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 Roadsters 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.

Achievement Unlocked = 10MWh of EV driving on our Tesla Motors Model S

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Granted this photograph was after the round trip commute home (which is why the total was actually 10,025 kWh.)

We were at 32,571 at .8 kWh from the 10 MWh when I left home. It does figure to the 307 watt hours per mile, so it’s nice to check the math against the built in calculations.

Anyway, kinda anti-climactic after the 100,000 All EV Miles.

100,000 All Electric Miles reached by our household today…

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About 1/3rd of the way home today, we reached 100,000 All Electric miles on all vehicles owned or leased by our family. We reached this landmark mileage figure with the help of our Active E, which we picked up on February 23, 2012 and returned on February 23, 2014, as well as our Roadster and Model S…

One of the side-effects of tracking our hybrid garage (our minimizing gas use post, first year, and recently posted second year) use has been to track the number of all electric miles that we’ve done since we picked up our vehicles. Which means that we deduct the original 2,220 miles on the Roadster when we picked it up CPO, we deduct the 14 miles that we had on the Active E, and the 22 miles that was on our Model S on our acquisition of each vehicle.  That’s how we get to the 100,000 Total EV miles on our family vehicles.

So at 3:29 PM Pacific Time on March 10, 2015, we hit 32,221 miles on the Model S which made our total for the family at 100,000 all electric miles. Additionally, it turned out that we hit that 100,000 EV miles target on day 1,111 of our ownership/lessor of our primary EVs. These totals mean that we averaged about 90 miles of electric driving per day for the past 1,111 days. That’s more than double the US average commute of 40 miles roundtrip. Additionally, 54,321 of those miles are on an EV that averages 80-100 miles of range in the Active E. So to those that say that EVs are for short distances only, need to check on the mileage that we did with our vehicles. Range Anxiety? Not around here.

Ended today at 100,024 total household EV miles. Next target? 10 MWh [corrected from 1 MWh thanks to @grahamparks] of energy consumed on our Tesla Model S. [as was pointed out by @grahamperks on Twitter, I understated myself. 1 MWh=1,000 kWh. So, I’m about to hit 10MWh on the Model S]IMG_20150310_160416

9901.3 kWh consumed for the 32,245 Miles that I ended my commute to home today at a conservative 291 wH per mile for the day (still at 307 wH per mile since we picked up our Model S).

Rear passengers rolling in style… Premium Rear Console installation and review

Most of the time I drive alone or with my wife on our Model S. We rarely use the rear seats for passengers. However, when we do, it’s usually one or two other people, and rarely are we fitting three people in the vehicle. It’s nice to have the option to fit three people, but we often ride with less.

One of the complaints that is common to owners of Model S are the lack of cup holders in the vehicle. The rear part of the vehicle have no cup holders unless the owner of the Model S opts for a rather interesting solution from Tesla.

I was uninterested in this rear cup holder solution and was surprised when I found the Premium Rear Console on the http://shop.teslamotors.com/ site.

Since we rarely travel with five people, we figured that the Premium Rear Console from Tesla would provide some traveling in style for our passengers.

Installation

So, the installation instructions seemed simple enough.  The following pictograph was included in the shipment.

Tesla Rear Console Install

Lengthen the child-seat hook so that one can install it on the center seat position.

Click it in, and tighten. That’s it. Sounds simple enough.

Step 1 is to order the product on the website.

Step 2 is to receive the box

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

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The storage bag that comes with it is pretty nice.

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Here it is, unboxed –

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Here it is about to be installed…

Step 4 is to lengthen the hook and get it ready to slide under the center section to hook it on the center child restraint.

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Here’s the hook.

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Step 5 is to hook it in

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Step 6 is to tighten the slack.

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Here it is installed.

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An insert for small stuff

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Here’s the storage with the insert removed

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Storage with insert in place

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Front view

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More pictures on my flickr album.

It took me about 20 minutes to install for the first time. This is going to go faster as I remove and re=install it in subsequent times.

I like it. Is it worth a starting price of $600. Somewhat pricey, but it works for us.

Second Year’s tracking of Hybrid Garage use.

So, it’s been two years since I’ve started tracking our garage’s EV vs ICE use. As I previously wrote two years ago on my Minimizing Gas Use article and on my update a year ago, I do drive a hybrid garage. For those that need a refresher, a hybrid garage is one where some of my cars are EVs and the others are internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. As a family that is a part of the rEVolution, why do we still have ICE cars, it’s because we’re not as good as those that have gone to an all electric lifestyle. Hats off to them, but there are just times that I like to use our vehicles that happen to use gasoline.

This past “winter” was better than last year’s “winter”, but we did not brave the mountains with our fourteen year old BMW X5. The X5 lets us go to the mountains around LA when there are restrictions to drive when the snow is fresh.  Additionally, when we need to buy large items to move, we’ll use this same workhorse to help us move them.  Granted the Model S does have a LOT of space, but I’m not one of those brave souls to carry “cargo” in them.

Last year we also had our BMW 328iC Convertible. But we sold that now that we’re more comfortable removing and re-installing the roof on the Tesla Roadster. So, on those days that we feel like driving around Sunny Southern California with the top down, we just use the Roadster.

That being said, I understand the costs of our addiction to oil and gas and we try to minimize it.

Two years ago, I started tracking the number of miles my household used ICE vs. EV to see what percentage of our private car travels are electric and what part are powered by internal combustion engines.  Since we travel a little bit, I’ve decided to count the miles driven in rental cars to this spreadsheet and the miles that we’ve lent our ICE vehicles (and EVs) (ICE is now singular over the course of the second year of this study) to our friends and family when they visit Southern California.   This is why I created some tracking spreadsheets and tracked mileage for a year.   However, the results from last year to this year are impressive.

In the first year of the study, we drove EV a total of 81.20% of the time and ICE 18.80% of the time.

In the second year of the study, we drove EV a total of 94.78% of the time and ICE 5.22% of the time. We sold our second ICE car in Month 4 of the second year (or 16th Month overall). Additionally, we did try to rent EVs on trips as much as possible, unfortunately, even in areas of the country that have EVs available to rent, the vehicles were rented out ahead of the time of our trip there (specifically Honolulu and Orlando). We tried to rent an EV on a trip to Portland, however, at the time, there was no onsite EV rental at PDX International Airport.

As a whole, the household (as defined earlier, my wife and I and when we lend the cars to family and friends) drove about 46,000 total miles (both EV and ICE in the previous period) and we drove a total of approximately 55,000 total miles in the second year. That’s an increase of 9,000 more miles of total driving of which 52,500 of those total miles were EV. That’s nearly 6,000 more miles than ALL the driving that we did during the first year of the hybrid garage study.

Interestingly, I did a quick 31,310 Tesla Model S update the day before the end of the second year of the study period and I had a lifetime Model S efficiency of 308 wH per mile. At the end of the day of the second year of the study, that average went down to a more efficient 307 wH per mile.

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Throughout the past year I’ve been using 308 wH per mile for my calculations. Now going to have to use 307 wH per mile. That achievement is something.

One of the things that I was hoping to announce in this post is, as a family, we’ve reached 100,000 all EV miles across all three EVs that we’ve leased or owned, but sadly at the end of the second year of the period, we’ve been able to get to 99,665 miles on all the EVs that we’ve owned or leased. Now if we were to count our loaners and the few times we’ve been able to rent EVs in this count, I’m sure we’re well over 100,000.

Looking forward to seeing what else we can achieve with our hybrid garage next year.

A fitting mileage post… 31,310 miles for a car in the 310 area code

I was going to write about how the Model S is doing at 30,000 miles…

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However, I wrote a post at 29,000 miles, so 30,000 would be tight…

So, I figured how about one at 31,310 miles…

31,310 @TeslaMotors Model S Miles in the 310 area code!

What can I say, the car’s great. It’s still between 227 to 228 rated miles when I charge at 90% on a daily basis and average consumption of 308 wH per mile. What’s great about this mileage is that we’re getting that much closer to 100,000 EV miles for all three EVs. Tomorrow would be the 2nd year of our tracking the EV vs. ICE hybrid garage study. It would’ve been great to have hit 100,000 EV miles by then, however, have to be happy with 99,506 total EV miles by the end of today. After tomorrow, probably closer to 99,600 EV miles vs. approximately 11,000 miles. But that’s the subject of another post.