in the larger towns. I ended up taking a screenshot of ABRP before leaving.
  • If you're charging and your phone has no reception, make sure you check on the car a few times. Particularly if charging off a GPO off a poor quality power source ;)
  • When planning the trip, don't underestimate the car's efficiency. I had built a spreadsheet and estimated the trip on 180Wh/km, since I'd seen the car run at 160Wh/km around Brisbane highways. This was far too optimistic for country roads with hills. The average ended up being 196Wh/km. I also forgot to account for the battery degradation of about 10%. As I found ABRP will do a lot of this for you.
  • Take lots of charging adapters and extension leads. If you are a TOCA member, then the charger loan program is fantastic.
  • Take a tyre repair kit, compressor, etc.
  • Have lots of fun! We loaded up on podcasts and audio books to keep the kids entertained and it worked well :)
 

moa999

2020 3 SR+ MSM
Mar 4, 2020
2,144
2,178
Sydney, AUS
All the MVNOs including Boost only have access to the “wholesale“ part of the Telstra network, i.e. the bits they allow these virtual operators to access.

I believe that covers about 98% of Australia’s population.
Boost has a special deal (that not even the Telstra owned Belong has) that gets them the full 99.5% coverage, and now also 5G

Telstra is already shifting 3G towers to 5G which is causing issues for some MVNO customers even in city areas.
The rollout of VoLTE (Voice over 4G) and VoWifi (Voice over Wifi) has been delayed.
 
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Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
2,506
2,878
Sydney
Boost has a special deal (that not even the Telstra owned Belong has) that gets them the full 99.5% coverage, and now also 5G

Telstra is already shifting 3G towers to 5G which is causing issues for some MVNO customers even in city areas.
The rollout of VoLTE (Voice over 4G) and VoWifi (Voice over Wifi) has been delayed.

Well there you go, another new thing learned. They must pay for that.

No 3G service is being removed anywhere (yet), they would not be allowed to do that having advertised 3G is not closing down until mid 2024. A 3G-only site being upgraded would have 4G or 4G+5G added, but the 3G would not be turned off until 2024.

VoLTE has been supported on Telstra for a long time, but I don’t know when VoLTE will be sorted for the wholesalers. It will have to be before 2024 otherwise people on those MVNOs would be unable to make voice calls. There also would be devices out there that either don’t support it, or need a software or firmware upgrade to support it, or are non-Telstra-sold devices that have some incompatibility or need a carrier setting update.
 

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