After reviewing the electric car options, I opted to purchase the Tesla Model X six months ago and have not regretted it. The technology in these cars has to be seen to be believed. Safety for my family was a key factor, and this car is one of the safest SUVs in the world to that swayed me. However, even the i30 we own has AEB. The Tesla goes further though, with its autopilot features, cameras, multiple sensors, and a low centre of gravity due to the 5000 heavy batteries in its floor. That weight is also a disadvantage of course, as it makes it a very heavy car which requires more energy to move it. It can however tow 2 tonne.
Now that I have a Tesla I’m keen to share it so if you want to hire it you can check the calendar for its availability here https://www.ecobenno.com.au/rent-tesla Schools can also hire me and the car for Future Energy Shows.
One of the biggest pros of the Tesla is its low operating costs. There is NO engine to service, so no spark plugs, radiator, carburettor to break or worry about – in fact only 26 moving parts. Basically you just replace the (big) tyres, brake pads and wiper blades every few years. They say we should service them every 12 to 18 months but a friend hasn’t serviced his Model S for over 3 years because its running so well. The 75D model I have, has dual motors at the front and back. You can put the shopping (or kids) in the front trunk (frunk) if you really want to : ) Most electric cars also cost about 75% less to fuel it (with energy) however because I use my solar panels its basically free to charge it.
Should people buy them? If you want to support Tesla and help lead the transition to 100% electric vehicles then go for it, but remember that they are currently more expensive than traditional ICE cars, so I advise most people to wait until 2024 when price parity will be achieved and the capital costs will be much lower.
I charge my Tesla using solar power from my 6kW rooftop PV array or my SOLAX/LG Chem batteries, or local Queensland Government superhighway or Tesla Superchargers if I’m traveling long distances. Either way its all renewable power so a step in the right direction. Most life-cycle studies indicate electric cars are better for the environment, despite the embodied energy in their batteries, as they don’t require fossil fuels to power them. They also have fewer components and will take over ICE cars very soon.
Apart from the autonomous driving, which allows it to drive itself on open highways with ease, some other outstanding features include the automatic handbrake, a 43 cm touch screen, games, an internet browser (which appeared in the October software update), Netflix, smooth acceleration, great handling, Dancing Car Mode and falcon wing doors (which have pros and cons). On top of all that it includes the standard luxury items such as heated seats, powered seats, automatic headlights and high-beams, keyless entry, fully collapsible seats (you can fit a bed it in, or 7 people). And for fun you can also Smart Summon the car from the other side of a car park, right to your feet. The first Smart Summon in Australia in a Model X was completed by me here.
In summary the car is amazing and beyond my expectations. I’m getting used to it now and hate driving other cars in comparison but realise it is a bit investment at this stage. It has however educated me a lot, and this helps me to understand how charging systems work, where they should go and the various different charge station types, which helps with designing and future-proofing buildings and communities. Also my 13.5kW SOLAX battery system has taught me a lot about the limits of batteries and how important charging times and use are to optimise their capabilities. Their interaction with an electric car also changes they way the solar system should be managed; feel free to contact me if you want more advice on solar PV, batteries and EV relationships; or if you are thinking about an EV purchase, I can get you some free supercharging.
I am looking forward to seeing the Model Y in Australia when that comes out, which is a smaller SUV version and will be easier to park. The other option arriving in Australia soon will be the be the KIA Niro EV, which will be better than the current Hyundai Kona EV.
Here are two videos of my Tesla MX showing off…
Thanks to Tesla for pushing the envelope and leading the market. Someone has to do it.