## Home Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions

We had the opportunity to upgrade and make some changes to our home Electric Vehicle (EV) charging setup and thought to share that with you.

I went back to look at my posts to see if I could update what I thought I had written about in the past.  It turns out that I must have shared this information to the public via forum posts and not on the blog, so I figured to go over home charging today.

As a long-time multi-EV owner, one of the things that we’ve setup at our home is the ability to charge our EVs at the same time. This can be as simple as running several 120V plugs, but when you drive the miles that we had on our daily commute, 120V service is just not enough.  As a result, we’ve made accommodations to upgrade our EV charging to varying grades of 240V service.

So, to explain what I mean by varying grades of 240V service, I need to go off on a short tangent, I’m not an electrician, but having been involved with EVs for over four years has made me understand some EV basics.

1) Battery capacity and EV range is measured in kWh of storage (your consumption rate determines what that range is in miles or kilometers.)  This is why the Model S and Model X is sold with differing models corresponding with battery size.

2) The speed to re-fill this battery capacity is measured in several ways, but basically in kW of power.  The higher the number, the faster that a car can charge. So, this kW maximum for a charger is the amount of Volts multiplied by the Amps of the service.  Furthermore, an EV charges at 80% of the total Amperage that the circuit is rated for, so a 40A circuit can use a maximum of 32A to charge.

On a basic, common North American plug outlet, 120 Volt x 15 Amp service, an EV driver can use 120V x 12A = 1.44 kW of power.  (On Model S, this is a maximum of 4 miles per hour charge rate, under ideal conditions.)  It is interesting to note that many early EVs of this current generation (2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volts) had a 3.3 kW charger.  Even though, I believe, previous generations of EVs (GM EV-1, RAV4 1st gen, etc.) had 6.6 kW charging.  Many current EVs now provide at least a 6.6 kW charger.

Our old ActiveE was rated at 7.2 kW (originally, but by the end this was de-rated closer to 5.5 kW by software because of some issues.)  My wife’s Roadster has a 16.8 kW charger and our Model S is equipped with dual chargers for a total of 20 kW charging capability.

That being said, the higher the voltage one uses the amperage of the wire has to increase to give you a quicker charge.  So, to get a 16.8 kW service for the Roadster to run at full speed the Electric Vehicle Supply equipment (EVSE/i.e. electric vehicle charger) has to have a 90 Amp circuit to run at 70 Amps continuously over 240V.  (Remember the 80% rule for charging.)  So, to get the 20 kW charger to work on a Model S, a 100 Amp wire and breaker needs to run to get that going (19.2 kW, but who’s counting.)

I digress… Back to the point…  The higher the amperage for the circuit installed, the thicker AND more expensive the wire will be.

I am sure that for my North American EV readers, many have one EV plug to provide 240V service charge their car. How many places to charge 240V do you have at home? When we first took delivery of our BMW Active E in 2012, we didn’t have a single 240V service installed in our garage.

We actually spent a few weeks charging the car on 120V.  Something that those of us that follow Thomas J. Thias (the Amazing Chevy Volt) on Twitter see him espouse the greater than 1.5 Billion charging locations at this voltage in North America – 120V regular outlets (at 1-4 miles per hour, not normally relevant to me, but as Thomas reminds us, it’s a “good enough” solution for 80% of the drivers on their average commute.)

Just this evening, September 27, 2016, Thomas Tweeted the following out (in reply to a ZeroMC tweet)

We’ve even used the same Level 1 charger when we visited family…

Needless to say, that got old FAST…

So, two weeks later, we took advantage of a grant in 2012 and got a Chargepoint CT-500 (back when the company known as Chargepoint was called Coulomb Technologies.)

There was a grant program available for new EV owners/lessors to take advantage of that covered the cost of the EVSE and some of the installation.  The Chargepoint CT-500 was an intelligent/networked EVSE that connected to the Internet over a mobile network (2G?!?) connection and part of the bargain was that the government and researchers can glean the information about the habits of the participants in the grant program.

Since EVSEs in 2012 were over a thousand dollars, we opted to participate in this program and had our first charger installed.  We expected it to be a 32A EVSE, (80% of the 40A circuit that was installed) but it was actually a 30A Level 2 station. The total cost of the EVSE and Installation was \$1,640. However, there was a state program that covered \$1,200. Which meant that we were liable for \$440 (plus \$150 permit) for a total of \$590 for the cost of our hardwired Level 2 station (plus the loss of privacy by participating in this monitored program.)

Here is the CT-500 when it was first installed.

To install the units, we had to use Clean Fuel Connection and their sub-contractors for the work and it was a pretty painless program. After signing the contract they were at our house two days later with the EVSE and our days of charging Level 1 was put in the back burner.

The charger was hardwired and the installers did a great job.

Here it is on the day we first installed the EVSE and we charged the Active E on that first Level 2 charger.

With this Level 2 setup and public Level 2 charging we were able to drive the Active E 54,321 total miles during the two years of the lease.  Several years later, the intelligent features of this charger became unsupported because the mobile network that the signals rode on was being decommissioned by AT&T.  So, today, we’ve lost the “smart” functionality of the charger, but it still works great with the Model S.  So, our first dedicated EV charger was installed in March 2012.

A year and a half after we started driving the Active E, we purchased my wife’s Roadster and finalized the order for our Model S.  Since we were already “experienced” rEVolutionaries.  We had a good idea of what it takes to charge a car and how long it took to do so.  We decided to install several NEMA outlets in the house, two NEMA 14-50 outlets and one NEMA 6-50.  We picked the NEMA 6-50 because, in 2013, the first “plug” ready non-Tesla EVSEs were being produced and we wanted to be able to charge “anything” off that and didn’t feel the need to recover miles faster than a 50 Amp feed on either the Roadster that we took or the Model S that was soon to arrive in November 2013.  The approximately 25 miles per hour that we anticipated to recover on a 50 Amp circuit (40 Amps usable) was going to be enough for our drive.

When we originally ordered our Roadster, we were unsure as to what sort of charging we would get with it that we ordered a Leviton 40A EVSE to deliver the wire speed of the NEMA 6-50 at full speed.  Here is that Leviton being installed for the Roadster to use on its side of the garage.  At the time of the purchase, this EVSE was selling for approximately \$1200 elsewhere and Amazon sold the same model for \$1050.  In 2016, this same EVSE is now \$699.

The EVSE powered up.  However, we ended up returning the Leviton EVSE as it was incompatible with the BMW Active E and made some WEIRD noises and sounded like it was having a BAD time, electrically speaking.  Furthermore, it turned out that we were going to get a Roadster MC240 with my wife’s car, so that can take full use of the NEMA 6-50 that we installed for the Leviton EVSE.  (We just needed an adapter to go from NEMA 14-50 to NEMA 6-50 that we had made for us.)  We charged the car on this MC240 for a short while (Tesla actually stepped down the charge from 40A to 30A on the MC240 on a 50A circuit) because we wanted a faster recharge time, so we found another Roadster owner selling their Roadster UMC and purchased that unit with a 6-50 Adapter to fit directly onto the circuit that our electrician installed for the Leviton.  And used that equipment to continue to charge the Roadster until today.

Here is a photo of the NEMA 14-50 outlet on the other side of the garage from the NEMA 6-50 installed for the Roadster.

We wanted to makes sure to protect it from the elements.

When we were having our electrician wire up the outlet for the Roadster, we wanted to future-proof  that location and asked to have 70A service pulled in.  To maximize the 70A breaker, we split that wire to two NEMA connectors the one (NEMA 6-50) in the garage for the Roadster and another one on the outside wall of the garage (a NEMA 14-50.)  This sharing of the one breaker is not really the “code” for these connections.  However, as long as we manually manage the Amperage on the line when using two different vehicles on each of the NEMA connectors, we should be fine.  (Remember the 80% rule, so a 70 Amp breaker means that we don’t draw more than 56A continuously on the circuit.) One of the benefits of driving any Tesla is its ability to be managed “downward” on the amount of current to draw from a circuit.  So, if a newer 6.6 kW Leaf were to be plugged into that receptacle and draw 32A, we still have 24A to use for the Roadster or the Model S.

As I mentioned earlier, we lucked out when we took delivery of our Roadster, we were provided with an original MC240 (which works only with the 1.5 Roadster) and we shortly thereafter got the Roadster UMC which is the pre-cursor for the Model S Mobile Connector (MC) and its replaceable terminals.  The Roadster one continues to be more flexible than the Model S MC in that it still has ten choices for different terminals for the product, we bought the NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 6-50 adapters to work with the plugs that we have in our garage.

We also ordered Quick Charge Power’s Jesla, however this was before it was even a QCP product.  Tony Williams worked with me to customize a Model S MC to be a Jesla. I wanted something that would work with ANY EV out there and the Jesla would plug into any of the other outlets in the garage and in the exterior of the house for when we have visitors, like my mom and her Nissan Leaf.

Here’s a picture of the Roadster charging on one of our exterior NEMA 14-50 outlets.

We had the same protective enclosure for the NEMA 14-50 that we installed on the exterior side of the house.  Additionally, should we ever decide to get an RV, we can plug an RV on the side of the house as well since this plug is dedicated to its own 50 Amp circuit.

Here is that outlet without the Roadster plugged into it.

That is the MC240 that the Roadster originally came with.  It has a hardwired NEMA 14-50 plug on the end of it.

It’s just on our driveway, but away from blocking the garage. This was convenient, but not the ideal place for the Roadster, the noisiest that a Roadster gets is when it is CHARGING, so we make sure, in the interest of keeping the peace with our neighbor, to have an outlet ready for the Roadster in the garage.

During the months between November 2013 and February 2014, we kicked the Active E out of the garage and it ended up charging on the driveway.

Here are a couple of pictures I took when we used to have all three cars, all plugged in and charging.

The J1772 EVSE that is plugged into the Active E during this duty cycle is the Jesla that I had asked Tony Williams of Quick Charge Power make for me.  It is great to see all the business that he has since built from the time that he made this product for me.

So, for several years we’ve had a great set-up at the house that allowed us to charge four EVs at once and not sure if we’ve ever have needed to do this… I do remember my mom visiting with her Leaf and charging it. The Model S was already charged, so I could just plug her Leaf into that J1772 (the original Chargepoint CT-500 from 2012). This photo was from Thanksgiving 2014, and the Active E was already back with BMW for at least 9 months at this point.  You can see the Roadster UMC plugged to the wall beside the Roadster (using a NEMA 6-50 at this point.)

That’s a long way to catch you up to what we just had done this past weekend… in 2016.

Well, a short while ago, we’ve had some charger challenges with the Roadster.  During testing, we kept swapping chargers to see the effects, and as a result of one of these tests, the MC240 that came with our car died and was not repairable.  Our service center provided us a replacement as a result of this failure because we still had our CPO warranty in effect. The MC240 is quite rare, so the service center provided us with a second Roadster UMCs.

When we took the “new” UMC home and plugged it in, it turned out that the new one was “flaky” (or, I suspect that there’s something with the Roadster, but we’re still figuring that out.)

Now, it has been difficult for Tesla to track down the UMC to begin with, and they are quite pricey, so, instead of trying to find ANOTHER Roadster UMC, I asked if they could just replace the dead MC240/flaky Roadster UMC with a new Model S/Model X High Power Wall Connector (HPWC.)

My point was that they were producing more of these HPWCs, the price for the unit has dropped significantly and is about a third the cost of another replacement Roadster UMC. The retail price for the Roadster UMC is \$1,500 without a NEMA 14-50 connector, and adding that connector is an additional \$100 for a total of \$1,600, and the Model S/Model X HPWC is now \$550 for the 24 foot model. Luckily, my logic was deemed to be a sound one, and we were able to get a 24 foot Tesla Model S/Model X HPWC (ver 2? (the one that can be daisy-chained)).  I figure that between the Roadster UMC, the Jesla, and our CAN SR and CAN JR, we have enough portable Level 2 capability for the vehicle.

Several weeks later, mid-last week, we get word that the replacement Tesla Model S/Model X HPWC was at the service center ready for pick up.

We went to pick up the box from the service center and take it home.  It wasn’t going to fit in the Roadster, so we took an S (the service center’s loaner as the Roadster is in the shop for its annual service) to bring this box home.

One thing about the Model S/X High Power Wall Connector is it is glorious and aesthetically pleasing EVSE.

Unboxing the HPWC…

In order to install the unit, it had to be hardwired, and I’m not an electrician, remember.  I scheduled our electrician to do the work this past Sunday, September 25.

As I mentioned earlier, we ran 70A service to the garage for the Roadster and the two shared NEMA outlets (the NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50). I figured to have him use that feed for the HPWC.  Since it seems that we’re now predominantly a Tesla family, I also had one other change that I requested.  Between our Tesla bias and the fact that there are now more EVSE providers that are selling NEMA 14-50 plug-in EVSEs, not just NEMA 6-50 ones, I went ahead and asked our electrician to replace the NEMA 6-50 outlet for the Roadster with a NEMA 14-50 one.

The new HPWC can go to 80A on a 100A wire, but it was cost prohibitive to run that wire three years ago.  I was glad that we ran 70A because we are now able to take advantage of 56A power for charging (when we’re not using the NEMA 14-50 outlets) we’re able to charge a Model S (with dual chargers, or enabled for greater than 48A for the newer ones) at 34 miles per hour.  The Model S normally uses the old reliable Chargepoint CT-500 at 30A and approximately 18 miles per hour of charging.  So, if we’re in a hurry or if the Chargepoint “misbehaves” we now have the means to “charge quicker.”

Besides, the nearest supercharger to us is Fountain Valley and though it is a supercharger, it is easily the busiest one in the area as is evidenced by this photo around 1pm on 9/27/2016.

That’s six cars waiting and eight charging (there were seven cars waiting just before I took this picture.)

Additionally, we still have the NEMA outlets (now all 14-50s). We just have to manage the load effectively, and safely. I could use the advanced features of the new HPWC and daisy chain them in the future, but I think we’re OK with the way we’re set up for now. In the meantime, we just have to do the math and run a total of 56A on the feed. One requirement currently is that all these vehicles will have to be Teslas because it’s difficult to limit each feed to only 16A…  We can, conceivably charge two Teslas at 20A and a Chevy Spark, Chevy Volt, or 2011/2012 Nissan Leaf on 16A of power.  As we mentioned earlier, many EVs now run at 6.6kW or higher and that’s 32A of power on 240V.

So, in 2016, we are now able to plug in five vehicles to charge at 240V service in our home…

Looks like we’re ready for the rEVolution and hosting an EV meetup…

Or to have family visit us…  My sister and her husband just added a Volkswagen E-Golf to their garage a few months ago and, as expected, my gearhead brother-in-law has been “digging” driving electric. (I think that he’s garaged his Porsche ICE and taken to driving the E-Golf places.)

Furthermore, once we get our Model 3 reservations delivered, we’re ready for those as well.  We might need a bigger driveway and garage!

## The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

Many readers know that we took the long way round because we got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party.  Rather than just go from Southern California to Reno, we wanted to combine that trip with a trip to the the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) and attend the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visit family who was attending camp in Seattle, WA and visit family living in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So how did this trip look on the map?

It looks like we went pretty far to go someplace a lot closer. That’s the “fun” of driving a Tesla powered EV. The Tesla Supercharger network enables travelers to go, wherever they want to go.

So, how did we do?  Well, as is the goal for any long road trip.  We arrived home still happily married.  So, that’s always Goal #1.

After 13 Days on the road, we’ve made it to all our intermediate goals on this trip.

1) We made it to Portland and attended EV Roadmap 9 Conference.

Even got to ride the BYD e6 and write a quick review of it.

2) We made it to Seattle and had spent a day with our niece as she spent time away from home in a camp.

3) We visited our relatives in Vancouver and got to hang out with them.

And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

And pondered why they didn’t just make an EV version of this little car.

4) Met with friends that we made on the Internet who are EVangelists in real life some for the first time, and others as a catch up.

In Washington State…

In Oregon…

In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

And in Reno at the Gigafactory

5) And we attended the Tesla Gigafactory Grand Opening Party.

Throughout the journey, we ended up with two other mini-obsessions…

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

and the Tomato Truck

We felt incomplete and left “hanging” looking around for the pasta truck to complete the set.

AND

2) We looked at the “logging industry” life-cycle…

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

Then followed the raw logs

cut and shaped wood

and finished products.

So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

1) It’s good to get food recommendations from a Chef.  The restaurants that we experienced from the recommendations were superb.

1A) It’s also good to listen to locals for their recommendations for such things.  We enjoyed the Dutch Bros. coffee and didn’t know about them before we were introduced (especially the Iced Caramelizer.)

1B) This one is not always reliable, but give it a try anyway, our sushi in Vancouver area this trip was good, but not spectacular.  Considering the spectacular Dim Sum we had at brunch, we’d forgive this.

2) Budget lots of time when crossing International Borders.  Try not to schedule anything too tight from when you assume to cross the border. Or at least take the commercial crossing instead.

3) Continue to be fearless with taking off highway routes, you never know what you’ll see and experience

Considering that the travel is its own reward.

4) Continue to have backup charging identified.  Even when picking hotels that are destination chargers, sometimes it won’t work as expected.  When you have a backup, it’s no big deal to go to the alternate.

5) Read up on notes that others have made on the various charging apps, i.e. Plugshare or Teslarati or others.

6) There might be a benefit to reserving your hotel ahead of time (i.e. Our Day 13 plans was extended by our “winging it.”

For example this map on Day 13 should have been a lot shorter…

We ended up home at least a day, if not two days sooner than we had hoped.

That being said, what was our final statistics. 3,388 miles driven and 1021.3 kWh consumed and a direct energy cost of \$16.82 from one overnight charging session in Bellevue, WA.

Looking at our statistics, the trip average is around 301 Wh per mile (or approximately 3.32 miles per kWh).  That’s below my normal driving of 308 Wh per mile since we bought the car.  The Model S is definitely an EV energy hog compared to some of the other EVs (i3, for example.)

Additionally, the \$16.82 that we spent on energy for the trip means that our direct cost was \$0.005 per mile directly spent on fueling our car for this trip.  It was cheaper for us to fuel our car on the road than it’s been on the computed \$0.008 per mile that we fuel at home on our Solar power.

Thanks for joining us on 2016’s Tesla Roadtrip, The Long Way Round…

…I wonder where next year’s “big” trip will take us. (Perhaps we’ll spot the pasta truck that’s been missing since Day 1!)

Why not subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to find out…

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

…I still have two National Drive Electric Week stops that I attended in the past month…

…Just got to ride the Bolt EV this weekend, I might have my impressions on that car sometime soon…

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 12

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the twelfth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 11 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  It’s the Tesla Gigafactory Party day!

Day 12 – Reno, NV – Tesla Gigafactory Party – Sparks, NV..  July 29, 2016

We picked the Harrah’s Reno location because we had friends that were staying here and the shuttle bus for the Gigafactory party and the pre-party for those of us with four or more referrals were leaving from the hotel across the street (Whitney Peak Hotel).

We had breakfast with our friends at the Hash House A Go Go.  I haven’t had my coffee yet, so everything was still blurry.

The meals at the Hash House are filling and tasty.  The portions definitely rival the size of the Cheesecake Factory.

The waffles were huge.

As were the pancakes.

We had a great breakfast with our friends, but had to hurry off to the first face to face meetings with the Presidents of the various official Tesla Owners Clubs.  Many of these folks flew in for the Gigafactory party and though some were going to TMC Connect, others were not, so we had a lunch with them at a restaurant close to the Atlantis Hotel.  We found two Model S and decided to take the third spot beside them.  The one in the middle is Greg (ggr) from San Diego’s custom painted Signature Model S.  He had carpooled up to the event with a few of our friends from the TesLA Club (Los Angeles).

The lunch meeting was well attended, and there were members there from Australia, Canada, and Europe, (as well as many from all over the US.)  It was more about meeting the folks than lunch for us (you DID see the size of our breakfast portions, right?)

We gathered around outside to take a picture, and look at all the pretty cars.

And on the way back to get ready for the Gigafactory party, we stopped off at the TMC Connect hotel, Atlantis, to drop off our new friends from The Owners Club of Australia (who needed a ride) and to see if we can take better pictures of the cars from last night.

Definitely better looking in the sunlight than the dark parking lot from the previous evening.

The supercharger station still had availability.

And that’s one SweetEV (with the new R80 badge to denote the 3.0 battery giving approximately 340 miles of range.)

On the way to drop the Aussies off at the Atlantis, I spotted Rob N.’s Electronaut inspired Model S striping at the Convention Center, where TMC Connect was being held during the day and I felt compelled to track it down and take photographs.

California DCPPOWR meet Massachusetts ACPOWR

After taking all the ActiveE like Model S,  we headed back to the hotel. We’re not planning on driving further today, so we park at the hotel and take note of the mileage and range left.

After getting ready for the party, we cross the street to the Whitney Peak Hotel for the pre-party and shuttle buses to the event.

The ore-party for the Gigafactory was at the bar in Whitney Peak Hotel.  They served not only drinks, but Ice Cream as well…

Gelato, actually.

And the toppings were great too.

That’s one Happy Dennis.  Remember all the Ice Cream stops in last year’s trip, Here, There, and EVerywhere, like the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.

So, the pre-party was also full.  Lots of folks to catch up with.

I even get my few seconds on Youtube (via Bjorn’s channel)! (around the 27:10 mark if I didn’t embed this right) 😉

I suppose I should check to see if KMan has me on his channel too.

A few of the folks drove here to get in the pre-party and some are using the shuttles to the Gigafactory.

The drive to the factory from downtown Reno took about 20 minutes.

There was a line to get into the parking area.

The factory was hidden until one gets into Tesla’s property.

And once you catch a glimpse, it just keeps getting bigger.

It was a pretty orderly line to get in.

And Tesla had a cadre of valet attendants.  I suppose when the cars are fully autonomous these guys will have to do something else.

The queue to get into the party was pretty orderly.

All smiles as we wait in line to get in.

Someone just got their party badge!

And that someone is pretty happy.

We get into the party tent and it’s nice and cool.

Here’s a model of the factory on the desert background.

Looks like we’ll get a peek inside the factory before many people do.

The line to get to the tour.

Tesla needs to hurry up and have electric buses for us to use.

No, that’s not our tour guide.  That’s one of the Tesla executives welcoming us to the Gigafactory.

These kind folks are the employees who will be taking us on the tour.  They have other jobs at the Gigafactory, but for the tour, they’re our tour guides.

We drive around the building and into some uncompleted sections and end up at the start of the tour.

The hallways are nice, cool, and clean.

We were shown a Tesla battery…  Lots of discussion whether we can tell the difference in mm from the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) format to the new Model 3 (20700) cells.  Some could swear that they can tell the difference…  I lied and said that I could, I’m just NOT THAT GOOD at telling the differences in battery cylinder sizes.

Here’s a comparison against an iPhone 5. (with a backup battery case hard at work.)

Part of me was wondering, what’s the worst that Tesla will do if I make a break for it… Then again…  I decided to continue on with the tour! 😉

Yeah, I don’t know what I’m looking at here.  It’s lots of wires and empty walls.  However, I do remember them saying something about Inputs and Outputs and the ability to drop a wall and continue to expand the building.  Apparently only 12% or so of the factory is complete.  Though it seems to me like a lot of the inside still needs to be filled in.

It’s good to hang out with friends from faraway and our particular group has Jeffrey Cadman who had a bear of a time flying cross country from the Mid Atlantic States to get to Reno, his airline cancelled the leg from the Bay Area to Reno and had to share a rental car to get here.

Jeff is one of the crazy guys from Tesla Roadtrip whose misadventures inspired me and my better half to get into Tesla LONG DISTANCE Roadtrips, especially last year’s Cross Country adventure, Here, There, and EVerywhere.

As you can see, even with the misadventures of airline travel, he’s happy now. But what a mess, unfortunately he reached out to us when we were already on our way to Reno from Sacramento and had to split an ICE rental with two other attendees for TMC Connect and/or Gigafactory who were on the same flight.

I could try to lie outright and say what the heck this device is… But, another thing that I remember is many parts of the Gigafactory is actually Panasonic’s section.  The cooperation between Tesla and its suppliers is amazing in that the factory is really demarcated between Tesla and its suppliers from where the raw goods are brought in, processed, and provided to Tesla for its assembly into battery packs.

The gentlemen presenting were giving a good detailed explanation of what this part of the process is, but I continued to be distracted and just enjoyed “taking it all in.”

Some of the machinery is covered up in tarps whereas others are in plain sight.  One can only imagine at what state the production really is at this point that the general public was allowed the opportunity to photograph the factory.  Understanding the umpteen NDAs and warnings against any photography of Tesla’s Fremont Factory, let’s consider what we see with a “grain of salt.”  It’s impressive what Tesla and its partners have done, but if it was producing things that are proprietary, we would not have been able to photograph things.

It was still pretty cool to walk through.  For crying out loud, there were parts of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour where we were NOT allowed to photograph as well.

More impressive machinery…

I seem to recall something about storing some of the finished products in these racks, but as you can see, nothing is stored, yet.

One of the things pointed out to us is the use of automation and robots in the plant and the markings on the ground are the pathways that the robots use to follow and move material from one point to another in the factory.

Here is a stationary robot that we pass.

And still lots of space to be filled up.

At this junction, I believe that we were nearing the division between Panasonic’s part of the factory with the Tesla assembly portion of it.

So, should I make a break for it?

Move along buddy!

Off to the Cell Aging Room.  Why we need to age the cells, I don’t know.

This should give you a good idea at how tight this room is.

Here I am with a robot behind me.

And here it is photobombing me.

It’s a pretty friendly looking industrial robot.  Don’t think we have to worry about Skynet…

…yet.  Though if Elon and Tesla keep fine tuning the “machine that builds the machine.”  His term for the factories that Tesla uses to get products out there, who knows at what point the machines will decide to skip humans altogether.

These trays are where the completed battery cylinders are placed when done being made into the battery format before it is combined to make the battery sheets for vehicles and/or power walls.

You can see some batteries above standing up waiting to be put into packs.

Once again I don’t remember if these cylinders are for the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) size or Model 3 (20700) size.

Apparently I mis-wrote earlier.  This is the demarcation between the Tesla side and the Panasonic side.  Either way, the point remains, on one side of a wall is Panasonic and Tesla’s suppliers and on the other side is Tesla.

Walking into Tesla’s side, the same cylindrical batteries take the shape that we are familiar with.  The battery packs that go in our cars and the ones that will be put on people’s walls and utility and commercial locations

These red robots look familiar as the X-Men inspired ones in Fremont that help build the cars.

It must be tempting to hop on a robot, otherwise, why the sign?

Once again, lots of visible assembly line areas and the whole floor looks “clean.”

We pause and take a picture of us at the Tesla side of the factory.

That looks like a Model X chassis.  Those shock absorbers on the back look much bigger than a Model S.

Some information on the products from Tesla Energy.

And it looks like wood pallets of Tesla Powerwalls are all ready to ship.  I presume these are Australia and Germany bound as those markets are more mature than the US for the delivery of home battery storage for power.

We pass more battery packs in various states of construction.

It’s interesting how such a small cylinder can be combined together to give the capacities of storage that we need for our mobility or home or utility electrical storage needs.

Didn’t get the time to count all the completed boxes, but I’m sure now that a BIG commercial account was announced recently, these guys are busier than they were two months ago when we were there for this launch party.

Ok, pallets are for Tesla Powerwall (Residential installs)

and these refrigerator looking boxes are for commercial PowerPack installs.

We figured to get someone to take our picture with the big Tesla sign behind us.

It was cool to see the “battery lifecycle” input/output factory tour, but it looks like a lot of work still to get it fully functioning.  Tesla originally were offering a ride to a lookout with a great picture opportunity for the factory.  However, a quick moving thunderstorm entered the area as we completed our tour and we were ushered back to the party quickly.

Summer weather in the desert can be quite interesting.

They offered to possibly restart the overlook process, but muddy feet was not part of the plan for today.

We had hoped to ride in the Model 3 on Gigafactory party day, but the rides that they were offering were solely for Model S and Model X.  So, I wasn’t really interested.

We did pass the Model 3 in the VIP section of the party as we quickly went back to the party tent.

It looks bigger in person.

And we had to use zoom lenses to capture shots of it from afar.

One had to be Elon’s guests to get closer to the red Model 3.  However, as many have pointed out this red one is actually a full size mockup without any working innards, so there’s that.

It still looks pretty and we would still have enjoyed a chance to look at it.

I took a panoramic from the party tent of the 12% of the building that has been completed.  This party tent and parking lot will be demolished as the factory is expanded.

On the other side of those lights are Model S and Model X that are being used for the Test Rides.  It’s not even a Test Drive, and since we did drive thousands of miles to get here, a place about 500 miles away from home, I think we’ll let someone else drive and ride while we enjoy the company and the party.

Some folks had great spots to see and hear Elon and JB welcome us and talk about the Gigafactory.  As with many Tesla events, it was quite full and crowded by the stage, so my better half and I enjoyed hanging out with EV friends and listen to Elon and JB talk in the same room and have the comfort of the AV professionals view.

We took the opportunity while Elon and JB were speaking to take a few shots of the models of the Gigafactory and surrounding location.

It’s incredible what the vision is for the site, once built.  And it is important to note that this Gigafactory is the first of a plan to build more of these worldwide so as to deliver vehicles and energy storage closer to where the demand is.  I’m assuming that means an Asian and European Gigafactory along with future Tesla auto factories at those locations as well.

No detail was missed in the model with a pair of Model S supercharging factory side.

We stuck around pretty late to see if we can make it to the Model 3.  We tried different avenues to get an invite to go across to see it.  Alas, here’s a great shot of it via zoom lens later in the evening.

The test rides have wound down and many have left the party.

As we exit, we figure to take a picture of the sign welcoming us to this party.

And we head back in our shuttle.  We check into our room at the Harrah’s Reno and take a picture of the little city of Reno.  It was great to see the building and Gigafactory in the state that it is in.  It would be better to see it in greater operation.

The next day of this series, Day 13, is published here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 11

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eleventh day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 10 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we head North and East toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party and for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception at TMC Connect 2016 this evening. We’re on I-80 headed East from Sacramento today.

Day 11 – Sacramento, CA to Reno, NV..  July 28, 2016

The Hyatt Regency Sacramento popped up as a Destination charger, but only one J1772 station actually was operational for visitors (during our visit.) Though I was worried about being the only one at the charging station, no one contacted me to move the car overnight so that they can use the charger. We were able to charge up quite a bit of the car and would more than likely stop at Superchargers on this route because we wanted to see them more than actually needing a charge.

We headed North and East towards Reno, but had plans to visit a few superchargers along the way.

Our first stop is the Tesla Rocklin Sales, Service, Supercharger, and Delivery Center.

This location is impressive and looks like it took over an old car dealership location.  The supercharger stalls are pull through and convenient for Model X that may be towing something behind it.

We plugged in for a short while just to ensure that we have a boost and add the supercharger to the “chargers that I have visited list.”

It was more photo op than actual needed charge stop…

We even had the other side of our DCPPOWR with the ACPOWRD New fascia Model S that was at this site.

Lots of great pictures of the charger location, a quick pit stop, met a few more folks who were planning on being at either TMC Connect or the Gigafactory party, and we’re back on the road.

It’s nice to be back on I-80 going East.  It brings back fond memories of last year’s Here, There, and Everywhere trip.

Traveling to Lake Tahoe and Reno is a strange sight for me in the Summer.  The past few times that I have done this drive as an adult, it had always been winter and I was on my way to skiing at Lake Tahoe.  I can’t remember a time when Reno was my actual destination.

The drive was peaceful, and we were at the summit in relatively short order.

Tesla has two locations for supercharger clusters in Truckee, CA.  We opted to go to the newer one on the inbound drive to Reno.  We wanted to get a charge so that we have enough “driving around” range and back.

Driving in mountainous areas tend to take energy and though we only drove for approximately 83 miles, we’ve used up over 110 miles of range.

We were the first to arrive at this second Truckee stop and promptly chose a stall to charge at.

We were soon joined by a couple with their new White Model X.

We decided to walk around the area and were reminded that there are wildlife that live in Truckee.  These trashcans look secured from bears.

The center that these chargers are located have very few amenities, but the folks running the sushi bar were gracious enough to let a weary traveler use their facilities.

The fish at the Drunken Monkey looked appetizing, but I was not hungry, so we skipped it and made a mental note, should we be hungry and be in the area in the future.

We had a good chat with the couple with the White Model X when more Tesla travelers joined us at the supercharger.

And we had a good amount of charge we decided it was time to head out.

We looked at our car and were reminded of our drive through the fields North of Sacramento and all the bugs splat on the car made us seek out a manual car wash that we can use to clean the car and make it presentable to those attending TMC Connect.  We didn’t want to be the only filthy car during any sort of photo sessions that we may be a part of.

After a quick wash, we headed into Reno.

Oh look, our nemesis was on this road as well.

We drove along the Truckee River toward Reno.

And are welcomed by the Welcome to Nevada sign.

This must be one of those few spots in Nevada where there is a border crossing and yet no casino immediately on the Nevada side of the border.

It would be another few miles before we spot any casinos.

We’ve decided to stay at the Harrah’s Reno with some friends as it was less expensive than Atlantis, the hotel for TMC Connect.

The chargers at Harrah’s Reno is a bit of a challenge to use.  It was short and we had to move the car a few times to get it working.

We had a lot of miles, but we’re on a Roadtrip, and ABC rules always apply. Besides, we’re charging for a short amount of time and decided to get some electrons while we check in and get ready for the TMC Connect dinner reception.

The Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno is definitely a newer hotel than the one we ar staying at.

We thought that the reception was at the hotel, but had to take the long haul over to the Convention Center instead.

After a long walk, we find ourselves “almost there.”

And we made it.  Anytime you see a bunch of Teslas parked inside a building, chances are you’re in an EV conference.  TMC Connect is no exception.

I wasn’t even asking why this Model X was turquoise.  Needless to say, these guys can help you if you wanted to do something “different” with your Tesla.

There were also manufacturers of some cool two wheeled EVs.

The folks that are building hitches for those that want to pull something with their Tesla.

Dinner was good, and the company was better.

One of my favorite things to try to track down at these events are Rob and Andy (aka Woof) from Massachusetts.  Both these guys are ex-Active E guys who now drive Teslas (like that guy in the middle).

The hallway had some full tables, but some noticeably absent were folks who flew out for the event who got caught in some weather in the middle of the country.  There were a bunch from the Mid Atlantic states who were stuck on their side of the country because of that.

We had a great night of conversation, consternation (over the Gigafactory and things) and camaraderie.  And with that we headed over to the Reno Supercharger, not for a charge, though I plugged in for a few minutes (to add it to “the list” again)

But to take lots of Tesla photographs…

Beside us were a couple of guys who drove up for the Gigafactory party and didn’t even realize that TMC was going on. They were in a new fascia Model S.

Lots of Model X around.

And documented a lot of creative personalized plates.

Long drive out from Virginia.

Someone’s smilin’

Doug’s car’ Nikola

I believe this was ChadS’ ride (his wife’s car)

Our friend from BC, Paul Carter, drives around in this one… He decided NOT to get Model X.

A better shot of Zap 2 Zum

Hard to find that feed for a residential home in North America.

California lets us use some fun characters and this person made good use of theirs.

Frickin’ Lasers

On a Ludicrous P90D Model X…

This time the person with the Model X plate installed it on a Model X.

We got back to our hotel to catch some guys trying to charge their Teslas on the charger, (turns out that one of them was Bjorn Nyland and his friend) and so we headed to find a parking spot in the garage.

Across the street were also some charging stations.

Here’s a zoomed in shot of a Model S at one.

We turned in for the night with slightly higher than a 90% charge.

Now, I’d like to say that whatever happens in Reno, stays in Reno, but I won’t…  I just won’t have pictures of it.

Like I mentioned on the drive in, we chose the hotel because we had friends staying here and we caught up with them.  Turns out that our friend was friends with KMan and while we were hanging with him, got an invite to hang.  We headed up to a room in one of the towers of the hotel only to find ourselves in Bjorn Nyland’s room with Bjorn live-streaming on Youtube or Facebook, we’re not sure, and Kman waiting for his buddy to arrive so that he can check into his hotel.  So, after trying to stay away from being “caught on video” both the better half and I end up on a live stream with folks who follow Bjorn.  It’s a good thing that we’re NOT on witness protection. 😉

We stayed for a short while to shoot the breeze and talk with the guys about all things Tesla and then took our leave to get some rest.

The next day of this series, Day 12, is published here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 10

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the tenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 9 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

We had hoped to meet up with some EV friends in our drive through Washington and Oregon and we were lucky enough to catch one of four.  We had no planned meetups heading back to California before making the swing up to Reno.  It’s just drive, drive, drive again, and figure out where to stop.

Day 10 – Springfield, OR Southbound to as far as we can..  July 27, 2016

We start the day at the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR.  We selected this hotel because we’re loyal to Hiltons and Tesla Destination Charging.

We had full intention of charging Level 2 overnight and continue our trip as soon as we woke up. However, as you can see from the picture below, the hotel’s destination HPWC when it is being used, the second charger, the J1772 is inconveniently located to charge a second Tesla.

Basically, if I drove in forward to the second charging location, the charging cable will cross the other Model S and have the cable be in its way. Furthermore, if I drove in backward, the cable will be precariously twisted with the J1772 to Model S adapter, if that charger cable will even reach the car.

Since our hotel was less than a mile away from the nearest Supercharger, we just opted to skip the Level 2 entirely and supercharge there before heading to Grants Pass, OR and beyond.

So we finished up at the hotel, had our breakfast, checked out and went less than a mile away to get some electrons for our car.

Was I glad that we did.  It turned out to be a Supercharger powered TMC Meetup. The two other Model S that was supercharging at the time were also headed to TMC Connect in Reno.

The Signature Red Model S was already charging in his car when we pulled up to take our spot and start to charge.  Soon after, the twin to our Model S pulls up beside us.  I notice the license plate on the blue one (an Oregon one with the plate Nikola) and stepped out of the car to compliment him on his plate.

When DBullard introduces himself to me, I recognize his handle and it all clicked. At that point, the driver to the Sig Red S steps out to join in the conversation and it turns out to be ChadS.  First thing that Chad does is stare at me in disbelief and said something to the effect of, “aren’t you out of your way”.  Apparently he recognized me and was confused as to why I’m charging in OR for a trip to Reno… We had a good laugh at that and explained our Long Way Round trip and plans.

The Sig Red on the left is ChadS and the Blue Model S (twin to our S) in the middle is DBullard.

Chad was there a lot longer than we were and he headed out first.  With three of us heading South for TMC Connect, and several locations with only four stalls means that we can probably expect to have some locations have a short wait.

Chad and Doug both have hotel plans for the night.  We’re just winging it, so it really depends on how it works out.

We left next, but being a more “moderate”-footed Model S driver meant that before we even make it to the next supercharger location, Doug overtakes us on the road and we were able to get him a few great shots of Nikola.

We continue on and my better half spots another “logging industry” life-cycle truck hauling Stage 2 prepared lumber products…

I suppose that these “bald spots” on the mountain is probably “logging industry” life-cycle stage 0.  Either that, or someone needs tree rogaine to cover these spots.

The drive back to Grants Pass has some interesting undulations.

We were craving coffee in the middle of this drive and thought to seek out the nearest Dutch Bros. coffee.  After all, we’re not going to be in Oregon much longer and we can always grab Starbucks elsewhere.

So, we did a search on Google and found a listing for one at Sutherlin, OR.

Near the Dutch Bros. location, we see one big flag above us…  We also spot a donut.

It is a donut… but when you put the words Smoke Shop on a Donut and put mushrooms above the building, it makes us think twice before we stop in, and we passed on that “donut” shop.  Additionally, the Dutch Bros. at this location had a LONG line and we’re only 80 miles to Grants Pass.  We decided to skip this location and continued on our drive.

Success…  At least on my wife’s goal of seeing the “logging industry” life-cycle in action on this trip (we’re still waiting on that Pasta truck from Day one of the drive.) That’s half a wood building we see being carried on a truck.

And a short while later, the OTHER half of that structure was being hauled as well.

And then for bonus points, we get to see a completed structure being hauled on our side of the drive.

Not just a completed structure, but a modern “out house.”  I would normally make a joke about the “Oversize Load” sign on an “out house”, but decide against it.

Now this former mountain “bald spot” looks like it got some tree Rogaine applied to its slope.

And with that we find ourselves at our last supercharger stop in Oregon.  Back in Grants Pass, OR.

At the Grants Pass Supercharger, I took the last remaining spot and it looks like Doug and Chad were already there with one other Model S.  Since the two guys that were traveling ahead of me were sharing the same circuit, I can only guess that the other Model S must have arrived in between the two of them.

We decided to fill up the car with electrons before we filled up the travelers with some “Dutch Love”…

We ordered a Caramelizer and a hot coffee as well.

Before we left the area, we thought to stop by and take pictures of the nearly adjacent West Coast Electric Highway DCFC station at Grants Pass.  The states of Oregon and Washington deployed their stations along the WCEH a lot faster than California or British Columbia. The standard at the time was strictly CHAdeMO and the planners also instituted a J1772 alongside the single CHAdeMO station that they installed.

It’s a great start to allow CHAdeMO enabled travel throughout both states. Unfortunately, very few US cars are able to use the CHAdeMO stations, but I know of several who have made full use of this network and I am sure they are thankful for it.

Ooh…  a painted bear.  Not sure what the bear was adorned with, but can only guess that it had something to do with the history of the area.

And we headed out of Grants Pass and back to California.

On this leg of our drive, I spot a Nissan Leaf that was on a truck that was headed in the same direction as us.  It looks like it has no plates and I suspect that its a car that was being sold or has been sold in California that used to be in Oregon.  But I digress.

Spot a lone windmill in the distance.  Don’t know what it’s powering, but good for them.

And as we near the California border, our friendly neighbors from the South send us on our way with a thankful goodbye.

We spot no California sign outside of the “Click it or Ticket” sign.  That was disappointing.

And the terrain becomes less green and more gold in the Golden State.

Looks like the cows around these parts are hanging out on the ranch as well.

My better half captures a nice shot of Mt. Shasta.

And I needed to make a quick stop and thought it would be funny to take a picture of the Weed, CA sign.  Yes…  I can be a little immature at times,  (remember the Outhouse insinuation?)

Nearing the Mount Shasta supercharger, we spot some really colorful trucks on the side of the road.  One has to definitely be distracted not to notice any of those trucks.  I spotted them from the OTHER SIDE of the road.

And we get to Mt. Shasta in no time.  Doug was spending the night here, so we were not going to be seeing Nikola on the road today.  However, I believe that Chad was still going forward.  We arrived to be the last vehicle to take the fourth stall again and proceeded to charge for our next stop in Corning.

It was still early enough in the day that we decided to keep driving.  We currently selected the Supercharger in Roseville, CA as our next destination, though I don’t think that we’ll be driving there tonight.  The GPS wants us to take CA-99 after Corning.

I ran into Doug at the hotel and we chatted a little and I told him about the great pictures that my better half caught of Nikola and got his business card so that I can email him the JPGs.

Another four stall supercharger where we ended up being the last one here.

Going downhill at passes always seems to create the most interesting energy graphs.

So, we filled up and continued on.

Lots of great tree lined drive.  The curves make it feel like we’re the only one on the road.

Until you look behind, or past the next corner.

We spot another lone windmill.

Then some more cows grazing.

Before we make it to Corning Supercharger, we wanted to see if we can stay in the Roseville area.  We couldn’t find a hotel to stay at and decided to change locations and target the Hyatt Regency Sacramento for our hotel for the night.  It looked to have a charger or two available for use according to Tesla Destination Charging program and confirmed by our friends at Teslarati.

Our original goal was Roseville, and that would have been better to take CA-99 over I-5.  Since we’re now considering Sacramento, we decided to just stick with I-5 to our hotel.

With sunlight and no “strange people” around, the Corning, CA feels reasonably safe.  Besides, there’s an open Starbucks nearly adjacent to the charging location, and that always puts me at ease.

Looks like most of the cars and people were also attracted to the Starbucks.

We continue on I-5 to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.

One of the concerns in driving through these fields at night is the amount of insect activity and how many will find themselves stuck on the car during the drive.

And just past 10:00 PM at night we finally check in to our hotel for the night.

The parking garage at the Hyatt had a ton of EVSEs installed.  Unfortunately, at the time, only one seemed to be operational.

I ended up finding the one that was working and plugged in.

I walked throughout the parking structure and noticed a ton of EVSEs and HPWCs that were installed with no power to them.

The “Not in Service” signs irritated me, but I guess they’ll be “on” in the future.

I took a picture of the “EV Rules” for the parking garage attached to the Hyatt Regency.  This location is configured that the EVSEs are MEANT TO BE SHARED. There is an EVSE to share for every three stalls.

It will be great to see this location in action in the future.  However, when one arrives at a destination charger expecting to be able to charge, it’s been one disappointment after another with two hotels in a row that were supposed to be available for destination charging that was less than ideal.  (At least I was able to plug in.)  Besides, we’re almost at TMC Connect (tomorrow) and the Gigafactory Party in two days.  With that, we turned in.

[In all fairness to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, there have been articles and press releases recently published (September 2016 – Clipper Creek article. Link on Hyatt site. Sacramento Bee article) that announced the “Grand Opening” of these chargers that were inoperative when we visited it in July 2016.  Perhaps the approval process took forever.]

The next day of this series, Day 11, is published and available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 09

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the ninth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 8 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

The main reason for staying on this route is we are trying to meetup with many fellow EV folks who reached out but were unable to get together during the Northbound journey.

Day 9 – Vancouver, BC Southbound to as far as we can..  July 26, 2016

We got a good night’s sleep and fully charged at our hotel before we rolled out.

Had \$30 CAD left in my pocket, and since we’re not planning on being in Canada anytime in the near future, decided to go ahead and apply this cash to our hotel balance.

As I was settling up, it looks like another Model S was just moving in.  Perhaps a single HPWC is all this location needs for now.  I do believe that they just need a little more parking spots dedicated to the hotel.  I’m quite aware that many EV travelers will need to be more cognizant of fellow EV travelers and make accommodations for folks to share a single HPWC.  This means that they should be ready to move their vehicles when done charging (a good plan) or to at least provide their contact information if unable to do so easily (or both, an even better plan.)

Our range charge at start of today is at 252 miles, nearly the maximum that the car displays when fully charged.

And with that starting charge, we’re headed back to the United States… Same route, but hope to catch up with friends (and perhaps some Pokemon) along the way.

We make the border in rather quick time.

We opted to cross the border at the “touristy” crossing again.  We got there around 10:00 AM.

There were lines again, but it felt like it was moving faster.

After all, we’re traveling in miles again! 😉

Somehow it feels like we’re traveling 1.6x faster on miles than we are in Kilometers!

This interesting sculpture was installed just behind the border crossing.

In all seriousness, the crossing back to the United States took about 35 minutes. That is quicker than the crossing into Canada.  Additionally, our rear windows did roll back up unimpeded.

We headed back to Washington State and were accompanied by a famous VW Bug.  It’s an ICE, but with Herbie, the Love Bug striping, I can forgive it a little.

Not that we needed a charge, but I did need to make a pit stop and were surprised to be greeted by a couple of friends.

Some free to use Aerovironment EVSEs at the first rest stop from Canada to Washington on I-5.

Earlier on our trip, I wrote about my better half’s quest to document the “logging industry life-cycle.”   She took some photographs of cut trees on trucks as step one.  We figure that these pictures of nicely cut lumber is step two of this cycle.

And we continue our Southbound journey through Washington.

And quickly  make it to our first supercharger stop of the day at Burlington, WA.

We had several potential meetups on the drive South, some of whom unfortunately were busy on a Tuesday to meet up, so we ended up missing them on this trip.  One that was able to meet up was Tony Giannini and his wife Vanessa.  Tony and Vanessa both drive Model X and were gracious enough to offer their HPWC for a charge and chat on the way down.  Since we’re pretty well stocked on electrons around their part of Washington state, we just figured to stop off for a snack and chat instead.

Tony and I have exchanged twitter conversations on many things Tesla and T-Mobile (my preferred mobile provider since Voicestream did the bandwidth swap with Cingular and enterred the California market as T-Mobile) and were delighted to take them up on their offer.  Besides…  They said DONUTS.  And who am I to turn THAT down!

They directed us to Top Pot Doughnuts and coffee and we met up with them and their kids.

The donut choices were excellent and the conversation was even better.

As is customary on these EV meetups, we checked out their car. (They brought one of their Model X)

Here’s a great shot of us with the cars.

We could have spent more time with them, but had to cut it short because we had the goal to be past Portland tonight and had tentatively scheduled some time to possibly meet some of the other contributors to Transport Evolved, Kate Walton-Elliott, in Olympia, WA, as well as TE’s editor-in-chief Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, around Portland, OR, in real life.  Both these meets were in flux for one reason or the other, and we hoped to be able to time it at a mutually convenient time and meet IRL.

Nikki was supposed to be on a panel the previous week at EV Roadmap, but had to cancel for personal reasons, and we have a chance to meet later today.

Southbound journey to Portland seemed to be faster to ditch Seattle altogether and we pass our Hilton in Bellevue, WA.

Yup, lots more traffic in the West.

This Eastern route has given us a better view of snow and glacier capped mountains, so that’s a plus.

And the traffic was so bad, we decided to follow the interesting alternate routes that was offered to us.

The beauty of GPS and a sense of adventure on these long roadtrips is the ability to get off the Interstate and see the countryside.

We got a text from our first potential meet with Kate Walton-Elliott, and unfortunately the timing wasn’t going to work.  So, here’s to hoping for another chance to meet IRL.

In the meantime, we had hoped to catch some well recommended, Chef Jenn Louis stop around Olympia of Tacos La Fuente.  Unfortunately, they’re a daytime only place and we arrived 15 minutes after they close the whole restaurant/bus down.

Needless to say, I was NOT HAPPY.

This is an unhappy selfie…

And we’re back in Centralia, WA for a supercharge.

We make a route to somewhere near Nikki’s part of Portland, as we were still “touch and go” on the meetup plans and wanted to make it as easy on her to come on out and chat.

We have a little bit of time around here…  Unfortunately there’s a glare, but if you look to the right of the charger on the left, there is a bucket with a squeegee there that has been provided by a generous local for those of us traveling through Centralia, WA.

We didn’t avail ourselves of the squeegee as the car was relatively clean, and we headed onward…

…apparently toward where Lord Vader resides.

The better half has been obsessed with the logging/lumber industry on this trip and points out the tall trees.

It’s amazing to see all this green on the drive.

Even this bridge is green.  It’s painted like the color of army tanks in old World War 2 movies.

We’re nearing Battle Ground, WA.  Just an interesting name for a town, wonder what battles were fought there.

We’re nearing Oregon again.

Looks like we’re going to miss meeting Nikki IRL today.  We’ll eventually meet-up, but not on this trip.  Will have to continue corresponding over the ‘Net.

Since we are not meeting up with Nikki, we made plans to supercharge at Woodbury, OR.  This was the supercharger that “surprised us” on Day Two of our Northbound journey when we were headed to EV Roadmap 9.

So, we stopped off and charged, had dinner next door at the Red Robin.  We got to the location close to the closing time for the site sponsors and we felt like going to a chain that would be open longer.

While at the restaurant, we made plans for our next stop, and found the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR as a viable stop for us.  The hotel is just around the corner from the Supercharger at Springfield/Eugene, OR that we charged in on our Northbound journey, but we felt like we can have the car charged while we sleep.

We made our lodging plans for the evening and did the drive from Woodbury to Springfield/Eugene, OR.

It was one of our shorter legs for today.  We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 PM and were tired.  One of the two chargers at the location was available, but the way the parking was configured meant that we would have to cross vehicles to charge and didn’t want to run “the risk.”

I was too tired to deal with it, we made a mental note to write an entry into Teslarati for this destination charger location and went to bed.  We’re less than a mile away from the supercharger in town that we can easily drive over there in the morning.

The next day of this series, Day 10, is published here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 08

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eight day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 7 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today’s goal is to continue our visit with our relatives in Vancouver. We’ve visited Vancouver as tourists over 15 years ago and have done some of the basic “touristy” things, so this was really about hanging out with family.  Our entire stay in Vancouver is at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver, another Tesla Destination Charger hotel.

Day 8 – Visit family – Vancouver, BC.  July 25, 2016

The Hilton Metrotown Vancouver is an official Destination Charger location, it has one HPWCs rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A, when we went to bed the previous night, just past midnight, I was already done charging, but there were no hotel parking spots available.  I decided to stay in situ. To alleviate any “EV-hole” behavior (or should I spell it behaviour since I’m now over the border, I parked close to the wall, unplugged our car, and put our EV Hangtag (designed by Jack Brown) with my contact information on the dash so that I can be contacted easily.  This way, in case someone needed me to move to use the HPWC, I can be reached.  Additionally, unplugging our car from it also provides ample reach for a second Model S or Model X to come in and take the spot next to me and charge quickly.

Luckily, no one did overnight, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.

We parked the car at 380km of range and lost 1km overnight.

Switching to miles, this shows 235 miles of range in the morning, flipping back to the picture from earlier in the morning that showed 236 miles of range. So, for the algorithm, I guess 1 km=1 mile… The vampire drain on this car during this trip has been strange, to say the least. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have enough range to drive around town several times in either kilometers or miles.

As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit with our relatives today and start it with a Dim Sum brunch. Vancouver, BC is one of the better places in the world to eat Dim Sum, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to go ahead and have some while in town. We did get up a few hours earlier than our scheduled meet up with relatives and decided to see if we can catch the Electra Meccanica location in downtown Vancouver.

Electra Meccanica had a functional test earlier in the summer that I followed over the Internet, but were unable to attend and I was hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this three wheeled EV at their location. So, we headed into downtown Vancouver to visit their storefront location.

On the way there, we spotted an i3.

Just in case you were having a hard time squinting on zooming in on the picture above, here’s one with the Zoom on.

Parking near Electra Meccanica was a breeze, we were able to get good and free street parking nearby.  As a Southern Californian, I always appreciate free parking.

Electra Meccanica has been showing off a Corbin Sparrow as the inspiration for their 3 wheeled EV and a bright, red one was parked outside of their storefront.

The picture rendering for the Solo, Electra Meccanica’s EV, can be seen on the sign. The Solo does not look as “fun” a design as the Corbin Sparrow, but thought to still go in to chat with the guys there.

Any Tesla fan or customer that has visited a Tesla store will recognize some similarities with the way that Electra Meccanica has set up its location in downtown Vancouver.

The chassis of the Solo on display is reminiscent of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X chassis that has adorned the Tesla stores in the Tesla sales network.

The railing that is pulled out on the chassis display demonstrates how the battery packs for the Solo will be installed in the finished product.

Not sure if they mean to have battery swap, or just for ease of maintenance or repair for the vehicle when needed.

The pictures on the chassis shows the same location for batteries when it is slid back in place.

The vehicle does not seem to have any DCFC capability and has its charging port in the rear of the tricycle.

There’s a merchandise wall that shows hats and T-shirts for folks that may wish to go ahead and pick some of those things up.

In the back is a roadster that Electra Meccanica’s sister-company, Intermeccanica, produces. Unfortunately it’s only available in ICE.

Too bad, that little car in an EV would be a contender.  Perhaps a successful Electra Meccanica can find a way to bring that ICE Roadster into an EV package.

Apparently we just missed the prototype that I wanted to see by thirty minutes.

Either way, my visit to Electra Meccanica was informative and I am excited to see these little things on the road. They may not be as “goofy” as the Corbin Sparrow, but feel that they can fit a niche. Besides at nearly \$20k CAD/\$16k USD, it’s a good deal for a nearly 100 mile range commuter EV.

After our visit to Electra Meccanica, we headed over to our relatives to pick them up and have them experience the ride in our Model S.  Our choice for Dim Sum is Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Richmond, BC.

Dim Sum is best experienced with many people so that the diners can order many different items. So. we gladly obliged.

The restaurant was located in a center called Aberdeen. Unlike others who may first think of Scotland or South Dakota, both of which ALSO come to mind for me… I always think of Hong Kong first when I hear Abderdeen, and our meal in Richmond, BC could easily have been experienced in Hong Kong. Albeit with a bill in CAD not HKD dollars.

As I previously mentioned, we had an issue with our windows having a hard time rolling back up at the border. Like many California Tesla owners, our car is tinted. During our border crossing into Canada yesterday, the Canadian border crossing agent asked us to roll our windows down so that he can peer into the back seat. Well, we were able to roll it down, but it was a struggle to roll the windows back up it took us a minute or two to get the windows up.  Additionally, as we mentioned, on the drive between Portland and Seattle, our wipers were skipping (we’ve been living in mostly drought weather, so we hardly ever use the wipers.) Though we were able to eventually roll up the back windows, we didn’t know what was going on with the wipers, we wanted to see if we can get a center to give it a quick look. We were headed to Granville Island with our relatives and it so happens that the new Tesla Service Center Plus that just opened is a short walk from our destination. So, we decided to head over and ask them to take a look at the car. We did not want to be stuck on the rest of our drive without operating back windows.

A Tesla Service Center Plus is basically a location that combines multiple features to the location, much like the one in Day 7 of last year’s journey in Lyndhurst/Cleveland, Ohio. This center combines the Sales, Service, and Delivery Center functions in one location. I don’t know if they also had an in-service center supercharger, but they at least had multiple functions at one location. What sets this center apart from the one in Ohio is that it was not located in a former auto dealership.

So, we stopped off and dropped the car off for their inspection and went to Granville Island.

It looks like this bike sharing thing is really taking off all over the world.

What was different in the Vancouver Bike Sharing stand is it looks like bike helmets are provided with each rented bike.  A good idea, but one that makes me wonder about the previous “bike wearer”…

We cross into Granville Island on foot.

Seeing the traffic that was stuck on this little island made me glad that we left the car at Tesla to be looked at and continued our walking tour of the island.

I think that sign means children at play (or perhaps watch out for the crazy pedestrian kicking a ball.)

At the edge of the island were these houseboats that would be better called mansionboats.

I’m not used to seeing two story houseboats.

There was an interesting industrial complex that was part working industrial complex and part art installation.

I don’t know who to commend for the absurdity of the piece, the Brazilian artist or the folks who commissioned him.

There were apparently a few more giants hiding.

There was also a kinetic piece that we captured a video of.

As we strolled on in Granville Island, my eagle eye spotted two unused EVSEs.

Those sure look like Chargepoints. Later in our trip, I would find out from Paul Carter, a Vancouver native (and head of the Tesla Owners Club of British Columbia) that these two locations are often used and to find them available was a rarity.

Now, produce when traveling within the country is pretty free to traverse borders (within limits, the State of Hawaii has agricultural checks at the airport and the State of California at all the land-crossings). However, traveling internationally is another story. As tempting as any of the fruit may be, one has to consider the fact that it must be consumed before crossing the border.

Meat and cheese are even harder to travel with.

Still, it was cool to look at.

Now, Maple Syrup would have been tempting, but I don’t really use it that much, or at all.

We heard back from Tesla a few hours after we started, but definitely enough time to experience Granville Island this Summer day.  So we headed back to pick up the car.

It would seem that the vaunted Service Center Plus in Toronto has a basic grade for the coffee service.

So, what was the problem with the car? We were told that the problem with the windows was tree sap and that the windshield had some “coating” on it that made the wipers skip. They did replace the wiper blade assembly and blades and were charged \$72 CAD for the service and given our keys to take our vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t pulled up for us and we had to go searching for it in the garage.

Looks like some Washington State owners have their vehicles serviced in Vancouver.

Lots of nice cars at the lot, but it was time for us to head out.

Our next stop today was to see where the Olympic flame was kept at the city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.  As we mentioned before, we’ve been to Vancouver as tourists before and thought to just do some of the things that our relatives felt we should see, so we went with them.

At the center around the Olympic torch/cauldron, spotted a cute Canadian bear and a moose in a Mountie outfit.

Impressive building, it reminds me of the Denver International Airport Terminals.

I think these folks were either texting or looking for Pokemon.

At the convention center where the Olympic torch is kept, there was a sculpture called “The Drop.”

It’s meant to be a single drop of rain.

It was quite cool watching the cruise ships head off, probably to Alaska…

And the seaplanes land and take off…

Here is a video of a seaplane landing.

And around the corner is where the Olympic Flame resided in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.

It would probably be more impressive with snow around it and fire flickering… So, use your imagination.

In the distance my better half was able to take a picture of a cool Killer Whale sculpture.

and back to our car to head out.

On our way to our family’s home, we spot a funny pile-up.

During our drive around Vancouver, we kept spotting some weird stickers on vehicles. Turns out NEW drivers and STUDENT drivers in BC (not sure if it’s provincial or federal law) have to stick their respective stickers on their cars to let others know of their status. Here’s a New driver.

It’s a good idea, I wonder why we don’t implement it either in California or other states.

And, on the way back to their home, we see a properly snow capped mountain in the distance.

After a brief respite, our long day of sightseeing meant that it’s time for dinner.

We thought, why not test out the sushi in BC. Our cousin recommended Sushi Nordel, a local establishment that is an all you can eat sushi place that they like to go to, so we joined them for dinner there.  We weren’t that hungry, so we just ordered A la Carte.

I think they’re more of a “roll” place.

The sushi was good, not spectacular, but definitely a good deal and the company was what we really wanted from the dinner experience, so a good time was had by all.

After saying our goodbyes. We headed back to our hotel.

We got back at 11:00 PM and we’re headed to Reno starting tomorrow.

The kilometer numbers were big, but still not really processing, so I switch back to miles.

And it looks like we took a 106 mile day around Vancouver today.

Parked the car similarly to how I parked last night (to give some space for someone else to park with us.)

And I finally remembered to document the low ceiling… (and post my findings on Teslarati App (and website).)

Turned in for the night as we don’t know how far we want to drive tomorrow. All I know is I would like to at least make it to Portland in one day.  We hope to have meet-ups on the drive to Reno.

The next day of this series, Day 9, is available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 07

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the seventh day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 6 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today’s goal is to get to Vancouver, check into our hotel, and visit our relatives. We are staying at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, another hotel that showed up on the in-car Tesla Destination Charger map. This will be the first time that I will be crossing to Canada as an adult. The last time I went to Canada was as a child and it was at Niagara Falls.

Day 7 – Belleveue, WA to Vancouver, BC.  July 24, 2016

We charged when we arrived ar the hotel yesterday evening and promptly moved the car to another spot when done charging. The thing with 80A Destination Chargers is with dual chargers (on classic Model S) or the higher charge option (on new fascia Model S or Model X) one can be recovering as quickly as 50 miles per hour. So it is important to monitor when charging will complete so that one can move one’s car when done charging. Remember that charging is a precious resource and we don’t want to be an “EV-hole” and stop others who may need a charge to use the chargers. I tend to use a sign of sorts, whether my old reliable EV Card from Plug in America or Jack Brown‘s EV Hangtags. However, the best practice is to just move the car when done charging. Especially when charging during waking hours. It’s a little tougher overnight at a hotel, and folks will understand that too.

I like to have at least 90%, but didn’t know what vampire drain was going to be liked outside, so I charged a little bit further. So when we rolled out of the hotel, we were at 240 miles, a range that is about 12 miles higher than our 90% charge, but lower than our range charge of around 253 miles. We had breakfast plans with a few buddies from college who I haven’t seen in decades a few miles South of the hotel, so I wanted to be cautiously above my normal comfort charge.

Today’s odometer shot was blurry, so we’ll have to settle with the Trip A and B settings…

As you can see, we drove 0.2 miles since completing our charge and repositioning our parking last night.

From the Hilton Bellevue, we headed to Goldergs’ Deli in Factoria for an early Sunday breakfast with a couple of my friends from college.  I haven’t seen these guys in real life for several decades, though I communicate with one of them via Twitter over the past few years.

It was great catching up with the guys.  Goldbergs’ had a great and filling Bobka French Toast that we had to try, and it was awesome.  The thing with catching up with old friends is we got so caught up in chatting and the like that I did not take ANY food pictures.

Since the guys were local Washingtonians, they often visit Vancouver and were quick to give us some hints on how to avoid the traffic at the border crossing into Canada.  My main takeaway was to take the commercial/truck crossing as that moves faster and regular citizens are allowed to cross there. However, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a tourist and haven’t done a border crossing into Canada since I was a kid, so I figured to just follow the more scenic border crossing.

Here’s our hotel from the freeway as we pass it again, this time headed toward Canada.

Fans of Costco would recognize the Costco house brand – Kirkland (which was entirely the reason why I asked my better half to get the camera ready and take a shot of this sign.)

So, I wonder if Kirkland, WA was chosen because Isaaquah (the location of Costco’s headquarters) just sounds strange.  Or perhaps Costco was originally in Kirkland

More snow/glacier-capped mountains in the distance.  It seems that all the states have at least one of them around.

We spot a water tower… We seemed to have spotted a lot more of these on our cross-country journey.  I wonder if they don’t have as many here because they get all sorts of water that they don’t have to worry about storing it.

The drive between Bellevue and our only supercharger stop in Burlington, WA was pretty uneventful and we seem to making good time.

So, after a quick 78 mile drive from our hotel, to breakfast, and back North, we’re at the northernmost Tesla Supercharger in Washington State, Burlington, WA.  Though we chose a hotel with a destination charger, we noted that there was no Superchargers within Vancouver, nor are there any more on our route until we head back South, so we decided to Range Charge here.

This location seems to be popular as we had some company, including a nice, new Model X.

This supercharger is located at a hotel, so basically makes it one of many destination superchargers.  We’ve stayed in a few of those.  They’re incredibly convenient, but we didn’t know what our previous day was going to be like, which is why we decided to stay at the Bellevue Hilton instead.

I thought to add a panoramic shot.  By the time I took the shot, the Red Model S had already completed its charge.

When we hit 240 Miles, that seemed like enough miles, and figured since it matched what we had on the range when we left Bellevue.  So we went ahead and kept rolling on. We do have late lunch plans with family today, so off we went.

Now I’m waiting for the Rolls sign…

Lots of greenery on this drive.  I often get jealous of states that get a lot of water.

I guess they don’t take kindly to hitch hiking on Washington freeways.  We’ve been spotting these signs and added it to our list of “funny” signs that we’ve seen.

Another Solar Farm…

Or should I say a Solar Barn.

Here’s a better “No Hitch-hiking sign” shot.

If you remember from earlier, my college buddies mentioned taking the faster commercial route to cross into Canada, they mentioned a sign…

I think this was it…

But, like I said earlier, I’m a tourist and want to see what the more “scenic” crossing looks like.

We’re not in the USA anymore… Time to switch the car’s settings from Miles to Kilometers.  Besides there was a sign warning us of a speed limit change in Kilometers per hour and I didn’t understand what that was in Miles Per Hour.

Our first stop is to meet up with family for our lunch.  We got to the border crossing around 1:00 PM and initial estimates had us there so that we would reach our relatives 30 minutes later.  Boy was the GPS off.

I switched back to miles to get a grip of what the mileage means…

For those switching from metric to imperial and back, here’s where it is in settings.

Yes, we’re at the border, just in case we didn’t get it yet.

Looks like my better half captured me driving through the International Border.  Any closer and that obelisk would look like I had sniffed it into my nose. 😉

This is the border sign to the US. My better half spotted it as we were entering Canada, and decided to take a picture, we’ll see that in a few days.

There’s a long line of cars heading into Canada this Sunday afternoon.

And the Canadian Border Protection folks have to do their job.

We’re getting close to the border check here.  Remember that GPS estimate, it said that we would be at our relative’s place a minute ago…  The GPS lies. 😉

The Model X that was charging with us at the last stop in Washington apparently has Nexxus and is in the “special lane.”  Considering the quantity of times that we do this crossing, we don’t really need the Nexxus option.

Our border crossing into Canada was quick with a minor issue.  At the booth, the Canadian officer asked us to roll down our tinted rear windows to peer into the vehicle.  The windows rolled down easily, however, we had a hard time rolling them back up.  It took us about two minutes to get them closed, the windows kept rolling back down thinking that they hit something.

Finally got through the border process, that took about 51 minutes from the time that we arrived at the border.

And the city of Surrey, BC makes us feel welcome.

About 62 miles per hour for the speed limit.  This is one of the few places that I can say that I’ve driven the Model S at a hundred.  I’m one of those that focuses on range efficiency rather than speed.

I was worried when the car switched to Edge for its data service.  However, this was only for a short while before getting LTE again.

Cruising at the speed limit. Not sure how friendly the cops are here, and didn’t need to get to know them.  As much as I wanted to see if they all looked like Dudley Doo-Right.

Looks like they have diamond lanes in British Columbia too, but doesn’t say anything about carpools or EVs, so promptly stayed away from these lanes.

We finally made it to our relatives place.  We had lunch with family at a local restaurant and took our leave to head to the hotel for check in.

Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Our hotel for the evening is at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown.

I switched back to miles again as I had no concept of how much is left in “the tank” when it’s in Kilometers.  Our plan was to head into town for dinner at a restaurant called “Ask for Luigi” and then drop our family members off to their home before we head back to the hotel.  So, we decided to use the charging station at our hotel.

The Hilton Metrotown has a single Tesla Destination Charger rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A. The ceiling for the destination charger is rather low, so Model X users should watch out and Model S with power liftgate should be careful when opening the trunk

We were getting 74 km per hour on the 80A HPWC.  That should do well to get us recharged.

We were done in no time.

We had 8:00pm dinner plans and one of the things that I like to demonstrate to ICE driving family members is that pre-conditioning the car.  It’s so much more convenient to do when the car is plugged in.

Because of our frequent guest status, we often get access to the Executive Lounge at many Hilton properties.  This particular Hilton has a lounge and we thought to try it before we headed out for dinner.

Just had a few snacks and sodas to get us refreshed and ready to go to dinner.

Ask for Luigi is our dinner destination in Vancouver this evening was recommended by Chef Jenn Louis from Lincoln Restaurant in Portland.  She is friends with the chef/owner for Ask for Luigi.  They normally do not take reservations, but she called ahead and they recommended that we swing by around 8:30 pm.

We didn’t know what we were in for, but knew that the food would be good.

Apparently, the restaurant was adjacent to some “scarier” parts of Vancouver.  They were on alert, so we ended up on alert as well.  We found street parking nearly adjacent to the restaurant and it would seem a “scary” Vancouver neighborhood is just “sketchy” for Los Angeles.

I think that the restaurant owners were betting that the neighborhood is on the upswing and looking at the building across from it and beside where we parked, I would have to agree.  This would be what I would consider the start of gentrification.

Being a presidential election year, I had my better half take the following picture of an “interesting” Al Gore sighting in Vancouver.

We arrived at the restaurant ahead of our 8:30 PM reservation, so, after a brief wait, we were seated.

The restaurant itself was quite cozy.

We had selected a few items to share “family” style.  We started with Luigi’s meatballs.

I think that this was the crispy polenta, escargot, and watercress.

When I visit a foreign country and drive our own Model S, I tend to stay away from alcohol as I don’t know how they enforce their DUI laws, so we went ahead to check out the bottled sodas that they had in their menu.

We also had the tuna crudo, stracciatella, and pickled mushrooms.

I think that this was the baccala fritters and saffron aioli.

We had two different sodas, and this was the other one.

I’m a big fan of spaghetti nero, and this was made with braised octopus and clams.

And the other pasta we got was the mafaldine, duck sugo, and black olives.

The meal and service was fantastic.  But the family really went bonkers for the dessert.

With five of us to share the dessert, rather than choose a few desserts, we just ordered all three that desserts that the restaurant had.

Starting with the panna cotta.

The chocolate budino

and the Olive Oil Cake.

We had a wonderful dinner with family and headed back to their house to drop them off and return to our hotel for the evening.

The meal was so good that our relatives forgot about their apprehension with the neighborhood until we started to drive out of the area and encountered a soup kitchen a few blocks away.

We drove 68.6 kilometers from the hotel to dinner and back.  And we switched to miles so that I can comprehend what I just typed.

I guess that means 42.6 miles…  It looks like all our worries about lack of supercharging in the local area was overblown.  As long as we have access to the destination charger in our hotel, we’ll be fine.  Even the J1772 at 30A will work overnight.

I figured to go to sleep, but provide some information via the hangtags.

It turned out that this was going to be a short charge session of approximately 40 minutes to get to where I wanted to be, I figured to move the car when it is done.

And the car was done charging around midnight, and I was still awake.  So, I went back down to see if I could find another spot to move the car to.

All the hotel spots, with the exception of the two charging station locations, were taken, so I decided to stay in the spot, but park close to the railing, so as to give space for any other Tesla that might show up so that they can also use the Tesla charger, if they needed to. I moved the EV Hangtag with my information on the dashboard so that anyone who may need me to move overnight can call.

I would have preferred to find another spot, like I did in Bellevue, WA, however, the number of spots assigned to the hotel were all taken, and I was unfamiliar with the rest of the parking nearby, so I felt this was the best course of action.

As you can see from the picture below, the EV spots are quite wide and two other cars could fit with our car scooted over to the wall as I did on this day.

I took note of the mileage and “kilometerage” of the various cars’ settings after unplugging and went back to the room.

In order to be ready for driving in Vancouver, I switched back to kilometers.

The next day of this series, Day 8, is available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

## The Long Way Round – Day 06

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the sixth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 5 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  So, we’re now on our way to the Gigafactory… But first we continue our visit to family in the Seattle area.

Day 6 – Belleveue, WA to a day in Seattle, WA and back to Bellevue, WA.  July 23, 2016

Our charging was interrupted in the latter part of the process, in the early morning (after about six hours in.)  The J1772 port that we used did not have the clip to latch on and must have loosened overnight.  Luckily our charging neighbor was done and had moved, so I moved our car to the other spot and re-initated the rest of the charge.  That last charge took about 2.5 hours.

The entire charging process took about 8:24:36 at a cost of \$16.82.  The first charging session went for 5:55:32 for a cost of  \$11.85 and the second, shorter session went for 2:29:04 for a cost of \$4.97.  Not the cheapest fill-up in the world, but provided us with enough driving around range to make several traversals around the city.

The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is a nice hotel.  The rooms were clean, comfortable, and quiet.  Since we took our niece out for the night, we had two Queen beds rather than one King on which gave us a bigger room.

The view was of downtown Bellevue, and the big buildings feel like many small cities around the country.

When we were booking our hotel, it was mentioned that the brunch at Eques, the restaurant attached to the hotel, is one of the better weekend brunches in the area, so we figured to try that out before we headed out to Seattle this Saturday.

The rating was well deserved.  It seems that the restaurant is used to catering to Asian travelers as I found things on the brunch that I’ve seen on travels to Hong Kong, Hawaii, and other locations which get a large influx of Asian travelers.

At the same time, the cold cuts and smoked salmon spoke of a more continental traveler.

There were “healthier” options for breakfast as well, but I opted away from those.

Planning for a more full day, we went for some protein in our breakfast.

Having had our fill at breakfast, and having a limited time with our niece because of camp activities today, we finished up and got ready to check out of the Hyatt Bellevue.  The Hyatt has great facilities, a comfortable room, pricey charging, and a really good brunch.  I would probably recommend this hotel for the next traveler.  We packed up our belongings and headed out.

As expensive as the charging was, it seems that the locals don’t mind. We got back to the charging stations and see all the other stations taken.

Scratch that, though the spots are taken, the Leaf doesn’t look to be charging. Merely parking.  Perhaps some would consider this to be “EV-hole” behavior.  I’m not one to judge.  Perhaps the Leaf was waiting for us to leave.  If it had been a free to use station, and the owner would have left their charging door open, I would have gladly plugged them in.  However, it’s a pricey one, as I noted, and we just left on our way.

Our first activity with our niece is the sculpture garden at Olympic Park.

On our way back to Seattle, we found another interesting sign. Not an ominous one like our “nemesis” the Deer Crossing Sign, but a fairly innocuous and dare I say, a cute sign.

I think this is a swan or duck crossing (with its young.)  We were on the look out for crossing water fowl, but were disappointed when none showed up.

The bridge toll is discounted for crossing with registered accounts, so as I suggested yesterday, go ahead and register a Good-to-Go visitor account before driving out to the Seattle area.  Looks like the savings is \$2.00 at this crossing time.

The bridge crossing today had no drama.  We were through in “no-time”.

Looks like the boats in Seattle have “garages” or “boat”-ports (vs. carports.) I suppose it makes sense, with all the rain that Seattle supposedly gets (not that it rained much during our visit) it would be helpful to keep rain from filling up on boats.

Nothing says Seattle to those of us from out of town than the Space Needle, so here’s a few shots of Seattle’s iconic landmark.  Since I have a fear of the sudden stop after a long fall, we opted to skip the Space Needle on our “hang out with our niece in Seattle day.”

We keep getting closer…

It turns out our GPS was going to direct us right by the Space Needle on our way to our first destination, Olympic Park.

This next Space Needle shot is my better half’s favorite picture of the series.

So, after a short ten mile drive, we get to the Olympic Park parking lot.

Olympic Park

Our niece had to be back at camp for some of her classes for a few hours, so we had to find activities to do with her that would be fun and/or educational and provide us with flexibility on time. So, we thought to check out the sculptures at Olympic Park. Besides, if you remember from earlier on the trip, we figured to play Pokemon Go on this trip and try to catch some Pokemon at the park.  This turned out to be a popular suggestion as our niece had also recently started to play Pokemon Go as well, so, we were hanging with her and our virtual “friends’ ;-).

We arrived at Olympic Park and used the parking lot onsite. We walked right into piece called “Wake” and were greeted with a rather interesting sight behind us of dozens of people doing Yoga at the Park.

The yoga class was well attended, but aside from having to contort myself to get into my wife’s Roadster, yoga wasn’t on the schedule for this visit to Olympic Park.

We stayed on course to go catch some Pokemon and see the sculptures at the park.

So, we walked through the Wake (of copper) to get to the other pieces.

The next one was called “Sky Landscape”.

The next large piece was nicely juxtaposed by the smaller red chairs in the background. I had guessed the piece was going to be named “Chair”, but turns out that the piece is entitled “Eagle.” This “fail” on my part shows you how attuned to Modern Art I have become in adulthood.  I used to appreciate modern art more in my youth.

This is also reflected in that I appreciated the more functional pieces.  This one was calling me (because of my aching feet.)

Thought this was going to be called “Bench”, but it wasn’t.

I suppose it would be good to start playing “I spy with my little eye”. But some of the installations look back at you.

Then there are those that seem to be looking at something…

I would guess that the large head was enjoying the nice clear, sunny Seattle morning.

It was a pleasant stroll, but I think my enjoyment for modern art is not quite where it was in my youth.

Another view of the “Eagle” with the Space Needle behind it.

Just in case I was missing punctuation to join two concepts together, the artist provided one for us.

And with that, we headed back to take our niece to her late morning/afternoon classes before we briefly take her out again.

On the way to her classes, we randomly spot a new, blue Model X.

With a few hours from when we need to be back to reclaim her from class, we decided to head back over to check in to our hotel for the evening – the Hilton Bellevue. The hotel for the evening is part of Tesla’s Destination Charger program, so I fully expect a better level of EV charging, the hotel services, should still be pretty good as well.  Hotel rates in Seattle for this weekend rivaled what we experience in New York City, so we opted to just do another bridge crossing, pay the toll, and still save money on the hotel.

The Hilton labels the amperage on their destination chargers and we select the 80A station to use our dual chargers and recover our used miles quickly.  We tend to follow the “ABC” rule when we’re out and about on these long trips.  That’s “Always Be Charging.”  Especially when the energy is not charged directly.

Aside from the 80A that we used, there is a 40A HPWC and a 30A GE J1772 charger at this location.

After checking in to our hotel for the evening.  Taking a short breather and getting a little refreshed, we pick up the car from the 80A charger.

Looks like we gained 37 miles in our brief stop at the Hilton Bellevue.

On the way back to pick up our niece, we spot another EV following us.

At the same time that the i3 was behind us, we were following another Model S.

We arrive at her camp slightly early.  This provided us with the opportunity to seek parking near her class location.  Apparently Seattle folks are really good with directions because we parked on the street and had to guess that we were on the “right” side of this sign.  Had to double check on the Model S GPS which direction we were facing and as to where we were in relation to this sign.

Couldn’t you just paint the sidewalk?  Then again, with all the weather, I wonder if it would wash off, or perhaps the color would get covered by snow(? or mud? or whatever?).

So, we reunite with our niece and take her on one last stop before we feed her something “non” camp related.

We were headed to the Seattle Great Wheel.

The Seattle Great Wheel is located in the “touristy” Seattle Waterfront and we are, unashamedly, tourists.  So this was perfectly acceptable behavior.  Considering my fear of a sudden stop after a long fall, I felt that I was “taking one for the team” with this amusement park choice.

We planned ahead and skipped the ticket booth because we bought our tickets online and were able to skip one line to get into another line.

That Great Wheel looks a little imposing.

At least the capsules are enclosed. I don’t have a fear of heights, as I’ve said before I have a fear of the sudden stop after the end of a long fall.

We spot some solar panels across the pier from the Seattle Great Wheel.

I try to be brave, but I’m having some serious doubts at this point.

I’m doing a good job hiding my fear in this photo.

We didn’t have enough people in our party to claim our own gondola, so we’re sharing with another party and we have a city-facing seat. Since we’re not local, that’s actually a good view for us.

A nice view of the sports stadiums in Seattle.

We’re pretty high up there.

That’s what’s behind our seats.

And just like that, we’re back on solid ground.

Thank goodness.

We caught a quick meal at the pier and brought our niece back to camp so that she can join her fellow campers for their Saturday night activity.  We gave her our warmest regards and told her to behave as we checked her back into camp.

We then headed back to Bellevue to our hotel for the night.

On our way to Bellevue, we spotted Seattle’s bike share program. Bike sharing seem to be taking off all over the place.

We spot some Hybrid-Electric Buses… Not quite the BYD or Proterra full electric buses, but it’s a start.

We decided to take a different route to Bellevue as our hotel for the night is on the Southern side of the city.  We took the bridge/freeway that goes through Mercer Island.

And we got back to the hotel with plenty of miles.

Our cars’ twin from Arkansas was charging on the 40A HPWC. So, we charged on the 80A HPWC again.  We have dual chargers, so that is always a good option for us.

Looks like it will take shorter than an hour for the car to get charged all the way up, that we made a note of it so that we can move the car when it is done.

A shot of the two Blue Model S at the chargers.

We went back to the room to hang. We still had some of the provisions that MelindaV gave us back at Portland, so we figured to have some Washington Apples while in Washington. Beside, we figure we’re not allowed to carry produce across the border.

Aside from the healthy snacks, MelindaV provided us with some chocolate, and that tasted as good as it looks.

At 48 miles per hour, it wasn’t long and we moved the car to a more convenient parking spot.

We went back out and moved the car to park it overnight.  We have an early start tomorrow as we have a quick get together with a couple of buddies from college for breakfast before we head to Canada.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code.  So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save \$1,000 USD/\$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.