Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 11

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the eleventh in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 10, click here.

Day 11 – Drive on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Today’s drive was going to be one of the shortest for the trip. But it also has the potential to go through some of the worst traffic of the trip. Our goal is to get from Northern New Jersey to my other cousin in Long Island. He lives near the Tesla Sales, Service Center, and Supercharger at Syosset, so another opportunity to write an entry for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

Prior to making the plans to visit Long Island, I reached out to EV supporter and Science Fiction Author, Aaron Crocco (whose new book, Spirit Hackers is coming out soon (June 2015)) to see if he would like to meet in real life. It turns out that Aaron’s other job is close to the Syosset location and we arranged to meet during his lunch hour. That means that we needed to target being at the Syosset store around noon. The traffic to Long Island is a challenge because of its proximity to New York City. Traveling from Randolph, NJ to Syosset, NY could take a relatively short time or, conversely, an inordinate amount of time. So, we decided to plan for the latter.

It was a tough night trying to figure out what settings to do for the 110V charge at my cousin’s home in Randolph, NJ. After some fidgeting about, we finally landed on 6A. One of the strengths of Tesla (whether the Roadster or Model S) is its flexibility in handling lower amperage charging. The Model S gained the ability to automatically sense and adjust to a lower draw for “safety” reasons but always had the manual ability to be set to draw at a lower rate than what is automatically sensed by the car.

Soon after we plugged the car in last night, it sensed that the wiring at my cousin’s garage had to be adjusted to 9A from the expected 12A. Many factors add to this result, but from what I can tell, it seems that the spot in the garage is the furthest point from his main panel.

The car kept stopping charge at 9A, so I did the “old” tactic of fidgeting the Amperage to get the right fit. First step is to charge at half the rate to see if that works. So, I went to 6A, saw that it took, and went to sleep.

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As you can see, we rolled out of their place gaining one mile per hour. The charge actually topped off at 206 miles, a gain of 17 miles. Seeing that I didn’t really need to charge, I just wanted to minimize losing miles due to vampire loss, I found this rate was adequate for the evening. Additionally, leaving the car plugged in at 110V gave us the option to run pre-conditioning without worrying about range loss as we cool the car before the drive, which I did to get us to 204 miles of rated range before the start of the day. Beside, there is something “cool” about having some “places I’ve charged” marked thousands of miles away from home.

So, we left New Jersey and headed to Long Island. We have to warn drivers that the routes to Long Island from New Jersey is expensive. The toll roads and bridge tolls to get from Point A to Point B may require that someone obtain some sort of financing to make that crossing. We went through 2 tolls that cost $22 one way. That could get expensive on a daily basis.

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Crossing over the bridge to New York State from New Jersey.

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Decided not to “risk” our car in New York City traffic on this trip. That’s as close a view as we will get of “The City” on this trip.

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View from the passenger rear view.

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When we were on our way to Syosset, my wife noticed that the gasket on the passenger side was getting shredded. Though we didn’t take a picture of that particular instance, it was similar to the issue we had on the driver’s side at factory pickup (pictured below).

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So, we made it a point to see if the Syosset Service Center can fit us in or provide us an appointment to have this taken care of.

Tesla Syosset Sales, Service and Supercharger Center

We got to the Syosset Sales, Service, and Supercharger earlier than our meet with Aaron, so we figured to get a charge before we met with him.

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The center and supercharger parking lot was in extreme disrepair.

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In fact, Tesla and/or their landlord was in the middle of repairing the entire parking lot and figured to have it completed by the May 17, 2015.

Before we saw the service center staff, we wanted to make sure that we had our car in our “possession” for meeting with Aaron Crocco.

One of the fun parts of the trip is we get to meet folks that we only know on the Internet in real life, so…

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We took Aaron out on a spin in the Model S.

Needless to say, we had fun with him.

After our meet-up, we figured to have the gasket thing “taken care off”.

We went in to speak with the service center. Unfortunately, like SoCal service centers they are pretty booked up. However, they were able to fit us in for an appointment tomorrow, and since we’re not on any schedule at this part of our trip, we accepted the appointment.

With that we headed off toward Nesconset. Now the navigation normally would route travelers between Syosset and Nesconset over I-495 (the Long Island Expressway). But, if you remember correctly, we decided earlier in the drive to sometimes choose alternate routes and get off the Interstate, and we were so close that we decided to take an alternate route to Nesconset. We decided to take the Northern State Parkway and meander to our destination.

Stopped off for some grub, and proceeded to Nesconset.

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My cousin’s son had a baseball game at Baseball Heaven that afternoon and we spent the time with them.

In speaking with my cousin and his son, we found out that their school has been undefeated so far this baseball season. Now the pressure is on us. We didn’t want to be the “jinx” that brought about their first loss.

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So, how did the game go? My cousin’s son did great (went 3 for 3, with a triple for one of those hits) but the team was behind all game Until he scored the run that tied the game (off that lead-off triple.) Aside from startin get the game in Second Base, he pitched in relief to get the win if they counted those things at this level of baseball. It would’ve been a long ride back home (all the way to California) if we had been the “jinx.” It was fun to watch a “Hollywood Ending” to a baseball game in Long Island, NY.

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We had to drop off my cousin’s son’s friend home, so I had my cousin drive us back in the Model S. He was impressed.

We had another home cooked meal that was topped off with a second Banana Cake from the Brothers Bakery of Allwood.

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Since there was a little precipitation that evening and we were headed back to the Syosset Service Center the next day, we didn’t need to charge at his home and we turned in for the night.

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Go on to Day 12. Click here.

11_Randolph to Nesconset

Oh yeah… Thanks for the reminder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two days without Roadster #40…

So, after playing with Roadster #40 for two days, we had to bring it in to Tesla for service because of the aforementioned charging disaster on the first day.

Funny enough, there was a new article on Tesla’s service at greencarreports.com that was published today as well. We must all be bringing our Teslas in for work.

So, initial reactions after one full day in service and being notified that Roadster #40 won’t be coming home after two days in the shop… I guess we’ll have to make do with the slower Tesla for a loaner…

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Basically spent a vacation day driving around LA and giving rides to family members and friends. A day with a loaner Model S is quite fun. The P85+ is really quick (and smooth), but the loaners are limited to 80 miles per hour. 0-60 is plenty quick and it reaches 80 and stops there.

Did over 200 miles of driving yesterday. Even made a stop at Hawthorne for the Supercharger station. It was not charging as fast as when fully operational because three of the five chargers are out of commission. Still, a lot faster than the Active E.

Got there at 4:35pm and started charging at 5:20pm.

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Stopped at 6:39pm. I went for a max charge (or until there was someone waiting for a charge.)

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Not as fast as promised (construction woes), but a heck of a lot faster than the Active E.

The rest on Flickr.

I’ll hold off on reviewing service until they’re done. But I can at least assert that after two days of driving a Model S for my daily drive and a bit more that I am assured that our order for an 85kwh Standard one was the right decision. There are still stuff about the S that bug me, but it is a rather well-built vehicle.

30,000 Miles…

One less than 30,000 Miles:

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and finally, 30,000 Miles:

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So, what’s been up.

Well, I TRIED to meet up with the West Coast Active E Facebook folks in Morro Bay on April 7, 2013. However, since I was busy on Saturday and didn’t head out for a Range Insane 240 mile drive from home to where the meet up is, I decided to ICE it with my BMW 328iC. I guess we run what is known as a hybrid garage and I figure that to supplement the Active E, a convertible and SUV are definitely two types of ICE vehicles that are not quite EV ready (as of April 2013).

So, to match some of the capabilities of the Active E, I had to wire up my portable Sirius radio to the convertible and wired it up.

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As I documented in other locations, the dangers of going to a FB meetup when I don’t have FB is that when plans change, I may not be updated. So, after driving 240 miles one way, I missed the Active E folks by about 15 minutes. I actually got to see Mariel and Edison drive by as I spoke to Tom Moloughney to see if he can get me in touch with the West Coast guys. At least it was a beautiful California day and my wife and I had a fun drive with the top down for a bit of the journey!

The day after the meetup, dropped off the car for 30,000 mile service, a little early at 29,650.

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This service took a little longer than the 25,000 mile service as I actually had a transmission malfunction a few weeks ago that required me to go to the battery switch to reset it. Unfortunately, even after four days in service, they didn’t find anything “wrong” with the car.

So, got the car back.

Did a little driving around and got to 30k.

So, what have I learned this past 10,000 miles… I really enjoy EVs and I am really intrigued by the new Fiat 500e and so happy to live in California where Fiat is offering this vehicle.

Godot no more!… Back from Oxnard! Woohoo

Back from Oxnard! Woohoo by dennis_p
Back from Oxnard! Woohoo, a photo by dennis_p on Flickr.

I’m back in the race for the top mileage again! Just in time for Christmas.

No further word except for a failed high voltage sensor!

Gave my dealer and BMW USA my piece of mind and suggestions on how to improve the process. Basically training and communication.

As well as my displeasure with the towing procedure!

Waiting for Godot… Day Nine!

Exclamation point at the end of the title because I was notified that I would get delivery yesterday. However, as is the case in the Beckett namesake that I’ve temporarily named my ActiveE after, I’m still waiting…

As was predicted by Electronut #1, Tom Moloughney, in the initial Oxnard bound post, “It could be something as minor as a bad sensor so keep the faith!”. The man is a “BMW EV Whisperer”. The only note from the guys at Oxnard that was communicated to my dealer was a failed sensor in the High Voltage system caused the issues.

I really appreciate our EV community and hope that the initial feel lasts as more and more people, hopefully, switch over to EV from ICE and some of the common courtesies become general practice. Even to Noobs (i.e. Plug Sharing, moving your vehicle from public chargers when the car is done charging, etc.)

Some are hoping for a White Christmas, others for their two front teeth… I’ll be glad when I can renounce the name Godot for my ActiveE!

Waiting for Godot… Day Eight…

Late yesterday afternoon, I received good news. Oxnard called back and said that Godot was on his way back to the dealership. They did not mention what was wrong nor what they did to fix the problem, nor what the problem was.

The only thing they told my dealership is that they wanted them to do an alignment on the wheels… (must have been an effect of the “tow” that BMW Assist did).

Either way, I’ll believe it when I see it.