2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus - Interstate trip from Brisbane to Sydney
So a year ago, my wife made the decision to sell her Yaris while the market demand was still strong and then make the move to a Tesla Model 3. Our usage profile meant that just the base spec "Standard Range Plus" model would more than cover our needs. With a realistic city range of up to 400km when fully charged or around 280km if using within the best range for the battery (discharging down to 20% and charging up to 80%), it is the type of car that on our heaviest usage days, it would simply just get topped up each night at home (or during the day utilising the solar, which we can do most of the time).
The question that always sat at the back of my mind though is "how about driving this car interstate?". The battery range isn't exactly the greatest and when you drive it purely on the highway, you end up depleting the battery 1.5x faster as you don't benefit from any regenerative braking.
Using the Tesla trip planner built into the GPS however makes planning your trip a breeze. It tells you where along the way to recharge and for how long. Because when using the Superchargers (or any DC fast charger), the initial charge from less than 20% up to about 65% is the quickest and then it starts to slow down from that point. The trip planner factors all this in so that you only need to spend as much time as necessary at each stop and makes sure you arrive to each stop with less than 20% battery to make the most of the fast charging. This can mean that you only need to be at a Supercharger for only 20-25 minutes before continuing on.
As we made our way on our journey, it was reassuring that there are Superchargers stationed close to the highway at various locations that mean that even with our base model SR+, we could still make our way from Brisbane to Sydney with just 4 stops adding up to 1.5 hours to the trip time. There were other Superchargers along the way that could be used if you have a model with more range so everyone is accounted for.
While each stop for us had no waiting whatsoever as there were 6 Superchargers at each location and those using them would typically charge and move on promptly, I can see that if EV's get more and more popular, then they will definitely need to expand the Supercharging network. But I suppose that is a given once people see EV's as a viable alternative even with long distance travel.
Battery technology is also always improving so that is also another thing to be mindful of. Our SR+ for example got a minor upgrade in 2022 and is now known as the Model 3 RWD. It has an improved battery pack with an additional range increase of 9% so it's good to see these things happening.
Sure adding an extra 1.5 hours to a 9.5 hour drive may seem like an inconvenience but I must say that compared to previous drives where I'd only have to stop once for fuel, it was nice to stop every couple of hours and stretch the legs.
The network of Tesla Destination chargers and public "free to use" chargers around Sydney that are typically installed in carparks which have at least 3 hours free parking, combined with third-party pay-per-use DC Fast Chargers was quite supportive to EV owners as well. As the hotel we were staying at didn't have any chargers or power outlets available, it was reassuring that we could charge up when we needed.
The Model 3 was also a fantastic car to take on a long drive. The seats were comfortable and it didn't feel bad after sitting in them for 12 hours and the ride quality was also reasonably smooth. Having the benefit of lane keep assist with the basic Autopilot made it even more comfortable as it would hold the tension on the steering wheel while you just had to hold it for safety which reduced any fatigue from keeping the car on track. Having the added safety features of Autopilot was also reassuring as although you never intend to rely on it, just having it keep a second eye over you is a good thought to have in the back of your mind.
Overall, I am very satisfied with this Model 3 and glad that she made the decision to buy it. It was a very wise purchase and while I was questioning why she really wanted to get it in the first place as it didn't feel 100% necessary at the time (although I secretly wanted her to get it just because it's a Tesla), it has proven to be the perfect car for our needs.
Tesla Supercharger - Knockrow
Tesla Supercharger - Heatherbrae
Tesla Supercharger - Port Macquarie
Tesla Supercharger - Coffs Harbour
Tesla Supercharger - Knockrow
Tesla Destination Charger - Level P3 of "The Canopy" at Lane Cove
Evie DC Fast Charger - Level P2 of "The Canopy" at Lane Cove
NRMA DC Fast Charger - Port Macquarie
Chargefox Charging Station - Rooftop of Westfield Chatswood