On the first full day of ownership of my Tesla Model Y, we took a road trip to Byron Bay, NSW from the Gold Coast, QLD with family.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to test out the new Model Y and wear it in. I watched hundreds of hours of Tesla YouTube videos before I bought the vehicle but the first day in revealed plenty of gaps in my knowledge. Here are some of the key learnings:

How to properly engage autopilot:

For some reason I thought engaging Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) required a double press down on the right hand stalk. It is actually just a single press, so I was effectively engaging it briefly then disengaging it each time. Usually the double press down would engage Enhanced Auto Pilot if you have it, but I hadn’t enabled this as yet.

Learn How to use the Chargefox App

For the uninitiated, Chargefox is a vast network of EV chargers across Australia. I had not really properly set up my Chargefox app before going on the trip to Byron Bay, nor made myself familiar with how it works. Thankfully I was able to edit my credit card details on the fly. Looking at Byron Bay on the Chargefox app, I could see a couple of different chargers so just navigated to the nearest one – I didn’t realise that I could see more details about each charging station, including if they are currently in use, or out of order. It wasn’t until we drove around and finally found a charger and then found that it was out of order, that I realised you could see this on the app. I definitely recommend getting familiar with the Chargefox App before your first EV roadtrip. It will save a lot of stress.

That some Chargefox Chargers are BYO Cable (especially the free ones)

Before purchasing my Tesla Model Y, I had become familiar with the Tesla charging network and their Superchargers, but they are mainly concentrated in larger population centres at the moment. If you are travelling regionally, you are typically going to need to rely on other charging stations like Chargefox, BP Pulse or AMP Charge. The upside is that Chargefox has a number of free chargers on their network, in Byron Bay these were at shopping centres. The downside was, many of these free chargers are BYO cable. It wasn’t until after I had tracked down a couple of these chargers that I realised you could see on the app whether the charger required you to bring your own cable. 

That the Mobile Connector Pack is Different to the BYO Cable Required 

Following on from my last point, when I arrived at a charger that was BYO cable, I thought I had everything I needed. I was wrong. I had bought my mobile connector online from the Tesla store thinking that this would include both the ability to connect into a wall outlet, and an adapter to connect into any other charging station. Apparently this is not the case. There is a separate type 2 to type 2 connector cable that is required for these chargers. You can purchase one of these cables from Tesla or other online retailers, priced generally from $200-$500. Needless to say, I’m putting this down on the Father’s Day wish list!

NRMA Chargers Are Currently Free, and Pretty Fast

After failing to find a charger in town, we remember that The Farm where we had stopped for Morning Tea, has some chargers onsite. We drove back there to plug in. These were NRMA chargers. The NRMA is the National Roads and Motorist Association which is a large insurer in NSW, and the equivalent of RACV or RACQ. The NRMA have put a lot of work into building a statewide network of charging stations. I found it hard to find information about the chargers, and was looking for a way to pay, then saw a phone number. On speaking with the operator, they let me know that NRMA chargers are currently free (though this won’t always be the case). I was thrilled to be able to chart without cost.

Chargefox Offers A Discount to RACQ Members

On learning about the NRMA chargers in NSW, I wondered if the RACQ was doing something similar in Queensland. From what I could tell, the RACQ hasn’t built its own network, but uses Chargefox and has arranged a 20% discount for its members. You better believe I entered my membership number in the app straight away and sued the Chargefox charger to recharge when I got home. This taught me my final lesson for today…

Tesla Superchargers Are Much More Expensive (but fast)

My first charge after receiving my Tesla was on the Shoperchargers in Runaway Bay. It was super fast to charge up but also works out at a much higher price than the Chargefox charger with the RACQ discount. 

  • I charged 36.56kWh for $0.30 at Chargefox for $10.97 (about 60% of my battery)
  • I charged 20kWh for $0.58 at a Tesla Supercharger totalling $11.60 (around 30% of my battery)

At the end of the day it comes down to how much time you have. If you have more time, then it may be worth going to Chargefox and saving some money.

I hope these lessons were helpful to you. If you are in the market for a new Tesla and want to save some money on your order, please use my Tesla referral link (I also get some Tesla credits as well if you sign up.)

Let me know how your first full day of driving went when you got your Tesla.