Internode Blog

At last: a road permit

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by

SUN 26

Today was a great day for me.

Finally, I have a number plate on the Roadster that will let me drive it on Australian public roads.

My permission to do this is strictly limited to this event, and the car will turn back into a pumpkin at midnight on Saturday week at events’ end.

There are substantial challenges (that I feel should not be as hard as they are) to obtaining a full regular road permit for this production electric vehicle (but: that is a story for another day).

Meantime, today I took off the Californian number plate from the car, and put on ‘SUN 26’ – my NT issued plate to go with my NT issued permission to run in the event from Darwin to Adelaide.

I’m hugely grateful to the registration authorities here for finding a way to make this possible.

It is hard to express how happy I feel about this. I ordered this car in 2006, from an unproven startup company in California. And here I am, finally, in late 2009, with my faith in Tesla Motors having been vindicated, and with my own determination to make this happen having reached the point of fruition as well.

Put it this way – right now there is no other place I’d rather be, and no other thing I’d rather be doing.

Tonight the car is now parked (on the trailer) here at our hotel again, alongside our mobile power station.

Ready for the first event stage

Ready for the first event stage

It’ll be a big day tomorrow!

Here’s the plan:

  • Up early, check out, pack everything in and around the vehicles.
  • Trailer the car to Hidden Valley Racetrack for CAMS scrutineering at 8am
  • Trailer it back to a petrol station half way back into the Darwin CBD, the fuelling and stage start point for the Eco Class.
  • Back the car off of the road trailer, and while others are putting fuel in their cars, we’ll crank up the genset, turn on the fan, and put another 5-10 kWh back into the car to top up the ‘tank’ with our own sort of fuel.

At that point I’ll be able to drive the car on a public Australian road for the first time ever – without the sky falling after all – w00t!

The first stage of the event on Friday involves driving from this refuelling point to State Square in the Darwin CBD, then around a short urban cycle course before setting off for Katherine. Total driving distance 346 km’s. This is a remarkably close match to what the trip computer in the car says it should be capable of with ‘normal’ driving.

Emilis and I are planning to use better-than-normal driving approaches, derived from our highly applicable soaring experience in gliders (and thats also a story for another blog post), so that we can arrive in Katherine with enough Watt-Hours left to prove the trip computer wrong – by still having a bit of range left at the end of the day.

Will we manage it ? Well, finding out is the point of the exercise :)

It may be a late night on Friday if things don’t go entirely to plan – and such is a definite possibility.

So the next bits of news here may have to wait until Saturday – depending on how late it is, and how tired I am, after the first day of real world driving of this car in this country.

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