Phil bought an electric Hyundai Kona three and half years ago, and we have met on and off at various car events and coffee mornings since then. He recently traded up to a Tesla Model Y Standard Range and has modified it for his wife Gwen’s disability. I spent the morning with him today. We chatted about the differences between the two cars and he showed me what he had done to the Model Y.
The Kona had already been modified and Phil could easily fit his wife’s electric scooter and his own electric bike in the back. So, why the Y? “More internal space,” he tells me. Phil has built a stronger boot base fitted with tie-down anchors to hold the disability scooter, has bought aftermarket ventilated seat covers, has bought cupholder inserts, and has converted the screen so it is on a swivel. He would like to install a hoist for Gwen’s scooter, but that is proving difficult to source. However, he may have come up with a solution — a tow bar mounted hoist. He got the idea from an American YouTube channel.
Phil modified the screen himself with a righthand drive kit from Tessories. By changing the screen’s angle, the focal length is the same across the whole screen. Important for those of us over the age of 21. He can also reach the whole screen when he is driving.
The Kona sold easily. “What about the resale value,” I asked. The Kona cost A$70,000 new, and starts privately at ~A$52,500. He was quoted a trade-in value of A$38,000. That was a lot less depreciation than an ICE car, especially when you take into account that he has saved over A$10,000 in fuel and servicing. Hyundai expected Phil to bring the Kona in for regular servicing. “So, after 42 months of driving, the changeover from the Kona to the Y was made at only $10,000.”
The biggest advantage of the Kona was range — it would travel over 450 km (280 miles) on a charge. The Model Y will only do 340 km — it is a bigger vehicle. Phil does not miss the heads-up display. He says that it also drives more sedately.
The Model Y Long Range is not available in Australia yet.
One other thing that Hyundai did like from the Kona was the adjustable head rests, but the Model Y seats are more comfortable overall.
“One of the main reasons we bought the Kona in the first place,” he tells me, “is so Gwen can get out of the house. We drive up to Maleny (about 70 km) for a coffee, just for an outing. We don’t have to worry about the cost of fuel.”
Phil’s house has an impressive solar array that powers the travel.
“When the Queensland Electric Super Highway is open to Mt Isa, we plan to drive west to Mt Isa, and then return via the coast.”
Happy trails to this amazing and talented couple as they revive the great Aussie road trip.
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