I was made aware of a program offered yesterday for new, existing owners of electric vehicles in Southern California Edison territories. This is an interesting rebate in that participating vehicles need not be purchased new. A particular vehicle and household can use the rebate once, but up to two more subsequent owners of that same EV are also eligible. (If the owner that applied for the rebate re-sells the car, the buyer, can apply for another rebate in the SCE territory for up to two more subsequent owners.) This applicability for used and currently owned vehicles is fundamentally different than the original California state program which was limited to brand new EVs only. Furthermore, providing for future resale to other SCE utility customers, shows a commitment to the future for this program.
So, what exactly does this rebate offer. In a nutshell, $450 a car (as of the writing of this article on May 23, 2017.) Considering that the program is for SCE customers, it means that your address and utility matters for this. This whole process should take most people less than fifteen minutes to complete, assuming they have ready access to the documents on hand and that their car registration is scanned or photographed for the evidence requested by the Center for Sustainable Energy (who I assume are the same administrators for this program.)
In my case, I had to create a login for scecleanfuel.com (this is different than your regular service account) and is a rather straight forward process that took longer to read all the disclosures than actually click and accept the terms.
Second, I had to find and obtain my service number (which is readily available on the PDF bill (or paper bill)) from SCE. Without the bill, it’s available on sce.com if you have a registered account on THAT system.
Next, you fill out the online form on scecleanfuel.com.
Here are the screens to fill out, in reality, it’s one long one.
In total after clicking submit, the next page (which I forgot to get a screenshot of) will require you to upload a scan of your registration. Luckily, I typically scan my registration for my records, so this is good.
Once you upload your registration, your application should show the status of the application and you wait.
Here is a screenshot of the page for our application for our two EVs.
We filed yesterday afternoon (May 22, 2017) and our applications were already in the mid-hundreds. About 22 hours later, my mom (assisted by my sister) filed hers and her application was in the one thousand applications… I’m not sure how many applications will be accepted for this, but I always feel that these are almost always first come, first serve, so get your paperwork ready and apply.
If we sell an EV and there are still funds in the program, subsequent purchasers (up to two more times) of an EV that is placed in service at SCE territory may be eligible for this rebate again. The amounts may change in subsequent years, but it’s a nice little benefit for being a customer of Southern California Edison.
On the confirmation email for this program:
Once we receive a copy of your permanent vehicle registration we will review your application for completeness and accuracy. This process may take up to 30 calendar days. Delays beyond normal processing times may occur. If your application is approved, we typically issue rebate checks within 90 days of application approval date. All status updates are communicated through your email. As we cannot guarantee our emails will not be blocked by your email server, we highly recommend periodically visiting scecleanfuel.com/login to check the status of your application.
On Saturday morning, I drove to meet the Lucid Air at Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo. It was a great first impression. I had a good feel for the car, but I was really looking forward to the day after that Cars and Coffee because I was lucky enough to score an invite to one of two Test Ride EVents that Lucid had scheduled last weekend.
The first one was later on Saturday evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum and the second was at a private residence in Newport Beach. Since my wife and I were occupied on Saturday evening, we made plans to join Lucid on Sunday afternoon.
My original invite to the event was as a “plus one” for another friend who was invited as well. We had made plans to carpool down to the event, so I asked if my wife can join us as well, and he was cool to pick us both up. It was a treat, because he was planning on taking his Model X to the event, and I’ve had limited time riding in any Model X.
So, we met at our house and he drove us down to the event.
Seeing those banners at the side of the road meant that we’ve landed at the right place.
To call the place that Lucid was using for this party a “house” is like calling the Model S a “golf cart.” Apparently the home was being sold for $55 Million dollars. (supposedly at a loss as I overheard something to the effect of $150 Million for the purchase price.) This figure is unconfirmed, whereas the $55 Million price was the ask for the listing.
The walk down the driveway was long enough that Lucid provided golf carts to shuttle us from the entrance down to the house.
It was such an opulent setting for a party, I felt like I was vying for a “rose” at the end of the party 😜.
To the left of the house was where a large screen was set up for the presentation. But before the presentation, we get to explore and mingle.
First stop was to talk motors with David, the Director for Powertrain. He spent some time explaining the 400 HP front and 600 HP rear motors. The initial motor that they were developing is doing something with the magnets that were “normal” and the subsequent motors were going to be doing something else with the magnets that would make them even more powerful. If I had been more technical, I would have remembered what he said. Unfortunately, that was several days ago, and I’m sure that I’ll hear about it again before the cars are released. He was also showing off how small these motors were, even though they were pretty powerful.
This next shot shows the gears that drive the wheels and makes the car go!
After talking motors with David, we headed through the house to the back porch where Lucid had set up some virtual mockups of the interior and a Virtual Reality (VR) of the ride experience.
To the right of the patio was a mock up of the driver cluster and infotainment cluster.
Having seen the actual prototype the day before, it was laid out sans steering wheel.
There were several interior trim samples. The packages were named after some of the ritzier cities in California (Santa Monica, Tahoe, etc.)
There was also a virtual reality experience. I tend to get dizzy with those, so I skipped it.
There was also some cheese and fruit setting in the back, but I was there for car stuff, so I skipped those.
We were given a fair warning that the presentation was to start, so we headed back to the front and where the screen was.
I decided to take a panoramic of the front driveway.
And then another panoramic from the front back to the house.
Then the presentation started. We were taken on the Lucid journey by three members of Lucid’s management team.
First up was Zak Edson, Director of Marketing.
Followed by Derek Jenkins, Vice President of Design.
Then finally by Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer. He had this funny slide explaining Horse Power and describing the shrinking size of HP from the first horse to ICE engines to the Lucid Motor.
This slide shows where the LIDAR (4 of them) and cameras are that will enable the Air to get to autonomy when that is offered.
And rather than use a drop-cloth to do the reveal of the Lucid Air to this crowd (as they had done at the Petersen Museum event the night before). Lucid actually drove the Show Prototype down the driveway to the crowd below
It’s a nice looking design in front. I don’t really like the rear exterior of the car, but it still looked great.
In discussing the Show Prototype with several of the other Lucid Design members, I found out that these 22″ tires are special ones that are for the show car, but probably won’t make the production car.
Apparently, Pirelli had these laying around, but not producing them. Still looks great, but knowing how much tires cost and how often they’re replaced on aggressively driven EVs, I would opt for a more sensible sized wheel and tire combination.
So, after a full day of waiting. I finally got to actually go in and experience the interior of the Show Prototype… Especially the rear passenger seats in the Executive Seating package.
As I previously mentioned, the trim packages are named after “ritzy” California cities… The Show Prototype is named after Santa Cruz. (No San Quentins or Alcatraz Islands here. 😜)
Here is your author fully reclining in the executive seats of the Show Prototype taking a selfie. It’s like being in a business class seat. Not fully lay flat, but pretty darn comfortable.
The Lucid Executive Seat controls are a touch panel in the center, shared by both passengers.
Which means it would be easy to program other functions to it.
Here is my seatmate on the left adjusting his seats…
The view of the front from the back seats.
A dedicated vent for air… I like that. Don’t have to share. Just wonder how strong it is.
A great shot of someone else in the back seat with the leg support extended.
After lounging in the back, it was my turn in the front seat of the Show Prototype without having to sit awkwardly to avoid getting dirt in it because of the damp weather from Saturday.
The infotainment screen in the middle.
Some cool looking diagnostics…
Lots of range left.
The footwell is pretty standard, though looks like some loose wires to the left.
Nice touchscreen to the right to dynamically change the driving style of the car. This menu is a little less accessible on the Model S (under current releases.)
And the functionality, as with many touch screens can be changed.
Back to the infotainment…
Love the fact that the creep can be turned on and off. (I prefer to drive with it off.) It also looks like they’re using air suspension.
Obviously a mock up on the Show Prototype…
We’re in Newport Beach, CA, not the Bay Area.
Lots of configurable options on the displays… Not sure how many are actually implemented.
After checking out the car, I went to stand in line for the test rides.
But while waiting, they opened the front trunk (they were not using the “frunk” nomenclature), so my wife held our place in line and I ran over to take some pictures of the front trunk.
That’s a deep front trunk.
We then jumped back in line for Prototype 2… Apparently there were some issues with Prototype 4 from the previous evening, so we’re down to one prototype for the drive events.
If you remember from the article on Cars and Coffee, Prototype 2 had the bench seating and Prototype 4 had the prototype executive seating.
After a little wait, we got to ride in the car…
I’m in the rear passenger side seat and here I am getting my iPhone ready to take photos.
My better half shot this video…
Some stills from me.
When we got back, we hung out with some friends and soaked up more of the atmosphere…
Had to take the “car in the background” shot… It’s a beautiful, sunny Southern California day, so have to look good while hanging out in the sun.
A few more car shots…
The Lucid Air looked great yesterday, but it looks even better with more light.
While we were chatting with friends. Someone finally managed to get the trunk opened, and I ran over to take some pictures of that.
That grey floor cover can be removed.
So, I guess the drawback is hauling space in the executive seat option. The Model S does a better job of that.
And with that, we bid adieu to our friends.
We took the golf cart back to valet and said farewell to the awesome house that the party was held at.
While we were waiting for the valet to bring our friend’s Model X up… Prototype 2 passed us again…
The sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean as we headed back home.
Overall, I would say that if we decided to go for the executive seat option, Lucid has made a car that I would prefer to have someone else drive me around in than drive myself in. The power at 40% is great, but I’m all about the range.
Additionally, the Lucid folks recognize that they have to get a deal done for DC Fast charging and I’m rooting that Tesla works with them to let them into the Supercharger network. Otherwise, it’s a longer climb for Lucid to get there.
I was on a trip to Miami when the initial tweet went out and I figured to set up a meetup for the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County membership to attend one of the public “unveils” of this interesting new EV. The club membership have many owners who are proponents of EVs in general as is evidenced by our early “reveal” of the Chevy Bolt EV a few months ago.
I was unsure whether or not I would be able to attend the event as my flight from Miami was scheduled to arrive around midnight on Friday evening and the Cars and Coffee in Aliso Viejo was scheduled at 7am on Saturday morning. Things looked even worse when it turned out that our flight was subject to a gate hold for over an hour and I didn’t get home until 1am this morning.
But, we’re talking about a new EV, and as many long-time readers know, I’m sort of an EV nut. So…
This was especially early for me because between my announcement of the club meetup earlier in the week and the EVent this morning at Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo, I got two invites from friends to join them for the “invitation” Lucid event for actual test rides. So, this first impression is solely for the Aliso Viejo Cars and Coffee and I will probably have a second write-up and pictures from the more up-close and experiential EVent that I decided to join tomorrow
Well, Lucid first showed up with two Alpha Prototypes. Around 7:10 AM, these two wrapped cars drove by while I was speaking with a few folks.
Here are some closer shots of the wrapped prototypes.
These early prototypes were not luxurious by any means, but provide a good idea of what sort of trim and style of seating that the Lucid Air will have.
The car (that has the number 2 on it) has the bench seating in the back. And the other car (the one with the number 4 on it) has a mock-up of an “executive” seating type of set-up (for China, and livery services perhaps.) Additionally, the 2 car has a solid roof, whereas the one with number 4 has a panoramic (like the Model X, Model 3, or the new Model S fixed glass) roof.
Here is the seating for the “4” car.
Here’s the glass roof on the “4” car.
Here I am seated in the back of prototype “4” car.
The view from the back seat.
Lucid brought their “show” car out much later and it made for a dramatic entrance.
Here’s the back of the car…
Peaking into the Show Prototype, we can see that Lucid opted to kit it out with the Executive Seating.
I took some pictures when others were able to grab a seat in the show car. The interior trim looks good.
Here’s another shot of the Executive Seating in the back.
There’s a little touchscreen between the two seats for some controls. I didn’t see that up close, but it’s pretty cool.
On the Show Prototype, Lucid opted to kit it with some cool things.
First, the tires and wheels are huge for a sedan. I think these are 22″ tires.
The front of the car is pretty sleek.
There is a LIDAR and camera in the very front to help the car in its autonomous functions.
And the High Lumen LED lights look interesting on the Show Prototype.
If you look at the front hood of the car, there seems to be two dark vents above the lights, and I was told that this provides a “vent” for the heat generated by the front lights of the car.
We never got to see the Trunk or Frunk or the charging port for the Show Prototype. Actually, specific to the Show Prototype, the charging port is not accessible, (it’s in the Frunk for the Show Prototype.) On 2 and 4, it is actually a front charging door by the driver side. Lucid has not decided what to do for DC Fast Charging yet, and they are still considering technology for the released vehicle.
Here’s the front seat of the Show Prototype.
Looking at the back from the front seat.
I got to sit in the front seat… And that was pretty cool.
The cockpit looks great with this prototype’s finish.
The three screens are filled with very useful information.
Here’s the wood trim on the door controls.
The show prototype had the same glass roof as the “4” prototype.
So, all in… It’s a great looking car. Unfortunately, this venue didn’t have test rides in the car, and we’re off to the second of two Southern California ride events this weekend and another post will follow with my impressions of being chauffeured in one of these cars. So, stay tuned as I will write about my further impressions from the events tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I got an invite from Faraday Future to join them for the unveiling of the FF91. The event was going to be at Las Vegas on January 3rd and I excitedly accepted the invitation.
Though much of the content that I have written on this site are Tesla or BMW focused (historically), I have always been a fan of electric vehicle technology and felt that anything to progress the cause further is well worth supporting.
Because, we’re based in Southern California, and Las Vegas is only a few hundred miles away, we took the opportunity to drive to the event. As with other events, we were presented with the choice between self and valet parking. Having waited for extended periods for the valet at Tesla events, I figured to take the self parking option.
I guess there was going to be some media at the event.
And our car had a nice background to it in the self parking lot that Faraday Future provided for us.
The thing with the self parking option, is it was on the BACK SIDE of the pavilion that Faraday was using for its reveal.
And we had to walk down between two pavilions in the dark to get to the entrance.
While walking toward the entrance, we spotted what looked like the FF car before the reveal, I tried to sneak a picture of it, alas my flash went off and ruined the shot.
The next set of doors that we were able to peak into had some of the AV folks, but no car.
After a very long walk in the cold, Las Vegas evening, we were rewarded with the entrance to the tent.
The self parking lot was a little bit of a walk from the front and as a result, it took us at least 15 minutes to get to the party.
It was the first time to see the skateboard for the Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) that Faraday told us about last year.
Though, I must admit, it does not look very VARIABLE in the configuration at the party.
The skateboard looks like a solid piece that isn’t really going to be the modular design pitched last year. Furthermore, this skateboard looks handbuilt.
It was nice to see the adequate seating provided at the event and the holding reception area was well attended.
We queued up for the entrance to ensure that we got good seats. And Faraday’s first invites were for the members of the broadcast and video media to get themselves set up to get their feeds in.
When the doors opened, depending on the color of the wristband issued to guests, seating areas were provided.
We got silver seating, so we ended up in Section 3.
However, the three roped off sections in front of us were made available to us to move to just before the start of the event, so we were able to occupy the second row from the front of this section.
The first of many speakers started.
I have one hand taking pictures and the other on Twitter… And Chelsea decides to scoop FF with this tweet at the beginning of the presentation.
I found out later that evening that she apparently saw the car getting staged around the corner from the entrance of the event, just where she was dropped off by her ride, and decided to take a quick snap.
The drama and staging was long and grandiose. And I hope that next time they show the car MUCH sooner.
Four speakers long, and I think my favorite demonstration was the self-parking one.
But that’s because I’m all about range and not necessarily speed.
I don’t really enjoy the whole “new species” thing when talking about cars. Perhaps it’s watching the Terminator too much and being exposed to the whole Skynet thing.
Driverless valet’s other great invention, saving valet parking charges and tips.
This demonstration was the first official view of the car.
Here’s a video of the car using Driverless Valet:
I liked the fact that in this demonstration the car backed into the spot. Because, if you look at how I parked in the beginning of this article, I tend to do the same thing.
The next part of the presentation was cool in that we finally get to see the car up front. However, the view was too short for any value to be derived from these timed drag races in front of an audience.
I do love the range though.
I forgot to take a picture of the first car, but here’s the Ferrari.
The Model X.
and finally the FF91.
Rather than provide stills…
I did shoot a couple of videos…
The first is the initial launch.
The second is the return from that launch
and the third is the launch by the FF/Dragon Racing Formula E Driver
And then they talked design.
And they pulled their special guest, YT Jia, what happened next was covered in the news, and all I can say is that it was painful to watch while in the audience and even more painful to hear the excuses.
Faraday’s primary investor, YT Jia, spoke to the crowd and was undeterred by the failure of the car to perform its self parking task. And kudos for him to continue his speech after that uncomfortable episode.
Eventually, the car did drive itself to the middle of the stage and the media were provided close up access to the car. Not an invitation to sit in it or anything, but definitely a chance to see it closer.
I didn’t have a media pass. However, I do have friends in the media, and one of them lent me his pass so that I could take closer shots of the vehicle.
Here’s a picture of the throng of media covering the event and had access to see the vehicle up close.
On the way to the car, spotted some of the principal Faraday Future speakers being interviewed.
Finally, close up pictures of the FF91.
While I was checking out the car, I noticed a familiar sight. Alex Roy, Canonball Driver extraordinaire and editor for The Drive.
It was around this location of the car that we heard some strange pumping noises. Alex Roy went live on Periscope or FB to try to gather some conversation on what this noise could be. Some of the more skeptical journalists around me thought that it sounded like a diesel. Being married to a Tesla Roadster owner, and as an EV advocate, I proposed that it sounded more like a battery cooling system. It was loud enough to hear in person, but difficult to record, so I gave up trying to record the sound. There was a lot of ambient noise and I decided it wasn’t worth trying to record that.
I think the noise from the vehicle must have been coming from one of these vents.
We left the vehicle and proceeded to go to the reception area to see if we can catch up with a few EV friends.
On the way to the reception area, we caught up with a contact at FF and I was able to get a ballpark for prices for the FF91. I was told that $150k to start with lower pricing to be close to $90k after the initial $150k price points. It’s a number that looks realistic with volume, so I hope that they use that VPA platform to build something smaller and less expensive.
So, what about the car?
I’m intrigued with the interior and infotainment system that they are touting. It would have been good to let us sit in and experience that, if it was truly available. Perhaps at the next reveal.
I like the really long range, but as I’ve often discussed with others, I sometimes have to make stops before I need to charge for “bio” reasons.
During the presentation they bragged about the 200 KW charging system that sounds like a PROPRIETARY charging system. Considering that CCS is already discussing 350 kW and Elon’s latest tweets take aim at beating that 350 kW charging, by the time FF91 is released, 200 kW would have been surpassed. Additionally, who has a charging network built to handle that speed? Perhaps the recent announcement of 400 kW charging stations from Chargepoint would partner with Faraday Future and handle the charging for this. However, that network will need to be built and available after delivery. As it is currently, networks are either the proprietary Tesla Supercharger or some electric corridors that are using CHAdeMO and CCS at a maximum of 50 kW if not 25 kW in some parts.
I really think that FF should have demonstrated the VPA with multiple vehicles rather than just one. If you’re going to tout your ability to have multiple sizes quickly, execute on that.
As for the FF91 itself, the car they showed had four seats. It’s a HUGE car and I would expect there to be at least five, if not seven seats. I thought that the car was going to be a crossover, and thus a competitor to the Model X, not another Model S competitor. At the prices that they are charging for the vehicle, I’d like to see more. The Model X is out, but it’s the only one of its class. By going after the Model S, others have already targeted that vehicle. I think that it was a missed opportunity from FF. By configuring the vehicle with only four seats, it seems that the target market for FF isn’t the United States, but China. It looks like the sort of car that one is chauffeured around in, and not one that an owner drives his or herself in.
I had hoped that there would have been an opportunity to ride in several of the vehicles that were shown at the reveal. Tesla does that at their vehicle reveals, whether the Model 3, the dual motor reveal, and so forth. And I had half-expected FF to do that. Apparently, others got to get a ride in the vehicle several days later.
One of the things that I tried to do during the past few years was to catch up and have dinner or lunch or whatever with someone that I’ve gotten to know in the International EV community. First it was one-on-one meetups with specific people when I visit a country. And then, last year I figured that it would be more fun to get together with groups of fellow rEVolutionaries on my International trips.
Last year, while visiting England for Rugby World cup 2015, I figured to send a message out to meet up with the EV community in the UK. I’m pretty active on the Speak EV forum, even volunteering as a moderator.
Speak EV is a great forum for EV enthusiasts because it is not focused on a specific brand of Electric Vehicle. Many of the really popular ones are. But Speak EV is different and that’s what I like about it. The owner/operator for Speak EV is British and many members are from the UK, the presence outside of the UK is mainly Europeans, though there are quite a few of us from this side of the Pond. I started a thread last year to invite folks for this get together that I called the TransAtlantic EV Social and Drinks.
Here’s a panorama that was taken by Tim Ostler at the event.
And then one which we asked someone to take our picture (to include Tim)
It was funny because it was an EV Meetup without the EVs. We all had a great time and I truly enjoy comparing EV experiences with folks in different countries.
So, last month, we decided to take a trip to Perth, Australia. A distance of 9,528 miles from Los Angeles via Sydney, Australia. Now, I started off by reaching out to a few guys on Twitter who happen to be involved with the AEVA West Coast branch (Australian Electric Vehicle Association) I also figured to reach out to the Tesla Owners Club of Australia and via a post on Teslamotorsclub.com. We haven’t been to Perth since 2005 and it was a chance to spend time and visit my godsiblings and the new baby that joined their family.
So, on Thursday, October 20, 2016, we had a meetup at the Odyssea Restaurant at City Beach.
My godbrother chose the restaurant for the food and service, but also for the large parking lot so that we can take these sort of shots.
Not an EV, but a cool vanity plate.
Matt with his cool “plate”
He was the first EV to cross the Null Arbor part of Australia. Basically, the Outback for thousands of kilometers on his Perth to Brisbane and back trip from earlier in the year. For those of us in the US, that’s like crossing the Us from San Diego to Baltimore and back. Where the only supercharging available would be the original one in California. Luckily, Australia has a lot of three phase power and Matt has an older Model S that can still make use of the 22kW available on dual charging.
Besides, it’s always fun when we visit different places and spot interesting road crossing signs. Our first trip to Australia in 2003, we had my godparents drive us all over WA to look for a Kangaroo crossing sign and tried to capture a Kookaburra sitting on a gum tree. We’ve been to visit Oz many times since, so I didn’t go out of my way to spot any of these things… However, whilst out and about the city, we did spot some interesting signs.
Spotted the ultra aggressive Black Swans that the river in Perth was named after.
Funny enough, our first trip here over a dozen years ago, we were chased by a Black Swan, so my better half took this shot using the zoom lens on her camera.
Also get to see a magpie… And now I understand why the Collingwood Magpies have them as a mascot. This particular bird was also unperturbed by our presence at the park when we were hanging out and enjoying time with our godsister’s new baby.
On the Friday of our visit there, we went to catch a basketball game at the Perth Arena.
We parked in the parking garage across from the arena. I was impressed that the parking garage had several charging outlets as well as a dedicated EV charging bay.
The one EV charging bay was respected by the ICE drivers and the first-come-first-serve spots that had plugs still had a spot available for another plug-in vehicle to use.
Since these are first-come-first-serve and not dedicated to EV charging, it was perfectly fine for ICE cars to be using these spots.
And many ICE vehicles did take these spots, but at least respected the dedicated EV spot.
This means that as EVs proliferate in their city, they can start claiming those outlets for EVs easily.
The basketball game itself was quite fun and the Perth Wildcats won that game.
It was impressive to see the winning record and staying power of the Perth basketball team in its league.
It was also quite entertaining seeing the different things that fans do at these games vs. the NBA.
Those crazy huge head signs would not be allowed in the NBA by the competition committee.
Unfortunately, the Super Rugby and AFL were out of season, but I did get a chance to see their various organizations represented.
The Perth Spirit, which is the division below the Western Force Super Rugby team actually had its players getting ready for their trip to the Grand Finals (which they won as an away game over the weekend of our trip to Perth.) Perhaps we brought them luck.
We also passed by Domain Stadium (which I remember as the Subiaco Oval) (where both the West Coast Eagles and Freemantle Dockers have been playing for years, but apparently both abandoning soon.)
Later that weekend, we took time to speak with some of the same AEVA crew as they did their EV advocacy at the Perth Spring Eco-Fest in Perth’s Central Business District (CBD), or “downtown” as we would call it in LA.
It wasn’t all EVs, got to see a really tiny Joey.
Which made me a little guilty that I had the kangaroo at lunch the other day with the AEVA.
I finally got to sit behind the wheel of a RWD Model S…
And one that has the same color as our Model S at that.
Got to see all the different charging plugs that the guys in Australia use for their Model S. Especially in Perth, where there is no supercharging network.
The charging port is on the same side of the car as the US Model S, which means the driver has to walk around to get to it.
EV conversions still have a big presence in the Australian EV scene as is evidenced by this Mazda Miata.
We took a photo with the fellow rEVolutionaries at the Spring Eco-Fest.
From Left to Right: Mitch Bisby, Bruce Armstrong, Robin (or is it Robyn) Dean (Mrs. Blue Heaven on TMC), Me, Better Half, Matt (MDK on TMC), Rob Dean (Mr. Blue Heaven on TMC), and Joseph Law. Unfortunately we didn’t get to be properly introduced or speak with Mitch and Bruce, but had a great time chatting with the others.
It’s interesting to note that many of these rEVolutionaries in Australia had decided to switch to EVs without any of the incentives available to those of us in other parts of the world. Their cost per kWh is also very expensive and they have a government that does not seem to be too friendly for the EV movement. The reason that Tesla has focused its Tesla Energy sales to Australia and Germany has to do with their ability to compete against the utilities in Australia. Solar and battery storage is “on par” with the cost of energy from the grid.
That being said, hats off to these rEVolutionaries in Australia that have decided to take the plunge without the help that many of us get from our government.
On our last day at Perth we went to King’s Park to take a great picture of the city from its vantage point.
And on our last night, we enjoyed a night market before we headed off to fly back home.
All sorts of cuisine and even American food.
We enjoyed our visit and meeting with the local rEVolutionaries and discuss their challenges and triumphs as well as bring some of Australia’s, especially Western Australia (the “other WA State”) best home with us is another highlight.
So, the next time you travel without your EV, you can always see if you can make it a visit with other rEVolutionaries. There are plenty of friendly EV folks out there.
As one of the organizers of the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County, I know a LOT of local Tesla owners and membership interest is a mix between those that enjoy Tesla for all the Eco and Green things and those that enjoy it for all the performance things and some for the luxury things. It’s a mixed bag, but members range the gamut from either or all of these interests. So, with short notice, I sent a note for our members on a Thursday to see how many would be interested in possibly seeing and riding in the Chevy Bolt EV in exchange for being interviewed by Motor Trend for their opinion on the car.
We got a few “takers”, including this writer. (A chance to check out a new EV that can go 236 miles on a full charge? No way am I turning THAT down.)
So, a few things we learned of the crowd that was there. Most were Tesla owners and had reservations for a Model 3. There was one person that joined us who is an i3 (with REX) owner who also had two Model 3 reservations. Of the Tesla owners, we had mostly Model S owners, one Model X owner, and several Roadster owners.
So, how does it look? Here it is among some classic Model S
And a nice Roadster joined the party. Our Model X member was here early and took off before we can get the picture.
I have a bias for Tesla and most things Tesla. However, I root for all EVs, but we’ve put our money behind Tesla. Both as a customer as well and an investor. I believe in what Tesla stands for and as much as it pains me that Elon has stated that he would like to see more EVs, even if it means that Tesla stock takes a hit.
Well, the Chevy Bolt EV is a good swing at Tesla and the Model 3. It’s a solid car. Not a luxury car by any definition, but it’s a long-range EV with seating for five (or four and a half if you look at how small the back seat is.)
But the back seat is definitely big enough for your author and one and a half more people.
The seats may not be that big, but the USB charging in the back is a nice touch.
One of our participants showed up with his baby and we tested the baby seat in there.
It’s a pre-production car, so the anchors were not there and the baby carrier was strapped in “old school” using the seatbelts.
I’m guessing she’s the only baby to have taken a ride in the Bolt EV at this time.
So the key to the Chevy Bolt EV looks like a regular key, not nearly as playful as Tesla’s “car shaped keys.”
The interior of the car isn’t what I would call luxurious, but it definitely is functional and solid. And for those that want to run a CD or even a cassette deck in the car, you can. There is an AUX port in the one delivered for the testers. (Yes, this is a concern. Check out this thread on Model3Ownersclub.com)
The trim level that was brought out was the higher trim level and I wonder what one loses with the lower trim level. At the same time, I wonder how much higher than the $37,495 base trim price this one is. The front of the Bolt EV is pretty comfortable. I don’t think that the seats were leather, they were probably “leatherette”, not sure if they’re vegan friendly though.
The controls and displays in the Bolt EV is a mix of modern and traditional. The infotainment display is slightly larger than the Leaf SV or SL (Acenta or Tekna in the UK), I believe. And there are many traditional controls for many of the functions. One thing missing is a built-in GPS and navigation controls. The vehicle uses the Apple and Google solutions (Carplay and Auto) to project the latest smartphone’s offering to the display rather than use one independent of your mobile device. So, keep those phones current, charged, and in those ecosystems. This is not the first time I’ve experienced this behavior. It seems that my sister’s new Volkswagen E-Golf does the same thing. Considering your author’s primary mobile device is a Blackberry, this is not a preferred method of navigation for my vehicles. I do carry an oft-photographed older iPhone, but I don’t believe that is CarPlay compatible.
The driver’s front display is similar to the Model S in that it is also just a big screen.
On this view from the driver’s seat, you can see that rated miles for the driver and what the car estimates is your current range. This is a function of both the driver’s style and current conditions and the charge on the battery. I don’t remember how many miles of driving conditions it uses to predict for remaining range. As I’ve experienced in many other EVs, the manufacturers algorithms can improve with each iteration and the more one drives the car, the better this algorithm is at predicting its own range.
I’ve grown to like the touchscreen controls on the S, but there is something to be said about physical buttons. Remember, I still carry a Blackberry. 😲
Here is the infotainment screen on the car.
A regular sized glove compartment. With no gloves (I wonder how many people actually carry gloves in their glove compartments?) (Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory doesn’t count anymore as is evidenced by recent episodes in 2016.)
There doesn’t seem to be much space in the trunk, so it’s good that the car is a hatchback. Another thing that people looking at Model 3’s had an issue with originally. (Size of the trunk/that it’s not a hatchback.)
However, like the Active E or Model S, the Bolt EV has a shelf underneath the rear floor. That’s a good place to carry cables and adapters. Something that is more critical for ex-North American market. In North America, we’ve standardized on J1772 for public Level 2 charging and the cables are attached to public chargers. In other parts of the globe, the charging posts have outlets that the EV driver has to use their own cables to attach to and the standards are not nearly as defined. So, a European driving the Opel Amper-E (their version of the Bolt EV) will need to have a different L2 cable depending on the outlet that they’re plugging into.
It’s a pretty solid build. Close the hatch, and it closed nicely. The whole thing seems fit and finished.
Here’s a picture of the wheel and tires that came with this trim.
So, what’s in the front? Because there isn’t a frunk. The motor is in the front, not in the back like single motor Teslas.
Let’s take a look under the hood (bonnet for our friends that speak the Queen’s English.)
Ooh, aah… I don’t know what that is, but lots of stuff.
I know what that one is… I have that in the front of the Model S… (washer fluid.)
The fuse box is in the front, and inside the hood. That’s interesting. This fuse box was closed, someone opened it and exposed the fuses, so I took a picture.) Looks like the 12V is a standard one too.
As we mentioned earlier, the Bolt EV we looked at had a higher trim, so it includes the CCS charging.
Now, our group of owners all were asked AFTER seeing the car, but before riding in it if we would cancel our Model 3 reservations and get a Bolt EV instead. Not one of the Tesla owners that had a Model 3 reservation raised our hand. The i3 owner, who has two Model 3 reservations, might consider cancelling one of his reservations and his reason was because he likes hatchbacks and the Model 3, as it was announced, does not have a hatchback and instead has a controversial trunk.
Here’s a picture of most of the members that attended this pop-up Orange County Tesla EVent. We have several Roadster and Model S owners in this shot. The one Model X owner who showed up had left earlier.
The folks that participated in this activity had a good time, and you can see me laughing when I was talking to our folks. (That’s me, the brown guy in the Aloha shirt.)
We shot a few videos during the event. I unfortunately forgot to save the videos locally when I did it on Periscope, so here’s hoping that those guys don’t delete it.
One of the cool things that the car has is this switch in the rear-view mirror. This switch toggles between acting as a mirror and a rear-view camera monitor to provide the driver with a wider view of the rear. Watch the video above to see it placed in action.
We’ve compared the Bolt EV beside the Tesla Roadster and Model S… But, it’s really better to compare the size of the Bolt EV to a BMW i3. It was good to get a BMW i3 owner to come out and join us on this event as those two cars really look about the same size.
However, I always feel like I’m “riding high” on an i3 and I didn’t feel this so much on the Bolt EV.
So, someone with an i3 in their garage can easily move from their i3 to the Bolt EV, just have to remember that the plugs are on opposite ends of the car. The Bolt EV’s plug is in the front driver side and the i3 has it in the rear of the car.
Both of those EVs are still bigger than a Roadster.
Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from this angle.
So, what do I think of the Bolt EV? I actually think that it’s a better fit for my mom and her lifestyle. I tried to convince her to change her Model 3 reservation, or at least one of her Model 3 reservations to a Bolt EV. She quickly rebuffed me and said, “I’ll keep my Tesla.”
The challenge is those that want a Tesla Model 3 are doing so not just to drive a long-distance EV. It’s because the Tesla has become an aspirational brand. The Model 3 is to Tesla as the 1 or 3 series is to BMW. It is the “entry-level” car to get folks into the “luxury” car segment. Granted, there is a certain “relativism” in how one defines luxury, but to many in the public, Tesla is it. How many of the 300k+ reservations are going to move to GM and the Bolt EV? I believe some, just not sure “how many.”
I usually attend two or three of the National Drive Electric Week (formerly National Plug In Day) events a year. I’ve always found them to be fun and key to confirming me as a member of the rEVolution.
This past year’s events in Diamond Bar and Los Angeles were published on this blog pretty much as it happened. I wanted to cover the other two events that I attended in the same manner, but also wanted to share our Long Way Round Trip with readers two months from when the trip happened (and, intentionally, as a way to celebrate National Drive Electric Week.) The trip won out and so, here we are with Santa Monica and Long Beach coverage weeks later.
Santa Monica, September 16, 2016
The Santa Monica NDEW2016 event was held on Friday and Saturday (September 16-17, 2016) in conjunction with Alt Car Expo. I actually went to Santa Monica to attend Alt Car Expo, and was pleasantly surprised by the NDEW2016 event that was being held at the same time.
Drove to Santa Monica in the better half’s Roadster. We’ve been having some challenges with its charging and I wanted to test the car and see if it faults with the chargers at the parking lot in Santa Monica. Luckily (and yet frustratingly), for the test, it did not.
The City of Santa Monica is one of the most EV friendly cities and many of the municipal lots have free charging and the one at the civic center is no exception. Additionally, these Level 2 chargers were also powered by a solar carport.
At 30A, charging was going to take a while, but I’m here for the whole day, so I put my contact information on the EV Hangtag, checked into Plugshare and gave a status on when I expect to be done with charging, and went inside to the Alt Car Expo conference.
The NDEW part of the conference was set up in a cordoned off section of the parking lot.
The check in table for the Alt Car Expo was apparently where one also signs up for the Ride & Drive portion. Something which I did not fill up at the time, and turns out, I should’ve.
The Santa Monica set-up was a mix between EV owners and drivers demonstrating their EVs to the public (no Ride and Drive.)
The Coda Sedan that was at the site was owned by the same gentleman who owns and operates several Codas and Coda gliders. In talking with the owner, it turns out that he was the same Coda that I spotted at the Los Angeles event as well.
The Corbin Sparrow that was at Santa Monica is also the same exact one that was in the Los Angeles event. I guess, I’m not the only EVangelist who enjoys talking EVs with the public.
At this location, only the car manufacturers were the only ones providing Ride and Drive events at this location. The participating vehicles were more than just BEVs, there were several hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well.
The Honda Clarity,
the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell,
and the Toyota Mirai was there too.
I was surprised to spot a Diesel Volkswagen at the site, it was part of the Zipcar car-sharing program and I suppose that Alt Car considers this to be an acceptable solution. I’m not too keen on any more diesel vehicles.
Personally, I think the service from Waivecar.com is a better candidate as it provides car sharing AND an EV (Chevy Spark EVs, to be precise) for no cost for the first two hours is quite an amazing deal.
The only plug-in that was at the site that I have yet to drive was the Audi A3 E-Tron. Unfortunately, I did not sign up for the Ride and Drive portion of the event in front, and I wasn’t that thrilled to drive a plug-in hybrid anyway, so I skipped it. I spent the time at the event talking to and catching up with EV friends and decided to pass on the evening reception for the conference.
Leaving Santa Monica during rush hour is often an exercise in futility. I decided to take some surface streets South through Venice. Had an interesting sighting on my drive. I spotted some manufacturer cars being driven around. Unfortunately they were not EVs, but still a thrill to spot these camouflaged vehicles on the road. I’m guessing its a new BMW 7 series, but could be a 5 series, I suppose.
Hard to see, but click and zoom in on the rearview mirror. Can’t mistake the “kidney beans” on the front grill.
I know that BMW is working on further electrification, but it would have been cool to spot a new EV on the road.
Long Beach, September 17, 2016
The following day, Saturday, September 17, I attended the NDEW gathering in Long Beach, CA. This event was the closest to the traditional NDEW events that I have attended in the past. This one had less manufacturer involvement in it and more public-facing event. It was more traditional in that we were welcomed by some politicians and spent the time just “hanging out” and talking to folks.
There were a lot of Teslas at this event because the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County had identified this particular NDEW for its annual NDEW event.
All manners of Teslas were represented.
The red roadster was for sale and is VIN #5.
Of course the Falcon Wing Doors have to go up with the Model X in the crowd.
It is the latest Tesla around.
and we had three Roadsters at this event.
There was representation from members of the EV community as well.
From other vehicles like the Zero Motorcycle and Smart ED.
To several Leafs and a Porsche 912 conversion that gets around 150 miles.
There was a Fiat 500e and a Coda (same owner as was in Santa Monica the previous day and Los Angeles the previous week.)
Even the Honda Fit EV made an appearance. Three times, to be exact.
I don’t believe many of the Tesla owners allowed the public to take a drive in their vehicle. The owner for the Red Roadster #5 did take a few interested parties out in that car, then again she was also taking the opportunity to see if anyone wanted to buy her car.
The other manufacturer’s car was different. I saw a few take rides in the converted Porsche and I believe one of the Leafs took a drive around.
Around Southern California, National Drive Electric Week is celebrated in many places and some get a lot of car manufacturer support, whereas others are sparsely attended by the manufacturers. It’s great to see all the participation in these events and I hope that more and more and convinced to go electric as a result of attending these EVents. As for letting folks drive our EVs, I was a lot more forgiving when I drove the Active E for this event, but when we moved to the Tesla, not so much. Besides, in California, Tesla does a great job providing folks with a nice long drive at their retail locations. Some of the events seem well attended, whereas others are more sparse. The one in Diamond Bar was much better this year, but the Los Angeles one seemed to have less people. Either way, I hope that we’ve convinced more people to go electric.
I often look forward to September because of this week and am looking forward to when it becomes every day that we celebrate Drive Electric Days.