Bolt EV – Meet and Ride EVent with @OCTeslaClub owners

Motor Trend was interested in gauging Tesla owner feedback on a just released Chevy Bolt EV article they just published.  A few weeks prior to this EVent, Motor Trend, along with other members of the automotive media got a chance to take the Chevy Bolt EV on some impressive long distance driving from Monterey to Santa Barbara along PCH.

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

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And a nice Roadster joined the party.  Our Model X member was here early and took off before we can get the picture.

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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.

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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.)

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But the back seat is definitely big enough for your author and one and a half more people.

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The seats may not be that big, but the USB charging in the back is a nice touch.

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One of our participants showed up with his baby and we tested the baby seat in there.

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It’s a pre-production car, so the anchors were not there and the baby carrier was strapped in “old school” using the seatbelts.

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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.”

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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)

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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.

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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.

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The driver’s front display is similar to the Model S in that it is also just a big screen.

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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.

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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.  😲

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Here is the infotainment screen on the car.

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Your shifter.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.

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It’s a pretty solid build. Close the hatch, and it closed nicely.  The whole thing seems fit and finished.

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Here’s a picture of the wheel and tires that came with this trim.

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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.

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Let’s take a look under the hood (bonnet for our friends that speak the Queen’s English.)

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Ooh, aah…  I don’t know what that is, but lots of stuff.

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I know what that one is…  I have that in the front of the Model S…  (washer fluid.)

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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.

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As we mentioned earlier, the Bolt EV we looked at had a higher trim, so it includes the CCS charging.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

Periscope Video 1

https://www.periscope.tv/dennis_p/1lPKqqLzQgZKb

Here is Motor Trend getting the Bolt EV ready for the drive and recording the folks riding in them.

Periscope Video 2

https://www.periscope.tv/dennis_p/1OdKrYWwLYVxX?

Here is a view of me in the car riding off with the writer.

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And here is the view from within the car for the ride.

Periscope Video 3

https://www.periscope.tv/dennis_p/1djGXYoXbzVJZ?

View from the backseat of the Bolt EV

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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.

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However, I always feel like I’m “riding high” on an i3 and I didn’t feel this so much on the Bolt EV.

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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.

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Both of those EVs are still bigger than a Roadster.

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Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from this angle.

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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.”

Here’s another link to the Motor Trend article of the event.

To see more pictures of the Bolt EV that I have taken, including the shots from this day, head to my flickr album look for the same colored Bolt EV for this event.

Chevy Bolt EV

National Drive Electric Week 2016 – Santa Monica, Long Beach, and a wrap-up

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.

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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.

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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.

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The NDEW part of the conference was set up in a cordoned off section of the parking lot.

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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.

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The Santa Monica set-up was a mix between EV owners and drivers demonstrating their EVs to the public (no Ride and Drive.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Honda Clarity,

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the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell,

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and the Toyota Mirai was there too.

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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.

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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.

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There were other exhibitors here as well.

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It looks like the same Chevy Bolt EV that was in Portland for EV Roadmap 9 was in Santa Monica as well.

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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.

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Hard to see, but click and zoom in on the rearview mirror. Can’t mistake the “kidney beans” on the front grill.

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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.

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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.

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All manners of Teslas were represented.

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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.

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It is the latest Tesla around.

and we had three Roadsters at this event.

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There was representation from members of the EV community as well.

From other vehicles like the Zero Motorcycle and Smart ED.

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To several Leafs and a Porsche 912 conversion that gets around 150 miles.

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There was a Fiat 500e and a Coda (same owner as was in Santa Monica the previous day and Los Angeles the previous week.)

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Even the Honda Fit EV made an appearance.  Three times, to be exact.

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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.

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Conclusion

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.

National Drive Electric Week 2016 – Diamond Bar

For the past few years, I’ve always attended several of the National Drive Electric Week events throughout Southern California.  This year, the first EVent that we visited was in Diamond Bar at the Southern California Air Quality Management District.

Drive Electric Week is happening Internationally now and have started today, September 10, 2016 and continues on until next week.  Our club, Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (formerly OC Tesla Club), will be attending the event in Long Beach on September 17, 2016.  However, we, as a family, try to hit several throughout the week.

You can look up where the nearest one is to you on the driveelectricweek.org site.  With 241 sites worldwide, here’s to hoping that the event grows even more.

We took some great pictures of the event and set up a Flickr album.

National Drive Electric Week 2016

I chose our parking spot today to complete the Red, White, and Blue Classic Tesla Motors Model S parked on the edge of the event.

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We’re on the left, have to read it right to left to get Red, White, and Blue.

Previous sessions at Diamond Bar had a lot more EV conversions. This year, I spotted only one EV conversion (parked by the Chevy Volt.)

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The owner of the BMW i3 put his car in what he called “presentation mode.”

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Some crazy Smart ED owner put a different kind of Range Extender (wind up version…)

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Lots of Fiat 500es.

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One of the OC Tesla Club member’s Model X participated at this EVent.

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We had hoped to bring my wife’s Roadster to the event, but we found a puddle of coolant in the garage and didn’t want to risk it. Glad to see a couple of Roadsters here.

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More of the pictures from this event are on the Flickr album.

Since one of the many questions that the public often ask at these events is “how far can you go with your EV.” Last year we went from Southern California to Maine, this summer, we went to the Tesla Gigafactory Party, The Long Way Round via Vancouver, BC.

Visiting Faraday Future… Impressions for a hopeful future….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The untimely end of OB-8

On Saturday, September 26th my mom was driving her little blue 2013 Nissan Leaf (OB-8) that she leased on July 2013. An SUV didn’t see her and decided to merge into her lane. The most important part of OB-8’s job was to keep her safe and it did just that.

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She was unhurt from the accident, she was sad for her little blue Leaf, but in good spirits at her getting through the accident physically unscathed.

Longtime readers of the blog remember welcoming mom to the rEVolution. And like many EV drivers, once you go EV, it’s hard to go back.

On initial review, The damage did not look that bad.

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The wheel and tire looked like goners, but looks like it could be repaired or replaced.

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The passenger side looked relatively unscathed. However, between the damage to the car and the depreciated value of the 2013 Leaf, the insurance company declared the car a total loss.

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More shots of the car from the passenger side.

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The charge port door was stuck.

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Close up of the charge port door.

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The battery is still in good condition, or at least it still kept its charge.

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Thus, with 17,893 miles in a little over 2 years, we had to say goodbye to OB-8, Mom’s Ocean Blue 2013 Leaf.

Mom leased OB-8 and the residual value on the statement was about $6,300 more than what the adjuster had valued the car for. We initially were wondering whether Nissan would allow us to apply the $5,000 price reductions that 2013 Leaf lessors were offered a few months ago as a totaled car is effectively bought out.

Luckily, Nissan had Gap Insurance on the car, so she just had to pay her deductible and was able to walk away from the car. Had she purchased the car and not purchased this insurance, she would have been liable for this shortfall on a loan.

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The 2016 Leaf with 6 kWh more in the SV and SL packages seem to be a no brainier, but there are definitely more options. Though mom originally wanted to be able to DC fast charge she only did one DCFC and that was when I trained her on using the CHAdeMO.

So, what’s next? Stay tuned. We’re checking out alternates for her, too bad the Model 3 or Bolt EV isn’t out yet. However, it’s a good thing I started test driving new EV choices during National Drive Electric Week 2015, but that’s another post.

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 16

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

Missed Day 15, click here.

Day 16 – EV Advocacy at Sustainable Morristown Sunday, May 17, 2015

Today’s plan is simple, hang out with my cousin in the morning and join the NJEAA guys at the Sustainable Morristown event in the afternoon.

The previous day, we took the time to figure out what the optimal rate of charge was for the Model S on my cousin’s 110V outlet. We placed it at 8A and the charge held.  As I previously mentioned, the Model S will reduce the speed that it charges when it senses stress on the wire, and here is a picture of the Model S automatically reducing speed of charge (see the “Charge Speed Reduced” message on the dash below.)

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To prepare for the Sustainable Morristown event, we decided to go ahead and wash the car.  After all, NJ is not in a drought, so took the opportunity to clean the car and present it in the best possible light (if you want to see how I usually wash the car @ home, you can see my first Periscope (by Twitter) attempt to instruct folks on how to do a car wash of the Model S.)

In the meantime, before we went to the EVent, we found the communities near Morristown, NJ to be a Random Model S spotting bonanza.

The first one we spotted was at the church parking lot.

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We spotted the LKTRFYD NJ plates parked across from us.

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On the way to the Sustainable Morristown event, we spotted a blue Model S on Speedwell Avenue heading the opposite direction from us.

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The event was held at the U Driveway of the Vail Mansion. The driveway was barricaded, but we were let in by Airton Azevedo. As soon as we parked the car, Chris Neff introduced me to a reporter covering the event for the Daily Record.

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Unfortunately my comments didn’t make the reporter’s article. But darn, I was good. I wonder if she didn’t like my answer to the question regarding range anxiety. (I don’t really have it, notice the California license plate?)

Got a few good panoramics of the cars that participated in the event. Most of the NJEAA folks that was at the EV Meetup the previous Monday were here. Unfortunately, I missed Tom Moloughney’s “red” i3.

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Pay attention to the 10 x 10 Green Tent that is at the left edge of the picture below. Michael and Pamela Thwaite do a lot of EV advocacy, and they were smart enough to set up some “shelter” from the sun as they interact and educate with the public.

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While we were hanging out at the EVent and talking to the public, I spotted a third Silver Model S that drove by on the street.  This car wasn’t participating on the EVent, it seemed to be a Model S that is just passing by.

At the EVent, I was fielding a lot of questions about range.  Hopefully, bringing a California Model S to a New Jersey event hopefully helps hammer home the point that electric vehicles are not only limited to “short trips.”  My wife and I met with a lot of people, both locals and folks from further away, like Westchester County, New York.  People were intrigued by the cross-country travel aspect of the car as soon as they realized that we were there from California.

We were the “go-to” folks to field the question of range anxiety, which [Spoiler Alert] we don’t have.  We had a lot of folks that approached us because, for a while, we were the only Model S at the event and they had questions for that, before they notice the California plates.  To which many first thought that we worked for Tesla (to clarify, again, we don’t.)

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Where’s the engine is another common question at these EVents, so we like to open the frunk and show the lack of an “engine.”  Additionally, people really enjoyed seeing the little 18650 Panasonic battery (see below comparing it to a pen, AA, and AAA batteries, it’s the green one) that we carry around for these types of EVents.

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My cousin and his wife hung out with us a little, since they had an event in the evening, we walked them back to where their car was parked.

The fourth Random Model S sighting. Though with the California Manufacturer’s plates, that tells me that it’s a Service Center Loaner.

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The Sustainable Morristown event wasn’t all just cars.

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Some great chalk art at the entrance of the event.

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But, you know me, I’m kind of an EVaholic and Andrea Giangone and his blue Model S joined the EVent. Andrea’s Model S has a cool little mod.

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There were some blue accents on the Tesla logo on the trunk of his Model S.

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Ben Rich showed up later with his modified 2014 Zero Motorcycle.

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This one is modified to have faster charging. Notice the two chargers on the side of the motorcycle.  He obtained and installed two Elcon 2.5kW chargers from Hollywood Electrics.  So, adding 5 more kW of charging to the built in 1.3kW charger of the motorcycle yields him 6.3 kW of charging speed.  Not bad.

Many were quick to point out how sharp the mounts were that Ben installed to connect the chargers to his motorcycle. We guess he doesn’t need to carry a passenger with him.

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Remember the 10 x 10 tent that Michael and Pamela Thwaite use for their EV advocacy, it’s even more impressive how they carry it.  The trunk of a Tesla Roadster is one of the smallest trunks that I’ve ever seen.  It’s design is such that people can fit one set of golf clubs in it.  The Thwaites, however, are expert at packing things and their chairs and tent fit in the back of the roadster.

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Aside from the ZeroMC, there was also a Fit EV that was parked beside our Model S.  Airton’s 2nd Generation RAV4EV and then the Andrea’s Model S.

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Sal Cameli‘s Nissan Leaf has a URL for his www.ubuygas.com website.

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We spotted a second Ford Focus EV of the trip.

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A great shot of the rears of the EVs.

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A better shot of the second Ford Focus EV of our trip.

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Michael Thwaite’s Roadster.

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Chris Neff’s BMW i3.

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Another shot of Ben’s Zero MC.  Like we previously mentioned, watch out for those metal blades that he mounted those two chargers on.

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Airton bidding us farewell until next time.  Perhaps Tony Williams will figure out how to enable the 2nd Generation Toyota RAV4EV for supercharging.  He’s already on his way to getting it running on CHAdeMO (or as he calls it the JdeMO).

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Randolph, NJ

It was a full day and we plugged in for the night and started charging at 8A again.

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Go on to Day 17. Click here.

16_Randolph to Morristown to Randolph

Appreciating the past and hopeful for the future of EVs.

This past weekend, my wife and I joined our fellow members of the Orange County Tesla Club on a visit to the Nethercutt Museum and Collection in Sylmar (Los Angeles), CA. [SIDE NOTE: For those not from Southern California, the city of Los Angeles is the largest city in Los Angeles County and within the city there are distinct neighborhoods that have their own identities, but are part of the city of Los Angeles. Hollywood is an example of such a neighborhood, as is Sylmar. West Hollywood, on the other hand, is its own city. As is Long Beach, where the Formula E race will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2015. (which is why I wrote Sylmar with (Los Angeles) in parentheses, that’s my own editorial on it, and not convention.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.]

The Nethercutt family are the founders and heirs to the Merle Norman cosmetic company and have built an impressive collection of automobiles and other “mechanical art”. The OC Tesla Club has been itching to have longer drives for our group outings and this venture into Los Angeles (City and County) was just one such drive.

So, the day was meant to appreciate the company of fellow Tesla enthusiasts and appreciate the Nethercutt Museum and Collection. As with most automobile museums, I was prepared to view beautiful and restored relics of the past… ICE cars.

Well, I was in for a surprise and a treat. (The benefits of not really paying attention to the marketing brochures and online information about what was in store for me at the Museum and Collection. The only thing that stuck to my head from the materials was the restored locomotive and Private Train Car in the back, and that was pretty much it.)

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As was pointed out by some of my fellow OC Tesla Club members, as impressive as the car collection is, the automated music collection was even more impressive. Unfortunately they didn’t allow us to record the audio or video of the event, but here are a few photos from that

This piano entertained us while we strolled the car collection:

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and the piece de resistance was this automated/programmable pipe organ that came from a movie theater (for silent films) from Denver

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You can see the rest of the visit in my flickr album.

But what does the Nethercutt have to do with EVs? Well…

I love to play “EV Spotting” and in the guided tour portion of our visit (at the Collection this time, and not at the self-guided museum section) in the ground level of the visit were TWO EVs!

Front view

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Back view

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Most EV junkies would recognize the more modern EV as the pre-cursor to this generation of EVs and focus of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (and the movement which spawned Plug in America, the 1997 GM EV1. The other one is older and not as well known. The 1914 Rauch & Lang Model B4 Electric Brougham.

Both vehicles were shown with their respective chargers connected to the vehicle in the Collection.

Rauch & Lang

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Charger information

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Interior

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1997 GM EV1

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Interior

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One of the things that I noticed and would like to draw our attention to is the price of the GM EV1 at the time it was being leased out. Interesting that the price of the GM EV1 was $43,995 and the average car price in the US at the time was $14,000. That means that the EV1 is about 3.14 times the price of the average car.

So, the average car price in 2012 is around $31,000 and the Model S average is around $100,000, that means that the Model S is about 3.22 times the price of the average car. However, considering what you get in a Model S vs. an EV1. However, as was pointed out to me by David Peilow in my post at Speakev.com, “Just shows the jump with the Leaf or Volt in terms of value for money. I wonder how much of that is a reduction in the design price vs benefits of economies of scale, though.”

David’s point is made even clearer when one looks to see what the 2012 Nissan Leaf sold for in 2012. It started at $35,200 before the Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 for the purchase of a battery electric vehicle. So, that’s 1.13 times the amount of the average car without the application of the Federal Tax Credit. If the purchaser in 2012 was eligible for the whole credit, it also means that the Nissan Leaf at that point is 0.89 of the average car price. Food for thought.

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt had a MSRP starting at $39,145 when purchased new. I don’t remember whether it was eligible for the whole $7,500 Federal Credit, but let’s assume that it was. So, looking at the same ratios again. The Volt was 1.26 times the average car before the credit and 1.02 times the average car after the tax credit.

I used 2012 as my figure to compare as it was the easiest recent year for me to find the average car price for. Assuming mild inflation in the averages, it’s even more dramatic to see the drop in MSRP for the 2015 model years of the same two cars that I used for my example. The 2015 Nissan Leaf can now be purchased around $29,010 and the 2015 Chevrolet Volt starts at $34,185 before the tax credit.

It’s interesting that when one looks to the past, it really makes one appreciate what the future holds for us.