For those of you who have just joined us, this is the middle of a saga about driving from Brisbane on the coast of Queensland 1500 km to the inland town of Winton in a Tesla Model 3 SR+. Earlier articles are available in my author archives.
While Tess was enjoying a well-earned rest and a slow trickle feast of electrons, we went on the Red Dirt Tours bus. We toured the vast sundrenched and windswept spaces of Carisbrooke station (50,000 acres, plenty of room for wind turbines and a solar farm). Majella fossicked for opals while I chatted to the bus driver about his shares in rare earth mining companies (yes, another one). There were the usual questions from fellow passengers about range and charging. One passenger called us “courageous.” I certainly felt that way when I swallowed a fly while explaining how Tess could plug into any wall socket at the Dinosaur Stampede — an occupational hazard for someone who is constantly talking.
The next day was a rest day and so we drove into town for another beer at the Gregory. The owner of the hotel and the barmen had a little more time, so we showed them the car. One of them had only ever seen one other Tesla. We hadn’t seen another Tesla since we had left the coast so that was quite believable. When we pointed the car out to him — parked outside the glass doors — he said, “now you’re just showing off.”
We met up with Maggie who had befriended us on the bus the day before and took her for a drive. She was very impressed and noted how easy it would be to drive compared to her ICE car following her stroke.
Our last day in Winton was spent at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, being amazed at the intricate work being done to separate dinosaur fossils from their matrix, the reconstruction of animals from these fossils (and then rendered into an animation), and the superb bronzes that dot the landscape. And, of course, chatting to people about EVs.
Georgia drives the electric shuttle bus from the reception area to the museum that houses another collection of dinosaur tracks. The bus charges overnight from a normal power point, just like Tess was currently doing. She thinks everyone should drive an EV. Being from a younger generation, she was fascinated by the tech in the Tesla. She asked about FSD and compared the car to an iPhone or an iPad. She was probably the only person we talked to that didn’t ask about range.
I had a more “normal” conversation with Doug. When we got on the shuttle, he called out, “You’ll be in your element now — it’s electric!” He asked lots of questions about charging. He wanted to know my thoughts on the EV road user tax that has just been introduced in Victoria. I replied that 2.5 cents per km is roughly what we save on registration payments, so we are still better off using electricity in an EV than petrol or diesel. I also had to explain about the Tesla fire in the US and how long it took to put it out. Overwhelmingly, the comments were positive and the questions were asked out of curiosity.
More questions came from neighbours that evening as we sat on the front porch of our holiday unit enjoying a glass of good red wine. Tomorrow would be a big day — we were heading home. That’s 1500 km of driving and no fast charges for 1000 km. It turned out to be a bigger adventure than we anticipated. After all, we had travelled this road before and we knew the car and its lies about range, so what could go wrong?