Interesting offer from Audi…

So, I got an interesting offer from Audi last week…  (it was in my Spam folder) but still rather interesting:

Dear DENNIS,Audi is conducting a first ever Luxury Vehicle Conquest Sales Event in your area. Your status as a 2011 BMW Activee owner qualifies you to receive: exclusive incentives from Audi not available to the general public. If you don’t currently own the vehicle noted please see us immediately. Audi is extending this invitation to introduce you to the exceptional value and quality of Audi.

Circle Audi has been selected by Audi to host this exclusive Luxury Vehicle Conquest Sales Event.

This email entitles you up to $5,000 in Conquest Funding.

Please present this letter to Circle Audi for entry. Due to an anticipated high response, we suggest calling (888) 246-9997 to schedule an appointment.

Additionally, thanks to strong market demand for 2011 BMW Activees, Circle Audi is very interested in purchasing your vehicle. It doesn’t matter where you originally purchased your BMW, or which to which bank you make payments. Thanks to this unique program Circle Audi may be able to trade you out of your BMW by paying off your current vehicle or by taking your vehicle in on trade.

I hope you take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Sincerely,

Peter Murphy
General Sales Manager
Circle Audi 1919 N. Lakewood Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90815
(888) 246-9997

I think they need to read the notes I gave the salesperson when I stopped in to see if they had any plug-ins for me to look at.  I know that the E-Tron has been announced, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Also, being an ’80s Alternative Kinda guy, it’s kinda cool getting an e-mail from Peter Murphy!

Our decision… On the BMW i3 Electronaut Edition…

After a 23 week wait, the Electronaut Edition i3 that we configured (and re-configured) has finally made it to the dealership. Just in time for me to be on a trip, so, I didn’t get to see it until a few days after it arrived at the dealership.

Here are some pictures of it as it arrived from the Port.

Our EE .@BMWi i3 has finally arrived at the dealership as we leave on a trip.  A decision when we return.

The other profile of our EE .@BMWi i3 BEV not REX. No gas for me!  So tempting!

Our special edition .@BMWi i3 from behind looks good too...

The delay wasn’t ALL BMW’s fault. (well… they did delay deliveries, still.) Our original configuration was going to include a REX (Range Extender / basically a motorcycle engine with an anemic almost 2 gallon tank) that gave the car a combine 150-160 miles of range (of which approximately 70-80 miles are Electric). However, as it became evident that California was running out of the initial 40,000 Green HOV Stickers, I proactively requested that the REX be removed as I have access to charging on both ends of my commute anyway. Even after the California Legislature approved an expansion to the program (without much needed adjustments), I stuck with the BEV (battery electric vehicle, no REX).

In the meantime, I got used to driving our Tesla Model S on a daily basis while waiting for the i3 to be built and shipped to us.

Three EVs may seem excessive, but I really enjoy a smaller sized vehicle for LA traffic and have felt that the Model S was just too big a car for me to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Especially since I’ve been conditioned to cut in front of anyone as soon as space in the adjacent lane becomes available (also known as drive like an A**#0!3) and the Active E was the perfect size for that (small, quick, and visible), the Roadster is small and quick, but could be invisible to many.

As the weeks ticked on, the little things that continued to bug me about the Model S became less of an issue, and I learned to adjust to driving the Model S in traffic. And still no i3. Both Tesla vehicles are “energy hogs” relative to my experience with the Active E (and to a lesser degree my mom’s Leaf.) This waste of electricity is a minor nit, but still a nit for the difference between Tesla vehicles and BMW i (and to some extent Nissan) electric vehicles. The Vampire Drain on the Model S is around six miles a night on my Model S when I don’t have it on power saving mode. I do this because I like the convenience of starting the car up and going right away. Battery Saving mode takes a delay to start up the vehicle.

Here are some pictures of the i3 after it was prepped:

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Happy Dennis (test drive) (decided to switch out my Tesla Cap for a Nike one before the drive)

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And the Electronaut Edition badge

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In addition to my nits, there were a few technical things I was looking forward to from the i3. Namely, the self-parking package (which I had originally ordered on the REX version of the car) and the “tractor-beam” feature for cruise control. Additionally, I contend that the entertainment system on the BMWs actually functioned better than the one on the Model S. Especially the Bluetooth (which allows multiple phones to be paired) and the ability to take calls on either of the paired phones (as opposed to the Model S which requires one to “connect” one phone and that’s the only one to take calls on (over the built-in system).)

Additionally, I was having challenges with the AM Radio in my Model S. It’s a good system until one tries to listen to Vin Scully and the Dodgers, in which case it’s hit or miss. Especially with the current issue between Time Warner Cable and other TV network operators, it was hard to catch a Dodger game (outside of AM Radio.) Nevertheless, I live with it. (An 80-100 mile daily commute tends to emphasize in-car infotainment systems more than a short commute).

So, on August 3rd, I got to meet the i3 BEV that was built for us. I got to do a short couple of mile drive through Signal Hill and got to use the regen to descend a good, steep pitch (that originally sold us our X5 back in 2001). Test out the turning radius and other fun stuff on the car.

I liked the badging… It’s so much more understated than the circuit stickers on the Active E.

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However, it was missing a few things…

The BEV version of our order removed the automated parking assistance package. Not sure if it was an oversight or whether we did it because we did encounter some problems with this during one of our test drives.

The other is the AM radio was removed and is not available on any i3. The car has FM Radio, but without AM, no access to News, Talk Radio, and live local games. Living in Earthquake Country, one has to consider the avenues to listen to coverage when a “disaster” strikes and AM Radio continues to be one of the more reliable avenues for such information. My sales person explained (a day later after checking with corporate.)

“The AM band was removed on the I3 this was due to field trials in the Mini E and Active E due to the electric motor interference. The alternative to this is HD radio which offers 168 am stations on FM radio channel or Sat radio with 1 year access or Bmw apps with web radio on connected app and tuneln radio app.”

The car also forces one to rely on the GOM (guess-o-meter) as there is no SOC meter, as was reported months ago.

Lastly, as previously indicated, the strange split sunroof on the US version of the i3 was not provided. Therefore, the car had a different feel from the Solar Orange testers that we got to drive at the Convention Center (and other test drive events.)

Luckily, the tractor beam was still in place, but these two technical things coupled with adjusting to life with the Model S as my daily driver and my better half’s reluctance to garage her Roadster in favor of driving the Model S instead have made it a moot point.

These missing items coupled with some issues I had during the wait with rude members of the sales management of Long Beach BMW, specifically Emilio Roukoz, have made the experience quite a contrast with my experience with Tesla Motors. Granted, I had some issues with Anish from Tesla as well during my pick up at the factory, but the person was NOT the management escalation. Considering that I’ve purchased or leased a couple of cars through my sales person at Long Beach BMW, I would expect better treatment than I received from his management. Does Tesla have the “right” model, I’d say it’s closer to it. Long Beach BMW is one of the better BMW dealerships, but it’s not perfect. They COULD take the extra step with the BMW i vehicles and apply for the HOV stickers on behalf of their purchasers as a dealer, but they don’t and that is an opportunity lost on providing better service than Tesla which could also do the same thing, but chooses not to provide such customer service.

So, after all this wait, I notified our dealer yesterday that we will NOT be purchasing the i3 for us. However, as I publish this post, one of my sisters and her husband is at Long Beach BMW and test driving this i3 and the other ones that are pictured below. Who knows, this i3 might make it to the family after all. Fingers crossed, otherwise, it can join these i3s that I saw at the dealership on Sunday.

Who knows if BMW will get us back as a customer. There are definitely things that I prefer with BMWs over the Teslas.

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More pictures of the almost fully loaded i3 that we configured can be found on my flickr album.

[Post Script, ADDED at 2155/9:55 PM Pacific on 2014-08-07 to answer a question brought up by +Toshi Clark on Google Plus]

For +Toshi Clark and anyone else interested, when the original order was in place, I had requested that the dealership pre-order the HOV stickers (as they were allowed to do so at the time and the stickers were running out) for my original REX as soon as a VIN number is generated. This activity would have hedged my purchase of a REX i3 with HOV access. I provided a link to the dealership showing the procedure, process, and cost to the dealership ($8). The salesman was willing to do this and he was overruled by the “sales” manager. The point was moot as the green HOV stickers originally were suspended from this program about two weeks later to slow down the depletion rate.

It was at that time that I changed the order to BEV and it became a non-issue, but the fact that I’ve bought vehicles from the dealership since 2001 and most recently obtained my Active E from the same location has given me cause to pause.

Been quiet around here… Orlando EVs? Not so much. I did spot a Zenith Electric Van!

I was a little bummed when the teslamotorsclub.com announced that TMC Connect was going to be this past weekend. You see, we’ve planned an extended family trip with my in-laws and nieces and nephew to Orlando prior to this announcement and it’s hard to coordinate several families to begin with that I was forced to enjoy the festivities with the coverage by @BonnieNorman, Joe Pasqua, @Lanny, Teslarati, @TeslaRoadtrip, and others on Twitter…

The only saving grace was I thought I would be able to reserve and use an EV from @DriveElecOrl, but that turned out to be a bust. I randomly checked their website for the few months leading up to the trip to see if a vehicle had made itself available. Alas, that didn’t happen and I was forced to ICE the trip.

Now, we chose a location that was close to our destinations around the park so as to minimize our driving. Ended up with only 126 ICE miles for the seven days that we were in Orlando, easily doable by an EV with Level 1 (120V) charging. In fact, I was disappointed to having taken until the last day at the airport before I saw an EV (either BEV or PHEV). Luckily it was an interesting one.

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Finally spotted an #EV in Orlando... at the airport! has a J1772 port in the rear, passenger side!

Kudos to Doubletree Orlando Airport on using Zenith Motors Electric Vans for at least one hotel shuttle. I’ll have to read more about these vans, but it looks like it had a J1772 port on the rear passenger side [confirmed: J1772 port and published 90-100 mile range per Zenith Motors website]. I will update this post with more pictures when I land as I am currently drafting this post on an airplane. [UPDATED with all my photos 7/23 8:15 PM Pacific / 7/24 03:15 UTC.]

If I ever have to stay by MCO, I now have a hotel to choose… Besides, I’m partial to Hilton family of hotels. Because EV Supporting hotels should be supported, their website and their phone number is 407-856-0100

First Tesla Roadster range test in standard mode, July 9-July 12, 2014.

I was advised by the Service Center to have my wife do her normal drive and not plug the car in until about ten miles.

So, over the course of several days (from July 9th to July 12th) we did just that. Thank goodness we have OVMS, since I use that to let me know when the SOC has dropped to around 25% and have a good gauge of how much more driving we can do. I used to have it set at 50%, but decided to lower the threshhold since we’re not planning on plugging it in until it’s closer to ten (ideal) miles in standard driving mode. This was just a matter of sending a text message “FEATURE 9 25″ to OVMS to configure the SMS Alert when the state of charge drops to 25%. OVMS will send a text back saying “Feature has been set.”

I created a log file to track what the miles would be overnight to see what sort of vampire loss the Roadster had in comparison to the Model S and was pleasantly surprised to see that the car lost 1% over the course of almost 1.64 days from the time I parked the car at home.

Date Park at Home Leave Home SOC CAC
July 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM 142 81% 145.73
July 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM 142 80% 145.74
July 11, 2014 at 9:10 PM 76 44% 145.66
July 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM 76 44% 145.66
July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM 13 7% 145.66
July 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM 234V/40A 325 Minutes 5.416666667 hours
July 13, 2014 at 6:30 AM 175 97% 145.66

 

As you can see from the spreadsheet above, I actually had the car at the Service Center and back home the first day, July 9th. I parked the car around 6pm with 142 Ideal Miles of Range left and the car sat unplugged at home for a little over a day and a half, before my wife took the car out on Friday. Per OVMS readings, it had lost about 1% SOC (and no ideal miles). She drove the car for about 66 ideal miles (closer to 60 actual miles) and got home on Friday night with 76 ideal miles (and 44% SOC) of range left in the car.

Overnight, the car did not lose either ideal miles or % SOC and we drove off. Around 20 ideal miles left (and on the way home) on Saturday, we got the following error:

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Though it mentions that power is limited, I was on the freeway, and the power seemed to be fine.

We finally plugged in with 13 ideal miles of range last night. Interesting, the rated range was down to 12 miles.

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So, after 158.4 miles for the past few days, we recharged at standard mode.

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7% SOC in Standard mode left, and the CAC values dropped to 145.66. We recharged overnight and ended up with 175 ideal miles at 6:30 AM. Basically, I checked the status when I woke up, and wrote it down. Because by the time I rolled out earlier today I already lost a mile of range. We will have to do this again for a few more times this next month, but that didn’t seem to have helped any. It’s going to be a long month.

We the People Petition on Tesla Motors email received…

So, I, like many other supporters of the Free Market filled out a petition several months ago to the White House to assist in lifting the arcane dealership laws that limit Tesla Motors from selling directly to consumers.  Granted these sort of things are legislation and regulation that is often taken on by States and not at the Federal level, but I wanted to see what the White House had to say about it, and here it is…  presented with no edits…  I’ll probably write a response about it later, but wanted to show what I got on email yesterday.

A whole lot of politicking… But, what did I expect.

[update 2014-07-06 - My reaction... Meh... A whole lot of nothing. So, guess what, no need to post more about it.]

Response to We the People Petition on Tesla Motors

By Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Thanks for your We the People petition. We’re excited about the next generation of transportation choices, including the kind of electric vehicles that Tesla and others have developed. These companies are taking steps to help spur innovation in the promising area of advanced batteries and electric automobiles. Vehicle electrification and other advanced technologies are vital components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and his commitment to addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.

But as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.

We believe in the goal of improving consumer choice for American families, including more vehicles that provide savings at the pump for consumers. However, we understand that pre-empting current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales would require an act of Congress.

We are already making significant progress in promoting vehicle efficiency: new vehicle fuel economy has increased by 12% since 2008 and consumers now can choose from five times more car models with a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or more, compared to just five years ago. In December 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that model year 2012 vehicles achieved an all-time high fuel economy, after increasing seven of the last eight years.

The President has taken historic action to spur more consumer choice — saving consumers money at the pump and reducing our dependence on oil. Here are some of the ways we’re helping to encourage the future generation of energy-efficient cars:

  • In 2012, the Obama Administration finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. These standards will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. And this spring, we also released standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, a move that will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel, and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil. You can learn more about that here.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) has a loan program to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to create the future of transportation. In fact, Tesla’s electric car won the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year while repaying its DOE loan 9 years early and earning the taxpayers about $17 million in profit. And DOE’s loan to Ford Motor Company to upgrade 13 factories across six states and to upgrade the fuel efficiency of a dozen popular vehicles has supported 33,000 jobs across the United States.
  • In September 2013, DOE awarded $45 million in funding for 38 new projects that to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs, and protect the environment. The 38 new projects support the goals of the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a public-private initiative to make EVs as affordable and convenient to own and drive as gasoline-powered vehicles within 10 years. Also as part of EV Everywhere, DOE has launched the Workplace Charging Challenge , with a goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging for plug-in electric vehicles in the next five years.

As these initiatives show, the Administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies.

Again, thank you for your petition.

Update on Tesla Roadster CAC and Ideal Miles testing

So, I started a new thread at teslamotorsclub.com on this issue which has helped me a lot on figuring out what I can and can’t see on the vehicle.

So, I’ve followed some of the advice and used VMSParser and the Tesla Graphical Log Parser (Tesla GLoP) to copy the logs down from the Roadster and see what values are generated from it. Aside from OVMS, my favorite telematics product, providing me with realtime statistics on the vehicle. I love the nearly six years of user experience that are the long-time Roadster owners/community. They’ve created tools such as the two log parsing programs to extract knowledge about the vehicle.

I posted a sample of the last month:

timestamp, brickahmin, brickahave, bricknumber
6/9/2014 14:29:11 143.26 148.67 74
6/10/2014 14:29:09 143.14 148.62 74
6/11/2014 14:29:11 142.8 148.39 74
6/12/2014 14:29:12 142.63 148.05 74
6/13/2014 14:29:11 142.4 147.7 74
6/14/2014 14:29:11 142.63 147.88 74
6/15/2014 14:29:11 142.69 147.88 74
6/16/2014 14:29:11 142.97 148.16 74
6/17/2014 14:29:12 142.92 148.27 74
6/18/2014 14:29:11 143.2 148.62 74
6/19/2014 14:29:12 143.03 148.22 74
6/20/2014 14:29:11 142.8 148.1 74
6/21/2014 14:29:11 142.46 147.76 74
6/22/2014 14:29:12 142.63 147.88 74
6/23/2014 14:29:12 142.8 147.99 74
6/24/2014 14:29:13 142.75 148.1 74
6/25/2014 14:29:13 142.52 147.76 74
6/26/2014 14:29:13 142.46 147.42 74
6/27/2014 14:29:13 142.57 147.19 74
6/28/2014 17:09:38 143.03 147.59 74
6/29/2014 17:09:38 142.8 147.08 54
6/30/2014 17:09:38 143.2 147.36 54
7/1/2014 17:09:36 143.37 147.65 54
7/2/2014 17:20:32 144.17 148.39 54
7/3/2014 17:20:32 145.03 148.67 54
7/4/2014 17:20:31 145.03 148.67 54
7/5/2014 17:20:31 145.14 148.79 54
7/6/2014 17:20:33 145.14 148.79 54
7/7/2014 17:20:33 145.31 148.9 54
7/8/2014 17:20:34 145.65 149.3 54

And was advised that if the last value does not change for a while that it could be the issue (a bad brick that is dragging the whole sheet down.). The fact that the brick has changed throughout the month, shows that I probably don’t have a single deficient brick. In the thread, Kevin Sharpe showed his Roadster log values and shows what a bad brick problem looks like.

Aside from the self-help stuff, one of the advantages of purchasing a Roadster under the Certified Pre-Owned program, is the access to the SC at no additional charge (for warranty issues). I was already scheduled to bring the car into service for an issue with fogging in the headlights, so I had them look into the loss of Ideal Miles and CAC values.

So, the Service Technician/Shop Foreman for the Southern California Service Center that I took my car too have provided the following plan of attack after they’ve looked at the car (and did the bleed test, updated the firmware (to support the >70A bug)) considering that our annual maintenance for the Roadster is upcoming.

Since my better half’s daily drive is approximately 60 miles a day, he suggested that we drive the vehicle in Standard Mode and run the car down to about 10 Ideal miles for at least three times over the next month and charge back up in Standard Mode. On those evenings that the car has NOT been driven down to the 10 Ideal miles, we were advised to park it, but do not plug it in overnight. I’d like to track the vampire loss for the vehicle as we do this.

During an extended period of non-use, the tech suggested that we plug in the Roadster using storage mode during that time.

After the month, and possibly during the annual maintenance, they’ll look at what happened to the pack after these tests.

I did see some improvement in minimum CAC values over the past week since I did my test on July 2nd and July 3rd… So, we’ll see. Will report here (as well as on teslamotorsclub.com).

First Daily “Standard” charge after the weekend’s Range charge test

No pictures, ’cause I had to head to work quickly…

Step two of the Range Test Days and Tesla Roadster pack rebalancing that I was doing was to get to my first daily “standard” charge to see if it made a difference.

Following Michael Thwaite’s suggestion to maintain the charge (and not drain too low) we plugged in the Roadster on Saturday night with about 102 Ideal Miles on Storage mode.

On Sunday, drove the car out for some further errands, etc. and ended up home with 21% SOC/37 Ideal Miles/34 Rated Miles left (thanks to OVMS again).

This time, I plugged it in and performed a STANDARD charge starting at midnight… (a few hours earlier than I normally set the car to charge. To maximize the amount of 40A/240V charging that I will do at super-off-peak EV rates.

When I rolled out at 9am, the car had 174 Ideal Miles on it and the CAC values were at 145.44. It was a slight improvement to the 171 Ideal Miles that I observed last week, but definitely nothing to write home about.

I guess we’ll have to see if we can change my better half’s behavior and see if she can plug it in every other day so that we can drain the battery down 120 miles in two days of driving vs. the 60 miles a day that she normally charges under to see if that will do something to improve the CAC values and ideal miles after a full charge.

I cross posted questions on these tests to teslamotors.com, so wanted to put the CAC values here –

Values from October 2013, when I first started to use OVMS.
Standard – Charging Done SOC: 96% Ideal Range: 183 mi Est. Range: 173 mi ODO: 3,578.8 mi CAC: 154.38

Values from today overnight charged in Standard mode and 174 miles (the CAC value is the same from the evening before it started to charge.) (unfortunately after my wife drove about 30 miles)

Not charging SOC: 82% Ideal Range: 147 mi Est. Range: 144 mi ODO: 10,901.2 mi CAC: 145.44.

And Tesla made me a rEVolutionary

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