Observations from the Model X Launch Party

On the morning of September 21, 2015, I received an email from Tesla.

Model X Invite 2015-09-21

It was an invite to the Model X Launch Party.

It is a surprising invite as my wife and I do not have a reservation for the Model X. The event was going to be held at Fremont and I figured to go ahead and RSVP positively as Tesla events tend to “sell out” quickly. I figured that we could always cancel a positive RSVP if it turned out that we would not be able to make the 350+ miles from our home to the party.

We decided to go.

The trip to Fremont is approximately 350 miles and through a minimum of two superchargers for us (assuming a good charge at home to start.) However, it would turn out that this trip will be using a Loaner 70D and not our S85. I will write about the trip in a later blog post and focus this post on the actual Model X Launch Party and our impressions of the car itself.

So, the start of the party is at a Fremont location that used to be the Solyndra headquarters. This is the same building that Tesla was recently in the news for Tesla’s expansion into the space. It’s nice to see Tesla re-purposing a new asset for this party before they re-furbish the location for their expansion. We’ll start this post with our arrival at the location.




Tesla expected a lot of people to the event that they secured off-site parking and provided shuttle services. We had expected to be directed to these overflow lots, but lucked out and parked in the event parking location.


With a happy Dennis at the end of the line for the event. Tesla was pretty well organized at the early portion of the event and the line was winding in an orderly manner. However, the line was longer than the barriers and folks were asked to line up without the guiding barriers very soon after.

There was a drone taking pictures.




I was preparing to report on the event for my Twitter followers. So, I had my mobile reporting devices/phones at the ready.


However, soon after the doors opened and the second set of folks in the line got into the building, the crowd descended into chaos and those of us following the queue were at a disadvantage. What had once been one of the more orderly starts to a Tesla event, morphed into a free-for-all.

Knowing how late Elon usually is for these things, we knew that as late as we may be, Elon will be later. As we entered into the building, we were greeted by a Big X… which obviously marks the spot.


There was a cool “red carpet background” off to the left of the entrance which makes for ideal photo opportunity.


Once in the building, we were in a large room for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres



Since we drove to the event, I made sure to have my usual “virgin” Rum and Diet Coke… We parked ourselves in the back of the room, in an elevated stand so that we can have a good view. Walking around the room, I spotted a garage door in the main room.


As we were wondering if the X was going to be driving out of that garage, that notion was quashed when it turned out that Tesla had other ideas, as a new set of doors opened and the cars were being presented in ANOTHER great room.


IMG_0115 IMG_0119We tried to hang out in the reveal room




We had a rather tough view from the right side (a function of many people and being “height-challenged”) Our view of Elon was not as good as the one for the D Event.





We heard Elon discuss the car’s self-opening front doors.  The biohazard air filtration that the Model X is equipped with.

We noticed that there was video of the event from the original “holding room.” So we headed back there to get a better view.


We had a better view of the festivities, but a poor opportunity for further pictures.  (like the one with the Model X pulling the Airstream, etc.)

So, we just watched the rest of the presentation from the holding room.

One thing that we did get to do was to get in line for a ride in a production Model X.


This was through the randomized badge holders that we received when we got to the event and we got our numbers in the 600s for the ride. Which meant a long wait in the outdoor lounge area.


We got to meet people and see the cars be driven.








As we waited, kept taking pictures of folks on their drives.



Several hours later, our number was called… And we got to stand in line again.


This was another 30 or so minutes of waiting, and we were getting closer to the front.





As we got closer to midnight, we were up.  As luck would have it.  we would HAVE to be a Blue one for our ride…


And your author has to get a shot in front of the one we’re riding.


We did shoot a video inside the car, but we were running out of juice on our devices as we got to ride just after midnight.


We did get some stills of the car that we were riding in.  But since there were two of us, we got to sit in the second row seats.  The vehicle we were in was outfitted with the three row second seat configuration.





The hinge of the Falcon Wing.


The empty second row we sat in.


We headed back in to get a close up look at Elon’s Founder VIN #1.

It’s a beauty…




There is no removable nosecone on the Model X, it’s all one piece.


Headlights look different from the S IMG_0167

Full car, but folks seem ok…




A fine detail from the outside that tells you it’s a Founder’s series Model S.


In closer


Patiently waiting for my turn inside Elon’s car’s driver’s seat.


Finally in the front seat.



Fiddling around


Frunk space


A closer look at the Model X Frunk


Better view of the falcon hinge.


Step in.


The screens from the driver’s seat.







The Panoramic Windscreen


The sunvisor on the side


Sunvisor extended


Another shot of Vin 1 again.



Opening the Falcon Doors…


Here is the door opening in a video.


In front of Elon’s car.


We left the party late… But there were still folks in line for their rides.



We enjoyed the vehicle and the event.  The event was packed and the disorganization apparent, but that has been the typical of Tesla events.  It took forever to get a ride in the Model X.  As I had previously mentioned, we were surprised to have been invited to the Model X Launch and appreciate it.  I can say that after taking the time to experience the vehicle, we are now tempted to get one.  Eventually.  Perhaps in a few years when there are more CPO Model X we would pick one up.

There are more pictures at our flickr album, as usual – Model X Launch

Our third year of Solar usage.

Projected Usage 2015-09-09

This is a third year update. Click here for the 2nd Year of Net Metering.

It’s been three years since our PTO was approved, we originally estimated our savings on driving the Active E or a vehicle like the Active E. Since then, we moved from one EV to two EVs to three EVs back to two EVs. We’ve also driven around a lot and our mileage has grown significantly since then. I haven’t done the math, but estimated that we’re either at break-even this year or definitely in a few months.

In our first year of Solar use, we had a credit. Which, as we found out, we could not claim. Because, it turns out, Net Metering means that though we’re credited for the production at a $ rate, customers are paid out on OVERPRODUCTION of power and not on the CREDITS earned. What this means is the system produced greater kWh of energy than consumed by the end user. If this is the case, the customer is PAID OUT the power times the wholesale rate of production. Last year, we paid over $200 to SCE for the entire second year of Solar. This third year, coupled with our nearly a month of travel to Maine and back in our Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip, we’ve been out of the house for about a month. So, that created a month of overproduction. As a result, the annual net metering statement was for approximately $40 for Year 3.

This full third year of solar production is basically the Model S and Roadster. What is interesting is that our usage this past 3rd year probably would have cost us less than Year Two’s Annual bill. But the month off really helped. At less than $4 a month for power for the third year is greater than I expected. So, I chalk this third year as a monumental year. Considering our average electric bill prior to going EV and solar was closer to $200 a month, it is incredible to get most of our transportation and home energy use at so little.

Now, this current fourth year, I wonder what our bill will be. Most of the past three years our electric tariff was on TOU-D-EV. This was a special whole house rate with a discount for EV drivers. A few months ago, Southern California Edison got rid of that tariff and adjusted the Time of Use tariffs so that the times that start with Peak, Off-Peak, and Super Off-Peak.

Under TOU-D-EV, the Peak rates were from the hours of 10am-6pm M-F, the Super Off-Peak hours were from midnight-6am every day, and Off-Peak is any other time. This was great because Solar was credited during the peak times most days and helped off-set a lot of the costs.

Under TOU-D-A, the Peak rates are now from the hours of 2pm-8pm M-F, the Super Off-Peak hours are now from 10pm-8am every day, and Off-Peak is still any other time. Though the Super Off-Peak hours are longer, the effect of moving peak time to the hours between 6pm-8pm means that we’re no longer generating credits at the Peak rate between 10am-2pm. Additionally, we’re spending more between 6pm-8pm because we’re paying at Peak rates and not Off-Peak rates.

So, I’m projecting paying a little bit more for electricity next year… Unless we go on yet another LONG roadtrip.

MyEV post-mortem review…

A few months ago I published a guide to install the MyEV on our Tesla Model S. What I didn’t share in the original post, but did on subsequent comments is the purpose of the support of the Indiegogo project – MyEV Electric Vehicle Logger and App.

Since we’re a two electric vehicle family, there is some healthy competition between my wife and I on who is the “more efficient” EV driver. The marketing for the MyEV project introduced the fun, social gaming concept using the loggers that MyCarma built for the MyEV product. Since my wife drives a 1.5 Tesla Roadster, I made sure that the folks at MyCarma are able to support her car for the purchase of the two units. I was pleasantly surprised by their positive answer.

The original version of this post was to be along the same lines of the installation guide for the Model S, but we ran into some snags with the way that the Roadster reports itself. Furthermore, it appears that we were the only Roadster owner to support the project for the Roadster. In the end of the day, the Roadster reported data at a rate that was too much for the logger. I appreciate the effort from MyCarma to try to resolve this challenge. Especially since I needed them to make the product work in conjunction with OpenVehicles.com OVMS.

Here is the Custom Roadster cable to the MyEV unit.

IMG_20150429_162640The folks at MyCarma were aware of my requirements to have the unit work with OVMS, so they sent me a Y-cable for the Tesla Proprietary diag port with custom OBD adaptor. IMG_20150429_162701

Like I said, this one is built for the Roadster

IMG_20150429_162728Here is the cable chained up. IMG_20150429_162807

And connected

IMG_20150429_162838Here is the footwell with the OVMS installed in the Roadster. IMG_20150429_171344

Pulled the cable and OVMS off…


When connected, the Bluetooth connection should work.

IMG_20150429_171029And start transferring the log files. IMG_20150429_170949

Here’s what the setup looks like, before it is tidily installed.

IMG_20150429_170848Then put it back in place. IMG_20150430_135749

So. It all hooked up just fine. The problem lay with the fact that though it looked like the unit was logging and transferring it actually wasn’t. I tried playing around with it and finally asked for help.

Tech Support at MyCarma replaced some cables, did some programming and generally tried to help me for at least a month if not longer. At the end, since we were the only Roadster purchasers of the product, it became cost ineffective for them to figure it out and offered me a refund for the unit. I explained to them the reason why we purchased two units (one for the Model S and the one for the Roadster) and they went ahead and refunded us for both units.

The app looks like a lot of fun, but we really needed it to work for both vehicles and it was quite good customer service of MyCarma to provide us with the resolution. I continue to hope that they fix the Roadster, but lacking any further sales. It’s like Waiting for Godot.

[Added at 10:20 PM 9/27/2015 – I forgot to add pictures of what the software looked like when I was using the product]

All these screens are for the Model S as the Roadster one never really processed the data properly. The roadster processed at a speed that the logger could not figure out.

Here is the summary of the power charged for as long as the unit was plugged into the Model S.


Here is the charging histogram of when the most amount of power was added to the car. Considering that the unit was installed before the start of our Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip in May 2015.


Several leaderboards, this one is for the Same Model (Model S) in the Same Region (California?)


The next leaderboard is for All Cars in the Same Region. IMG_1040

The last leaderboard is for all cars in all regions.


Model S at 47,000 Miles. What About that Extended Warranty?

We got home and parked in our parking spot in our garage at exactly 47,000 miles.


We’ve had the car since November 2013, so, this means that we’re probably going to hit 50,000 by the end of the year.

So, it got me to think about whether to get the extended warranty or not, and this thought process led to me reading the Out of Warranty Concerns thread on Teslamotorsclub.com.

Apparently, the Model S extended warranty has some interesting features to it. Aside from the $4,000 cost to purchase the warranty, there is also a co-pay of $200 for each system that is reported.

So, if there’s a problem with the charge port door, pano roof, and something else, the co-pay is $600 and not $200. Considering the cost of the warranty, and what is normally in the marketplace, it seems that the Tesla Extended Warranty is priced quite high. Perhaps, Tesla should offer multiple levels of warranty.  A higher premium with no-copay, for example. As it stands, the current program shouldn’t really be called a warranty as it doesn’t mirror the experience and expectations set up by Tesla service in the first 50,000 miles of ownership.

At 47,000 miles, it’s time to seriously consider whether to opt for the warranty or not. Perhaps it’s time to talk to my service department and ask for an approximate cost of all the items that have been done on the vehicle during the previous 47,000 miles.

On another note, between the ActiveE at 54,321 miles and the Model S at 47,000 miles, I would guess that I, personally, have driven 100,000 EV miles.  Since I share driving the cars with my wife and her Roadster is just over 17,500 miles, I think this is a good approximation.  So, “Yay me!”

[edited 8:45 AM PDT 8/6/2015 to include 2 referral paragraphs below]

You know, that referral program EVERYONE is sending links to… add mine – http://ts.la/dennis5317 after all, if ONLY 4 of you have been convinced by me to go pick up a Model S during this test period, then I can at least get the warranty for free.

For those that are unfamiliar with the referral program, here is the official Tesla Link. So, you’ll save $1,000 USD (if you’re in the US) or whatever the equivalent is in your region (I clicked on a few out of US links to folks I knew and it defaulted to USD for me) if you build and buy a new Model S under that link and as a referrer, I get $1,000 in credit, which I figure to use for my warranty. However, only use my link if I helped convince you to get your Model S.

Update to CHAdeMO Instructions and Review – Efacec and Greenlots Combo CHAdeMO/CCS

My original instructional post for using CHAdeMO only covered two different CHAdeMO chargers. The Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO chargers. Yesterday, I found a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger from Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) at the ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.


I first noticed the ARTIC from the side of the 57 freeway as I zoomed by on my way home. It is a strangely modern piece of architecture on the same exit as “the Pond” and Angel Stadium. As we passed it on that first drive and on every subsequent drive since then, my wife and I often wondered what it was. It looked like a Disneyland monorail station, except Disneyland was several miles away from the sporting venues in Anaheim.

In preparing to write this update on how to charge using the equipment at this location, I ran into several links about the site that was not very positive about this $189 Million Transit hub.  From OC Weekly when it first opened.  To an LA Times review a week later.  To an update on its operational challenges from the OC Register, half a year later.  Regardless of what the critics may say about this location.  Many of what used to be free to charge CHAdeMO L3 chargers have now been converted to paid use and it is comforting to still have options that currently do not charge for the privilege to charge at higher rates of speed.



As mentioned, this particular DC Quick Charger is a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger. What this means is that there are two different “heads” to the Quick Charger, the CHAdeMO one which the Mitsubishi iMiEV , Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S (with an adapter) uses, and a CCS (AKA the “Frankenplug”.) The CCS one is what the BMW i3, Chevy Spark, and others use.


The CHAdeMO is the one on the left and CCS is the one on the right.

In my original post, I had yet to use a CHAdeMO that has been converted to a pay system. During our trip to Vermont, we actually used a couple of Nissan CHAdeMOs that have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  However, we lucked out when the NRG eVgo CHAdeMO was still in its introductory free period.

In addition to an RFID Card, the Efacec system at ARTIC also uses the Greenlots App to initiate the charging session. However, there are a few strange things about this particular location. Though there are few Greenlots locations on the map, this particular one does not show up in it.

Since the system has two ports, there is a set of CHAdeMO and a set of CCS instructions.


We’ll be following the CHAdeMO instructions.


So, aside from downloading the App before charging at this location, I went ahead and followed most of the instructions and steps that I wrote in my original guide.

We pick up at Step 5, we still need to make sure to follow Step 4 and align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

So, on the Efacec L3 charger, it looks like this.


Like the Nissan CHAdeMO adapter, make sure to pull the trigger on the Efacec CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter. Now, with these App initiated.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S. Here is the Efacec CHAdeMO pictured:


It looks similar to how the Eaton sits on the Model S.  I use the cable to push the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter up so that the weight is on the CHAdeMO cable rather than pulling on the Model S port.


Now where we differ from the original steps come in a new Step 7.  Now with this new step, all the other steps get pushed back one.

Step 7 is to authenticate with the charging network.  With this Greenlots App, I scanned the QR Code on the charger. If we had the RFID card, you just swipe it. Additionally, it seems that there is also a Credit Card reader built-in to the charger. However, since this location is free, I chose the QR code method.


Step 8 is to start the charge. With the method I chose, the Greenlots App shows a virtual button to choose which port to initiate charge with. So, I started the charge for the CHAdeMO, which is on Port 1.


Aside from starting it from the App, the charger still presents the user with a physical button to complete the charge initiation on the Efacec charger. The soft button on the upper right becomes a START button.


Step 9 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you.  If you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment. On the display of the charger you will notice that the battery capacity and start of charge shows up.


Green light on the Model S chargeport tells you that the car is charging.


If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO. As opposed to the Eaton and Nissan chargers, the Efacec at this location was providing me with 152 to 156 miles per hour. I forgot to photograph the screen on the Model S, but I did take a photograph of the charger display before it completed.


There is no estimate of how long the charging will take, but it does show the elapsed time charging, the amount of energy provided to the car and the car battery’s state of charge (SOC) percentage in real time.

The Greenlots app does a funny thing somewhere around the 30 minute mark, the app does not provide the status of the current charging session.  Before the 30 minute mark, it actually provides a snapshot of the charging session that is anywhere from most current status to as dated as a few minutes (it batch updates).  When it does provide this status, I believe that I saw it provide for a method to STOP charging from their app.  However, after the 30 minute mark, the session disappears from the app.  In order to stop the charging session, one needs to press any of the buttons on the charger directly.

Since no one was waiting, and I was just hanging out at the car, I figured to get it close to full.

Step 10 When done using the charger, press the STOP button


When I press one of the buttons and the stop is displayed, the screen goes from black to white. I figured to wait until I got to 47 minutes of charging.


Then press the Stop button (the upper left soft-key).

If you press that button the screen updates itself, first with the following “Ending Process message”.


Then the charge ended by user message.


Since I registered for an account, I actually receive an email and text message with the charging sessions statistics, cost, kWh, and time at charger.

From: “do-not-reply@greenlots.com”
To: {Me, the Happy Greenlots user}
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 5:18 PM
Subject: Unplug / Charging Ends

Your vehicle has stopped charging at 43100, ARTIC. You have used 29.61 kWh for 0 hour(s) 47 minute(s).

Billing Details

Sale Amount : 0.00 USD
Tax & Fee : 0.00 USD
Transaction Charge : 0.00 USD
Total Cost : 0.00 USD

Thank you
The Greenlots Team

Step 11 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

The Efacec CHAdeMO is similar to the Nissan charger in that there is a button on top to detach it from the Model S cable.

Step 12 Return the cable back to its proper location.


Step 13 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.


If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream. And if you’re looking for the instructions of the same things on a Nissan or Eaton Charger, here is the link to the original instructional post for using CHAdeMO that I wrote a few months back.


Since this is a combo CHAdeMO/CCS station, I don’t know if it is one of those sites that only lets one car use the DCFC on EITHER the CHAdeMO or CCS OR if it is one that lets two cars use both at the same time. No one else showed up while I was there the 47 or so minutes at the site. The only other EV was a Leaf that was using the L2 J1772 stations that were next to the DCFC (pictured in the background below.)


Something to see some other time. Seeing that many of the DCFC are available for at least $5 to initiate charge, I probably will only use this “in a pinch.”

To the Bay Area and Back in One Day

A little over a week ago, we returned home from a day trip to the Bay Area and back. We didn’t set out on Thursday morning to go on a 22 hour road trip. We figured to find a place to stop overnight once we got to the Bay Area.  However, we did end up on a 22 hour drive and this is the post of that particular trip.  After our 808 mile day on our Here, There, and EVerywhere series, a drive of approximately 400 miles isn’t “too bad.”

We started our trip on Thursday morning after an overnight charge in our garage.  Figuring to head to the Bay Area using the I-5 route means driving through the Grapevine and since I haven’t driven that route in years, I didn’t remember if the climb was both ways or if it was just one way, so we range charged.

One question that is often asked by folks waiting for delivery of their Model S is whether to purchase the HPWC and dual chargers.  As you can see below, the Model S was drawing 20 miles per hour on 30A.  At the time we were faced with that decision the HPWC was over $1000 (was it $1500? I don’t remember) for the device alone.  Additionally, because our garage is the furthest point from our Main Electrical Panel, a 100A circuit was prohibitively expensive.  So, we opted to use an existing Chargepoint EVSE that I had installed for the Active E.  We opted to install 2 NEMA 14-50s and a NEMA 6-50 throughout the garage and outside to accomodate up to 4 EVs charging at the same time.


We rolled out of the garage just a tad under “full” but with enough range to tackle the drive from home to Tejon Ranch.


Moving the car out of the garage requires a bit of a maneuver and takes a lot of going back and forth.


Southern California Traffic

One of the challenges of leaving Southern California during the rush hour is the amount of time spent in traffic.  The navigation does an adequate job of routing us through traffic, but it doesn’t calculate “potential frustration” with certain routes and though I-5 is the most direct route to Tejon Ranch, we opted to go I-605 to I-210 (less immediate traffic) and more.  Note the estimate below of a 10:31 AM arrival to the destination through the original route.


The other benefit of the longer route that we took was access to the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle or carpool) lanes.  In some parts these lanes can be as congested as other lanes, whereas in many they are still beneficial for drivers.  In many of the routes, an HOV only requires two passengers or an HOV eligible vehicle with a sticker (such as an EV, PHEV, Hydrogen, or CNG.)  Though I have some opinions on PHEV eligibility, unfortunately the legislature is fairly lenient about that.


Visitors to Southern California freeways might get confused by the on ramp stoplights. One of my close friends, who is British and was visiting from England, was pulled over when he just passed through one of these many years ago.  The one in the photograph is between I-605 and I-210 and requires all lanes to stop and proceed with 2 cars per green. There are many on ramps in the Los Angeles area that actually only uses the on ramp stoplight for one of the lanes, the other lane is an HOV lane and does not use the stoplight.  This is not the case in the one below.


As we were driving along, I noticed that we passed 44,000 miles early on this drive, 44,008 miles.



And we are thankfully out of SoCal traffic.  The folks going the other direction, however, are heading into it.  There is a reason that California is called the Golden State. And part of me wonders if that’s more because of the Golden Brown that the hills take rather than the “Gold Rush” of the 1800s.




In the Winter, this route can be closed to traffic when it snows.  Which happens occasionally.  But, we’re in a drought and it’s Summer, so, that’s not a worry.





Ooh a water tower.  We have to build them lower to the ground in “earthquake country.”  I do wonder how much water Gorman actually has in that water tower, we’re in the fourth year of the drought, after all.


Apparently, the Grapevine drive is downhill when heading North. So, I guess we’ll have to pay attention to what we charge on the way back for that climb.




Peering West from the car during the descent we capture this view with our camera. The landscape scene is quite stunning and in looking at the picture now, we wonder whether we can pass it off as a painting.



Tejon Ranch

The exit for the Tejon Ranch Supercharger is ahead, away from the outlet mall on the East Side of the road.


Take the West exit from the Northbound 5.


Believe the sign, that’s one weird curve coming up.


There looks to be two Starbucks in this exit, one East (probably in the mall) and one West, a free standing one with a drive through. We opted for the one up the street from the superchargers on the East side.  We futilely waited in the drive through, but the line was just too long (wasted 20 minutes and gave up.)  I figured that we would probably see another one on the I-5 drive.



We would have actually beat the original estimate to arrive at the charger by at least five minutes had we not decided to waste time at the Starbucks line.


Sharing the same parking lot as the chargers is a Yogurtland and Chipotle.  I went to see about using their “facilities” the Yogurtland doesn’t open until 11:00 am, but the Chipotle was open.





These guys in the pickup truck did ICE the SC, but only for a few minutes. They were so excited to see us charging and had questions that he drove right up, jumped out and started to fire away.  We had a good conversation and they drove off soon after we were done talking.

Supercharging at Tejon. These guys were excited to see a @TeslaMotors Model S, that they stopped by to ask questions

On the next leg of the drive to Harris Ranch, we swapped drivers, so it was my turn to take pictures of the view outside.



It’s amazing what farmers in the Central Valley are able to grow in such an arid place. Not really sure what they’re planting and my wife and I spent the time guessing what they are.

The cows that we saw on this drive were all penned up and had shade that were installed over them.  They were carport like structures.




Since I wasn’t driving, I took the opportunity to play with Periscope and Twitter again. The first attempt at Periscope was about a minute.

The second video was a little longer, I didn’t get to archive the questions that folks were asking on the drive.

Is that Corn being planted outside of our window?





I wonder what those trees are? I was guessing almonds for some reason. I’m not really very attuned to farms and such.




We passed some kind of processing plant, I was guessing for the trees that we just passed.


It would seem that farming in California is a lot of water politics. I can’t verify it, but I think these signs have been around before the current drought. I swear that these were here the last time I did this drive on I-5, which is longer than the current drought.


I really wonder how old those signs are.

Harris Ranch Supercharger and Battery Swap

And just like that we’re at the Harris Ranch Supercharger.  There were already two other Model S parked and charging when we got there. Luckily there are six stalls and we took one of the ones that was not paired with either of the other two Model S.

Each Model S at the Harris Ranch Supercharger was charging at one of the pairs. Reading the notes on this location, apparently we were very lucky because these stalls are often full of other Model S with many waiting for a charge.


The view in front of the superchargers is a restaurant that we ended up skipping.



We were getting quite a fast charge at the location. When one doesn’t have to share the feed with another Model S, the speed of charge is even greater than when it is split.




Harris Ranch is also the site of the Tesla Battery Swap Station. I tried contacting the station to see if we can get an invite to use it early. At $80 for the roundtrip, it’s not cheap, but it will also help save time for a very boring stop in Harris Ranch. Unfortunately I was told that there was no way to get an invite early and that I would just have to wait. So, I took pictures of the signage for the swap station instead.



Here’s a picture of the entrance or is it the exit of the Swap station. We enviously took a picture and drove off. Maybe next time.



We got enough charge to skip Gilroy and head to the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory as our first stop in the Bay Area was in Oakland.

One of the things about the Harris Ranch location is its proximity to a lot of cattle. If the wind blows a particular way, you will smell the cows from miles away. We were somewhat fortunate at Harris Ranch in the daytime as the winds were in our favor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter because the drive through I-5 will have you pass by these cattle pens. And the cabin air filter on the Model S is no match for the smell of cow just North of the Harris Ranch supercharger.


There were lots of cows for miles.




The drive toward Gilroy has us go through a reservoir area that truly reflects the sorry state of the California drought.







The Golden hue of the dry brush is quite stunning.






The reservoir on the other side of the hill climb shows how really low the water levels have gotten.  If you look at the striations on the shore-side, you will notice rings.  Those rings are where the water should be.  On a positive note, there seems to be an abundance of windmils on that mountain ridge.



This shot shows the water as it buttresses up on the dam on the other side.




Better shots of the windmills, why don’t we also have a solar farm out there California? Readers from our Here, There, and EVerywhere series will note a change of tone here.  Since I’m a California resident,  I have higher expectations of my own state.  So, there.




This route is pretty well traveled.



My wife captured the scene below and it’s another that leads us to wonder, photograph or painting.




We ended up passing Gilroy, as planned and was on the 101 North going toward the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory.  I was quite excited when we spotted our first Volkswagen E-Golf in the US.  Had to fumble for a camera, but my wife was able to catch the E-Golf as it took the exit. (Note the white sticker on the rear bumper.)


Tesla Motors Fremont Factory Supercharger

We arrived at the supercharger at the Tesla Fremont Factory at 4:25 pm, a few minutes passed eight hours from our departure. All stalls were full when we arrived and we had to wait about two minutes before one freed up.


At this point of the drive, we’ve driven about 400 miles and have to drive another 20 miles North and then back across the Bay to make it to Sparky’s Garage in San Carlos, CA for the party this evening.

It was on the drive that we decided to see if we can just make this drive a “day” trip and head back home today as well.  Our decision was solidified by the very expensive options for lodging in the Bay Area that we were seeing as we looked for places to stay while charging at the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory, so we figured to skip any alcoholic refreshments at the party.



I attached the car to the open Tesla Supercharger network that I saw while charging, the result was a strong signal, but no connection.  Had to reboot the main display again and disconnect from that network.


We made it to our destination in Oakland.  Turned back around and headed to the party in San Carlos.  Since we were on the other side of the bay, we decided to take the San Mateo Bridge (CA-92) across the bay. One thing about traveling in our own state is we are able to use the same transponder as we do at home, so it was a lot more convenient to cross the bridge. Additionally, it seems that the bridge toll of $5.00 is half-price for carpools, so we were only charged $2.50 for this crossing.

My wife took a photo of what looks to be “old windmills” on the side of the low-tide entering the bay.  I wonder if that’s what they are.


It is wildly disconcerting to have water on both sides of us at such a low point.  It felt as if it won’t take that much for the water to go over the side of the San Mateo Bridge.


Sparky’s Garage, San Carlos, CA

So, the trip up to the Bay Area was two-fold.  The first part involved our quick stop at Oakland, and the second was to attend a party that eMotorwerks and Wattime.org was holding to announce the launch of the first EVSE that plans its charge based upon “cleaner” energy supply.

Thanks for the party @eMotorWerks, great product launch to have folks be able to decide to charge from renewable sources.


The party was well attended.  It seems that I find myself behind Jack Brown at many events, and he’s the tall guy right in front of me at this event as well. I need to either get taller, or find a place off to the side of him instead. :-)

Jack’s Take Charge and Go tags were the giveaway at the party and it’s a great improvement over the free Plug In America EV Card that I usually use.  The hang tags are attached to the charging nozzle with a red and green side to say whether it’s “ok” to unplug the car, provide the operator’s contact information, and an estimate of the time that the operator would be done charging (provided the operator carries a dry-erase pen with them).  I think that I will probably be moving toward this method at charging stations, as soon as I get a dry-erase pen.






The product announcement itself was quite interesting. As the title of the blog is quick to point out, I am accidentally environmental. We didn’t join the rEVolution to be green, we just ended up being environmental as we became more involved in electric vehicles. I am sure there are more things that we can do to be better and we’ll get there. The folks at Green Car Reports had a good write-up on the product launch and I suppose that it’s a good compromise for those that don’t have solar panels or their own windmill to try to minimize their use of “dirtier” sources of electricity.



Wattime’s Executive Director, Gavin McCormick can be seen on the shot below discussing what it is that Wattime is doing. They provide manufacturers with a method to enable the device to know whether drawing power at a certain time will force the utility to source power from power plants that were not using renewable energy.  He was saying that a five minute delay could be the difference between dirty or clean power sources being on or offline.



As commendable as the goal of Watttime,org is, it is a “guess.”  Granted, it’s an educated guess and it’s better than what is out there, in terms of the environmental concern.  But I am also a capitalist. I am perfectly willing to use the structures in place that motivate me to charge my EV at the lowest rates available. Rather than use an algorithm to see whether we’re carbon neutral or the like, we installed solar panels on the roof of our home to ensure that we offset our usage with as much clean energy as our roof can generate (with summer peaks around 40 kWh of production.)

I suppose the next step for the manufacturer is to allow users of this algorithm to set guidelines of how much they are willing to subsidize others in order to delay their charge for “cleaner” grid power. As with most things, it’s a complicated decision and it’s at least commendable to have this information available to those that wish to make use of it. I wonder how many people will take them up on it. We have enough EVSE and plugs at home to charge four vehicles at the same time, so I wasn’t really in the market for another one.

So, after enjoying the company of fellow EV enthusiasts, and many Electronuts (former BMW Active E Electronauts), who were at the party. We headed South toward home.  Our first stop was to supercharge again at Mountain View so that we can check out the new liquid cooled superchargers and range charge to skip Gilroy, again.

Mountain View Supercharger

The Mountain View Supercharger is the first new supercharger with the liquid cooled cables.  Tesla announced this improvement in supercharger technology during the 2014 Annual shareholder meeting the previous month.  Transport Evolved wrote an article and covered a video that was filmed at the location by another Tesla owner and I wanted to see it first-hand.




We initially picked stall 3A to charge because it and its partner stall 3B were open.


However, we saw that stall 3A had a blue note saying that it was designed for disabled access and to use it last. So we moved. Now, to ensure that we get the fastest charge, we moved to 3B, the stall paired with this one, figuring that it we were supposed to use it last, then it should stay free the longest, and thus not need to split its feed with another car until all other paired stalls were full.


I took photos of the other stalls around us.



I wanted to capture photos of the thinner/liquid-cooled charging cables.



Has the new circular proximity button for charge door and cable release.


Since the cable is thinner, it is more flexible than previous generations of superchargers.


To show the thickness of the new cable, I figured to compare it to a quarter. (A 25 cent coin for those non Americans and unaware of our terms.)


Though the first photograph of the charging showed a 197 mile per hour rate, this actually sped up to close to 340 miles per hour.  It would seem that the chargers in Mountain View are faster than others and we were planning on skipping Gilroy again to get to Harris Ranch directly, we decided to range charge the car again.

So, while waiting for the charge to complete, I did another Periscope session that we archived on Youtube.

As I continue to note, Periscope doesn’t do a good job of saving the chat comments from folks, so I transcribed it below.

@Tim61588: Is that an Eaton supercharger?
@Tim61588: or roush
@Legibly: How long does that last on full?
@ThaddiusT: Insane mode!
@Tim61588: how long to charge from near empty?
[Unknown]: Is that the new P85D?
@ThaddiusT: Meh. Still cool tho. Love tesla
@Tim61588: can it do a burnout
@torfn: and your happy with it?
@DspkMsn: Please show the centre display
@ThaddiusT: Damn. That’s ridiculous. Never seen the display
@Tim61588: Have you done the battery swap program
@DspkMsn: Wow
@STenczynski: Tesla?
@Legibly: Pretty badasa
@JeremyHolleb: Does A/C use really destroy battery life???
@Legibly: Badass
@BradlyBurgundy: This thing have insane mode?
[Unknown]: [missed question]
@DspkMsn: Does it get 400 mi range?
@ThaddiusT: I see model s’ all day around Sunnyvale
@JeremyHolleb: 2.7 seconds
@Tim61588: Have you raced anything yet
[Unknown]: [missed question]
@BradlyBurgundy: How long to charge?
@STenczynski: Doesn’t one of the tesla model drive by itself?
@Legibly: Does it take gas too?
@ThaddiusT: There should be a burger joint there too. Make a killing.
@trprevett: Autopilot
@Legibly: So if you were to go for a cross country drive you’d have to find a charger station?
@STenczynski: @trprevett yes
@ThaddiusT: Meh. Starbucks. All about Philz.
@Legibly: Alright I’ll check it out cool
@tprevett: You tesla employee?
@ThaddiusT: You from around here?
[Unknown]: P85d?
@ThaddiusT: You check out the plant while your here today?
@tprevett: Gonna get a 3 when they come out
@Legibly: How long have you had it?
@ThaddiusT: Nice. Good drive
@tprevett: Any problems with it?
@ThaddiusT: Mind if I ask the final cost?
@Legibly: He said any problems with it?
[Unknown]: What’s your opinion on the bmw i8?
@ThaddiusT: I hear the i3 engine was optional
@ArguablyDefined: Talk about the gaskets. Please.
@ThaddiusT: Chassis flex?
@ArguablyDefined: That’s unusual. Thanks.
@Legibly: Can you show us outside the car please?
@ThaddiusT: They look sexy

We got a full charge and left Mountain View to head to Harris Ranch directly.  Seeing that we were planning on making it all the way home from the Bay Area, my wife, and co-driver, went to take a nap as I drove us to the next supercharger.

On our way to Gilroy, the car hit a repetitive, significant mileage of 44,444 miles.  We’re really racking the miles on this car with all the “short range” driving we’ve done.  😉


After passing the Gilroy superchargers and on the way to Harris Ranch, crews were doing overnight construction with only one lane open on a two-lane road.

So we found ourselves stopped for what I would estimate to be 20 to 30 minutes.  We were parked on our side of the road waiting for the other side to complete their drive through the construction zone.



When it became our turn to go ahead, we were led through the construction site slowly by a pilot vehicle.


It was a dark drive, but still not as dark as what we encountered in other parts of the country.  Additionally, there were no “Deer Crossing” signs to worry about.

Harris Ranch Supercharger and Battery Swap (part deux.)

And a few hours later, we find ourselves back in Harris Ranch Supercharger again.  We joined another Model S charging here.  The Model S was a family from Napa on the way to San Diego for vacation. They told us of pending overnight construction and possible detour. They had spoken with the CHP earlier. So, we decided to fill up the car with at least 40 miles additional rated range.

When not sharing a charger, the rates can get really fast.  The one in Harris Ranch was going around 315 miles per hour.  The Tesla battery swap station is closed and only available from 9 am to 5 pm local time, so that would not have helped on the return journey this evening.



I wanted to compare the Mountain View supercharger cable that we photographed earlier, so, here is the Harris Ranch one.


I wanted to give two views of the cable with the quarter, so the older cables really are that much thicker than the new ones at Mountain View.



I wonder how much faster the liquid cooled cables will be able to charge. I saw it them peak around 340 miles per hour when I was charging.  The original cables are quite bulky and others have found them harder to work with.


Had my wife continue to rest while I went over to grab some “gas station coffee” from the station close to the supercharger and proceeded South to Tejon Ranch.

The construction zone that we were warned about ended up being a non-event, though at times, we found ourselves on the “other” side of I-5 at times as they were working on the Southbound side of the freeway.




Tejon Ranch

You know what happens when we show blurry pictures.  Normally, it’s time to stop and find a place to sleep for the night, but we were so close to home from Tejon Ranch.  We plugged in and charged up. We only need to go a little under 120 miles to home.



My wife felt rested from our drive from Mountain View to Tejon Ranch, so we swapped drivers and she proceeded to take us home, after we got a charge. She took the tough climb up the Grapevine and decided to just drive all the way home, skipping all three superchargers on the West Side, Culver City, Hawthorne, and Redondo Beach.

At that time of the morning, if we had stopped at any of the superchargers, we could have gotten stuck in traffic on the freeway, besides our bed was calling us home.



After nearly 22 hours on the road, we were home. That was a LONG DAY. Of course, we did do a few things, attended a party, and such. And another interesting mileage pattern in our garage – 44,800 miles. The 852.9 mile journey actually felt shorter than Day One of our Here, There, and EVerywhere trip, perhaps it was the long break in between each half of the drive.  Either way, it’s good preparation for next week’s TMC Connect 2015.

Tesla CPO Program and Driving on SoCal Surface streets – comparing Meerkat and Periscope

Something different on today’s post.

After being in the Model S for 23 days straight on our Roadtrip 2015. I felt like it’s time to “shift gears” and write about the Roadster.

It has been a while since I’ve written (and ridden) the Roadster.


Soon after our return from our trip, I took the picture below, but I was in my “usual” seat in the Roadster – the passenger seat, or as I call it, Batman’s seat.


I had an appointment last Wednesday and asked my wife if I can borrow her Signature Green Tesla Roadster. We purchased her car under Tesla Motors’ original Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. With all the hoopla over the CPO Model S program it’s important to note that it isn’t their first CPO Rodeo.

As I understand it, the current Model S CPO program adds another 50,000 miles and 4 years to the warranty of the vehicle at delivery. The Roadster CPO program is 37 months and 37,000 miles from the car’s delivery to the CPO owner. They chose the Roadster numbers to be one more month and 1,000 more miles than when the car was sold brand new. The Model S warranty is an improvement over the Roadster’s CPO program In that you get 23 more months and 23,000 more miles, however the CPO Model S warranty is similar to a new Model S warranty in that Tesla warrants it for 50,000 miles and 4 years. The battery warranty on the car is lock-step with the drivetrain warranty of 8 years and infinite miles (for 85 kWh cars, I believe that it was 150,000 miles for 60 kWh versions.) It is important to note that Tesla remains consistent with its own practice of not including any battery degradation in its warranty.

Unlike its competitors at BMW and Nissan, Tesla does not warrant the pack to maintain a certain level of use for a certain amount of time. This issue continues to be one of the things that I find irritating with Tesla. Granted, as others have found, the degradation seems to stabilize after 30,000 miles our max. range on the Model S has stayed firm close to 255 rated range miles (a ten mile loss from factory pickup, the Model S community reports its range loss in rated range miles) and our Roadster now is consistently around 179-180 miles of ideal range (the Roadster community reports its loss on ideal range vs. rated range, go figure.) Our current ideal range numbers is actually an improvement from last July’s Roadster Battery degradation panic (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3) where the car was reporting as low as 172 ideal miles range that improved to 175 after a few weeks of testing.

I wanted to compare and contrast my experience while driving the Roadster and broadcasting the experience on Meerkat and Periscope. Being an active Twitter user, I’ve noticed the competition between the Meerkat App and Periscope. Each product brings live streaming to the masses via app extensions to Twitter. Furthermore, both applications provide realtime engagement between the broadcaster and his or her audience. I figured to experiment with this further and see if the previous test during our Model S Roadtrip 2015 cross country video has improved in a little over a month since I last tried it out.

This time, I wanted to bring viewers with me on a drive around in my wife’s Signature Green Tesla Roadster. So, how did i do it? My initial plan was to take viewers with me around surface streets in the Roadster. There have been more Model S videos out there and thought that folks might be interested in the Roadster.

My first streaming video experiment was on Periscope. Since neither app lets users store the video ad-infinitum, I stored the archives on Youtube.

Drive through Beverly Hills in a Tesla Roadster

We had some active users, and they were fairly engaged. Periscope overlays viewers questions on the video that the broadcaster sees and thus provided the broadcaster with the ability to verbally answer the questions posed.  When I archived the video, the questions and interaction disappears, so I transcribed it below. (no timestamps, you can see the logical flow for the folks that I did get to answer.)

@Baderj57 – hi

@AdamClistWynant – Love the sound of the electric motor

@meier_audrey – People like to hear their sports cars :-)

@AdamClistWynant – How is your range?

@ILushYouM – you’re in SoCal?

@ILushYouM – Omg 😍

@ILushYouM – I can’t wait to live in LA

@ILushYouM – I’m in Maine

@ILushYouM – 😮 !!

@AdamClistWynant – In SD and LV

@AdamClistWynant – Go to Cafe Gratitude while you’re out there.

@AdamClistWynant – Have a good day. Peace

It was a fun few minutes of driving. However, I had to use Youtube’s tools to fix the “herky-jerky” nature of my hand-held filming of the event. (Not a steadicam operator.)

I did do a good job parking the car on the surface streets.


The next experiment was later that morning on Meerkat.

Drive through Culver City – Meerkat

It is important to note that on Periscope, I had viewers pop in rather quickly. I gave Meerkat the same amount of time, and no participants joined the stream. So I quickly ended that session.

Drive through Culver City – Roadster

I was having some fun with the live streaming video thing that I decided to do another Periscope session, and again we got a bunch of viewers right away.

And again, I partially transcribed the questions on this short drive below. Now, I took the liberty of editing out the handle of a participant with a handle that others may find offensive.

@Unlock_Success – Hi from the UK

@f[edited]inglawn – Is that a Porsche Panamera

@f[edited]inglawn – I think I’m Behind You

@f[edited]inglawn – Oh Okay I see you

Later on the drive home in the freeway, I was behind a White Model S in the HOV lanes. Not on video, but always a fun sight to have in front of me.



I wonder whether the driver noticed that another Tesla was behind him or her.

What can I conclude by this quick drive and test? It’s definitely a load of fun to drive the Roadster.

My other takeaway, on the live broadcast of streaming video front, at least for those that follow and find me in public, it seems that Periscope has more participants than Meerkat. I don’t know if Meerkat does enough to promote the broadcaster’s feed more or if there are more subscribers to the app, but it definitely is more fun and engaging to stream in Periscope.

As for the apps themselves, they seem similar from the broadcasting perspective and I would like to have the archive function allow the broadcaster to save the chat overlay with the video. In the meantime, enjoy the ride in the Roadster. I did.