A Trip in Three phases… Phase 1… The Tesla Owners Club 2017 Leadership Conference

The beginning of June has been a jam-packed time for our EV life. We packed three differing EV related events into six days on a trip to the Bay Area.  Thus, this series of a trip in three phases.

A few weeks prior to this trip, I’ve been playing #EVBingo with a bunch of fellow EV enthusiasts on Twitter. Derek Osborne, from Glasgow, Scotland sent the following Tweet and I became addicted playing this game with them since the last week of May.  (We decided on Twitter to handicap California scoring from the US system that they came up with by 50%).

EV Bingo Card - US Edition

The game is played by tallying up the points for all the vehicles that is spotted on the road and adding the point totals. There’s a lot of EVs in California, so this particular game had to be handicapped for us at 50% the total value.

So, the first phase of the trip (June 1-June 3, 2017) was focused on meeting with the leadership of the official Tesla Owners Clubs and working with Tesla on the relationship between the clubs as well as the relationships between the club and Tesla.

Phase 1 – Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference

June 1, The Drive and Reception

The drive on June 1st targeted arriving at the Marriott, Fremont (which is across the freeway from the Tesla Factory) in time for the evening reception for all the participating Tesla Owners clubs at the hotel.  We left home and proceeded North through the I-405 traffic in West Los Angeles because of the #EVBingo addiction.  I figured to spot more EVs in the heavier, more direct West LA traffic than going the longer, but less populated route through the foothills.

Even with my more direct, but heavier traffic route, the in-car Trip Planner only required us to make two stops to make our destination.

IMG_0774.JPG

Before leaving the LA Metro area, we spot a very positive sight. The California Aqueduct is flowing with lots of water again.

IMG_0778.JPG

Additionally, in the interest of figuring out how many #EVBingo points I would spot on the drive within the LA area vs. between metro areas vs. Silicon Valley/Bay Area totals.  So, as we pass the California Aqueduct in the northern parts of LA County, we ran through our totals for the drive through traffic.

So, before we headed into the parts of California in between the LA Metro Area and Silicon Valley/Bay Area, we did a quick total count.

Total – 6/1 In LA Metro Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 55 55 1 55
Chevy Volt 43 43 1 43
BMW i3 16 16 3 48
Tesla Model X 8 6 14 5 70
Mercedes Benz B250e 3 3 15 45
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 5 6 11 1 11
Fiat 500e 6 6 7 42
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 2 2 8 16
Toyota Prius PlugIn 6 6 3 18
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 8 8 15 120
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 2 2 30 60
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Golf Cart 0 0 0 0
Total 675

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 337.5 points.

And we’re reminded of why California is called the Golden State. Dry Brush sure looks like gold.

IMG_0782.JPG

#EVBingo was not the only game that I was playing on the road.  I was also helping beta-test TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) from HappyFunCorp. And one of the categories in this Tesla Social/gamifcation app is number of superchargers visited for the week, either for all the folks on the app, or your “friends.”  So, I made a deal with my better half that we would stop in as many supercharger locations and plug in as long as we got to the conference in “decent” time.

Besides, there were several added new superchargers along the route (as well as some expansions to existing capacity.)  We stopped at all these superchargers, but charged for a very short time at each one as the time required to charge in the one stop only required fifteen minutes.  We did stop at the Tejon Ranch supercharger for about ten minutes (Supercharger D in the image below), but that had a lot more to do with the coffee I drank in the morning, than really needing to stop and charge.  If you look at the map below, it was directing us to the Bakersfield Supercharger (which is the end of the BLUE highlighted GPS route, before it turns GREY.)

IMG_0780.JPG

IMG_1673.JPG

If you look above, the Tejon Ranch supercharger has four more supercharger stalls deployed. Granted, they are of the “mobile” supercharger variety, but this is usually an indication that further, more permanent stalls will be placed at this location in the future.

IMG_1675.JPG

Our first new, to us, supercharger stop was at the Bakersfield Supercharger. This location is interesting in that it is one exit South of the Buttonwillow Supercharger on I-5. Having stopped at Buttonwillow late night/early morning in the past, we can attest that this location with its placement at a gas station location (and IHOP, as well as being located a block away from the California Highway Patrol) makes it ideal for any late night supercharging that we may have to do on this route in the future.

IMG_4507

Our view while supercharging at the stall perpendicular to the rest of the installation has a nice view of the current gasoline prices on this route.

IMG_1676.JPG

What it looked like behind me, before someone else was by to join us at the supercharger.  The Trip Planner had us originally scheduled to stop and charge here for fifteen minutes before we headed to Harris Ranch.  However, I was pining for some coffee and we knew that Buttonwillow (which is the next exit North of us) was collocated by a Subway and Starbucks.  So, we unplugged and headed North.

IMG_1678.JPG

Moments later, this white Model X took the spot behind us.

IMG_1679.JPG

So, we headed to Buttonwillow, one exit North of the Bakersfield Supercharger.  (approximately 3 miles, I believe.) As I previously mentioned, this stop had a lot more to do with the collocated Starbucks than anything else (that and getting the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points. We were joined by a Signature Red Model X with some interesting rims.  Getting our Starbucks order completed took longer than the recommended supercharging stop for our next stop at Harris Ranch.

IMG_20170601_122948

On the drive along the I-5, we’re reminded that as long as the grid has a connection, we’re sure to find a way to recharge any EV.

IMG_4513

It’s just great that Tesla provides the supercharger network to do it in a quicker way than most other EVs.

IMG_4522

We continued on to Harris Ranch, an Oasis on I-5 for its great steaks, but also for its industry leadership in supporting clean fueling. From its original Roadster charging station to its Hydrogen station. (note the Hyd sign on the exit.)  The only thing missing is standard J1772, CHAdeMO or CCS at this stop (I’m not sure if CNG is available here as well, I don’t normally check for that.)

IMG_4518

This site has expanded again for the third time and is now up to 20 supercharger stalls.  It originally had six charger stalls, then 13 charger stalls, and now 20 supercharger stalls.  The last two are reserved to be used last for handicap access.  I made a mistake on this stop and charged there.  I read the sign for the one I was using when we LEFT Harris Ranch, so I was charging at one of those two chargers that were reserved to be used last on this trip.  To be fair, the last one was the extra-wide that is common for handicap access.

IMG_1680.JPG

We’ve been spotting a ton of Tesla vehicles on car carriers on this trip, and we finally caught one on film.  Luckily, the #EVBingo folks said that we can count EVs on car carriers that are NOT found in a dealership or Tesla Gallery.

IMG_4524

It seems that most of the Teslas on the transporters on this day are predominantly Model X.

IMG_4535

Though the better half caught this one carrier with a lot of S on it.

Before making the turn-off for Gilroy, we pass 77,000 miles.

IMG_4525

Now, the navigation didn’t require us to stop anywhere else, but it’s common practice for us to supercharge to near maximum at Gilroy so that we’re not so reliant on supercharging or destination charging while visiting hotels in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area. So, the warning below was for our destination for the evening.

IMG_4526

However, instead of going to Gilroy directly, we noticed that there is a new, to us, Supercharger at Gustline that was about a six mile detour from our route.  So, we decided to go ahead and get the points for the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) contest.

IMG_1685.JPG

IMG_1687.JPG

IMG_1689.JPG

Have to be careful of the dip in the charging stalls.  So, if one has air suspension, remember to use it before backing into the stalls.

This is the view from our charging stall.

IMG_4527

We didn’t really need to stop, and after a few minutes of photo taking and documentation and obtaining TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points, we headed to Gilroy.

The drive to Gilroy we’re greeted with a welcome sight. The reservoir that has looked rather parched in the past few years and previous trips looks like it’s almost at capacity.

IMG_4534

Even the little duck pond that we’ve passed has water in it again.

IMG_4537

The Gilroy supercharger location is another of the original locations in the Supercharger network.

We noticed that this was yet another location that had been expanded for a third time or so.  Originally, when we picked up our Model S in 2013, this location had six stalls.  It’s expanded to twelve last year and now to sixteen stalls.  (Not to mention the CHAdeMO  and CCS stations at this location as well.)

IMG_1691.JPG

We decided to check out the newest four stalls and charged at one of them.

Spotted another EV (Golf Cart, which unfortunately has mixed consideration for #EVBingo).

IMG_1694.JPG

Did spot a JdeMO powered 2nd Gen RAV4EV pull up to the CHAdeMO/CCS station at Gilroy.

IMG_1696.JPG

Spoke with the owner for a few minutes before heading onward to the conference.  The JdeMO from QuickChargePower is a device that adds CHAdeMO DC Fast Charge capability originally for the 2nd Gen RAV 4 and now the Roadster.

We figured that this location was a good one to delineate as “in-between Metro Area spotting” so, quickly tallied our #EVBingo points

in Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/1 in Between Metro Areas On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 26 8 34 1 34
Chevy Volt 8 8 1 8
BMW i3 0 3 0
Tesla Model X 12 16 28 5 140
Mercedes Benz B250e 0 15 0
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 9 9 1 9
Fiat 500e 1 1 7 7
Kia Soul EV 0 15 0
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 0 3 0
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 0 15 0
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 1 1 30 30
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 1 1 0 0
Totals 263

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 181.5 points.  Or 938 total points without the handicap or 469 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive, so far.  We headed from Gilroy to the Fremont Marriott and for more metro-area #EVBingo, in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour traffic.  And another Tesla filled Car carrier on the other side of the freeway.

IMG_4539

It wasn’t just Teslas in this part of the drive.  There seemed to be an inordinate number of LEAFs in traffic with us. It was not uncommon on this part of the drive to catch a few LEAFs at the same time. It was like a flashback to 2012 or 2013 when it seems that every other EV was a LEAF.

IMG_4540

Here’s an interesting shot that my better half and co-pilot captured with the former Solar City location sporting Tesla signage and one of many LEAFs that we spotted for #EVBingo in the Silicon Valley area.

IMG_4542

Before heading down to the Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference Thursday Reception, we do a quick #EVBingo tally.

Silicon Valley
Total – 6/1 Silicon Valley On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 7 6 13 1 13
Chevy Volt 22 22 1 22
BMW i3 2 2 3 6
Tesla Model X 2 6 8 5 40
Mercedes Benz B250e 4 4 15 60
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 35 35 1 35
Fiat 500e 2 2 7 14
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 1 1 8 8
Toyota Prius PlugIn 7 7 3 21
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 5 5 15 75
Chevy Spark 1 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 2 2 15 30
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 0 30 0
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 0 0 0
Totals 409

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 204.5 points for Silicon Valley.  Interesting to spot a lot more LEAF and Volt than S and X this close to the Fremont Factory.  Still didn’t spot any Model 3 on this drive.

And adding all the legs of this one day, gives us the totals for this Thursday.

Day Total
Total – 6/1 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 102 1 102
Chevy Volt 73 1 73
BMW i3 18 3 54
Tesla Model X 50 5 250
Mercedes Benz B250e 7 15 105
Ford Fusion PlugIn 3 2 6
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 55 1 55
Fiat 500e 9 7 63
Kia Soul EV 2 15 30
Volkswagen E-Golf 3 8 24
Toyota Prius PlugIn 13 3 39
Sonata 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 13 15 195
Chevy Spark 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 4 15 60
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 3 30 90
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 12 12
Golf Cart 1 0 0
Totals 1347

Or 1347 total points without the handicap or 673.5 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive.

I’m not even sure if that counts the points for the Teslas that we can spot from outside our window from our room today.

IMG_1697.JPG

I know it didn’t include the ones across the freeway at Tesla’s Factory from the Marriott’s Executive Lounge.

IMG_20170601_174330

IMG_20170601_174336

Either way, we headed to our evening reception with fellow Tesla Owners Club leaders.  Aside from folks from all over North America, we had friends fly all the way in from Europe and Australia to join us in this first formal event.  Those that followed us on last year’s Long Way Round trip to the Gigafactory would remember the lunch that we had with fellow clubs before the event.

The evening reception was casual and provided the attendees with the time to “get to know” each other again.

IMG_1702.JPG

Zeb (pictured on the right) had done this trip on the furthest drive for the group, having driven cross-country from North Carolina and documented it on Google Plus.

IMG_1698.JPG

Our Belgian friends, who would later capture some great Model 3 shots on this trip at the reception were all wearing their club polos.

IMG_1704.JPG

And here I am speaking with some of the Europeans again.

IMG_1706.JPG

Before turning in for the night, went back up to the Executive Lounge to get a nice shot of the Tesla Factory across the street.

IMG_1722.JPG

June 2, Conference at Tesla Fremont Factory

Day 2 of the Conference starts off with a bunch of us that drove to the conference providing Zero emission transport from the hotel to the Tesla Factory. Tesla provided the clubs with a room and the time with quite a few employees and executives to spend the day with us as we brainstormed how to make the Tesla Owners Club Program a bigger success.

At the hotel driveway, before we took off… Here’s the panoramic I took after a few of the cars took off…

IMG_1723.JPG

Here are four shots of the driveway before those cars took off.

IMG_4544

IMG_4545

IMG_4546

IMG_4547

A hotel driveway full of Teslas mean that either I’m in Heaven, in California, Norway, or Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport… One of those four things is accurate.

Our event with Tesla was occurring during the same time as the Model 3 VIP Event/Factory Tour for folks from the Referral program, so I’m not sure whether they had us park for our event or the other one, but we parked by the supercharger/delivery center at the Fremont Factory.

We headed through security into the training room set aside for the TOC Leadership were meeting.

IMG_1731.JPG

IMG_1732.JPG

We were asked some ice breaker questions.

IMG_1733.JPG

and waited for the start.

IMG_1734.JPG

It was a long, productive day and we got a break in the middle to do an updated factory tour.

We saw 100,000 Model 3s produced and ready to go…

…JUST KIDDING…

…We saw the production line and the factory itself seems to be “more full” than I’ve ever seen it before. This was the third time that I’ve visited the factory and it seems like they’re now fully utilizing the building.

But we had NDAs and couldn’t take any pictures whatsoever.

It wasn’t all serious work. In between sessions, the tables were provided some pipe cleaners and folks got creative with what was provided for them.

IMG_0802.JPG

Here was a rendering of a Model 3 supercharging.

IMG_0803.JPG

Either a Rocket Ship to Mars or La Tour Eiffel from Stephen Pace as well as some chocolate covered macadamia nuts from the Hawaii Club.

IMG_0804.JPG

And the better half was not immune from the pipe cleaner fun…

IMG_0805.JPG

Doing a Tesla logo and the notebook that we used at the conference.

Here are the selection of pipe cleaner fun that the folks put together.

IMG_1765.JPG

Aside from the goodies that Tesla fed us with, our friends from Hawaii brought some chocolate macadamia nuts that were in bite size packages on our tables, the Belgians brought Godiva.

IMG_4571

After a long day of brainstorming and working with our Tesla hosts, we had some dinner and drinks at the Factory.

IMG_1769.JPG

IMG_4578

IMG_1770.JPG

IMG_1771.JPG

and some special Tesla cookies for dessert.

IMG_1767.JPG

IMG_1774.JPG

We had some further interesting happenings that I won’t be sharing with you here… But, let’s just say that I got a good idea of the differences in size between the Model 3 and Model S.

And then we were back at the Marriott. When we got back to the hotel, we found out that Robert R and our friends from Belgium were busy taking pictures of the Model 3, both in the wild and on the Test Track near the Factory.

This was what they first spotted that first evening of #Model3 spotting.

They were also by the Tesla track beside the factory and had a few shots on their Twitter page as well.

Had a good time with some late night discussions at the hotel lobby with fellow club leaders, but decided to turn in.

June 3, Club de-brief, hanging at the Computer History Museum, and Model 3 Spotting

The next morning, we had a half day session left for the conference. But before the start of the conference, I thought to see if I can clean the windshield on the car.

Want to spot Teslas from the hotel window? Our S is parked beside the traffic cones on the bottom right corner of the picture.

IMG_1775.JPG

Here are some of the Teslas that I could spot from above.

IMG_1776.JPG

IMG_1777.JPG

IMG_1778.JPG

IMG_1779.JPG

Lot of other folks did this drive in their Model X. Zeb from North Carolina had already headed back at this time. I was trying to find his car to show the guy with the farthest drive from this group.

And our friends from Belgium were up to their tricks again…

But eventually, we all met back for our clubs debrief and we had a productive session amongst the Tesla Clubs.

IMG_1781.JPG

IMG_4589

IMG_4590

It was good to get a grasp of what other clubs are up to, what sort of response they get and strategies on how to work within the community and with Tesla. We strengthened our bonds and said goodbye to old friends and new. With the full expectation to spot some of these folks on Tuesday for the Tesla Annual Meeting, which is Phase 3 of our trip.

Besides, we were provided with the last gift from the event planning committee.

IMG_1780.JPG

The chocolate was enclosed in this puzzle box adorned with all four Tesla vehicles produced or about to be produced, so that was cool.

The rest of Saturday, the 3rd was hanging out with Trevor Page of Model3OwnersClub. We were in contact with each other because he was flying in for the Referral Program VIP Tour and Q&A Session that was held during the same weekend as the TOC event. We were trying to find a time to hang and I volunteered to take him to the airport, so we hung out for a while before his flight.

He hasn’t visited the area before and I didn’t know what traffic in the area was like, so figured to take him to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The museum is a short drive, even in traffic, from San Jose Airport. Additionally, the museum is the same location as the Tesla Annual Meeting and figured that he would enjoy that.

We’ve been in the building last year for the Annual Meeting, but never really visited the museum.

Needless to say, it was a blast.

We saw some really old computers.

IMG_1234.JPG

IMG_1788.JPG

Here’s Trev taking a photo.

IMG_1789.JPG

And a lot of very important historical computers. Like this Enigma Machine.

IMG_1793.JPG

Or this really old memory tube that was 2560 bits of RAM.

IMG_1795.JPG

Trev in front of some old military computer installation.

IMG_1802.JPG

A couple of old Cray computers.

IMG_1814.JPG

IMG_1816.JPG

IMG_1817.JPG

Of course, video games…

IMG_1824.JPG

IMG_1823.JPG

They even had some kids playing PONG.

IMG_0822.JPG

and finally an old Apple 1.

IMG_1255.JPG

Before we took Trev to the airport for his flight, we take a picture in front of the Google/Waymo Pod Car.

IMG_1845.JPG

He had a little fun with his Twitter followers with this car…

After dropping Trev off at the airport, we decided to charge up at the supercharger at the Tesla Factory. Though our hotel is a host to in the destination charger program, one of the L2 was broken, and it was easy enough to catch a charge there. Besides, I had to get another drink of the Tesla Blend drip coffee that Tesla was serving us during our conference the other day.

IMG_20170603_164349

I was trying to do some lazy Model 3 spotting at the factory.

And actually caught the Alpha being loaded back in the truck.

IMG_1846.JPG

Except, I was asked not to take any further pictures. It’s cool, but I’ve been way up-close to that car already. It’s the same one that was at the Tesla Solar Roof and PowerWall2 Announcement from a few months back, and I have a ton of better pictures of that.

After being emboldened by our spotting of the Alpha car… I figured to take the long way back to the hotel, and drive close to the track that our Belgian friends spotted the Silver and Red cars being speed tested. And sure enough, we spot two of them.

IMG_4595

IMG_4597

IMG_4600

There are definitely better pictures, but these are the ones that I spotted. We even captured their drives on video… Have to zoom in though! 😉

Either way, we had some fun on #EVBingo with that…

So, the first phase of our three phase trip was complete and we had a night to recover before our drive down to Morro Bay for the ActiveE West Coast North-South Reunion 4. (or WxNS4 as they’ve abbreviated it.) Click here for the next phase on this trip.

If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

Published by

Dennis

rEVolutionary armed with a Tesla Model S S85 and a Tesla Roadster, when his wife let's him borrow it. Formerly driving a BMW Active E (2012-Feb to 2014-Feb). Dennis has been driving EVs since he found himself on the BMW Active E trials on February 2012. As a result of his involvement in the Active E program, he became Accidentally Environmental. Aside from this blog, he often tweets @dennis_p. When not driving, he can be found on the following Tesla/EV forums - teslamotorsclub.com, teslamotors.com, and model3ownersclub.com as AEdennis or on speakev.com as Dennis. In the interest of full disclosure, Dennis has an inherent bias toward electric vehicles and has an investment in and is LONG Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

2 thoughts on “A Trip in Three phases… Phase 1… The Tesla Owners Club 2017 Leadership Conference”

Leave a Reply