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Tesla chargers to link Brisbane to Melbourne in 2016
Free Tesla charge stations will connect Australian east coast by 2016
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10 Dec 2014
TESLA will roll-out charging stations stretching from Brisbane to Melbourne by the end of 2016 that will be free to use, as well as a network of stores selling cars direct from the manufacturer to the customer.
The announcement of the ambitious plan came at the brand’s launch yesterday at The Star casino in Sydney with the electric vehicle-maker hosting a gala event for hundreds of customers who had already paid a deposit for the brand’s first car – the Model S – which officially arrived this week.
Five charging units known as Superchargers are now in operation at the EV brand’s first store and service centre in the Sydney suburb of St Leonards which opened this week, with another five chargers functioning in The Star’s car-park.
With the maximum range off a full charge for the Model S 60 being 300km and the top-of-the-range P85+ 500km, Tesla marketing and communications manager Heath Walker said the next step is to place Superchargers at points which connect Australian cities, starting with the east coast.
“In 2015 we will then look at rolling out a supercharger network connecting Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney,” he said.
“By the end of 2016 we will connect all major cities on the east coast – Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. It’s fair to say we’re not mucking about.
“What we tend to do is position them around about 200km from each other,” he said.
At the launch event Mr Walker revealed a map showing 10 proposed Supercharger locations between Melbourne and Sydney by 2015 including units in Goulburn and Albury-Wodonga. Another map showed 16 charging sites between Brisbane and Melbourne by 2016.
To fully charge a car from empty will take about an hour using the Supercharger, while a half-charge will take just 20 minutes and it will be completely free for Tesla owners.
As for who pays the electricity bill Mr Walker would not discuss the matter in detail but said it was an arrangement with the owner of the property on which the units are installed. He added that no funds or technical support had been given by the government for the infrastructure.
“We’ve got private property that we’re putting superchargers on,” he said.
“So it’s got to be in a location like The Star – we don’t own that property – where we’ve worked to facilitate that and within that agreement we come to an arrangement over how it’s enabled. So we will be doing that along pathways between the cities.
“One of the major things we need to consider is what will someone do when they’re Supercharging their vehicle. We don’t want them to be sitting on the side of the road so we’re looking for places which have 24-hour amenities, where they can get something to eat and sit. So they’re the things that we’re looking for within a 200km radius of each other on the journey all the way done the east coast.”
Mr Walker said there was no shortage of parties willing to host the chargers and attributed this to the type of person the unit will bring to their establishments.
“The interest on having these on their properties is high, because you have somebody stopping for 20 minutes and purchasing food and drink. When you look at who is purchasing our vehicle – a $100,000-plus vehicle – it’s a good clientele to come past your store or facility.”
Mr Walker said dealerships will be called Tesla outlet stores and service centres as the company engages directly with customers and does not have a need for an independent automotive group or importer and distributor to sell the cars.
“We run the store and our service centre,” he said.
“We are direct sales so we deal directly with the customer. I’m not here to say which model is better or worse but why we undertake this model is the relationship is direct with the customer whether they go to the retail store or the service centre and we know what stage you are at any time and can assist you accordingly.”
With the St Leonards store and service centre now in operation, Mr Walker said Tesla will embark on a roll-out which will see another retail outlet in a Sydney shopping centre while Melbourne will also have two locations.
“In Melbourne we’re in the final stages of the lease agreement for a service centre down there which will have a small store at the front as well.”“The service centre that we’re looking at moving into in Melbourne will have a larger service centre than what we have here in Sydney and that’s one of the biggest in the world – so that is saying something,” he said.
“We will look at going into a retail precinct at some stage in Sydney, we’ve been doing pop-ups and we’ll continue to do pop-ups even when we’ve got a permanent facility.” A second retail outlet will be at Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne’s south-east.
“In the short term we’re doing a permanent pop-up outside Myer and that’s where we’ll be located. We’ll be running test drives from there as well – we’ll be there for sometime while we’re working with Chadstone on a more permanent facility.”
Charging units can also be installed in owner’s homes. Charging at a rate of 50km for every hour, the units are supplied free by Tesla but the owners must pay for installation and electricity usage.
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