A 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 set out this morning to break a record for the longest road trip by an electric vehicle in Australia.

The Roadster will travel 3000km from Melbourne to Brisbane between today and March 30.

Tesla’s ‘Oz Goes Electric’ promotional tour will give people a chance to see the Roadster up-close, following the electric supercar company’s official Australian launch in January.

The Roadster will stop over in Wangaratta, Albury, Canberra, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast on its two-week journey.

The Roadster has an official range of 394km (although Tesla quoted 360km in its release), which is significantly less than a standard internal combustion engine-driven vehicle. If you think Tesla is going to risk it breaking down on the side of the highway, however, think again.

Tesla Australia national sales manager, Jay McCormack, said one of the main objectives of the road trip is to prove to Australian motorists that EVs do not mean compromising on range, performance or styling.

“This road trip is a milestone. It’s the first time an electric vehicle has travelled a significant distance in Australia, charging along the way,” Mr McCormack said.

A complete fast charge from a 240V charger takes slightly less than four hours.

“Many Australians will be seeing an EV for the first time, and we want them to see with their own eyes that electric cars can perform just as well as conventional cars without the emissions,” he said.

In October 2009, Australia’s first Tesla owner, Simon Hackett, broke the record for the furthest distance travelled by an EV on a single charge. With a light right foot, Hackett piloted the 2008 Roadster from Alice Springs to Coober Pedy for a total of 501km.

The Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power a 215kW/400Nm electric motor. All 400 Newton-metres of torque is available from 0-5100rpm, while the motor will continue to spin all the way to 14,000rpm.

Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes just 3.7 seconds and it will go all the way to 212km/h.

Throughout the Oz Goes Electric road trip, the Roadster will be charged only by renewable sources of energy, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass energy provided by AGL Resources.

The Tesla Roadster is available in Australia for $206,188.

CarAdvice’s Paul Maric jumped in the driver’s seat of the Tesla Roadster earlier this week. Stay tuned for his full drive review in the coming days.

  • Aquahead

    Best of luck to the team from Tesla, I truly hope they can show how good EV’s can be. However, I think that “range anxiety” will still be the bugbear for EV’s in Australia until they can do 1,000km between charges. I know most vehicles can only manage about half that, but most vehicles can be filled up just about anywhere and in no more than 5 minutes too.

    • Alexander

      I 100% agree, although its very rare that i persoanlly drive more than 75km in one day, therefore i wouldnt really experience range anxiety even in a 160km range Leaf, i think if most people are realistic and charge overnight religiously, they will realise range anxiety wont really be a huge problem (unless going on a long trip).

    • Lazybones

      1000km!!!! (Almost a Dr Emmett Brown moment). There aren’t many petrol cars that can even manage that kind of range. Surely the holy grail would be about 400-500km. I base that on the concept that you’ll never driver more than that in a day without stopping somewhere that has electricity.

  • Mick

    It would be interesting to see what the range is in hilly areas, with a strong head wind, and/or at night time when you have to use the headlights… or stop start city traffic

  • Mick

    I should point out I think its a pretty neat little car. One of the main problems with efficient electric cars is the currently need lithium batteries. Not only isn’t there enough lithium for electric cars to become mainstream (which also pushes up the price of anything that uses lithium batteries such as phones, laptops etc), but the mining of lithium isn’t the most environmental procedure!

  • AndrewF

    It might have the official range of 360, 390 or 3,900 kms… but when Top Gear guys took it for a spin, they came to a halt in less than a hundred.

    • Alexander

      That was a very early production model, they’ve significantly overhauled the battery and its management systems since then…

      • Mitch

        They were also trashing it around a track.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au race car driver

    I hear holden is just about to become the first auto company in australia to travel from melbourne CBD to st kilda making 500kg grams per km , Australian tech hard at work oh sorry can’t type the rest on smoko and tomorrow call in sick.

  • Nikola Tesla

    Later during a press conference clarkson admitted that the car had never run out of juice. They just wanted a (negative) Segway into the charging bit.

    GO TESLA!!!

    • AndrewF

      OK, I stand corrected. But I think the word you were looking for is segue – ‘a smooth transition from one topic to the next’. Segway is a personal mobility vehicle and it took me a while to figure out how it fit into the context :)

  • Shak

    I know ill probably just sound like a fanboy here(and with regards to this i probably am), but electric range extended vehicles just seem like a better idea to make the quantum shift for normal people into EV’s. E-REV’s are very similar to hybrids in that they allow people to move into new technology, while making the shift with the help of technologies they are used to. Cars such as the roadster are a good platform to show the world at large what EV’s are capable of, but they are out of the reach of almost everyone, and until Joe citizen can confidently get into his EV and show off to the neighbours, the take up will be very slow.

  • T Jones

    I doubt if any EV will ever catch on in Aus which is a real pity. Unfortunately drivers in Aus don’t want efficiency and are more than happy to keep paying whatever price for fuel to keep their 4 wheel drives in the city streets.

    • AndrewF

      Well, there’s no reason why electric vehicle couldn’t be a 4WD… and BTW, their popularity on our city streets is a logical response to the state of our streets… but I digress.

      Range and cost of ownership are two killers of EV, especially with large distances we deal with. And while it’s true the range *may* be sufficient for average daily trips for many city dwellers, what about those not-average days? In practice it means you’d still need to keep two cars which defeats the purpose.
      That’s why I am quite excited about ‘extended range’ vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt as they offer the best of both worlds. They also need to get cheaper though.

  • http://electric-vehicles-cars-bikes.blogspot.com/ Paul

    Don’t worry about the range ONLY being 400 kms (how often does anyone drive more than 400 km in a day of city driving???), how about even a mention of the most important FACT, it costs 1/10th as much per km to fuel this vehicle compared to an ICE car!!!

    The Tesla can obviously never pay for itself with fuel savings when the retail price is exactly DOUBLE the US price, but all EVs have the low energy cost in common.

    • AndrewF

      You want FACTS? Fine:

      Fact 1: Official range is calculated under the optimal conditions – flat ground, low and STEADY speed. Since ACTUAL driving conditions are nothing like that, the real life range is at best half of the official one.

      Fact 2: As you figured out yourself, the high cost of purchase of EVs completely obliterates any savings in running costs.

      Fact 3: Thanks to the retarded policies anf complete lack of vision displayed by our governments, electricity is not getting any cheaper either, in case you haven’t noticed.

    • Lazybones

      I’ve done this calculation and already posted on CA my findings. Typically an EV is about 3-4 times cheaper to run per KM. Another advantage should come with less frequent servicing.

      The high cost of EV’s is only because this is new technology. The price of EV’s will drop dramatically every year. Also keep in mind the Tesla is the cheapest carbon fibre sports car on the market bar none.

      Electricity is not getting any cheaper, but its costs raise less per year than the cost of petrol. Add to this you can protect yourself from price hikes with solar PV, you have no such option with petrol.

      The cost advantage of petrol will slowly erode as the effects of peak oil and various carbon pricing policies take effect.

  • AndrewF

    Well then, in view of those drastic price reductions you anticipate I’d certainly feel stupid if I dropped a bundle on an EV now – wouldn’t you?

    • Lazybones

      Yup, let fleets and businesses buy up the first/2nd wave. Because they won’t hold their money. Even the battery technology is about to make a leap.

      Mitsubishi in the US dropped the price of the MIEV by over 5K just on the news of Nissan launching the Leaf. Another GM dealer was found trying to sell a Volt for 20k over the recommended retail price!!! There are even rumours of GM shaving 7k off the price of the next series volt. Its going to take a while for pricing and competition to give job public a good affordable EV.

      • dailydriver

        Fleets won’t buy them. Look at the ATO and see if you can find any info regarding EVs.
        Nope….. Our government is still in the dark ages!

        • digihed

          The Environment & Climate Change departments have some MIEVs running around in Canberra alongside their hybrids.
          I think the ATO is still running Ford F250 trucks and Bentley’s for the executive; )