A pit stop on the way to Darwin

Richard McNeall, Dennis, Greg Partridge and Richard Bentley are travelling from Adelaide to Darwin in a Tesla, the first to do so unsupported.

Richard McNeall, Dennis, Greg Partridge and Richard Bentley are travelling from Adelaide to Darwin in a Tesla, the first to do so unsupported.

A group of Tesla enthusiasts made a pit stop in Clare earlier this week on their way to Darwin.

It will be the first time an unsupported electric vehicle has traveled through the middle of Australia, with an aim to dispel the myth that they are not made for long distance journeys.

Members of the Sydney branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association Richard McNeall and Greg Partridge traveled to Adelaide to take part at the invitation of SA and NT branch member Richard Bentley.

The pair has already circumnavigated the country once, becoming the second electric vehicle in Australia to complete the journey.

Mr Bentley said his interest in electric vehicles came from his time in central Australia, and that sparked the idea of trekking from south to north.

“I saw massive fuel tankers bringing diesel from South East Asia and transporting it all the way from Darwin to central Australia,” he said.

“We had the sun shining most days and knowledge that electric vehicles could be running on locally generated energy, so I thought how do we promote this idea and the best way was to put out an invitation for Tesla owners.

“These two gentlemen were kind enough to take up the invitation.”

Clare has two dedicated Tesla charging stations, one at Mr. Mick Cellar Door and Kitchen, and the other at the Clare Valley Motel.

The charging station at Mr. Mick had only been used one other time before the group pulled up on Monday.

The Big 4 Caravan Park in Port Augusta was the last town on the route to have a charging station before Alice Springs, meaning the group would have to rely on wall outlets to charge their vehicles, which could take up to 40 hours.

The AEVA and the Tesla Owners Club are giving away industrial outlets to help create a route that other drivers can follow and charge their vehicles along the way.

“We are giving out industrial outlets to properties, so we are making a route,” Mr McNeall said.

“People can then follow it all the way from Adelaide to Darwin, as well as around Australia.

“The more people that go around, the more areas of the country get exposed to electric vehicles and it opens up environmental discussions.

“In the car we have four big industrial outlets ready to hand out to roadhouses and we will discuss it with them; if they wire it we will supply it.”

The group took a slight detour on their way to Port Augusta by heading up through the Clare Valley and calling in to Jamestown to visit the site of the world’s largest battery.

A map of South Australia showing all the Tesla charging stations

A map of South Australia showing all the Tesla charging stations

Mr Partridge believed the battery would successfully attract tourists to the region, but that it needed to be marketed properly.

“Have a visitor centre when it is built or a lookout – have something for people to come and see, do not put it behind a fence where people cannot get a photo,” he said.

“Make it a destination where people would want to come up and say ‘I have been to the world’s biggest battery’.”

Mr McNeall also said the draw of seeing the world’s biggest battery, while it was there, would play a factor.

“The world’s biggest battery is something and it will not be forever,” he said.