Bathurst councillor Jess Jennings says there's real potential for the growth of electric vehicles [EV] on Australian roads after recently investigating the towing capabilities of his Tesla Model 3 Long Range.
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On holiday in January, Cr Jennings and his family towed a boat on a 1600-kilometre starting and finishing in Bathurst via Palm Beach, Narooma and Goulburn.
Cr Jennings said the travel costs amounted to $40.
"On average, we get around 500 kilometres per tank, which costs anywhere between $15 and $25 at a Tesla Supercharger station depending on how much charge is needed," he said.
"But it's currently free to charge at an NRMA charging station, which is a big advantage to EV users looking to save extra funds."
Cr Jennings said he was a bit apprehensive at first to test the towing capacity on his EV, with research around their effect on charge usage still in the elementary stages.
"I reckon I'm probably the first person in Australia to cross the Great Dividing Range towing a boat in an EV," he said.
"With the boat in tow, I found the range to be around 200 to 250 kilometres per tank.
"The variance depends not only on the extra weight, but elevation as well. From Lithgow to Pittwater, it's mostly downhill, so you get 260 kilometres with a full tank.
While admitting travelling long distance in an EV with a great weight in tow does require careful forward planning, Cr Jennings said it only provides travellers with greater incentive to stop, revive and survive.
"You probably wouldn't tow over a tonne on an EV, but it's a good start, and the Tesla tows better than our Toyota Land Cruiser," he said.
"The performance is unreal, the comfort is second to none and it's the safest vehicle in the world."
At Bathurst Regional Council's meeting last month, council resolved to introduce a reserved parking zone outside the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre's EV charging station for vehicles towing extra weight.
"I think more communities need to take Bathurst's lead and make charging stations accessible to vehicles with a trailer or boat in tow," Cr Jennings said.
Cr Jennings said an EV's simple mechanical composition as opposed to a petrol vehicle also helps offset the steep buy-in price, with a Tesla Model 3 Long Range currently valued at around $76,200, plus on-road costs.
"The batteries look after themselves, and maintenance costs are virtually zero compared to petrol vehicles," he said.
"There's no carburettor, no gearbox, no pistons, all those moving parts are gone. There's around 20 moving parts in this car as opposed to 200 in a petrol engine, which is where maintenance costs mount."
Cr Jennings said the greater attention to trip planning could also be of benefit to tourist economies, with charging points generally placed near amenities.
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