Tesla Motors – the transformative US-based electric vehicle manufacturer that is about to launch its product in Australia – is looking to power its network of supercharging stations with solar.
The decision should not be surprising. Tesla is installing solar-powered superchargers in its network in China, and it will make sense in Australia – given its excellent solar resources and that the alternative – relying entirely on the main grid will deliver costly electricity that comes mostly from coal-fired power stations.
Tesla is keeping quiet about the details of its launch plans in Australia, with the exact timing yet to be announced, and likely dependant on establishing its first service centre in Artarmon, on Sydney’s lower north shore.
But solar will almost certainly be a core part of its strategy and marketing for the first part of the network that will link Sydney and Melbourne, and presumably Canberra. As founder and CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month when officially launching Tesla in Japan:
“I’m a big proponent of solar. I think the combination of solar and electric cars can actually work extremely well for a country like Japan. There’s actually enough sun on Japan to completely power Japan with just solar. Many times over.”
And that would certainly be the case in Australia, which has some of the best solar resources in the world, and the highest prices of electricity for residential and business consumers. “We have done this overseas and we are investigating the possibility locally,” Tesla spokesman Heath Walker said.
RenewEconomy understands that all, or nearly all, of the first group of customers who will take delivery of the first privately owned Teslas in Australia will use rooftop solar in their homes to charge their cars. Walker said this would be cost-effective for the EV owners.
by Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy