Destination Hobart and Numurkah
Dates 2017-01-13 to 2017-01-27
Transport Tesla Model S
Purpose conference and holiday

In early 2017 I had a conference at Hobart, LCA2017. I drove down in my Telsa Model S after crossing to Tasmania in the ferry. After the conference I visited Numurkah for a week.

Hobart

I have been to Hobart for a number of conferences (LCA2009, PyConAu2012, PyConAu2013). Normally I fly. However this time I wanted to do something different. The problem was, once I get to Hobart, where can I recharge for the return trip? I worked out I would need to charge at least twice, once when I first got to Hobart, and once just before leaving.

Planing

Plugshare is the de facto default standard for listing EV chargers across Australia. In Hobart it lists three options:

  • MONA: Museum of Old and New Art. They have 2 single phase 32 amp chargers available for patrons. I wanted to visit MONA once, however not multiple times.
  • RACT Hobart Apartment Hotel. They only have one charger. I was lead to believe that they use it to charge their Nissan Leaf, and as such it may not be available for my use. I tried contacting them however got no response.
  • Hobart Central Carpark. Limited availability. Not suitable.

I was given the suggestion that I should contact Wrest Point. However they were unable to assist.

Then, as I was about to abandon my plans, I got this response. Turns out that Derek Mitchell is a Tesla fanatic in Hobart, and he is willing to let me use his charger. Problem solved. Thanks Darek!

I planned to use the night Ferry, because that would allow me to drive to Hobart during the day. I did not want to do much driving during night hours, due to increased possibility of running into wildlife.

Day 1 - Friday 13th

I intended to charge the car (as normal) the night before, only forgot. Oops. Not a problem, I was intending to do a 100% charge at the supercharger near Richmond anyway. I started charging at 5pm, and it said expected time to completion 6:10pm. At 6:20pm there was still no signs of completion and the charge current had dropped to 3 amps. So considering I wasn't going to get much more then 448 km typical range anyway and the ferry boarding time was 6pm (or was that 6:30pm???), I decided to stop there.

At the Ferry terminal, I got confused. There was a sign that said boarding time was 6:00pm (it was 6:30pm), and pointed to the right. Was it pointing at the locked gate? Or back the way I came? Eventually I managed to work out that the ferry was running late, I didn't get the SMS notification, and that boarding would start until 8:30pm (actually was 8:00pm).

Unfortunately, due to the delay in check-in time, I had to pay for several hours parking, which was something I had hoped to avoid. Seems like I should have continued charging my car to 100.00% after all.

I tried to stay out of my car as much as possible, to preserve battery.

The Ferry didn't arrive until almost 9pm. I didn't get to board the Ferry until 11pm, and it wasn't until sometime after midnight when we departed. So much for the 9pm departure time.

On my Tesla I turned on Range mode and then turned off "always connected" to try and preserve battery power. I also tried to turn off air conditioning as much as possible.

I ended up parking on the bottom floor on the ferry.

Day 2 - Saturday 14th

The delays meant I could sleep in the next day. Scheduled arrival at Devonport was 6am, I finally got off ship closer to 11am. My 448km charge had now gone to 434km, this included 10.1km drive from Richmond, and loses during the night.

I had a 30 minute break at Campbell Town, near the playground. The I proceeded to MONA. At MONA I had 159km remaining. I charged for 3 hours 47 minutes (until closing time), and this increased to 289. A complete charge would have taken 8+ hours (The MONA charger appears to be single phase only, so around 37km/h charging), so it was a good thing I wasn't dependant on charging at MONA. I drove into Hobart, and continued charging to 403km (overnight) using Darek's charger.

Day 3 - Sunday 15th

I drove into Richmond, looked around the place. Got slightly sunburnt. Looked at the miniature 1800s version of Hobart, and the old gaol. Took lots of photos.

Next day I had to get up early for the conference. In consulting with Darek, we agreed a recharge was not required.

Day 4 to 8 - Monday to Friday

I drove back and forward between my accommodation to Wrest Point on a daily basis. No dramas.

I started receiving alerts about a software update for my car, however postponed the update until after I got back.

Day 9 - Saturday

Didn't do a lot. Went to the local market, which was a short walk away. My car was down to 279km. Charged this up to 100% overnight using Darek's charger.

Day 10 - Sunday

Drove back to Devonport. Uneventful. Was really early, so I went to the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse for a while. In doing so I got confused with the navigation instructions from my car and took the exit before the Mersey River bridge, not the exit after. The navigation system is confusing when there are two exits close together. I ended up joing the Highway going back the way I came, exiting, reentering in the same direction, and almost making the same mistake again.

Lined up to get on the ferry at 6:30pm, exactly. Was front in the queue. Then found out the ferry was running late. Yet again I didn't receive an SMS. Check-in not due to open until 8pm. Fortunately I was able to leave my car in the queue, as long as I returned by 7:45pm. It wasn't until 9:43pm until I was finally on board the ferry.

While waiting, the car decided to go to sleep. I found it wouldn't wake up again when I needed to move. I had to get out the drivers door and get back in again to wake it up. Maybe just opening and closing the door would have been sufficient too.

This time they put me on the 6th floor, the top floor. 120km left on battery, and I had driven 301.8km (including driving around Devonport).

Day 11 - Monday

When we got back to our cars, they wanted us to get in our cars. Unfortunately the left hand side of the car was hard against the rails on the side of level 6, and the right hand side of the car was too close to the cars in the adjacent lane. Exactly were I had been told to park in Hobart. So I was unable to open any doors. I had to wait, standing on the deck, for them to move the car blocking my door out of the way first.

When I did get into my car, I noticed I had 118k battery remaining. I drove straight to the Tesla supercharger, where I had 111km remaining. I parked in what looked like a free supercharger, only to find it was a gap between parking spots for the entrance to the Tesla building. All the superchargers were in use. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long. I proceeded to charge to 100% in preparation for my trip to Numurkah.

Numurkah

We had a holiday house booked in Numurkah. Unfortunately, for this stage we had 6 people, and only room for 5 in my car. So we had to take two cars (one being a petrol car).

Numurkah is North on the supercharger at Euroa. So I planed to travel on the Hume Freeway to get there. It is possible to drive from the Richmond supercharger to Euroa almost entirely on freeways. The car navigation thought it would be better to drive through the city. I disagreed, and went my way via city link, Bolte Bridge, Tullamarine Freeway, and the Western Ring Road.

At Euroa supercharger, I parked rear end first into the spot on the right of the charger. Before realizing that the cable was on the other side, and wouldn't reach. I wasn't the only one to do this. So I parked in the left spot, and found the cable was really tight, however I got a connection. I charged to 100% from 267km, as this was going to be the last chance to charge for the week.

At Numurkah we visited various places through the week, including The Big Strawberry, Glenarron Farms, and on the return trip, the Chocolate Apple Factory.

On the return trip, my car was down to 106km at Euroa. I noticed for both my trips, there was another car charging at the same time as me for at least part of the time, so I tend to agree when others say 2 chargers isn't enough. We weren't ready to leave after it finished charging, so I relocated my car and found that almost all parking spaces were taken.

Telsa

I tested and tried out some of the advanced driving features of the Tesla.

Auto speed limit detect

Most of the time the Tesla is good at detecting the speed limit, however there are times it consistently gets it wrong.

  • School speed limits. Often it will detect 40km/h at start (regardless of time) and then several seconds later revert back to previous speed limit.
  • Road works in school speed limit areas produces lots of confusion.
  • 80km/h is occasionally misread as 30km/h.
  • 80km/h electronic signs on City link are often misread as 60km/h.
  • Monash Freeway has 90km/h speed limits for trucks only which are incorrectly read.
  • Black "End 60" and "60 Ahead" signs are read incorrectly as 60km/h speed limit signs.
  • Sometimes it will suddenly come up with a slower speed limit for no apparent reason. Or if there was a reason, I completely missed it.
  • If the speed limit has changed in the last several years it can get confused and sometimes display the new speed limit and sometimes display the old speed limit.

Autopilot

I found autopilot worked pretty good most of the time, however there were times it got a bit closer then I would have liked to the oncoming traffic, so I manually override it by steering to the left. On some rare occasions when I let it have its way (when I can see that there was no conflicting traffic) it incorrectly crosses the lanes. Especially on lower quality highways with sharper corners in the lanes.

It also seemed to have problems when overtaking lanes ended, in that it would sometimes jerk unnecessarily or speed up. On one occasion I indicated right as I was approaching a T intersection, and auto steer interpreted that as a request to change lanes into the oncoming traffic. NO!!! In all cases I was alert and overrode as required.

As per documentation, Autopilot works better on two lane divided freeways. However you still do need to be alert even on dual lane divided roads. I found that if driving at 110km/h on autopilot and passing a stopped car, autopilot suddenly limits the top speed to 80km/h and starts reducing speed. Which is very much unexpected behaviour.

Also as a sobering thought, I came over the crest of a hill at 110km/h to see a parked car on the side. This was fine, it was close to the road, but I could get past. However there was a person standing on the road, looked like he was about to open the car door. I had to cross the over to the wrong side (I could see there were no oncoming cars) to ensure I didn't hit this person. Autopilot probably would not have been so forgiving.

Conclusion

During my trip I experienced range anxiety on a constant basis, aliens invaded and replaced the President of USA with a lunatic, ... oh wait ... the truth ...

This is the longest trip I have been on so far with my Telsa and I had no major dramas. I never got below 106km remaining on the battery, and never experienced anything close to range anxiety. There are currently much fewer charge points then there are petrol stations, and as a result you do need to plan where your next recharge will be and how much driving you will make before you reach it.