Why is Elon Musk against the Avengers?

Iron Man may be a part of the Avengers, but Elon Musk’s latest actions show that he may be anti-Avengers.

The latest Avengers movie, the Age of Ultron, is set for a May 1st US opening. So, at first glance it would seem that there is no overlap between the Tesla Motors upcoming (April 30th) battery storage announcement and the Avengers movie.

However, the May 1st release date for the Age of Ultron is a bit of a misnomer. Many movie theaters are actually releasing the movie in the United States on the 30th of April at 7:00 PM local time. What this means is that the upcoming Tesla event will be clashing with the Avengers release. As a person that is interested in both events, the choice should be simple, right?

Well… Not really. I’d like to be one of the first in the US to see the movie, but that Tesla event is mighty tempting to go to.

After all, Tesla knows how to throw a party. As is evidenced by the D Launch and the Battery Swap events.  At first, it was going to be an easy decision…  We were going to SKIP both events as it is a rather significant birthday for nephew #2…  But, as the younger generation is apt to do, he decided to celebrate his significant birthday with his brother and their friends.  So, the family event was postponed, and now we find ourselves with having to make the choice between two equally good choices.

It’s not that we’ve gotten an invitation to the event on the 30th either.  But, we expect an invitation to the event.  And should it arrive, I would like to go.  However, I would also like to go to the Avengers Age of Ultron first showing, should we be uninvited to the event on the 30th.

As is often quoted by my nephews, “it’s a First World Problem.”

Hand Washing a Tesla Model S

So, one of the things that I was asked on Twitter was to do a Periscope with the Model S. It’s a little difficult because the only device that I have space for the videos is an iPad. Well, that’s pretty bulky and hard to shoot the Periscope (or Meerkat) while I drive the Model S. So, earlier today, I was inspired to wash the Model S when I was following the folks at Teslaroadtrip.org do their 2015 “Reach the Beach” edition. So, I figured, why not just do two things at the same time.

So, how do I wash a car in drought conditions. Well. I learned from my detailer Moe Mistry at Glistening Perfection. Granted, this is what I heard and internalized and hope that I remembered his instructions properly. Moe’s methods are very precise and excellent. What I did today is what I would call my “in a rush” method, so it works, but not the most detailed one that I could have done.

Before I start washing the car I hook up my CR Spotless system DIC-20 to the hose and a low power pressure washer to the CR Spotless. The CR Spotless is great because it doesn’t let water spots form on the car. The pressure washer is great because it lets me use only the water I need to complete the job.  When I’m not using it, water stops flowing.

Step 1 is Cleaning the Tires and Wheels

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 2 is Washing the Body Panels and Glass on the car

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 3 is Drying the Body Panels on the car

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 4 is Drying the Glass and Center touchscreen – Step 4

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 5 is Applying the Silica Spray Sealant

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 6 Mission Accomplished! Woohoo clean car!

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

So, hope you enjoyed these stored Periscope videos, not sure if I’ll do more, but you can always follow me on Twitter @dennis_p. I use the same handle on Periscope and Meerkat App as well. [Because of some iOS challenges for some and feedback, decided to move the hosting of the videos from Flickr to YouTube.]

In migrating the videos to Youtube, gained a few more things.

Click here for the six videos in a playlist.

Or here are all six videos in an embedded playlist

Oh yeah… Thanks for the reminder…

Two Roadster posts in a row… Must be some sort of record…

Well, I got the following in the mail the other day…

Thanks for the oil change reminder, Just Tires...  The @TeslaMotors Roadster doesn't need one #EV #EVBenefits

I guess having work done at non-Tesla locations subject one to some really interesting car offers.

A few months back, we found a nail in the Roadster’s tire. The tread was still good, and the leak was slow, so we had the tire patched at Just Tires.

This was an interesting repair because, the Roadster did not have a standard location to jack the car up to get the tire removed, so Just Tires refused to do the work… Initially.

So, I called the nearest Tesla Service Center (which was less than 2 miles from the Just Tires) and requested them to remove the tire, instead of doing it at their location, Tesla sent a Ranger to the Just Tires parking lot and removed the tire, waited for the repair to be done, and re-mounted the tire back on the Roadster. That’s the sort of service that’s somewhat screwy, but above and beyond. Tesla refuses to patch the tires, but understand that customers may opt to do this anyway (within reason) and the service center staff are reasonable enough to adjust and have workarounds that they help with.

Needless to say, I was happy with the work from Tesla.

Just Tires did a great job with the patch. They also patched the Model S a few months ago when I got a similar road debris issue with the Model S.

I think that Just Tires does have to figure out how to make their CRM system understand the needs of electric vehicle drivers may not be the same as internal combustion engine drivers.

A day with the Tesla Roadster… 16,061 Miles

Got to take the Roadster out for a “spin” this past week and it hit 16,000 miles in the process…

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it at 16,000, so I remembered at 16,009 miles… But that’s kinda boring.

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So, I thought, 16,016 miles would be a good shot…

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Well… That’s nice, but not quite “memorable” enough for me. I figure a palindrome would be better…

So, let me present… 16,061 miles…

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Now… What have we learned in the nearly 14,000 miles that we’ve owned the Roadster. Well. It’s squeeky. Especially with the hardtop on.

I spent part of my day stopping by the Tesla Motors Hawthorne Design Center (also known as the site of the original Tesla Los Angeles Supercharger.) It’s now pretty empty, looks like more people stop off at Culver City or Redondo Beach now that those two are open. I stopped off at the Design Center because they have a bank of eight Model S HPWCs for folks that don’t need to supercharge.

I thought the start of charge looked promising (started around 205V and 61A) the rate with which the Roadster with the CAN SR charged fluctuated between 205-208V and 44A. That’s not much faster than using a 40A UMC at 240V at home. Still, I wanted to see the behavior, so I stuck around for a little while to recover some miles and hung out with a few Model S at the center.

Hanging with some Model S at @TeslaMotors Hawthorne Design Center using CAN S-R to charge our Roadster!

Here’s a Panoramic of the eight HPWCs with Model S charging at the occupied ones, with the exception of HPWC 6 which I was charging at:

Panoramic of using the CAN SR at @TeslaMotors Hawthorne Design Center. Charging a Roadster off Model S HPWC

The HPWCs were all well labeled, and I only tested one of them, so, I don’t know whether the others will provide the full 80A to a Model S or 70A to a Roadster with the CAN SR. I posted my statistics on teslamotorsclub.com and Henry Sharp (hcsharp) advised that perhaps the PEM was overheating. I was driving for a while before the stop, so that could have affected it. I know that the adapter and car work at 70A because I’ve had it tested at the Service Center on a Model S HPWC and I’ve seen it at that speed on OVMS.  So, I’ll have to try charging it with a cooler PEM in the future.

It would seem that what looks like premature battery degradation on the Roadster can be rehabilitated. Since then, we’ve been closer to a CAC closer to 149 and full standard daily ranges closer to 177-179 miles. One of the things that we’ve done since July of last year has been to leave the car unplugged until it really needed to charge. In general, in a protected garage, the vampire losses on the Roadster are minimal, especially compared with the Model S. So, what does this mean? The battery on the Roadster seems to perform better when you let the charge drop low (but not too low.) We’ve been advised to let the car drop to 40 miles or slightly less at least once a week. We do this closer to lower than 60 miles of range rather than 40. It’s just how the math works with the car’s usage patterns. For the record, the Service Center did a range charge the last time I had it in and that looked to reach 226 miles in Range Mode. So, that’s increased as well.

Another thing that we learned in the approximately 14,000 miles that we’ve owned the Roadster, is that the squeaks can be taken care of, at least for a while. There is some sort of lubricant that the center applies to the hardtop to take care of these squeaks.

The car’s not so squeaky with the soft-top, but we like to use the hardtop, so squeaks it is.

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Apparently, before installing the hardtop, apply some of the substance above to the parts of the roof and car that touch each other and it lessens the squeaks. And it works great. For a while. However, a Roadster is not the comfortable car that the Model S is. It’s a driver’s car, and the adrenaline that comes with driving it is really part of the “fun.”

Appreciating the past and hopeful for the future of EVs.

This past weekend, my wife and I joined our fellow members of the Orange County Tesla Club on a visit to the Nethercutt Museum and Collection in Sylmar (Los Angeles), CA. [SIDE NOTE: For those not from Southern California, the city of Los Angeles is the largest city in Los Angeles County and within the city there are distinct neighborhoods that have their own identities, but are part of the city of Los Angeles. Hollywood is an example of such a neighborhood, as is Sylmar. West Hollywood, on the other hand, is its own city. As is Long Beach, where the Formula E race will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2015. (which is why I wrote Sylmar with (Los Angeles) in parentheses, that’s my own editorial on it, and not convention.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.]

The Nethercutt family are the founders and heirs to the Merle Norman cosmetic company and have built an impressive collection of automobiles and other “mechanical art”. The OC Tesla Club has been itching to have longer drives for our group outings and this venture into Los Angeles (City and County) was just one such drive.

So, the day was meant to appreciate the company of fellow Tesla enthusiasts and appreciate the Nethercutt Museum and Collection. As with most automobile museums, I was prepared to view beautiful and restored relics of the past… ICE cars.

Well, I was in for a surprise and a treat. (The benefits of not really paying attention to the marketing brochures and online information about what was in store for me at the Museum and Collection. The only thing that stuck to my head from the materials was the restored locomotive and Private Train Car in the back, and that was pretty much it.)

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As was pointed out by some of my fellow OC Tesla Club members, as impressive as the car collection is, the automated music collection was even more impressive. Unfortunately they didn’t allow us to record the audio or video of the event, but here are a few photos from that

This piano entertained us while we strolled the car collection:

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and the piece de resistance was this automated/programmable pipe organ that came from a movie theater (for silent films) from Denver

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You can see the rest of the visit in my flickr album.

But what does the Nethercutt have to do with EVs? Well…

I love to play “EV Spotting” and in the guided tour portion of our visit (at the Collection this time, and not at the self-guided museum section) in the ground level of the visit were TWO EVs!

Front view

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Back view

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Most EV junkies would recognize the more modern EV as the pre-cursor to this generation of EVs and focus of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (and the movement which spawned Plug in America, the 1997 GM EV1. The other one is older and not as well known. The 1914 Rauch & Lang Model B4 Electric Brougham.

Both vehicles were shown with their respective chargers connected to the vehicle in the Collection.

Rauch & Lang

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Charger information

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Interior

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1997 GM EV1

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Interior

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One of the things that I noticed and would like to draw our attention to is the price of the GM EV1 at the time it was being leased out. Interesting that the price of the GM EV1 was $43,995 and the average car price in the US at the time was $14,000. That means that the EV1 is about 3.14 times the price of the average car.

So, the average car price in 2012 is around $31,000 and the Model S average is around $100,000, that means that the Model S is about 3.22 times the price of the average car. However, considering what you get in a Model S vs. an EV1. However, as was pointed out to me by David Peilow in my post at Speakev.com, “Just shows the jump with the Leaf or Volt in terms of value for money. I wonder how much of that is a reduction in the design price vs benefits of economies of scale, though.”

David’s point is made even clearer when one looks to see what the 2012 Nissan Leaf sold for in 2012. It started at $35,200 before the Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 for the purchase of a battery electric vehicle. So, that’s 1.13 times the amount of the average car without the application of the Federal Tax Credit. If the purchaser in 2012 was eligible for the whole credit, it also means that the Nissan Leaf at that point is 0.89 of the average car price. Food for thought.

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt had a MSRP starting at $39,145 when purchased new. I don’t remember whether it was eligible for the whole $7,500 Federal Credit, but let’s assume that it was. So, looking at the same ratios again. The Volt was 1.26 times the average car before the credit and 1.02 times the average car after the tax credit.

I used 2012 as my figure to compare as it was the easiest recent year for me to find the average car price for. Assuming mild inflation in the averages, it’s even more dramatic to see the drop in MSRP for the 2015 model years of the same two cars that I used for my example. The 2015 Nissan Leaf can now be purchased around $29,010 and the 2015 Chevrolet Volt starts at $34,185 before the tax credit.

It’s interesting that when one looks to the past, it really makes one appreciate what the future holds for us.

Range Anxiety? Not really…

Elon Musk’s tweet (“@elonmuskTesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety … via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet. March 15, 2015“) to end “range anxiety” which has since been deleted, had me thinking not about the disappointing announcements regarding the 6.2 software patches, but about when the last time was that I’ve actually experienced range anxiety.

I must admit that it’s been a while for me. We decided to move to Tesla Motors electric vehicles because we didn’t want to have to worry about range. Both the Model S and Roadster have a range of at least 170 miles. As for recharging, using DC Charging, the Model S can Supercharge at over 300 miles per hour or quick charge using CHAdeMO over 130 miles per hour. Over AC charging, our Model S can go up to 80A (or approximately 58-62 miles per hour) and the Roadster can go up to 70A (or approximately 56 miles per hour). That’s plenty fast recharging. Besides, if you charge overnight, it’s time you’re spending sleeping anyway.

When we first started our adventure with electric vehicles with the Active E, range anxiety was a byproduct of moving from a nearly limitless range to one where each full charge lasted 80-100 miles. However, it wasn’t long that I was making the statement that the range of the Active E was limitless, as long as you can get charge and have the time to wait for a charge.  If a charger was available, I plugged in, even at 110V when no L2 was available.

It was not uncommon for me to do 140 mile days in the Active E. It required charging at multiple places, but L2 at 6.6 kW and later at 5.2 kW is not exactly speedy, but it isn’t slow either, at least at the time. Now that I’m used to Supercharging, quick charging, 40 Amp/10kW charging over a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 connector, it seems that approximately 20 miles per hour seems so slow. Public charging in 2012 was fairly plentiful and easy to use in Southern California. Rarely did I have to wait, and most of the places that I found to charge at Level 2 were relatively free. Things became relatively harder at 2013. One could say that projecting the pending difficulty in obtaining public charging with shorter range electric vehicles definitely helped contribute to the decision to get Tesla Motors vehicles.

So, Range Anxiety with the Model S? Not really. One of the first things that I did when we first got our Model S and Roadster were to get some of the available charging adapters. Aside from J1772, we got adapters for NEMA 6-50 as well as NEMA 14-50. so that we could charge the car at up to 40A. Though the Model S (with dual chargers) and Roadster can go to 80A and 70A J1772 if presented with that speed. Plus, as I recently wrote, I just got CHAdeMO for our Model S, that’s a really respectable 130 miles per hour.

Which brings me to hyper-miling and Elon’s announcement.

Hyper-miling is a skill that I learned about and learned to do when I first got the Active E. Getting the most miles per kWh was the goal (or consuming the least wH per mile as is the measure on the Model S, which I’ve measured at 307 wH per mile recently). In a nutshell, hyper-miling involves driving at a constant speed, or motor use and using larger vehicles, trucks, etc. ahead of you to lower the wind resistance that impacts your vehicle.  With the Active E and the size of the 1-series that it was adapted from, it was relatively easy to find vehicles that are “larger” than it to “drift” behind and it was noticeable to see the miles per kWh climb.  I’ve even hit a respectable 5.0 kWh (200 Wh per mile) on the Active E, as heavy as it is.

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My most recent trip to San Diego from Los Angeles County gave me a long time to ponder this thought and put a few things to test with the Model S. Since moving to the Model S, I really haven’t given hyper-miling any further thought. Until now.

As more Model S roll off the factory floor in 2015 with Adaptive Cruise Control or Autopilot, I’ve been intrigued with the ability to set the number of car-lengths to the vehicle ahead of you (pictured below from a loaner I had driven a few weeks ago.) Figuring that such a feature really lends itself to hyper-miling.

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However, a more fundamental question presented itself to me. Can I even hyper-mile a Model S? So, during this same trip to San Diego, I followed a smaller delivery truck that was the ideal candidate for my test.

I started the drive making note of my average 30 mile consumption that is constantly graphed on my dash (as a preference that I’ve set.) See the example below.

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After getting my base (which, I did not record on photographs) I was in flowing traffic of around 75 mph at this point.

I decided to see what the effect was if I implememented hyper-miling techniques behind smaller vehicles. As predicted, it didn’t really help much. Too much of the wind resistance was not cut-down by the smaller vehicles.

Which leads me to try the test with the aforementioned small truck. I decided to pace the vehicle for about five miles and my average Wh per mile consumption during that period dropped at least 20 Wh per mile at a driving speed that was constant with the speed I was following smaller vehicles with.  Is that a lot?  Well, every bit counts and this was for five miles.

Physics doesn’t change, it’s just more difficult to find candidate vehicles to drift behind in a Model S. Next time, I’ll see if I can recreate the test using a loaner with Adaptive Cruise Control to see if I’m better than or if the Autopilot is at trying to hyper-mile. Granted, I have yet to set ACC at less than 2 car lengths for any distance, but that’s what I’ll have to do.

Oh and Range Anxiety, not really… I did that San Diego trip and back (220 miles RT) with no anxiety.

CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S charging adapter – Instructions and Review

A little over a year ago, I put my name on the waitlist for the CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S adapter. At the time, I was unsure whether I would need it or want it, but thought it would be good to get the option. At the time, Tesla wanted around $1,000 for the adapter, and it was very pricey. I figured that I could always turn it down when my number came up.

Well… Something happened between then and now.

Tesla dropped the price and my number was called. So… We said, “what the heck.”

Tesla does such a great job with the packaging for their accessories:

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Tesla’s instructions are elegantly presented in the following pictograph:

CHAdeMO to Model S Instruction

Being a technical person, I found these pictographs to be well done and quite easy to follow. Now, I’m unsure whether they’re great fro non-technical people, but between this pictograph and the one provided for the Premium Rear Console, I have to tip my hat off to Tesla for providing very easy to follow instructions.

Step 1 is to order the product on the website.  Be aware that (at least in the United States) there is a waitlist (as of March 23, 2015).  When your number is called, you have to make the decision whether to order it or not.

Step 2 is to receive the box

Step 3 is to open the box, it’s nicely packed with the pictograph instructions above.

So, how do we use the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter? Well, it depends on which CHAdeMO L3 Charger you’re using.  I chose to try the adapter with an Eaton CHAdeMO charger and a Nissan CHAdeMO charger because the two locations that I identified currently provide the charging without a fee.  Many of the Nissan CHAdeMOs have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  I have not yet used one of these.

Step 4 Attach the CHAdeMO cable from the L3 charger to the Adapter.

Make sure to align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Seat the Eaton CHAdeMO to the Adapter and make sure that it is secure.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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make sure to pull the trigger on the Nissan CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 7 is to press start on the CHAdeMO Charger to initiate the charge.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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It’s the blue START button, I forgot to take a picture of me pressing the button.

Step 8 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 go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:

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From the Eaton CHAdeMO’s display:

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One of the things that you will notice that is different between the Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO station is that the Eaton provides an estimate of how long the charge will take to full. The Nissan one that I have found do not do the same.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:

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From the Nissan CHAdeMO’s display:

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Step 9 When done using the charger, press the STOP button

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 10 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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[I don’t remember if there was a button, but some of them do… press that to release.]

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

Step 10A Slide the Grey lock away from the handle

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Step 10B Press the black button on “top” of the CHAdeMO cable. Make sure to be ready to catch the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

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Step 11 Return the cable back to its proper location.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 12 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.

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If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream.

So, is the adapter worth $1,000? I probably wouldn’t have bought it for that much. However, since they dropped the price to $450, it came down to a price that is less than Henry Sharp’s CAN Adapters for the Roadster.

How useful is it? Well, on a recent trip to San Diego, I found a Nissan dealership (Pacific Nissan in Mission Bay) that allowed me to use their CHAdeMO. This is useful as Tesla has not completed the build out of the Supercharger down to San Diego. The nearest one is the San Juan Capistrano, one that is reported to be very busy with the seven SC stalls at the location.

Thanks for the quick charge @PacificNissan, you're a credit to the #EV community.  Letting a @TeslaMotors Model S charge!

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It was quite useful since I arrived in the Mission Bay area about thirty minutes earlier than I expected to. I’m not sure how often I will need to use the adapter, but at $450, it was at a price point that is intriguing. The product is well-built, well documented, and works. Charging adapters are priceless when you need them in an emergency. There’s nothing more embarrassing than running out of charge.

Elon may think that the recently announced 6.2 firmware will end range anxiety, but I find the ability to charge at any rate is comforting. Even 110V at 3 miles per hour could work, in a pinch. But 130+ miles an hour over CHAdeMO is a bit better than 3 miles per hour.