A Trip in Three Phases… Phase 3… The Tesla 2017 Annual Meeting

Phase 3 of the trip was attending the Tesla Annual Meeting in Mountain View on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  (Phase 1 is here, and Phase 2 is here.)

Phase 3 – Tesla Annual Meeting 2017

We attended our first Tesla annual shareholders meeting last year (Day One, Day Two).  This year, since we were already in the area right before, we decided to attend the Tesla Annual Meeting again two weeks ago.

The previous Annual Meeting trip in 2016 was the central focus of those two days.  However, this year’s (2017’s) attendance was the afterthought to other activities that brought us to the area.

The Tesla Annual Meeting is a great place to spot Teslas and other EVs…

As well as cars that hope to be EVs soon.

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Some one was part of Luke Skywalker’s squadron.

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We figured to boost our charge for the drive home. We want to get home at a decent hour after today’s Annual Meeting.

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Tesla spotting in the row that we parked our cars in.

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On the way to the line-up, I forgot to get a close up of the Blue S with its trunk open on the right side of the photo above.  That’s TMC’s Papa Fox headed out on another Mainland Roadtrip (from Hawaii)

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We waited in the shade of the trees before security let us into the event.

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And here I am chatting with Papafox from Hawaii.

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Chatting with Bonnie as well as Linda and Bill from our home club, the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County.

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And the line started to form… Nanette from Tesla Owners Club of Hawaii was with us as well.

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And we catch Steve Jurvetson shooting video of the line…

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It just gets longer

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Better half gets a better picture of me with Linda and Bill.

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And finally, the queue to get into the building opens and security lets us through…

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The guy ahead of us must have been made of metal, ’cause he should’ve brought a purse with all the stuff he had to empty from his pockets.

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The Annual Meeting was held in the same room as last year.

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We did get a better seat.

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The agenda was relatively brief.

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And lots of familiar faces.

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And hanging with the Hawaiians

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This guy had looked familiar too…

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Better view this trip, but not better pictures.  Unlike last year when Elon and JB really went “off-book” and kept us entertained at the meeting for several hours.  Elon was pretty structured.  A lot of it had to do with IR taking and filtering questions the day before via Twitter submissions.  There was no in-room queuing for live questions.  So, though the IR department let some less serious questions come through, it was all pretty well managed.

No “earth shattering” revelations and even the Model Y tease wasn’t really much.  Still, it was a good way to cap the past few days of Tesla and Active E EV activities and we had a good time.  When we headed out, and finally caught a photo with the Model S with the Hawaii plate.

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Great shot of the Roadster getting its 3rd party netting top. We need to find one of those for the better half’s Roadster.

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Our route is plotted into the NAV…

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and we’re headed home.

We spot a Zero Motorcycle on our way out of the Annual Meeting.

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The Annual Meeting this year let out in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour Traffic… So, that just means more chances to play #EVBingo.  Only drawback was I found out about thirty minutes later that some of my friends caught a Model 3 at the Mountain View Supercharger. As usual, it takes the Belgians on a trip to California to get great pictures of the Model 3.  😜 (Thanks again for the DM Martin and for not “rubbing it in”)

And what cars did we get to catch on camera?  Well, unfortunately, we were only able to catch a couple of #EVBingo cars on this Rush Hour Traffic drive.

This Audi E-Tron was blurry on the camera, but you can make out the outline of the green HOV sticker on the car. It’s the green discoloration on the rear bumper’s right side. (I spotted the car fine with my eyes, but we were fighting traffic here.)

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And the other EV Bingo car we captured on camera was the Ford Focus Electric that was a few cars ahead of me in the carpool lane.

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So, how did we do around the Bay Area/Silicon Valley (not counting the time waiting for the Annual Meeting, or right after…

Bay Area
Total – 6/6 Bay Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 29 2 31 1 31
Chevy Volt 26 26 1 26
BMW i3 11 11 3 33
Tesla Model X 12 8 20 5 100
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 1 15 15
Ford Fusion PlugIn 7 7 2 14
Ford Focus Electric 1 1 12 12
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 22 22 1 22
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 4 4 3 12
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 3 3 15 45
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Zero Motorcycle 1 ?
Totals 361

Tried to get a ruling on Zero Motorcycle, but we didn’t have points. So, that’s 361 before the California Handicap, and 180.5 after the 50% discount for the Bay Area spotting.

Just at the Annual Meeting parking lot and adjacent, supercharger.

Annual Meeting
Total – 6/6 Bay Area Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 53 1 53
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
BMW i3 1 3 3
Tesla Model X 37 5 185
Tesla Roadster 1 25 25
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 15 15
Totals 283

The total of 283 points, pre-California 50% handicap of 141.5 points.  Which means that we have 644 total points (322 post handicap) before we leave the Bay Area/Silicon Valley area.  I like to use the Gilroy Supercharger for the spot that we delineate these areas, so past that is between Metro Areas count.

So, we head through, still mesmerized by the progress one really wet year has done for the state’s water levels.

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We pass that duck pond again.

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Furthermore, driving on the Southbound/Westbound side of this drive gives us better views of the reservoir to see how close to its capacity its been since the wet Winter that we’ve had.

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And it wasn’t long until we’re back on Interstate 5 again.

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We stopped off at Harris Ranch for a big boost and had a Red, White, and Blue shot… Too bad we drive an S, and not an X, otherwise it would have been a cool Model X Red, White, and Blue shot.

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After leaving Harris Ranch, my better half played around with her camera with these great sunset shots.

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We were traveling in darkness for quite a bit of that drive back.  Not as late as last year’s Annual Meeting, but still a quiet Tuesday evening drive.

In Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/6 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 4 1 4
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
Tesla Model X 5 5 25
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 2 3 6
Totals 39

Even though Model S and Model X lights are easy to spot in the dark, we did a decent EV Bingo total of 39 points for inter-Metro travel.  We even beat the total for the LA Metro.

Granted, it was really late and we got home just after midnight.  But we scored a pathetic 1 Model S spotted on the drive. That’s HALF a POINT after the California discount.

At least we got home at a fairly decent hour.

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Lots of bugs gave up its life in this drive… And we’re glad that water restrictions have been eased. ’cause it felt good to clean this car.

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

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

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

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

EV Bingo Card - US Edition

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

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

Phase 1 – Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference

June 1, The Drive and Reception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the view from our charging stall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 2, Conference at Tesla Fremont Factory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We were asked some ice breaker questions.

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and waited for the start.

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

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

…JUST KIDDING…

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

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

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

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Here was a rendering of a Model 3 supercharging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and some special Tesla cookies for dessert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Needless to say, it was a blast.

We saw some really old computers.

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Here’s Trev taking a photo.

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

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

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Trev in front of some old military computer installation.

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A couple of old Cray computers.

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Of course, video games…

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They even had some kids playing PONG.

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and finally an old Apple 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clean Fuel Rebate for Southern California Edison Follow Up Communications and Waiting for the Rebate…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new rebate available to Southern California Edison customers that drive a Plug-In vehicle.  I had thought that the program was limited to BEVs, but apparently it is also available to Plug-In Hybrids as well.

To give some update regarding the status of the three applications that we’ve done in our family I would like to provide the following status.

SCE Clean Fuel Email Confirm

Our Roadster application was accepted and confirmed as received on May 22, 2017 at 4:09 PM. Our Model S application was accepted and confirmed on May 22, 2017 at 4:26 PM.

However, the Model S rebate was approved on June 5, 2017 at 3:28 PM (as can be seen on the screenshot above.) Even though the Roadster rebate application was completed about 17 minutes earlier than the Model S application, the rebate was approved about 20 hours later on June 6, 2017 at 11:16 AM.

Additionally, my mother’s Leaf was approved on June 7 at 5:55 PM and her application was about a day after our two applications. Her application is numbered between 1100 and 1200.

So, hope that helps others figure out when they should get the email confirming their rebate request.

(Click here for the initial instructions for the rebate.)

New limited time clean fuel rebate for Southern California Edison customers

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.)

Where to start, well, the SCE “special” website that is gathering all applications for this website is https://www.scecleanfuel.com/.  Understanding that you may have some additional questions, here are the FAQshttps://www.scecleanfuel.com/faqs.

So, what do you need to prepare for filing.

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.

Example:

Find your Service Number Here

Next, you fill out the online form on scecleanfuel.com.

Here are the screens to fill out, in reality, it’s one long one.

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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.

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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.

So, now, we wait.

Update on the wait… Applications Approved (a few weeks later)

A few thoughts and reactions on today’s Tesla’s impressive re-commitment to charging infrastructure

Impressive supercharger expansion plans were published on Tesla’s blog today.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

In the first couple of sentences of this latest blog,  Tesla reaffirms its commitment to charging for its customers.

As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority. It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future.

Well, supercharging does that for almost ALL the models of cars that Tesla has sold.  Just not ALL the cars that they have sold.

The Roadster and Model S 40 both do not have access to supercharging, but have ample range to make it the distances that are set up between MOST of the North American Supercharger network.  I have not traveled on any of the other Tesla Supercharger networks, so I am unsure of the distances between their sites, but would presume that this statement also holds true for those distances.

We have been blessed to have our Model S available for us to travel these distances, but we know of several Roadster owners who would prefer to travel these distances and I would like to try to do that, one of these days.

To that end, if Tesla’s blog-post is any indication, it would seem that Tesla’s next iteration of supercharging might indicate a LOT more space and dedicated Tesla lounges in the locations that would be dedicated to this activity.  If this is what Tesla is planning to do, why not provide a couple of stalls with Tesla dedicated Level 2 for those that are not in need of a supercharge.  They can even fit these devices with a credit card or other payment system so that those opting for the slower charge can pay for the energy and/or stall that they are using for this travel.  This allocation will then provide for Tesla to follow through on the statements that introduced this latest blog post.

Besides, in terms of costs, it would seem such a high density supercharging location would be more vulnerable to higher utility costs than current density supercharger locations.  Things like demand charges and the like will definitely be a challenge toward the execution of this vision, therefore the costs associated with a couple High Power Wall Chargers (HPWCs) is really quite negligible.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

The other thought I had with this concept release was a feeling of “deja vu…” and I realized as I was writing this article that it reminded me of the Rocklin, CA Sales, Service, Delivery, and Supercharger location from Day 11 of 2016’s Long Way Round Trip to the Gigafactory.

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Which actually is a further case for this proposal to add High Power Wall Charger (for Roadsters, Dual Charger, or High Amp charger Teslas) at these new conceptual Supercharger locations.  At this stop in 2016, we met with a couple who were also taking their Roadster up I-80 to Reno for the Gigafactory and TMC event.

The direct costs for a stall or two of High Power Level 2 (keep it on Tesla proprietary plug if they must) covers all Teslas built.  Most of the Roadster owners that I know have already purchased my recommended accessories for the Roadster, i.e. Henry Sharp’s The CAN SR/JR, etc. and can therefore work with the Model S/X North American Proprietary plug.

The more analytical may counter that the opportunity cost for two stalls on HPWC vs another pair of Supercharging stalls outweighs the benefits of covering ALL Tesla vehicles, but I say that the goodwill created by such a program is more important than that.  Tesla should execute on its statement today, but for ALL Teslas, not just the ones that can supercharge.

Tesla Weekend Social 2017, a visit to Paramus, NJ

A week ago, January 21, 2017, my wife and I were on a trip to New York and planned to visit my cousin and the new addition to his family in Randolph, NJ for the day.  This is one of my cousins who had kindly housed us both heading to Maine and back from Maine during our Here, There, EVerywhere cross-country trip of 2015.   We were staying in Manhattan the night before and had some time before we were scheduled to see them on January 21st, so it was a welcome surprise when we received an invite to the first Tesla Weekend Social of 2017. We wanted to see what has changed since the first social that we attended last year.

We received the following email on the 14th of January.

TESLA
Weekend Social
Please join us for a Weekend Social New Year celebration at your nearest Tesla location.

Kick off 2017 alongside fellow owners, enthusiasts and Tesla staff. Family and friends are also welcome. Seasonal refreshments will be provided.

To attend an upcoming event near you, please RSVP below. We look forward to celebrating with you

After some challenges obtaining a confirmation (apparently there were some back-end issues that was communicated to us and eventually fixed,) we were able to get a confirmation to be added to the attendee list at the Paramus, NJ Sales, Service, Delivery Center and Supercharger location.  Since our family commitments were not until the afternoon, we decided to head over to Paramus, NJ to attend the first Tesla Social of the year and to spend a few hours with some New Jersey Tesla folks.

To provide ourselves with the most flexibility for this visit, we rented a car from Hertz.  Unfortunately, unlike our experience renting with Hertz’s On-Demand 24×7 product from a few years ago, there are no longer any electric vehicles in Hertz New York locations (nor is the 24×7 product being offered in the USA.)  So, we had to rely on driving an ICE vehicle for this trip, a Ford Focus.

We arrived at the location about 15 minutes before the scheduled 10:00 am program and secured a spot near the front of the store.  Here is a photograph of the area by the entrance of the store that we parked our rental car in.  We were originally parked right beside the HUGE ICE SUV on the right of the photograph.

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Upon exiting our rental, one of the employees requested my keys to move the vehicle to the back of the store. It’s a rental and I had some items in the car that I didn’t feel comfortable to be in a section that I can’t see the car in, so I asked if he needed to move it, that he move it somewhere closer. He decided to move it to the other side of the parking lot, away from the entrance and across the superchargers at the location.

This location was not nearly as convenient as the customer parking spot that I originally used, but I figured there must be a reason why he needed to move my rental.  However, as you can see from the first photograph, this was a strange request as our original parking spot was right beside a large ICE SUV and another ICE vehicle.

We checked in and signed into the paper sign-in sheet that the store had placed at the entrance.  Here is the walkway to the entrance and the sign in is to the left of the photo.

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Directly ahead of the entrance is your typical Tesla Service Center entrance reception desk. (This is not normally situated in a Tesla Store). Remember, Paramus is a combination Sales, Service, Deliver Center and Supercharger location.

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For the event, the store personnel provided coffee, bagels and other breakfast items along the credenza under the apparel, beside the Design Studio wall.

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I walked around the area to get my bearings and took a peek at the Delivery Center part of the store and saw an X and an S awaiting their new owners.  It seems that the New Jersey folks were not one of the stores that cover the vehicles in some sort of drop-cloth as I’ve seen in other Delivery Centers.

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Not being used to weather, we originally walked in with our winter travel coats and realized that there was no place to keep our jackets.  Rather than wear our jackets the whole time, I decided to return them to the car.  I had to look for the employee who took our rental key to get access to the rental car and place our jackets in there. Once I located that employee, who is nameless, not to protect the guilty, but because he never took the time to introduce himself to me. I found the car tucked in between several inventory Model S that they have on the lot, and not by any customer vehicles.

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The rental car was nicely surrounded by Teslas, but I did not ever notice any other customers vehicles being collected in the same manner as our rental car.

It appears that we were particularly targeted for this as when I walked by my original parking spot.  Another monstrous ICE SUV was parked there and not another Tesla or anything related to the event.  I was a little miffed at this considering the fact that all other customers were able to park in the customer section and our little rental car was summarily moved.  Either way, that’s a section of improvement for Tesla Paramus.  Either valet park all cars, or leave them be.

This particular event at Paramus seemed to be more casual than the other Tesla Social events that we have attended in the past. There did not seem to be an agenda and we spent a long time talking to the Tesla employees and fellow owners before we were brought into the lounge for the group discussion portion of the event.

Prior to being brought into the lounge for the group discussion, we spent a lot of time with two members of the staff who were very attentive and we wanted to commend them. Monica and Joey (didn’t catch last names). Monica moved to Paramus, NJ from Pasadena, CA and Joey who just started a few weeks ago.  They were very eager and helpful.  Monica has been with Tesla for a while and we discussed her move to New Jersey from California as well as my wife’s Roadster and Joey, as a new employee, was effectively being trained by us as long-time owners of Tesla.

Don’t get me wrong, I can spend HOURS talking Tesla with people, it’s just strange to invite a group of owners without seeming to have a plan for their time.

We waited until about 10:45 am before the program started.  However, program might be a generous word for this event.  It seems that it was meant to be very free-flow and I suspect that an agenda and some structure could have helped make the event better. The format was very open and thus had a hard time maintaining a flow.  There were many owners there.

 

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Topics ranged all over the place and it was interesting to hear information that was directly contradictory to advice that I have received in Southern California regarding tire rotations and the like from Tesla Service personnel in New Jersey. Perhaps the difference can be attributed to the difference in climate and weather between the states.  In hearing from those involved at the location, it seems that folks around New Jersey have to go through a lot more tires than I do in Southern California.  I didn’t want to be the cause of ire from other owners, so I politely kept this information to myself.

Another subject that was brought up was regarding the $0.40 per minute supercharger idle fee that was recently enacted by Tesla.  It seems that these concerns are quite universal and the discussion around this was interesting.

After the group discussion wrapped up, a few of the New Jersey owners joined us in conversation as they were intrigued by visitors from California attending their session.  It seems that there is currently not an official Tesla Owners club for the New Jersey area and I spent some time explaining how the Orange County, CA club operates versus its other brethren in other parts of the world.  Several of the New Jersey owners seemed interested in forming one for their area and I handed out club cards for them to reach out for more information.

We also discussed Roadster ownership versus Model S as well as our visit to their state from our trip cross-country and how relatively easy and enjoyable that trip had been.

In the end, it was just as advertised, it was a Tesla Social, but one without an agenda.  I felt that an opportunity was missed in that this was the first social after some drastic changes in ownership for those that take delivery of a Tesla after the removal of the included supercharging for the life of the vehicle policy was replaced with the new pay as you go system.  Additionally, it’s been a few days since the release of the Tesla Model S and Model X 100D top range versions of those vehicles and it would have been good to have been provided some sort of presentation on those.  Alas, this was not the plan for the day.

We spent some time with yet another early Model S owner discussing growing pains and we took our leave so that we can head out to visit my cousin and his family.  We said our farewell to the two Tesla staff members, Monica and Joey, who provided such good company and service and left for the day.  These two counterbalanced the unnamed employee who saw it fit to move our Ford Focus rental while leaving all other vehicles unmolested.

A few things about those Tesla Referral Links…

Some of you may be getting tired of all the Tesla Referral codes being published by Tesla Owners for $1000 USD / £750 GBP (or whatever it is in your currency) off the purchase of a new Model S or Model X. (In case you’re not, here’s our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317)

Well, it’s because Tesla has a referral program for owners to get their friends and acquaintances into a Tesla Model S or Model X.  The original iteration of the program had provided cash rewards (service credits and the like) for each referral that purchases a Model S or Model X.  That was cool, but felt kinda “funny” and it was actually a disincentive for me to participate when the reward program was for cash.  Here is a link to the current program.

Subsequent programs provided a prize pool for each referral and the one that has been the most successful for me had been the referral program that led us to an invite to the gigafactory party and our main 2016 Roadtrip that took us the Long Way Round to the Gigafactory.

Aside from the party, we got a few other items…

What did we get here?

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Whatever it is, it comes in the nice Tesla bag.

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It’s the Tesla Moab Leather Weekender.

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The bag is supposed to be for a weekend, but it was pretty full for the overnight trip we took to try it out.

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And here it is in the trunk of our Model S.

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So, we took the weekender bag on a trip and caught a nice sunset at the Barstow supercharger.

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A week after the trip, we got something else in the mail from Tesla.

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It was the personalized Tesla Owners jacket.  They even put our last name on the jacket.

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The back has a nice standard logo on it.  So, beware when wearing this jacket at a company event, folks might think that you’re an employee.

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Your author now ready for a Southern California winter…

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Or as others call it… Summer.

Now, this current program that runs until January 15 is actually pretty cool.  After seven referrals, Tesla will provide the referrer with a Signature Red Powerwall 2 that is signed by Elon, JB Straubel, and Franz von Holzhausen.  That’s my goal and need a LOT of help before then.

So, if you’re looking to order a Tesla Model S or Model X before the end of the year, you get $1000 USD or £750 GBP off (or equivalent currency) AND be eligible for free supercharging for the life of your vehicle. Our Referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.