Tesla has opened Supercharger stations for their electric cars in Goulburn and Wodonga to enable owners to travel between Sydney and Melbourne.
Australia is moving one step closer to gaining an electric highway today, with Tesla officially opening new Supercharger stations in the NSW town of Goulburn and the Victorian town of Wodonga, along the Hume Highway connecting Sydney and Melbourne.
The Goulburn charging station - which can charge up to eight Teslas at a time - is located at the Visitor's Information Centre near the middle of town, while in Wodonga the six-bay charging station is located in the Wodonga Library carpark.
The Supercharger units output 120 kilowatts and can replenish 270km of range into a Model S in about 30 minutes.
Drivers embarking on the full distance will need to charge for more than 30 minutes each stop
The Goulburn and Wodonga locations have been chosen to enable Model S owners to travel between Sydney and Melbourne for the first time, with the journey now possible in just two stops. The Goulburn location also makes it easier to travel between Sydney and Canberra.
However, drivers embarking on the full distance will need to charge for more than 30 minutes each stop. The run from Sydney to Goulburn is easy enough, at only 196km. But from there down to Wodonga clocks in at 360km – or about 100km beyond the charge you'll get in 30 minutes. And from Wodonga to Melbourne is further 320km.
So how long will it take to get enough charge at each stop to complete the trip?
"Just over an hour," Tesla spokesman Heath Walker says.
He explained that charging an electric car is "just like getting water from a faucet - the higher you get, [to filling up] you start to slow the flow down."
Tesla is aware of the relative inconvenience of stopping for over an hour, and plans to open a third location closer to Melbourne by the end of this year.
The aim is to have enough Superchargers so drivers only ever have to stop for the 30-minute fill, to better suit conventional petrol-driven driving habits by cutting charging to within the time required to stop, revive and survive.
The likelihood of growing the network is very high
And it's not just Sydney and Melbourne that Tesla looking at connecting. Plans are afoot for Superchargers along the east coast, allowing people to drive from Melbourne all the way up to Brisbane, by the end of 2016.
"We're still scouting locations and doing scoping work," Walker said.
Tesla plans to connect all Australia's major cities...eventually. This will depend, naturally, on the take-up of their cars and demand for Superchargers.
"The likelihood of growing the network is very high."
Tesla also currently has 30 lesser-powered "destination chargers" at hotels, shopping centres and carparks across NSW, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and Victoria.
Would 30-minute charging tempt you into buying an electric car? Let us know in the comments below.