THE convergence of technology is going at such a pace that we won’t know ourselves in five years and evidence of that was parked out the front of Gippsland Solar’s headquarters in Mirboo North last Friday.
Powered by solar panels on the roof of their manufacturing site in Traralgon is one of the new, exclusively electric-powered Tesla cars.
No tiny buzz-box this.
The car, a Tesla S model, is a stylish saloon with more in common design-wise with an Aston Martin than a Mighty Boy and performance… hang on to your hat, this car can really go.
Boasting acceleration of 0-100km/h in a “ludicrous” three seconds and up to 397kW of power, there’s absolutely no compromise changing from petrol to electric.
And with a range of 480 kilometres or better, and capable of being recharged with an adaptor on your home power point, you’re never going to get stranded.
“There’s probably only about half a dozen Teslas in Gippsland at the moment but there’s quite a lot of them in Melbourne which is why we decided to put in a recharge point at Traralgon,” said Andy McCarthy, founder and managing director of Gippsland Solar.
“With the range of 480km it’s quite easy for people to drive up into Gippsland and because we are generating the power from the solar panels we are offering, the recharge facility is free.
“I’d say we’ve had 12 people visit with their cars in the past month.”
Andy bought the car for promotional reasons and due to his personal passion for solar, but he agrees that at a price point of between $100,000 and $200,000 depending on the options, it’s out of the price range of most people.
“But all that’s about to change.
“The next model, which they expect to have on the market soon, will be less than $50,000 and that’s the one that a lot of people are waiting for.
“Given the number they expect to sell, the price can be driven down to a commercial level.”
But the future is here now, if you have the wherewithal to pay for it, you can saddle up with no more petrol bills to pay.
And the Tesla cars also offer leading edge ‘Autopilot’ options, which allow it to steer within lanes, change lanes and manage speed relative to other cars on the road, with sophisticated collision avoidance systems.
“It’s fantastic to drive. Really it’s better to drive than a normal car,” said Caroline Barry at the Mirboo North office of Gippsland Solar.
“So smooth and so responsive.
“And you never have to run out of power. Recharging at a proper recharging station is the quickest, and there’s more and more of those, but even if you get caught out, you can plug into a normal power point and get enough of a recharge to get you home.”
It is anticipated that a recharge facility will be added at Mirboo North soon.
Gippsland Solar is still busily erecting solar-powered systems on roofs right around the region and elsewhere, having been founded in June 2010.
It now employs 22 people and has a high customer satisfaction rating.
Gippsland Solar is constantly adding to its suite of products, most recently offering the Tesla Powerwall and equivalent power storages to solar projects, providing customers with even more control over the power they produce and use.