Continuing the story of driving a Tesla Model 3 SR + 3000 km from Brisbane to Winton Queensland, here’s a second part of the journey.
After careful planning and a few weeks of nervous anticipation (fearing that covid containment might yet be re-imposed), we embarked on the first part of our journey to Winton. We were delighted to see 10 more Tesla Model 3s on the highway between Brisbane and our first charging stop – the Tesla Superchargers at Gympie 166 km away. Pleasant but slow driving, as there is a lot of roadworks on this stretch of motorway.
As I was charging in the underground parking lot of the mall, I noticed a woman pushing a big car – dad was driving, two kids were in the back, and mum was trying to start the car. It was an old 6-cylinder commodore, and the battery was dead, I was told. But it was okay because they parked it on a hill at the house – didn’t seem to care that the underground parking was on the apartment. I, of course, went to help. It was like the good old days when my cars sometimes had dead batteries.
They set off and were very grateful. Later that day, as we faced many challenges while charging, we were also grateful for the kindness of strangers.
Challenge 1: We finished loading and got an on-screen message saying our credit card had expired and we needed to update our card details. “The supercharger network is not available.” On a positive note, at least we had a full charge – this issue could be fixed later. We just had to put up with the continuous nagging of the message on the screen. Now we would be recharging on the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), as there were no Tesla Superchargers on our route.
We left for the next charging point at Childers (142 km), but there was a Kona charging there. They hadn’t registered it with PlugShare, so we had no way of contacting them. It was good, however – we knew what we were doing. We would be right to go to Gin Gin (only 54 km more) and recharge at their QESH station. The web searches did not tell us that we should download the app or how to pay our charge. There were instructions on the charger and we followed them, downloading the app (using the country’s very slow internet) and following the instructions, which said to hold the phone near the charger. It did not work. At the end we called the helpline and a wonderfully patient and kind young lady guided us. She ended up running the charger remotely and we got a full charge. We are leaving again.
We thought we better keep refueling so we stopped at Miriam Vale. Again the charger was not working. We said a few nasty words and decided that we should take our chances to get to Rockhampton (still 170km to go) with the battery low. Stress levels were high as we approached Mount Larcom and spotted another QESH charger. At this point the car was pestering us to find a charger and we thought we might not do it (76 km more).
We had a similar experience and again depended on a helpful lady several miles away to turn on the charger remotely for us. We had no idea that it would only be when we used the app four times that it would work. Chargefox has a lot to learn from the Tesla Supercharger network. However, the cost was low – $ 11.00 for 400 km of driving.
We arrived in Rockhampton that evening with electricity remaining in the car battery, insurance of a destination charger, and the prospect of eating and a good night’s sleep at the Best Western Stirling Motel .
What we have learned: No matter how hard you plan, things will go wrong. Check your credit cards, download the necessary apps, be patient, help others. Driving over 100 km / h and using the air conditioning considerably reduces your range. Also, Tess is very good at harassing.
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