Me & My Car: He’s charging ahead in a Tesla
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
What are you driving?
I am mostly driving a Tesla Model X 90D, which is configured with the semi-autonomous driving ability known as AutoPilot.
Is this your first electric car?
It is my first fully electric car, but since 2014 I have been driving a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which let me to do about 80 per cent of my driving in fully electric mode.
Primarily to reduce my CO2 emissions, which I have been progressively doing over several years. I have replaced my gas heaters with electric heat pumps, my gas hot water system with a heat pump system, my tools and mower with battery versions, and installed about 10kW of solar panels at my home.
Where do you charge it?
At public charging stations. I also charge with a Tesla fast charger at home, or from any standard wall outlet. Tesla is adding Superchargers around New Zealand that can charge about 250km in less than 30 minutes.
How long does it take to charge?
For normal use, you plug the car in every day, just like a mobile phone, to charge overnight. Every morning you have a “full tank” so normally don’t need to worry about running out of charge. On a long trip, you need to stop off only long enough to get the charge needed to complete the trip. When driving from Auckland to Wellington for instance, you need to do one charge during a stop for lunch in Taupo.
What is your Tesla’s range?
About 350km-400km, but I could get more if I drove more sedately.
Longest trip you’ve done in it?
I haven’t done a long trip yet, just Auckland to Hamilton and back.
How does it suit your personality?
Tesla cars are fun and relaxing. They have instant power, and lots of it. Since the car makes almost no noise while accelerating, you do not offend other drivers when making use of that power. They also handle very well, although my days of pushing a car’s handling have long passed. Listening to the 17-speaker stereo while the car does most of the work on Auckland’s motorways has reduced stress levels.
Who else drives it?
Other drivers of the Premium service provided by OHPEC.
What do you always keep in your car?
A torch, tissues, headache tablets, antacids, tools, water, tyre repair kit and inflator, charging cable and other bits and bobs.
Is this your dream EV?
Not quite. The Model X is a big car, and I want something smaller for a personal car. I expect to own the SUV version of the new Tesla Model 3 sedan, named the Model Y, and that will be my dream car.
Can you see yourself travelling in a driverless car?
I look forward to it. The personal advantages are huge. I will be able to travel from Auckland to Ruapehu early in the morning while sleeping, wear myself out skiing, and then have the car drive me home again. There will be no more leaving a car at the other end of a one-way tramp. I will be able to ride my bike until I am pooped, and then get the car to collect me.
Will electric cars solve Auckland’s traffic?
I believe it is vital that electric, autonomous, public minibuses must come into use before the mass adoption of autonomous electric cars. Personal autonomous electric cars on their own will make traffic worse.
Do you have a favourite racing e-driver?
Leilani Munter. She has been a long-time advocate for EVs, owns a Tesla Model S, and will now be driving for the Electric GT (EGT) racing series. She is also married to a Kiwi.