Electric future easier than you think
Re-charge: Kate Hook chats to Michelle Stivens while taking advantage of the Tesla destination charger at Heifer Station.
“I would never go back to a fuel car and I think that is probably the most telling thing about it,” says Kate Hook, referring to the last year she has spent driving the fully electric Tesla X.
With so much talk about the future of electric cars in Australia, we thought we’d ask Orange local Kate just what her experience has been owning an electric car in our regional city.
“I was a little nervous before I bought it, that buying an electric car and driving in the country was not going to be compatible, but I found that is not is not the case at all,” said Kate.
Since she bought the Telsa X in March last year, Kate has put nearly 49,000 kilometres on the clock. While always expecting there to be some changes in living with an electric car, Kate has found it to be more convenient in many ways than her previous diesel engine vehicle.
“Your main point of charging is at your house where the car lives most nights, so it is really easy,” she said.
“Instead of standing at a petrol bowser for five minutes on a freezing cold Orange day, I get home and plug it in, in 30 seconds. Then I'm in my house having a nice warm cup of tea —that in itself is so useful and it doesn’t feel like it has made a huge difference on my power bills.”
When driving around Orange, Kate said she may only charge her car every four or five days and for longer trips, the Tesla X’s extended range of 540 kilometres is enough to get to Sydney and beyond with ease.
“In fact, most of the time when I leave Orange, I'm on about 90 per cent and I usually can drive around Sydney for half the day after arriving,” she said.
The NRMA is about to launch their fast charger network
“The hassle that people perceive with charging, it doesn’t exist really. With the supercharger network, if you are travelling away from home, it can get you from zero to full in 40 minutes — and you’re rarely attempting to charge it from zero. The NRMA is about to launch their fast charger network and the plan is that no charger will be more than 150 kilometres from the next.”
Kate has even taken her car to more remote areas and was able to keep the car battery adequately charged from a conventional power point.
Now the price tag on a Tesla X is not cheap. Kate’s model came with a larger battery and a number of extras bumping up the ticket price to $170,000 — far out of reach for most people shopping for a family car.
Kate was able to justify the expense as the Tesla X is part of her ridesharing business, Eco Luxe Transfers, where she carries paying passengers to and from Sydney.
But there are many more electric cars poised to enter the Australian market and the costs keep coming down. Plus, Kate said it is important to factor in the savings on an electric car over the life of the vehicle.
“Once I calculated the lack of fuel costs and the mechanic costs on these electric cars are less because there are only 28 moving parts in the car as opposed to 2,500 in a fuel car it brings the cost of ownership down a lot more,” she said.
“And then there’s the lack of engine noise, it is just a much smoother ride and for people who are car people the acceleration is unequalled — it is amazing.”