Long-term Tesla Motors Battery Study from Plug in America

One of the things to consider when making the switch to an Electric Vehicle (EV) is the combination of the battery and electricity IS the fuel that is consumed to power an EV. As such, batteries and range degrade and may eventually need to be replaced. Therefore, one of the questions that these new Model 3 reservation holders ask is “how resilient is the Tesla battery?” or phrased another way, “how long will the battery last?”

The Model 3 announcement did not really cover how different or similar the battery technology in the Model 3 will be from predecessor vehicles from them. The Roadster has a different pack than the Model S and Model X. So, how does one get the comfort of knowing that “Tesla knows what they’re doing with batteries.” I suppose we can just trust them.

Fortunately, that is not our only option. Over the past few years, long-time Electric Vehicle advocate, Plug in America Chief Science Officer, and Tesla Motors Roadster owner Tom Saxton has been conducting several long-term battery studies hosted on the Plug in America site.

For those unfamiliar with Plug in America, they’re the folks that formed out of the advocates that tried to stop the “murder” of the GM EV1 and other Electric Vehicles of that era that was documented in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  Or, as they describe themselves in their webpage:

Our Mission

Plug In America drives change to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Our History

Plug In America is a coalition of early adopters. We’re the EV trailblazers – RAV4‐EV drivers, former lessees of Honda EV+, GM EV1, Ford Ranger and Ford Th!nk City electric cars – that passionately advocate for energy independence and clean air. Before 2008, we functioned as a loose network of individuals organized around various websites like dontcrush.com and saveEV1.com. We then coalesced into a chapter of the Electric Auto Association. On January 2, 2008, Plug In America became a separate California non‐profit corporation. On August 18, 2008, we became an official 501(c)(3) public charity!

The battery studies that Tom Saxton have been running for years rely on nearly semi-annual updates from respondents that drive Tesla Roadsters and Tesla Model S as well as the Nissan Leaf and the first generation Toyota RAV4 EV.  In email correspondence with Tom, he has indicated that he is looking to expand the study  in the near future to include the Model X as well.

Tom’s long-term battery study has been invaluable not only to the greater EV community but specifically to Tesla fans as well.  The take rate for participants for the Tesla Roadster study is close to a 7% sample, from what I gather and the Tesla Model S one had a healthy start, but could use more participants.

With the new range numbers from the redesigned front fascia of the vehicle, I am sure I’m not the only one to wonder what the long-term differences would be between a 90D classic fascia vs a 90D new fascia.

Providing a third party study of the effects of long-term battery health enables all concerned with a greater understanding and comfort to know “that Tesla knows what they’re doing.” Furthermore, it gives current non EV drivers a sense of comfort when making the switch to electrically fueled car ownership.

So, if you own a Tesla Roadster and haven’t participated in the study. Or perhaps you’re one of the lucky few to have upgraded to the new 3.0 battery from Tesla, please fill out the Tesla Roadster battery survey.

Perhaps you’re a Model S owner and you’d like to help add to the number of respondents to this study, fill out for the Tesla Model S battery survey.

What has Tom been able to share with the public so far.

Well, for the Roadster, he’s published an entire study three years ago including a paper entitled “Plug in America’s Tesla Roadster Battery Study.” The advent of the 3.0 battery upgrade may require a new study and the addition of almost another three years since the publication of that study might give more information to the study, but that’s entirely up to Tom and his cohorts at PiA.

The Model S Results page is more dynamic than the Roadster results publication.

I have taken screenshots as of April 27, 2016 of a few of the dynamic charts that are provided on the results charts page.

The first chart that caught my eye is the chart on the battery capacity vs. the miles that particular Model S iterations. With new EPA numbers with the launch of the new fascia should further complicate this chart.

Battery Survey - Model S Battery Capacity-Miles

This same chart can be used to also track how a particular respondent’s vehicle matches with the universe of respondents. The Vehicle in black on the chart below shows the performance of my vehicle in relation to other respondents’ cars.

Battery Survey - Model S Battery Capacity-Miles - Specific Vehicle

The third chart that was of interest is the reliability of certain components, namely the Drive Unit, battery, and chargers on the Model S. I wonder if the increased reported failures on chargers for 2014 vehicles resulted in the movement from the old chargers to the new 48A charger.

Battery Survey - Model S Major Maintenance - Model Year

Lastly, the inspiration to my exhorting fellow owners to participate in this survey was the chart of participant vehicles.

Battery Survey - Model S Survey Vehicles

For as many Model S are on the road now, I wonder as to the ability of this study, in its current count, to fully report on the vehicle with a small sample size. The Model S battery survey form is fairly straight forward and serves our common purpose. Tesla has been great, but it’s also good to have interested third parties run a check against what they claim and provide.

Tesla Weekend Social

This past Sunday, April 17, 2016, my wife and I attended the Tesla Weekend Social at the Costa Mesa (California) Sales and Service Center.

We were sent this invite a few days ahead of the first ones on April 14, 2016.

Tesla Social Invite

Tesla Weekend Social
We are excited to invite you to the launch of the Tesla Weekend Social series at your nearest Tesla location.

This new event series was designed exclusively for owners. Over a light breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with Tesla product experts, learn more about latest product features and speak with fellow owner enthusiasts. We look forward to seeing you this month as we take a closer look at Summon.

To find the event nearest you, select a date below.

We were intrigued to attend this Weekend Social and though the invitation from Tesla was to feature the Summon beta that has been deployed to Auto Pilot (AP) enabled newer Model S. Our current Tesla Model S version of AP is “yours truly” pulling the car in and out of the garage to let the better half in and out of the car.  After all, with the S and Roadster in our garage, it’s a tight fit.

Why would we join a Tesla Store event focused on a feature that we don’t and can’t use?

  1. As investors in TSLA, we wanted to see what sort of response this sort of activity does (it looks like good demand generators for S and X, or the very least solidify customer loyalty.)
    • Many people own older non-Auto Pilot Model S.  Demonstrating the features of newer Model S might be the motivation to push one over the edge to upgrade a car.
    • There is always a feeling of “what’s next” with Tesla, besides with the announcement of the new “nose” and design refresh for the Model S, I wanted to see if we would catch one “in-person”. (spoiler, we didn’t)
  2. We wanted to see what sort of thing Tesla would cover
    • It mentioned Summon, but this “Tesla Social” thing looks to be the start of something bigger, so we wanted to see what it was about.
    • I never know if there’s something new that I would pick up from others.
  3. We really like to be social with other Tesla folks. So, thought, why not?
    • Besides, the OC Tesla Club (Orange County, California) that we help organize with our good friends Mark L (and his wife Anna) and the group’s founder Tan just registered as an official Tesla Club with Tesla Motors and wanted to “lend a hand” and see if anyone else would want to join the group.
    • We expected there to be questions from new Tesla owners and thought that we can help cover anything else and free up the Tesla employees for other things.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones interested in this weekend’s activities, here is a thread on TMC on the same thing.

So, what was it like?

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We arrived at the store at 9:58 AM and proceeded to enter the facility.

There was already a crowd of folks that were asking questions of the Tesla Costa Mesa store manager, Gavin Torres, with questions.

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As you can see in the pictures, there were a bunch of folks there for this Social. I would estimate that there were 50 people that showed up to the Tesla Social. Not all were there on time, but on a rolling basis, I would guess that many.

The Summon feature, as with many Tesla features, has been demonstrated by many others in videos on Youtube and those videos were more dramatic than the Tesla Social event.

Here’s the one with the guy using it to pick him up from the rain.

Here’s one where the owner is getting the car out of its garage.

and the official video from Tesla.

The store manager at Costa Mesa had the forethought to staff for success and each group had a Tesla employee demonstrating Summon (and answering a ton of Tesla questions that had nothing to do with Summon.)

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The group we were with was interesting in that he used a pole that was in the parking lot to show how sensitive the sensors were in the car to understand the existence of the pole and route around it.

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The car he used to demonstrate the feature had to be parked closer because he had used it a few minutes prior to show the basics of Summon, and it was already parked pretty efficiently.  Having seen this feature in action before, I was interested to see if there was anything else that I could learn about it, and there was an interesting way that the instructor discussed initiating Summon from within the driver seat and the front panel without using the fob or app.

As with many places that reported on their Tesla Weekend Social activities, after the official demonstration, many were treated to a “show and tell” by those in attendance with Model X.  The Costa Mesa location was not an exception to this.

There were three Model X owners there and one did just that.

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In all, we stuck around to talk with other owners and answer questions about Tesla. the owners ranged from folks who just picked up their cars to others, like us, who’ve had their cars for years.

Was Tesla successful in getting us to upgrade our S? Not exactly… It did reaffirm our desire to have these features on our Model 3, when that gets delivered.

Since we arrived so close to the start and it seemed like they started early, I found out that the first 30 minutes prior to the start of the demonstration was spent fielding all sorts of questions from the owners that were present.  This speaks of a need for Tesla to perhaps be more thorough in their delivery process in showing folks what they need to know during the pick up.  Granted, the over the air updates change the look, feel, and behavior of the car that being trained on a feature that suddenly shows up is a challenge for Tesla.  However, taking the steps to add these Tesla Social series will allow those that suddenly have new features show up in their car with a forum to ask Tesla how to properly use these features.

It is commendable to see Tesla start to do ownership outreach in this manner throughout its Sales Centers.  In the meantime, hopefully, resources from the ownership community, such as our OC Tesla Club, Tesla Motors Club forums, Teslarati, and others can all be there to provide much needed assistance.  I’ve asked fellow OC Tesla Club members to make new owners aware of our club’s existence so we can alleviate the crush on Tesla’s employees on questions that can be easily answered and demonstrated by the owner members.

What’s the big deal with the Model 3 trunk (boot)?

I was surprised to hear about all the turmoil regarding the PROTOTYPE Model 3 trunk (boot.) One of the first places I heard about this complaint was on Jalopnik’s article This is the Tesla Model 3’s Biggest Design Fail.

In the article, Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky showed the following photographs:

Tesla Model 3 Trunk picture 1 - Jalopnik 4/1/2016 article

Tesla Model 3 Trunk picture 2 - Jalopnik 4/1/2016 article
Model3Ownersclub.com‘s owner/administrator TrevP (also on Twitter at @model3owners.)

Posted on the thread – The Trunk the following photo:

Wider Trunk photo from Model3Ownersclub.com

Electrek also talked about the Model 3’s Frunk titled “Opinion: Tesla’s Model 3 AWD ‘frunk’, as shown in prototypes, is just a glorified glovebox”.

Tesla Model 3 Frunk picture - Electrek 4/3/2016 article

As previously mentioned, the Model 3 designs that everyone has been discussing are prototypes. As such, I expect them to be close to what will be released, but don’t expect the cars to be exact. Remember, the Model X prototypes had cameras rather than side mirrors.  Additionally, the Model X prototypes also had the same front nose as the now classic Model S design. (black nosecone).

The prototype for the Model 3 shows a smaller car than the Model S and Model X.

Long-time readers will remember that I preferred the Active E to the Model S.  It was all about the size of the car.  I have since gotten used to the size of the Model S and it doesn’t bother me anymore.  However, I still prefer a smaller format vehicle.  My wife’s Roadster is great, but it’s her car, and it is smaller than I’m comfortable driving regularly (should she even let me borrow it to drive.)  Though I haven’t seen the Model 3 in person, I surmise based on the pictures and information that this Tesla will be closer to the BMW Active E size and definitely outperform my old, beloved BMW Active E.

So, is the trunk and frunk too small for me?  Well…  Let’s see.

I drove the BMW Active E for two years.  It was a great little car, full battery electric and a range between 80-100 miles.  As for the trunk, there was a reason that I used to drive the car to do our Costco Wholesale shopping.

Here is a picture of the BMW Active E Trunk.  The Active E labeled portion of the trunk is the motor for the car.  Beside the motor is a full laptop/briefcase and that was pretty much it for space.  So, when I shop at Costco, I saved money.

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The trunk had a little more space and there are two shelves under the floor.  One fits several tools and the like and below that is space for the emergency Level One EVSE (110V.)

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Here’s the one for the Level 1 EVSE.

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Though the car seems to have minimal space, I proved that back in 2012… Looks can be deceiving.  So, a “small” Model 3 trunk, probably not an issue for me.

Just to remind folks, the Model 3 isn’t the only Tesla with a small trunk.  Check out the Tesla Roadster trunk below, it’s big enough to carry a set of golf clubs… For the driver OR the passenger.

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Folks are disappointed in the Model 3 trunk size because they have the Model S to compare it to.

Here’s a loaner we had during our charging disaster with the Roadster.

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Here is the Model S from Quicksilver Car Service that we used when we picked up our Model S at the factory.

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It had plenty of room for luggage.

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With the classic Model S with a single motor that we have, the frunk has a LOT of room as well.  So much so that we now carry a spare tire in it when we do our roadtrips.

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For a comparison, the Dual Drive Frunk on a Model S 70D loaner that I used in September 2015 is markedly smaller than the frunk on our classic Model S.

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Since we didn’t opt for the Premium Sound package, we get side storage on both sides of the trunk.  I’ve always found it the best place to bring home some flowers for the better half.

The space in the back of the .@TeslaMotors Model S is perfect to make my wife smile with some roses... Just because!

So, yes. I can see both sides of this. Tesla knows how to make a hatchback, but should they make the Model 3 a hatchback? Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t. At the end of the day, it’s a PROTOTYPE, so Tesla can still change things. Personally, I’m fine with the trunk space. It’s not what attracted me to the car anyway. Besides, if they keep the trunk as is. I would probably save a lot of money at Costco. 😉

Now, if they can make the Model 3 a Coupe… Or better yet, a hardtop convertible… That’s an option I would love.

Was our line the slowest during Model 3 Release Day

It’s been exactly a week since we placed our reservation for a Tesla Model 3 (the wonders of scheduling the publication of a blog post.)  Since we already drive Teslas, the long wait is bearable.  The wait in line to reserve one, however…  Let me share our experience and you can decide for yourself.

Before the stores were even open to take reservations, I tried to give Tesla our money…

There were many who camped overnight, like the ones in Rocklin, CA.

Not too many had to endure what the hardy souls in Montreal had to with the rain and cold.

Still, we left home early for a 10:00 AM launch, but later than many.

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My mom has decided to upgrade her recently replaced Leaf (the original one was totaled by an SUV) by the time the Model 3 is launched and we were not going to have her camp overnight.

We arrived at our first nearest Tesla sales center – Buena Park.  The Buena Park location is one that took over a former auto dealership location and is a consolidated, Sales, Service, and Delivery (and soon a Supercharger.)

The line at this location was long and was out the door and down the street.  As we drove up to it, we estimated it to be closer to 120+ people in line. The parking lot was full and all the street parking near it was taken.  The nearest place to park was quite a ways from the location and I had my mom with us.  So, we proceeded to our backup store – Brea Mall.

We arrived at Brea Mall and found parking and walked throughout the mall, past the Apple Store which was having its iPhone 5SE launch.

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The line at Starbucks was longer than the one for Apple:

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And then there is the Model 3 line:

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(thanks to Mark Z for this next picture)

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Here’s mom with the LONG line that we stood in:

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We walked past the Tesla store and start of the line and got to the end of the line by 9:15 AM. We didn’t know what number we were in line until about 30 minutes later when our friend Mark Z swung by and was counting people in line and notified us that we were 240-242 in line.  

Here’s Mark Z catching me in line at 242… (thanks to Mark Z for this next picture)

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On his loop back on his way to another store,  he had completed his count at 320, many more added to the total as he left.

We spoke with the folks immediately before and after us in line for the Model 3 and found out that everyone around us are new to EVs and currently in ICE cars. We got to know them as we ended up spending many hours with them. The Brea location started the order process on time at 10:00 AM Pacific. During the wait and before the start of the order process my mom asked the guy in the front of the line what time he got there and he said he arrived around 3:00 AM Around 12:15 PM, we were still pretty far from the store and I shot this video:

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Around 1:30 PM we finally have the store and the roped part of the line in sight.

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We still had a ways to go, but at least we can see the store.

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Remember our friend Mark Z? He returned to our location after driving from Brea to the Costa Mesa Delivery and Sales Center (up the block from the Service Center.)

He took this picture of the line around 2:00 PM.

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Apparently, he was 220 in line in Costa Mesa when he arrived at that location at 10:15 AM and was done with his reservation in time to catch us as we continued to stand in line.

Near the front of the line, Tesla provided some FAQs (thanks again to Mark Z):

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Here we are finally in the front of the line:

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And Mark Z taking the picture as we were being called into the store…

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When we got back into the store we were sent to another line. Apparently this store had three employees taking orders for those in line. We sat in the same line as my mom as I was there to assist her if she needed some clarification.

If you squint you can see us on the right side.

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While waiting in the store for our turn, three more Tesla employees showed up with computers and iPads to take orders, they were augmenting this store from the Buena Park location that we had originally skipped in the morning. We were among the first of three in-store folks that “got the benefit” of a 100% increase in order takers. 😉

And so, we’re finally taking mom’s order (picture courtesy of Mark Z again).

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and this next one too.

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We were all set to order one Model 3 each. But when mom was filling hers out, she figured to reserve for two. Not sure what she’ll do with two, but that was good. Perhaps she might just gift a Model 3 for each of my nephews (her grandsons) or perhaps she’ll cycle through three EVs.

Rather than have the employee have to go through my long Tesla email, I asked if I can just go ahead and fill out the web page quickly and he let me go at it. So, I started filling out the form, and the drop down said 1 or 2 Model 3. I looked over to my wife, and she said to go for two. Who am I to argue?

Finally… success:

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From the time we jumped in line at 9:15 AM and from the time that the doors opened at 10:00 AM, we didn’t complete our last reservation until 2:16 PM. That means for the approximately 4.25 hours since the line opened, this store was processing 1 order every 1.06 minute.

The email to confirm our order popped up in our emails (my mom’s and mine) approximately 18 hours and 20 minutes later. And for those of us who are already Tesla owners, it was in our My Tesla account another day later. People have been tracking what Reservation Numbers they’ve been getting to see if there is any pattern (on teslamotors.com forum and for UK ones at SpeakEV.) For the sake of privacy folks have been deleting the last few digits for the RN and I have provided the following information:

Pacific Timezone 3/31/2016 14:16:00 Dennis RN10792
Pacific Timezone 3/31/2016 14:16:00 Dennis RN10884
Pacific Timezone 3/31/2016 14:14:00 Mom RN10892
Pacific Timezone 3/31/2016 14:14:00 Mom RN10892

Folks around the forums are trying to figure out a pattern. I can share that Mom’s two reservations are about 4200 apart from each other.

Having a week between the reservation for two Model 3 and over a year and a half (at least) wait for taking delivery of one or two Model 3s, I’ve justified to myself what a second 3 would be equal to. It’s roughly the same cost as upgrading the Roadster to 3.0. However, unlike the Roadster 3.0 battery, if we’re early enough, we could apply for the Tax Credit for the Model 3.

It was a long wait in line and an even longer wait for the “configure your Model 3 email.” I guess the blog content is going to increase from Model S and Roadster to include Model 3 (unless we happen to pick up a CPO Model X in the meantime.)

So, last week’s EV Week has gotten to be pretty epic.

I wonder if our 4.25 hours since store opening is the longest for someone who was 240-242nd in line.

Visiting Faraday Future… Impressions for a hopeful future….

This week is the start of a great EV week for rEVolutionaries. Especially if you’re in Southern California… It was extra special for me, ’cause I got to add one more to the two things happening toward the end of the week.

I was lucky enough to be invited by Dustin Batchelor (on twitter or his blog) on his visit to Faraday Future [updated 2016-04-01, his blog post on his take on the Faraday Future visit] during his family vacation to Southern California to attend Formula E’s second visit to Long Beach this weekend.

Dustin is a fellow rEVolutionary and 2 Electric Vehicle family (Leaf and Volt) from British Columbia and had driven down to Southern California with his family in their Volt. He had hoped to visit Tesla Motors, but didn’t get a response to his requests for a factory tour from Tesla. Apparently he also reached out to Faraday for a visit and was granted one by the folks there. When I heard from him that he was going to drop by and tour Faraday, I asked him if I could “tag along” and he requested and was granted approval by his contact at Faraday to bring me along.

So, step one to the visit was to sign the Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement from Faraday Future and I wanted to make sure to protect my secrets, so I signed the document (kidding, though the NDA was mutual, I wasn’t working on anything proprietary… 😉 ) and returned it to our contact at Faraday Future.

The NDA guarantees that I won’t be taking any pictures of my visit, so you WON’T be seeing ANY pictures of the visit to Faraday Future, but I can share my thoughts and impressions of this company.

First off, many have wondered whether Faraday Future was producing vaporware. As the secretive company was announcing its sponsorship of Formula E’s stop in Long Beach, one of my staple EV news sites, Transport Evolved published the article “Just Ahead Of Long Beach FIA Formula E Race, Faraday Futures Becomes Surprise Official Sponsor — But Still Has No Car”. The company was criticized by its CES debut by many because they produced a super-car concept (the FFZERO1 Concept) rather than a “real car.” As I tweeted during their big reveal, it’s really their VPA (Variable Platform Architecture) that I felt was important in the announcement and not the FFZERO1. The VPA is basically a base that can be expanded or shrunk down to use as a basis for their entire line of vehicles. Comparing this to Tesla’s Model S and Model X and the skateboard design which is a fixed size to build the platform on top of.

I looked forward to this visit because I had my reservations as to the substance of the firm and its viability. After all, the history of American automotive startups is littered with failure. It is often said that last “successful” American automotive startup was Chrysler.

So, I went to this visit without much expectations and came out of it fully satisfied.

As I mentioned earlier, I was unable to take pictures of the facilities or share what they are working on but I can tell you my impressions.

  1. This is a growing company and it is growing fast.
  2. There was an energy in the air as I walked through their facilities and people were focused on their work. Furthermore, this same energy can be summed up as a “sense of urgency” as these guys realize that they are looking to join a field that is dynamic and filled with awakening giants because of Tesla and its success.
  3. Since I was unable to take photos, I thought to at least share a photo that IS public and here is a photo taken in December 2015 of Faraday Future offices that was part of their CES Press Kit.
    Screenshot 2016-03-29 18.35.00
    I can tell you that this photo is INACCURATE. It is inaccurate because there are SO MUCH MORE PEOPLE in the offices that these pictures were taken in now than there was when it was taken four months ago.
  4. They’re out of parking. I arrived to take the “last spot”.
  5. These guys are working on a lot of systems in parallel with developing their car. We saw “mules” of their technology in other OEM’s vehicles to test their technology on a platform akin to what they would be developing their own vehicles in.
  6. Faraday Future must have bought large-car sized tarp and sheets from Costco… We saw quite a bit of concept cars covered by tarp and sheets.
  7. There is a lot of tech that they are using. We walked by several workstations that reminded me of a space mission control location. Desks buttressed to each other with multiple monitor stations in front of each employee.
  8. They have lofty goals, but ones that would benefit EVeryone in the rEVolution should they execute on their goals.

Lastly, as “parting gifts”, the guys over there provided us with a hard-copy of their CES Press Kit.

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Here is a link to the same kit in PDF form.

Apparently, Dustin Batchelor and I were not the only folks to visit Faraday Future this week, I wonder whether Chelsea will be able to share more than I was

Third Year’s tracking of Hybrid Garage use.

So, it’s been three years since I’ve started tracking our garage’s EV vs ICE use.

As I previously wrote (three years ago on my Minimizing Gas Use article; on my update two years ago; and the one from last year) we drive a hybrid garage.

For those that need a refresher, a hybrid garage is one where some of our 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 vehicles that happen to use gasoline.

This winter” was supposed to be better than any of the previous “winters”, but we did not brave the mountains with our fifteen 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 we prefer to beat up the X5 with hauling stuff rather than put the Model S to work.

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

In preparing for the last article on Celebrating Four Mostly Electric Years, I noticed that I had transposed some statistics and noticed that I had overstated the EV miles by 36,000 miles, so I wanted to make sure to correct that.

Three 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.  Our methodology was to count the miles driven in rental cars to this spreadsheet and the miles that we’ve lent our ICE vehicles (and EVs) to our friends and family when they visit Southern California.   This is why I created some tracking spreadsheets and tracked mileage for a year.   The results year over year are still impressive even with the mileage transposition error in year 2.

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 92.64% (vs. what I thought was 94.78%) of the time and ICE 7.36% (vs. what I thought was 5.22%) of the time.

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) in the first year, about 40,000 miles in the second year, and we drove a total of approximately 41,000 total miles in this third year. That’s approximately the same number of total miles between years one and year two.  Even though a good number of those miles were the 8,245 miles of coast-to-coast driving from our Here, There, and EVerywhere trip in May 2015.

Because of the error in Year Two’s calculation, I thought that we would be close to 150,000 EV miles this year, but still at 126,000 All EV miles since we started driving EVs.  For the study, we’re closer to 112,000 EV miles and 14,000 ICE miles for a study average of 88.7% EV vs 11.3% ICE three year average.  Definitely an upward momentum.

Looking at the monthly figures, for the third year shows a big blip in the ICE use for month 34 and that is mostly December 2015 and my sister and her husband was visiting us and most of those miles on the X5 was because we had lent them our ICE car for that month.  The approximately 1400 miles of ICE that was driven that month is more than half the total ICE miles for the year.  Until we have an EV to lend out to family, we’ll have to take those spikes.

Here’s to hoping that this next year’s study will have a greater EV momentum.  And we continue to look forward to seeing what else we can achieve with our hybrid garage next year.  Perhaps another coast-to-coast EV journey.

Celebrating Four Mostly Electric Years of the rEVolution.

On February 23, 2012, we joined the rEVolution with the addition of our BMW ActiveE.

This was one of the first pictures we took of our ActiveE when we picked up the car at Long Beach BMW. Shows a very happy, young rEVolutionary:

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Brought it home and plugged it in… We didn’t even have our Level 2 installed at the time and had to charge a BEV with an 80-100 mile range on 120V.

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Granted, my commute at the time was 70 miles roundtrip if I took the most direct route, and the “fastest” route used the carpool/HOV lanes and that was 100 miles roundtrip.

BMW’s friendly policies for ActiveE Electronauts meant that I was able to charge at Pacific BMW (a 10 minute walk from my office) J1772 station and ensure that I recovered my miles that first week.

Side by side ActiveE 1

I wrote about my first year of electric driving on the blog three years ago.

Once you go electric, it’s hard to look back. At the time that we picked up the Active E, we had a few ICE vehicles in the garage. The Active E was outnumbered by ICE vehicles and we figured to keep the ICE for our hybrid garage.

After taking delivery of the Active E, we we sold our Honda Civic Hybrid. There was no real need to keep it since we originally purchased the Honda as a commuter vehicle and the Yellow HOV stickers were expired by the time we picked up the Active E.

The two year lease of the Active E meant that there was pressure to see what “the next car” will be and we decided to place a deposit for the Model S. However, at the time, the plan was for my wife to get the S and for me to look for a replacement for the Active E.

We received our “configure your Model S” message in the beginning of 2013. However, we still had another year on the 2 year lease on the ActiveE and we didn’t think we would run with 2 EVs concurrently, so I took the time to test out other cars for me to use when we decide to become a 2 EV family, after all, the Model S was going to be her car.  Since I wanted to ensure to get the Federal Tax Credit in 2013, we delayed the delivery of the vehicle to the end of the year.  The ideal delivery would be December 31, 2013, however, understanding the Tesla process and to ensure that I get the vehicle with some “buffer” we settled to take delivery in November 2013.

Long time readers of the blog and participants of the now defunct Active E forums will remember the many test drives (a few sample test drives: CodaFiat 500e,  Smart ED to name a few) and discussions over what my next car will be. I was really hoping to love the i3 and my wife was “under protest” if I went with the i3. At the end of the day, we skipped the i3, a decision that I discussed on a previous posting.

To make November 2013 delivery, we figured that we needed to start configuring our Model S on August 2013.  It was at this time that we noticed a bunch of Tesla Roadsters being sold as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and my wife fell in love with her Roadster.  So, it was at this point that we decided to pick a Roadster up and the Model S became my car.

Here is the Roadster on our pick-up day:

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And here I am with a rare (driving my wife’s baby) picture:

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Picking up the Roadster was awesome, but not without problems.

And a few months later, we did our first roadtrip with our Model S when we picked it up at the factory. And live-blogged the weekend a few hours before and a few days after. I summarized the whole weekend.

Here is our Model S on pickup day:

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After the early start, factory tour and pickup of the Model S, our first recharge for the car…

The driver and passenger needs to refuel.

…was for the driver. Needed Starbucks.

Though we started the year thinking that we wouldn’t need to drive 2 EVs, we ended up with 3 EVs from November 2013 until the return of the Active E to BMW on February 2014. The second year anniversary was a bittersweet one.

The following year of EV ownership strengthened our positive impression of Tesla Motors. The BMWi debacle in the launch of the i3 in the United States made us adjust back to the original plan of 2 EVs for daily use. Originally we wanted to get a third EV so that we can minimize the miles in the Roadster, but my better half was having too much fun driving her Roadster and didn’t feel like swapping it out on daily drives. So, we saved some money and skipped the third EV.

I didn’t even write a 3rd EV Anniversary post.

So, from February of last year to now, we’ve settled into a life with our two EV, one ICE hybrid garage.

This past year, we’re really just living the rEVolution on a day to day basis. We took our Model S on a Roadtrip Coast-to-Coast and back, and it was a blast. With over three years of EV driving, we don’t suffer from range anxiety, however the trip solidified our “can do” attitude as far as driving our EV for distances and this past year we took more roadtrips than we’ve done the previous years.

I would have loved to say that we hit 150,000 miles of all electric driving, but I will just have to settle on 148,404 electric miles vs 14,194 ICE with a little under 3 hours from the time we brought our Active E home 4 years ago (9pm Pacific vs. 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific right now)). [EDITED 2016-March-5, Looks like I had an error in my tracking spreadsheet…  We’re closer to 125,000 EV miles…  I had transposed numbers in Month 16 of our tracking spreadsheet that overstated total miles by around 20,000 miles for totals.  I was preparing for the Year 3 of our EV vs. ICE posting, and found the error…]

So, what’s in store for our EV future?

To begin with, we’re about 2 weeks from the third anniversary of my ICE vs EV statistics that I’ve been tracking and we broke 90% EV vs 10% ICE use after almost three years. But that’s another post.

My Thanksgiving 2015 post gives a good hint of what I’ve been up to. Additionally, I am happy to report that my client, EV Connect, Inc., was selected for three of the nine Electric Charging Highway Corridors for the California program. This project, when completed will allow all EVs equipped with CHAdeMO and/or CCS DC Fast chargers to complete the travel from the Mexican border to the Oregon border with Level 3 charging stations.

Additionally, the Model 3 reservation process will be open on March 31st for a $1,000 deposit. We’re trying to see if we’ll take advantage of this or not.

Lastly, we’re thinking of expanding our long EV roadtrip plans. We are tempted to do another coast-to-coast trip using one of the newer routes. Perhaps we’ll finally join the Teslaroadtrip folks on one of their cool get togethers. This year, they’re planning on something at Colonial Williamsburg, and we’ve never been. We’ll have to see if things work out for this trip.

Here’s to hoping that the Model 3 and its competing EVs become massive successes and we transition from ICE to EV at a faster rate.

In the meantime, time flies when you’re having fun.