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 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.


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.)


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


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




Lots of Fiat 500es.



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


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.


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.

Long-term Tesla Motors Battery Study from Plug in America

One of the things to consider when making the switch to an Electric Vehicle (EV) is the combination of the battery and electricity IS the fuel that is consumed to power an EV. As such, batteries and range degrade and may eventually need to be replaced. Therefore, one of the questions that these new Model 3 reservation holders ask is “how resilient is the Tesla battery?” or phrased another way, “how long will the battery last?”

The Model 3 announcement did not really cover how different or similar the battery technology in the Model 3 will be from predecessor vehicles from them. The Roadster has a different pack than the Model S and Model X. So, how does one get the comfort of knowing that “Tesla knows what they’re doing with batteries.” I suppose we can just trust them.

Fortunately, that is not our only option. Over the past few years, long-time Electric Vehicle advocate, Plug in America Chief Science Officer, and Tesla Motors Roadster owner Tom Saxton has been conducting several long-term battery studies hosted on the Plug in America site.

For those unfamiliar with Plug in America, they’re the folks that formed out of the advocates that tried to stop the “murder” of the GM EV1 and other Electric Vehicles of that era that was documented in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  Or, as they describe themselves in their webpage:

Our Mission

Plug In America drives change to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Our History

Plug In America is a coalition of early adopters. We’re the EV trailblazers – RAV4‐EV drivers, former lessees of Honda EV+, GM EV1, Ford Ranger and Ford Th!nk City electric cars – that passionately advocate for energy independence and clean air. Before 2008, we functioned as a loose network of individuals organized around various websites like and We then coalesced into a chapter of the Electric Auto Association. On January 2, 2008, Plug In America became a separate California non‐profit corporation. On August 18, 2008, we became an official 501(c)(3) public charity!

The battery studies that Tom Saxton have been running for years rely on nearly semi-annual updates from respondents that drive Tesla Roadsters and Tesla Model S as well as the Nissan Leaf and the first generation Toyota RAV4 EV.  In email correspondence with Tom, he has indicated that he is looking to expand the study  in the near future to include the Model X as well.

Tom’s long-term battery study has been invaluable not only to the greater EV community but specifically to Tesla fans as well.  The take rate for participants for the Tesla Roadster study is close to a 7% sample, from what I gather and the Tesla Model S one had a healthy start, but could use more participants.

With the new range numbers from the redesigned front fascia of the vehicle, I am sure I’m not the only one to wonder what the long-term differences would be between a 90D classic fascia vs a 90D new fascia.

Providing a third party study of the effects of long-term battery health enables all concerned with a greater understanding and comfort to know “that Tesla knows what they’re doing.” Furthermore, it gives current non EV drivers a sense of comfort when making the switch to electrically fueled car ownership.

So, if you own a Tesla Roadster and haven’t participated in the study. Or perhaps you’re one of the lucky few to have upgraded to the new 3.0 battery from Tesla, please fill out the Tesla Roadster battery survey.

Perhaps you’re a Model S owner and you’d like to help add to the number of respondents to this study, fill out for the Tesla Model S battery survey.

What has Tom been able to share with the public so far.

Well, for the Roadster, he’s published an entire study three years ago including a paper entitled “Plug in America’s Tesla Roadster Battery Study.” The advent of the 3.0 battery upgrade may require a new study and the addition of almost another three years since the publication of that study might give more information to the study, but that’s entirely up to Tom and his cohorts at PiA.

The Model S Results page is more dynamic than the Roadster results publication.

I have taken screenshots as of April 27, 2016 of a few of the dynamic charts that are provided on the results charts page.

The first chart that caught my eye is the chart on the battery capacity vs. the miles that particular Model S iterations. With new EPA numbers with the launch of the new fascia should further complicate this chart.

Battery Survey - Model S Battery Capacity-Miles

This same chart can be used to also track how a particular respondent’s vehicle matches with the universe of respondents. The Vehicle in black on the chart below shows the performance of my vehicle in relation to other respondents’ cars.

Battery Survey - Model S Battery Capacity-Miles - Specific Vehicle

The third chart that was of interest is the reliability of certain components, namely the Drive Unit, battery, and chargers on the Model S. I wonder if the increased reported failures on chargers for 2014 vehicles resulted in the movement from the old chargers to the new 48A charger.

Battery Survey - Model S Major Maintenance - Model Year

Lastly, the inspiration to my exhorting fellow owners to participate in this survey was the chart of participant vehicles.

Battery Survey - Model S Survey Vehicles

For as many Model S are on the road now, I wonder as to the ability of this study, in its current count, to fully report on the vehicle with a small sample size. The Model S battery survey form is fairly straight forward and serves our common purpose. Tesla has been great, but it’s also good to have interested third parties run a check against what they claim and provide.

Observations from the Model X Launch Party

On the morning of September 21, 2015, I received an email from Tesla.

Model X Invite 2015-09-21

It was an invite to the Model X Launch Party.

It is a surprising invite as my wife and I do not have a reservation for the Model X. The event was going to be held at Fremont and I figured to go ahead and RSVP positively as Tesla events tend to “sell out” quickly. I figured that we could always cancel a positive RSVP if it turned out that we would not be able to make the 350+ miles from our home to the party.

We decided to go.

The trip to Fremont is approximately 350 miles and through a minimum of two superchargers for us (assuming a good charge at home to start.) However, it would turn out that this trip will be using a Loaner 70D and not our S85. I will write about the trip in a later blog post and focus this post on the actual Model X Launch Party and our impressions of the car itself.

So, the start of the party is at a Fremont location that used to be the Solyndra headquarters. This is the same building that Tesla was recently in the news for Tesla’s expansion into the space. It’s nice to see Tesla re-purposing a new asset for this party before they re-furbish the location for their expansion. We’ll start this post with our arrival at the location.




Tesla expected a lot of people to the event that they secured off-site parking and provided shuttle services. We had expected to be directed to these overflow lots, but lucked out and parked in the event parking location.


With a happy Dennis at the end of the line for the event. Tesla was pretty well organized at the early portion of the event and the line was winding in an orderly manner. However, the line was longer than the barriers and folks were asked to line up without the guiding barriers very soon after.

There was a drone taking pictures.




I was preparing to report on the event for my Twitter followers. So, I had my mobile reporting devices/phones at the ready.


However, soon after the doors opened and the second set of folks in the line got into the building, the crowd descended into chaos and those of us following the queue were at a disadvantage. What had once been one of the more orderly starts to a Tesla event, morphed into a free-for-all.

Knowing how late Elon usually is for these things, we knew that as late as we may be, Elon will be later. As we entered into the building, we were greeted by a Big X… which obviously marks the spot.


There was a cool “red carpet background” off to the left of the entrance which makes for ideal photo opportunity.


Once in the building, we were in a large room for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres



Since we drove to the event, I made sure to have my usual “virgin” Rum and Diet Coke… We parked ourselves in the back of the room, in an elevated stand so that we can have a good view. Walking around the room, I spotted a garage door in the main room.


As we were wondering if the X was going to be driving out of that garage, that notion was quashed when it turned out that Tesla had other ideas, as a new set of doors opened and the cars were being presented in ANOTHER great room.


IMG_0115 IMG_0119We tried to hang out in the reveal room




We had a rather tough view from the right side (a function of many people and being “height-challenged”) Our view of Elon was not as good as the one for the D Event.





We heard Elon discuss the car’s self-opening front doors.  The biohazard air filtration that the Model X is equipped with.

We noticed that there was video of the event from the original “holding room.” So we headed back there to get a better view.


We had a better view of the festivities, but a poor opportunity for further pictures.  (like the one with the Model X pulling the Airstream, etc.)

So, we just watched the rest of the presentation from the holding room.

One thing that we did get to do was to get in line for a ride in a production Model X.


This was through the randomized badge holders that we received when we got to the event and we got our numbers in the 600s for the ride. Which meant a long wait in the outdoor lounge area.


We got to meet people and see the cars be driven.








As we waited, kept taking pictures of folks on their drives.



Several hours later, our number was called… And we got to stand in line again.


This was another 30 or so minutes of waiting, and we were getting closer to the front.





As we got closer to midnight, we were up.  As luck would have it.  we would HAVE to be a Blue one for our ride…


And your author has to get a shot in front of the one we’re riding.


We did shoot a video inside the car, but we were running out of juice on our devices as we got to ride just after midnight.


We did get some stills of the car that we were riding in.  But since there were two of us, we got to sit in the second row seats.  The vehicle we were in was outfitted with the three row second seat configuration.





The hinge of the Falcon Wing.


The empty second row we sat in.


We headed back in to get a close up look at Elon’s Founder VIN #1.

It’s a beauty…




There is no removable nosecone on the Model X, it’s all one piece.


Headlights look different from the S IMG_0167

Full car, but folks seem ok…




A fine detail from the outside that tells you it’s a Founder’s series Model S.


In closer


Patiently waiting for my turn inside Elon’s car’s driver’s seat.


Finally in the front seat.



Fiddling around


Frunk space


A closer look at the Model X Frunk


Better view of the falcon hinge.


Step in.


The screens from the driver’s seat.







The Panoramic Windscreen


The sunvisor on the side


Sunvisor extended


Another shot of Vin 1 again.



Opening the Falcon Doors…


Here is the door opening in a video.


In front of Elon’s car.


We left the party late… But there were still folks in line for their rides.



We enjoyed the vehicle and the event.  The event was packed and the disorganization apparent, but that has been the typical of Tesla events.  It took forever to get a ride in the Model X.  As I had previously mentioned, we were surprised to have been invited to the Model X Launch and appreciate it.  I can say that after taking the time to experience the vehicle, we are now tempted to get one.  Eventually.  Perhaps in a few years when there are more CPO Model X we would pick one up.

There are more pictures at our flickr album, as usual – Model X Launch