Alex Almagro had sold his boat. His Mitsubishi Triton ute had been reliable and was a good tow vehicle but now, with a long commute to work at the Port of Brisbane, Alex didn’t need its towing abilities or the $500+ per month diesel bill.

    He was now in the market for a new fuel-efficient car. He also didn’t need to carry tools or stock, and the family only had one child, so a regular-sized sedan was a valid choice.

    There was still diesel in his life, though, as Alex drives enormous Super B trucks to and from the wharfs. Motorists won’t see a Super B very often as they are restricted to specific roads.

    These 30m monsters are 4m longer than a B Double and can carry up to four 20ft or two 40ft shipping containers at once.

    Alex decided to go with Toyota’s proven hybrid technology and put down a deposit on a Camry. The Toyota dealer was upfront in telling him there would be an eight-month wait.

    Lengthy waits were common across the industry at the time, in the aftermath of COVID and various supplier-related issues.

    After six months, the dealer called and advised him there would be a price increase of a couple of thousand dollars – but couldn’t provide an ETA.

    Six months later another call from the dealer didn’t bring any good news. Not only was there no ETA but the price had gone up another $1800.

    Two more months passed. In that time, he began seriously researching his vehicle options on, and also enjoyed a family holiday. Interstate relatives had recently bought a performance electric vehicle and during their holidays Alex’s family got their first direct experience of fuel-free motoring.

    “The performance was mind-blowing but what was really interesting was the low running cost,” he said.

    After still more research, and with thousands of dollars of Queensland Government incentives on the table, Alex had made up his mind and cancelled his Camry.

    “After 14 months they still had no ETA. They only contact me to let me know the car I don’t have will be more expensive,” he said.

    He then ordered a Tesla Model 3 RWD.

    “I wanted the LFP batteries with the ability to charge regularly to 100 per cent and enjoy all of the 450km of range,” he explained.

    Tesla had not long dropped the price on these cars and by using his relative’s referral code at purchase he got a $700 7kW wall connector to charge the car in his garage – at no extra cost.

    “I still had to wait though,” he said. “The difference was Tesla stated delivery would be seven weeks and it was exactly seven weeks later when I picked up the car – and the price had not gone up”.

    Now he’s had the car for several months he can’t believe how cheap the vehicle is to run.

    “Even without our solar panels, the car would cost us about $80 a month in electricity but as it is the typical figure is around $50,” he said.

    “The other thing I will be enjoying is the lack of servicing, as the ute cost me $1000 per year to service.”

    Asked about how he found the other aspects of the car, he said: “Technology is very impressive. Navigation, the phone app and what it can do and the way everything works so smoothly: it’s just very impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s got plenty of poke either.”

    When asked what he didn’t like, he said: “The suspension can be harsh on rougher roads. Overall, it’s not terrible – just firmer than what I would like.”

    Alex will be buying another dual cab again in the future and does miss the utility of his Triton but is going to wait until there are a few decent plug-in hybrid or electric options in the market before spending any money.

    He admitted that he did get some ribbing from his colleagues after his purchase but there soon followed questions about how much money he was saving, charging and other typical EV-related stuff.

    “There’s already so many of them on the road now; it’s just a matter of time and a bit of knowledge and people will not be worried by the technology,” he said.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model 3

    Gavin Womersley

    Married with two children and a pet Great Dane, my other interests include: single malt whiskies, fine rum, AFL, weightlifting, fine music and home theatre, renewable energy and last but not least - American politics. Naturally, I am also interested in cars too!

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