## Home Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions

We had the opportunity to upgrade and make some changes to our home Electric Vehicle (EV) charging setup and thought to share that with you.

I went back to look at my posts to see if I could update what I thought I had written about in the past.  It turns out that I must have shared this information to the public via forum posts and not on the blog, so I figured to go over home charging today.

As a long-time multi-EV owner, one of the things that we’ve setup at our home is the ability to charge our EVs at the same time. This can be as simple as running several 120V plugs, but when you drive the miles that we had on our daily commute, 120V service is just not enough.  As a result, we’ve made accommodations to upgrade our EV charging to varying grades of 240V service.

So, to explain what I mean by varying grades of 240V service, I need to go off on a short tangent, I’m not an electrician, but having been involved with EVs for over four years has made me understand some EV basics.

1) Battery capacity and EV range is measured in kWh of storage (your consumption rate determines what that range is in miles or kilometers.)  This is why the Model S and Model X is sold with differing models corresponding with battery size.

2) The speed to re-fill this battery capacity is measured in several ways, but basically in kW of power.  The higher the number, the faster that a car can charge. So, this kW maximum for a charger is the amount of Volts multiplied by the Amps of the service.  Furthermore, an EV charges at 80% of the total Amperage that the circuit is rated for, so a 40A circuit can use a maximum of 32A to charge.

On a basic, common North American plug outlet, 120 Volt x 15 Amp service, an EV driver can use 120V x 12A = 1.44 kW of power.  (On Model S, this is a maximum of 4 miles per hour charge rate, under ideal conditions.)  It is interesting to note that many early EVs of this current generation (2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volts) had a 3.3 kW charger.  Even though, I believe, previous generations of EVs (GM EV-1, RAV4 1st gen, etc.) had 6.6 kW charging.  Many current EVs now provide at least a 6.6 kW charger.

Our old ActiveE was rated at 7.2 kW (originally, but by the end this was de-rated closer to 5.5 kW by software because of some issues.)  My wife’s Roadster has a 16.8 kW charger and our Model S is equipped with dual chargers for a total of 20 kW charging capability.

That being said, the higher the voltage one uses the amperage of the wire has to increase to give you a quicker charge.  So, to get a 16.8 kW service for the Roadster to run at full speed the Electric Vehicle Supply equipment (EVSE/i.e. electric vehicle charger) has to have a 90 Amp circuit to run at 70 Amps continuously over 240V.  (Remember the 80% rule for charging.)  So, to get the 20 kW charger to work on a Model S, a 100 Amp wire and breaker needs to run to get that going (19.2 kW, but who’s counting.)

I digress… Back to the point…  The higher the amperage for the circuit installed, the thicker AND more expensive the wire will be.

I am sure that for my North American EV readers, many have one EV plug to provide 240V service charge their car. How many places to charge 240V do you have at home? When we first took delivery of our BMW Active E in 2012, we didn’t have a single 240V service installed in our garage.

We actually spent a few weeks charging the car on 120V.  Something that those of us that follow Thomas J. Thias (the Amazing Chevy Volt) on Twitter see him espouse the greater than 1.5 Billion charging locations at this voltage in North America – 120V regular outlets (at 1-4 miles per hour, not normally relevant to me, but as Thomas reminds us, it’s a “good enough” solution for 80% of the drivers on their average commute.)

Just this evening, September 27, 2016, Thomas Tweeted the following out (in reply to a ZeroMC tweet)

We’ve even used the same Level 1 charger when we visited family…

Needless to say, that got old FAST…

So, two weeks later, we took advantage of a grant in 2012 and got a Chargepoint CT-500 (back when the company known as Chargepoint was called Coulomb Technologies.)

There was a grant program available for new EV owners/lessors to take advantage of that covered the cost of the EVSE and some of the installation.  The Chargepoint CT-500 was an intelligent/networked EVSE that connected to the Internet over a mobile network (2G?!?) connection and part of the bargain was that the government and researchers can glean the information about the habits of the participants in the grant program.

Since EVSEs in 2012 were over a thousand dollars, we opted to participate in this program and had our first charger installed.  We expected it to be a 32A EVSE, (80% of the 40A circuit that was installed) but it was actually a 30A Level 2 station. The total cost of the EVSE and Installation was \$1,640. However, there was a state program that covered \$1,200. Which meant that we were liable for \$440 (plus \$150 permit) for a total of \$590 for the cost of our hardwired Level 2 station (plus the loss of privacy by participating in this monitored program.)

Here is the CT-500 when it was first installed.

To install the units, we had to use Clean Fuel Connection and their sub-contractors for the work and it was a pretty painless program. After signing the contract they were at our house two days later with the EVSE and our days of charging Level 1 was put in the back burner.

The charger was hardwired and the installers did a great job.

Here it is on the day we first installed the EVSE and we charged the Active E on that first Level 2 charger.

With this Level 2 setup and public Level 2 charging we were able to drive the Active E 54,321 total miles during the two years of the lease.  Several years later, the intelligent features of this charger became unsupported because the mobile network that the signals rode on was being decommissioned by AT&T.  So, today, we’ve lost the “smart” functionality of the charger, but it still works great with the Model S.  So, our first dedicated EV charger was installed in March 2012.

A year and a half after we started driving the Active E, we purchased my wife’s Roadster and finalized the order for our Model S.  Since we were already “experienced” rEVolutionaries.  We had a good idea of what it takes to charge a car and how long it took to do so.  We decided to install several NEMA outlets in the house, two NEMA 14-50 outlets and one NEMA 6-50.  We picked the NEMA 6-50 because, in 2013, the first “plug” ready non-Tesla EVSEs were being produced and we wanted to be able to charge “anything” off that and didn’t feel the need to recover miles faster than a 50 Amp feed on either the Roadster that we took or the Model S that was soon to arrive in November 2013.  The approximately 25 miles per hour that we anticipated to recover on a 50 Amp circuit (40 Amps usable) was going to be enough for our drive.

When we originally ordered our Roadster, we were unsure as to what sort of charging we would get with it that we ordered a Leviton 40A EVSE to deliver the wire speed of the NEMA 6-50 at full speed.  Here is that Leviton being installed for the Roadster to use on its side of the garage.  At the time of the purchase, this EVSE was selling for approximately \$1200 elsewhere and Amazon sold the same model for \$1050.  In 2016, this same EVSE is now \$699.

The EVSE powered up.  However, we ended up returning the Leviton EVSE as it was incompatible with the BMW Active E and made some WEIRD noises and sounded like it was having a BAD time, electrically speaking.  Furthermore, it turned out that we were going to get a Roadster MC240 with my wife’s car, so that can take full use of the NEMA 6-50 that we installed for the Leviton EVSE.  (We just needed an adapter to go from NEMA 14-50 to NEMA 6-50 that we had made for us.)  We charged the car on this MC240 for a short while (Tesla actually stepped down the charge from 40A to 30A on the MC240 on a 50A circuit) because we wanted a faster recharge time, so we found another Roadster owner selling their Roadster UMC and purchased that unit with a 6-50 Adapter to fit directly onto the circuit that our electrician installed for the Leviton.  And used that equipment to continue to charge the Roadster until today.

Here is a photo of the NEMA 14-50 outlet on the other side of the garage from the NEMA 6-50 installed for the Roadster.

We wanted to makes sure to protect it from the elements.

When we were having our electrician wire up the outlet for the Roadster, we wanted to future-proof  that location and asked to have 70A service pulled in.  To maximize the 70A breaker, we split that wire to two NEMA connectors the one (NEMA 6-50) in the garage for the Roadster and another one on the outside wall of the garage (a NEMA 14-50.)  This sharing of the one breaker is not really the “code” for these connections.  However, as long as we manually manage the Amperage on the line when using two different vehicles on each of the NEMA connectors, we should be fine.  (Remember the 80% rule, so a 70 Amp breaker means that we don’t draw more than 56A continuously on the circuit.) One of the benefits of driving any Tesla is its ability to be managed “downward” on the amount of current to draw from a circuit.  So, if a newer 6.6 kW Leaf were to be plugged into that receptacle and draw 32A, we still have 24A to use for the Roadster or the Model S.

As I mentioned earlier, we lucked out when we took delivery of our Roadster, we were provided with an original MC240 (which works only with the 1.5 Roadster) and we shortly thereafter got the Roadster UMC which is the pre-cursor for the Model S Mobile Connector (MC) and its replaceable terminals.  The Roadster one continues to be more flexible than the Model S MC in that it still has ten choices for different terminals for the product, we bought the NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 6-50 adapters to work with the plugs that we have in our garage.

We also ordered Quick Charge Power’s Jesla, however this was before it was even a QCP product.  Tony Williams worked with me to customize a Model S MC to be a Jesla. I wanted something that would work with ANY EV out there and the Jesla would plug into any of the other outlets in the garage and in the exterior of the house for when we have visitors, like my mom and her Nissan Leaf.

Here’s a picture of the Roadster charging on one of our exterior NEMA 14-50 outlets.

We had the same protective enclosure for the NEMA 14-50 that we installed on the exterior side of the house.  Additionally, should we ever decide to get an RV, we can plug an RV on the side of the house as well since this plug is dedicated to its own 50 Amp circuit.

Here is that outlet without the Roadster plugged into it.

That is the MC240 that the Roadster originally came with.  It has a hardwired NEMA 14-50 plug on the end of it.

It’s just on our driveway, but away from blocking the garage. This was convenient, but not the ideal place for the Roadster, the noisiest that a Roadster gets is when it is CHARGING, so we make sure, in the interest of keeping the peace with our neighbor, to have an outlet ready for the Roadster in the garage.

During the months between November 2013 and February 2014, we kicked the Active E out of the garage and it ended up charging on the driveway.

Here are a couple of pictures I took when we used to have all three cars, all plugged in and charging.

The J1772 EVSE that is plugged into the Active E during this duty cycle is the Jesla that I had asked Tony Williams of Quick Charge Power make for me.  It is great to see all the business that he has since built from the time that he made this product for me.

So, for several years we’ve had a great set-up at the house that allowed us to charge four EVs at once and not sure if we’ve ever have needed to do this… I do remember my mom visiting with her Leaf and charging it. The Model S was already charged, so I could just plug her Leaf into that J1772 (the original Chargepoint CT-500 from 2012). This photo was from Thanksgiving 2014, and the Active E was already back with BMW for at least 9 months at this point.  You can see the Roadster UMC plugged to the wall beside the Roadster (using a NEMA 6-50 at this point.)

That’s a long way to catch you up to what we just had done this past weekend… in 2016.

Well, a short while ago, we’ve had some charger challenges with the Roadster.  During testing, we kept swapping chargers to see the effects, and as a result of one of these tests, the MC240 that came with our car died and was not repairable.  Our service center provided us a replacement as a result of this failure because we still had our CPO warranty in effect. The MC240 is quite rare, so the service center provided us with a second Roadster UMCs.

When we took the “new” UMC home and plugged it in, it turned out that the new one was “flaky” (or, I suspect that there’s something with the Roadster, but we’re still figuring that out.)

Now, it has been difficult for Tesla to track down the UMC to begin with, and they are quite pricey, so, instead of trying to find ANOTHER Roadster UMC, I asked if they could just replace the dead MC240/flaky Roadster UMC with a new Model S/Model X High Power Wall Connector (HPWC.)

My point was that they were producing more of these HPWCs, the price for the unit has dropped significantly and is about a third the cost of another replacement Roadster UMC. The retail price for the Roadster UMC is \$1,500 without a NEMA 14-50 connector, and adding that connector is an additional \$100 for a total of \$1,600, and the Model S/Model X HPWC is now \$550 for the 24 foot model. Luckily, my logic was deemed to be a sound one, and we were able to get a 24 foot Tesla Model S/Model X HPWC (ver 2? (the one that can be daisy-chained)).  I figure that between the Roadster UMC, the Jesla, and our CAN SR and CAN JR, we have enough portable Level 2 capability for the vehicle.

Several weeks later, mid-last week, we get word that the replacement Tesla Model S/Model X HPWC was at the service center ready for pick up.

We went to pick up the box from the service center and take it home.  It wasn’t going to fit in the Roadster, so we took an S (the service center’s loaner as the Roadster is in the shop for its annual service) to bring this box home.

One thing about the Model S/X High Power Wall Connector is it is glorious and aesthetically pleasing EVSE.

Unboxing the HPWC…

In order to install the unit, it had to be hardwired, and I’m not an electrician, remember.  I scheduled our electrician to do the work this past Sunday, September 25.

As I mentioned earlier, we ran 70A service to the garage for the Roadster and the two shared NEMA outlets (the NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50). I figured to have him use that feed for the HPWC.  Since it seems that we’re now predominantly a Tesla family, I also had one other change that I requested.  Between our Tesla bias and the fact that there are now more EVSE providers that are selling NEMA 14-50 plug-in EVSEs, not just NEMA 6-50 ones, I went ahead and asked our electrician to replace the NEMA 6-50 outlet for the Roadster with a NEMA 14-50 one.

The new HPWC can go to 80A on a 100A wire, but it was cost prohibitive to run that wire three years ago.  I was glad that we ran 70A because we are now able to take advantage of 56A power for charging (when we’re not using the NEMA 14-50 outlets) we’re able to charge a Model S (with dual chargers, or enabled for greater than 48A for the newer ones) at 34 miles per hour.  The Model S normally uses the old reliable Chargepoint CT-500 at 30A and approximately 18 miles per hour of charging.  So, if we’re in a hurry or if the Chargepoint “misbehaves” we now have the means to “charge quicker.”

Besides, the nearest supercharger to us is Fountain Valley and though it is a supercharger, it is easily the busiest one in the area as is evidenced by this photo around 1pm on 9/27/2016.

That’s six cars waiting and eight charging (there were seven cars waiting just before I took this picture.)

Additionally, we still have the NEMA outlets (now all 14-50s). We just have to manage the load effectively, and safely. I could use the advanced features of the new HPWC and daisy chain them in the future, but I think we’re OK with the way we’re set up for now. In the meantime, we just have to do the math and run a total of 56A on the feed. One requirement currently is that all these vehicles will have to be Teslas because it’s difficult to limit each feed to only 16A…  We can, conceivably charge two Teslas at 20A and a Chevy Spark, Chevy Volt, or 2011/2012 Nissan Leaf on 16A of power.  As we mentioned earlier, many EVs now run at 6.6kW or higher and that’s 32A of power on 240V.

So, in 2016, we are now able to plug in five vehicles to charge at 240V service in our home…

Looks like we’re ready for the rEVolution and hosting an EV meetup…

Or to have family visit us…  My sister and her husband just added a Volkswagen E-Golf to their garage a few months ago and, as expected, my gearhead brother-in-law has been “digging” driving electric. (I think that he’s garaged his Porsche ICE and taken to driving the E-Golf places.)

Furthermore, once we get our Model 3 reservations delivered, we’re ready for those as well.  We might need a bigger driveway and garage!

## 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.

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.

## Our fourth year of Solar usage.

This is our fourth year update. Click here for the Last Year’s (3rd Year) Summary.

It’s been four years since our PTO our solar array was approved, we originally estimated our savings on driving the Active E or a vehicle like the Active E. Since then, we moved from driving one EV to two EVs to three EVs and finally back to two EVs. We’ve also driven around a lot and our mileage has grown significantly since then. Our original estimation of a break-even was calculated with a one EV household.  Since then, we believe that we’ve achieved our break-even mileage for our EVs and home use of electricity between last year’s update and this year..

In our first year of Solar use, we had a credit. Which, as we found out, we could not claim. Because, it turns out, Net Metering means that though we’re credited for the production at a specific \$ rate, customers are paid out on OVERPRODUCTION of power and not on the CREDITS earned. What this means is the system produced greater kWh of energy than consumed by the end user. If this is the case, the customer is PAID OUT the power times the wholesale rate of production. As long-time readers are aware, on our second year, we paid over \$200 to SCE. For our third year, coupled with our nearly a month of travel to Maine and back in our Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip, we were out of the house for about three weeks that year, and a little over a month for that year. So, that created about a month of overproduction. As a result, Year 3’s bill was approximately \$40.  This fourth year that just ended, we had about the same number of weeks away from home, but our annual net metering statement is about HALF of last year’s total with a nearly \$20 bill for Year 4.

This full fourth year of solar production is firmly with the Model S and Roadster with a about the same number of weeks on trips as Year 3. Our 2016 Road trip to the Pacific Northwest, which we will be publishing on Monday, 9/12/2016 at 10:00 AM Pacific/18:00 BST/19:00 CET (UTC), was for only two weeks, however we’ve had a lot of other trips so that our total time away from home has been about the same as Year 3.

I considered the third year as a monumental year for having the \$40 annual bill, I am just flabbergasted at the \$20 year that we’ve had for the fourth year. Considering our average electric bill prior to going EV and solar was closer to \$200 a month, it is incredible to get most of our transportation and home energy use at so little.  Additionally, I focused on the change in tariff from TOU-D-EV to TOU-D-A in last year’s summary.

Logic tells me that I SHOULD have been paying more for electricity in Year 4 vs. Year 3.  And we didn’t even travel any more than we did in Year 3.  Our Summer roadtrip in 2016 (about our Long Way Round to the Tesla Gigafactory Party) was several days shorter than our 2015 Roadtrip.  I guess we’ve gotten better at shifting our energy use.

I wonder what we’ll be spending on energy next year?  I predicted an upward trend from Year 3 to Year 4 and was flat out wrong.  So, let me see if an upward trend will finally hit from Year 4 to Year 5.  After all, solar panels degrade and our guaranteed production on our solar agreements always step down year over year.

Interested in going solar? Get a quote from my solar vendor – Real Goods Solar.

## 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 dontcrush.com and saveEV1.com. 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.

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.

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.

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

## What’s the big deal with the Model 3 trunk (boot)?

I was surprised to hear about all the turmoil regarding the PROTOTYPE Model 3 trunk (boot.) One of the first places I heard about this complaint was on Jalopnik’s article This is the Tesla Model 3’s Biggest Design Fail.

In the article, Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky showed the following photographs:

Posted on the thread – The Trunk the following photo:

Electrek also talked about the Model 3’s Frunk titled “Opinion: Tesla’s Model 3 AWD ‘frunk’, as shown in prototypes, is just a glorified glovebox”.

As previously mentioned, the Model 3 designs that everyone has been discussing are prototypes. As such, I expect them to be close to what will be released, but don’t expect the cars to be exact. Remember, the Model X prototypes had cameras rather than side mirrors.  Additionally, the Model X prototypes also had the same front nose as the now classic Model S design. (black nosecone).

The prototype for the Model 3 shows a smaller car than the Model S and Model X.

Long-time readers will remember that I preferred the Active E to the Model S.  It was all about the size of the car.  I have since gotten used to the size of the Model S and it doesn’t bother me anymore.  However, I still prefer a smaller format vehicle.  My wife’s Roadster is great, but it’s her car, and it is smaller than I’m comfortable driving regularly (should she even let me borrow it to drive.)  Though I haven’t seen the Model 3 in person, I surmise based on the pictures and information that this Tesla will be closer to the BMW Active E size and definitely outperform my old, beloved BMW Active E.

So, is the trunk and frunk too small for me?  Well…  Let’s see.

I drove the BMW Active E for two years.  It was a great little car, full battery electric and a range between 80-100 miles.  As for the trunk, there was a reason that I used to drive the car to do our Costco Wholesale shopping.

Here is a picture of the BMW Active E Trunk.  The Active E labeled portion of the trunk is the motor for the car.  Beside the motor is a full laptop/briefcase and that was pretty much it for space.  So, when I shop at Costco, I saved money.

The trunk had a little more space and there are two shelves under the floor.  One fits several tools and the like and below that is space for the emergency Level One EVSE (110V.)

Here’s the one for the Level 1 EVSE.

Though the car seems to have minimal space, I proved that back in 2012… Looks can be deceiving.  So, a “small” Model 3 trunk, probably not an issue for me.

Just to remind folks, the Model 3 isn’t the only Tesla with a small trunk.  Check out the Tesla Roadster trunk below, it’s big enough to carry a set of golf clubs… For the driver OR the passenger.

Folks are disappointed in the Model 3 trunk size because they have the Model S to compare it to.

Here’s a loaner we had during our charging disaster with the Roadster.

Here is the Model S from Quicksilver Car Service that we used when we picked up our Model S at the factory.

It had plenty of room for luggage.

With the classic Model S with a single motor that we have, the frunk has a LOT of room as well.  So much so that we now carry a spare tire in it when we do our roadtrips.

For a comparison, the Dual Drive Frunk on a Model S 70D loaner that I used in September 2015 is markedly smaller than the frunk on our classic Model S.

Since we didn’t opt for the Premium Sound package, we get side storage on both sides of the trunk.  I’ve always found it the best place to bring home some flowers for the better half.

So, yes. I can see both sides of this. Tesla knows how to make a hatchback, but should they make the Model 3 a hatchback? Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t. At the end of the day, it’s a PROTOTYPE, so Tesla can still change things. Personally, I’m fine with the trunk space. It’s not what attracted me to the car anyway. Besides, if they keep the trunk as is. I would probably save a lot of money at Costco. 😉

Now, if they can make the Model 3 a Coupe… Or better yet, a hardtop convertible… That’s an option I would love.

## Third Year’s tracking of Hybrid Garage use.

So, it’s been three years since I’ve started tracking our garage’s EV vs ICE use.

As I previously wrote (three years ago on my Minimizing Gas Use article; on my update two years ago; and the one from last year) we drive a hybrid garage.

For those that need a refresher, a hybrid garage is one where some of our cars are EVs and the others are internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. As a family that is a part of the rEVolution, why do we still have ICE cars, it’s because we’re not as good as those that have gone to an all electric lifestyle. Hats off to them, but there are just times that I like to use vehicles that happen to use gasoline.

This winter” was supposed to be better than any of the previous “winters”, but we did not brave the mountains with our fifteen year old BMW X5. The X5 lets us go to the mountains around LA when there are restrictions to drive when the snow is fresh.  Additionally, when we need to buy large items to move, we’ll use this same workhorse to help us move them.  Granted the Model S does have a LOT of space, but we prefer to beat up the X5 with hauling stuff rather than put the Model S to work.

That being said, I understand the costs of our addiction to oil and gas and we continue to try to minimize our gasoline use.

In preparing for the last article on Celebrating Four Mostly Electric Years, I noticed that I had transposed some statistics and noticed that I had overstated the EV miles by 36,000 miles, so I wanted to make sure to correct that.

Three years ago, I started tracking the number of miles my household used ICE vs. EV to see what percentage of our private car travels are electric and what part are powered by internal combustion engines.  Our methodology was to count the miles driven in rental cars to this spreadsheet and the miles that we’ve lent our ICE vehicles (and EVs) to our friends and family when they visit Southern California.   This is why I created some tracking spreadsheets and tracked mileage for a year.   The results year over year are still impressive even with the mileage transposition error in year 2.

In the first year of the study, we drove EV a total of 81.20% of the time and ICE 18.80% of the time.

In the second year of the study, we drove EV a total of 92.64% (vs. what I thought was 94.78%) of the time and ICE 7.36% (vs. what I thought was 5.22%) of the time.

As a whole, the household (as defined earlier, my wife and I and when we lend the cars to family and friends) drove about 46,000 total miles (both EV and ICE in the previous period) in the first year, about 40,000 miles in the second year, and we drove a total of approximately 41,000 total miles in this third year. That’s approximately the same number of total miles between years one and year two.  Even though a good number of those miles were the 8,245 miles of coast-to-coast driving from our Here, There, and EVerywhere trip in May 2015.

Because of the error in Year Two’s calculation, I thought that we would be close to 150,000 EV miles this year, but still at 126,000 All EV miles since we started driving EVs.  For the study, we’re closer to 112,000 EV miles and 14,000 ICE miles for a study average of 88.7% EV vs 11.3% ICE three year average.  Definitely an upward momentum.

Looking at the monthly figures, for the third year shows a big blip in the ICE use for month 34 and that is mostly December 2015 and my sister and her husband was visiting us and most of those miles on the X5 was because we had lent them our ICE car for that month.  The approximately 1400 miles of ICE that was driven that month is more than half the total ICE miles for the year.  Until we have an EV to lend out to family, we’ll have to take those spikes.

Here’s to hoping that this next year’s study will have a greater EV momentum.  And we continue to look forward to seeing what else we can achieve with our hybrid garage next year.  Perhaps another coast-to-coast EV journey.

## Celebrating Four Mostly Electric Years of the rEVolution.

On February 23, 2012, we joined the rEVolution with the addition of our BMW ActiveE.

This was one of the first pictures we took of our ActiveE when we picked up the car at Long Beach BMW. Shows a very happy, young rEVolutionary:

Brought it home and plugged it in… We didn’t even have our Level 2 installed at the time and had to charge a BEV with an 80-100 mile range on 120V.

Granted, my commute at the time was 70 miles roundtrip if I took the most direct route, and the “fastest” route used the carpool/HOV lanes and that was 100 miles roundtrip.

BMW’s friendly policies for ActiveE Electronauts meant that I was able to charge at Pacific BMW (a 10 minute walk from my office) J1772 station and ensure that I recovered my miles that first week.

I wrote about my first year of electric driving on the blog three years ago.

Once you go electric, it’s hard to look back. At the time that we picked up the Active E, we had a few ICE vehicles in the garage. The Active E was outnumbered by ICE vehicles and we figured to keep the ICE for our hybrid garage.

After taking delivery of the Active E, we we sold our Honda Civic Hybrid. There was no real need to keep it since we originally purchased the Honda as a commuter vehicle and the Yellow HOV stickers were expired by the time we picked up the Active E.

The two year lease of the Active E meant that there was pressure to see what “the next car” will be and we decided to place a deposit for the Model S. However, at the time, the plan was for my wife to get the S and for me to look for a replacement for the Active E.

We received our “configure your Model S” message in the beginning of 2013. However, we still had another year on the 2 year lease on the ActiveE and we didn’t think we would run with 2 EVs concurrently, so I took the time to test out other cars for me to use when we decide to become a 2 EV family, after all, the Model S was going to be her car.  Since I wanted to ensure to get the Federal Tax Credit in 2013, we delayed the delivery of the vehicle to the end of the year.  The ideal delivery would be December 31, 2013, however, understanding the Tesla process and to ensure that I get the vehicle with some “buffer” we settled to take delivery in November 2013.

Long time readers of the blog and participants of the now defunct Active E forums will remember the many test drives (a few sample test drives: CodaFiat 500e,  Smart ED to name a few) and discussions over what my next car will be. I was really hoping to love the i3 and my wife was “under protest” if I went with the i3. At the end of the day, we skipped the i3, a decision that I discussed on a previous posting.

To make November 2013 delivery, we figured that we needed to start configuring our Model S on August 2013.  It was at this time that we noticed a bunch of Tesla Roadsters being sold as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and my wife fell in love with her Roadster.  So, it was at this point that we decided to pick a Roadster up and the Model S became my car.

Here is the Roadster on our pick-up day:

And here I am with a rare (driving my wife’s baby) picture:

Picking up the Roadster was awesome, but not without problems.

And a few months later, we did our first roadtrip with our Model S when we picked it up at the factory. And live-blogged the weekend a few hours before and a few days after. I summarized the whole weekend.

Here is our Model S on pickup day:

After the early start, factory tour and pickup of the Model S, our first recharge for the car…

…was for the driver. Needed Starbucks.

Though we started the year thinking that we wouldn’t need to drive 2 EVs, we ended up with 3 EVs from November 2013 until the return of the Active E to BMW on February 2014. The second year anniversary was a bittersweet one.

The following year of EV ownership strengthened our positive impression of Tesla Motors. The BMWi debacle in the launch of the i3 in the United States made us adjust back to the original plan of 2 EVs for daily use. Originally we wanted to get a third EV so that we can minimize the miles in the Roadster, but my better half was having too much fun driving her Roadster and didn’t feel like swapping it out on daily drives. So, we saved some money and skipped the third EV.

I didn’t even write a 3rd EV Anniversary post.

So, from February of last year to now, we’ve settled into a life with our two EV, one ICE hybrid garage.

This past year, we’re really just living the rEVolution on a day to day basis. We took our Model S on a Roadtrip Coast-to-Coast and back, and it was a blast. With over three years of EV driving, we don’t suffer from range anxiety, however the trip solidified our “can do” attitude as far as driving our EV for distances and this past year we took more roadtrips than we’ve done the previous years.

I would have loved to say that we hit 150,000 miles of all electric driving, but I will just have to settle on 148,404 electric miles vs 14,194 ICE with a little under 3 hours from the time we brought our Active E home 4 years ago (9pm Pacific vs. 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific right now)). [EDITED 2016-March-5, Looks like I had an error in my tracking spreadsheet…  We’re closer to 125,000 EV miles…  I had transposed numbers in Month 16 of our tracking spreadsheet that overstated total miles by around 20,000 miles for totals.  I was preparing for the Year 3 of our EV vs. ICE posting, and found the error…]

So, what’s in store for our EV future?

To begin with, we’re about 2 weeks from the third anniversary of my ICE vs EV statistics that I’ve been tracking and we broke 90% EV vs 10% ICE use after almost three years. But that’s another post.

My Thanksgiving 2015 post gives a good hint of what I’ve been up to. Additionally, I am happy to report that my client, EV Connect, Inc., was selected for three of the nine Electric Charging Highway Corridors for the California program. This project, when completed will allow all EVs equipped with CHAdeMO and/or CCS DC Fast chargers to complete the travel from the Mexican border to the Oregon border with Level 3 charging stations.

Additionally, the Model 3 reservation process will be open on March 31st for a \$1,000 deposit. We’re trying to see if we’ll take advantage of this or not.

Lastly, we’re thinking of expanding our long EV roadtrip plans. We are tempted to do another coast-to-coast trip using one of the newer routes. Perhaps we’ll finally join the Teslaroadtrip folks on one of their cool get togethers. This year, they’re planning on something at Colonial Williamsburg, and we’ve never been. We’ll have to see if things work out for this trip.

Here’s to hoping that the Model 3 and its competing EVs become massive successes and we transition from ICE to EV at a faster rate.

In the meantime, time flies when you’re having fun.

## Driving the Model S. P85, P85+, and P85D (or loaners while the Roadster was in for its second Annual Service)

The following experience with various Model S was before the release of 7.0 and Auto Pilot.   It was drafted and the experience was in September 2015.

In the beginning of September we brought our Tesla Roadster in for its second annual service. We scheduled the service far enough in advance to ensure that we would have access to a loaner.

As is customary with Tesla Service loaners lately, we received a CPO P85 for our use while the Roadster was in service. This is not the first time that we drove a P85 or P85+  Longtime readers would remember that we suffered a charging disaster the first day that we picked up our Roadster from Tesla.  Since the initial draft of this post, it has been reported on teslamotorsclub.com that Tesla no longer provides loaner Model S for Roadster Annual Services, i can’t confirm this post’s assertion as we’re still under our CPO Warranty, and don’t know if that provides a different level of service than Roadsters ex-warranty.

The differences between each iteration of the Model S is quite subtle. From the Sig P85 to the P90DL, the car looks pretty much the same. Most stock Model S that have spoilers are Performance models and without the spoiler, usually a Standard model. Additionally, most of the Model S with Red Calipers are also Performance models, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee.

The P85 that we initially received for my wife’s Roadster scheduled annual service was Blue and had a Vin number almost double ours (in the 40XXX) and had 19,276 miles when we took delivery of that loaner as they took her car in for service. It was a CPO vehicle that the previous owner traded in as was evident when the car was lent to us with “regular” California license plate and not the typical MFR or DLR plates that is indicative of an “inventory” Model S.

It had the same blue as our Model S, but had both the Spoiler and the red calipers. As a newer P85, it drove very quickly and performed well while we used it in lieu of the Roadster or even our own S85. As our car was close to the 50,000 mile initial warranty limit and I wanted to delay the inevitable “buy a warranty or pass on it dilemma” I wanted to delay that decision as long as I can.

Her vehicle was taken into service on September 8. We had hoped to get both the Roadster and Model S in for service the week leading up to National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) 2015, but there were some issues found on the PEM and some of the wiring that connected the PEM to the rest of the car that we had the loaner with us as we participated in the first weekend’s activity for NDEW 2015.

Here is the loaner P85 at the LA NDEW2015 event.

Aside from the power of a P85 vs an S85 to clue me in that I was driving a loaner and not my own vehicle, the loaner P85 had cloth seats and black gloss interior versus the Obeche Wood Gloss that we had.

The P85 Model was nice and clean and served as a nice proxy as we attended NDEW 2015 events in Long Beach, Diamond Bar, and Los Angeles CA.

The vehicle was a lot quicker than our vehicle and was more of an electricity hog as it was equipped with 21 inch wheels and had a bigger motor. Into the second week of our use of the P85, it started to have some systems fail. The first was the driver’s side door handle started to get stuck and we would be unable to let ourselves into the car via the driver’s side door handle. We had to enter in through the passenger door and open the driver’s side from there. The service center was quite busy and did not have a replacement loaner at the time. The day after the vehicle developed this door handle issue, my wife had used the loaner to go on an errand. While out and about, she stopped to charge the car and the car started to fail. It displayed some sort of low-voltage error and stopped charging. We called Tesla and it appeared that a 12V fault had occurred. Lucky for us, there was another loaner available, and Tesla drove out to her to swap out loaners with her and wait until the tow-truck arrived to take away the P85 that had issues.

The second loaner that she was provided was a Grey P85+. This P85+ was another one from the CPO inventory as it also had regular CA plates, 17,551 miles on the odometer when my wife took delivery of the vehicle. We had driven over 423 miles in the Blue P85 loaner and would add 333 miles to the Grey P85+ loaner that took its place.

I could not tell much difference between the P85 and P85+ as they both had the same motor and the enhancements to the plus were negligible. The VIN # on the P85+ was in the 19XXX and is thus older than our vehicle and it did not have the parking sensors and other enhancements that came by the time our vehicle was delivered to us in November 2013. It’s amazing to see how low the mileage was on the P85+ that we were using for a few days. Tesla had to reclaim that vehicle from us because it apparently sold online to a soon to be new CPO owner and they were still working on my wife’s Roadster.

They quickly located another vehicle for us to drive while the Roadster spent its time getting repaired and the like. Tesla brought us another Grey Model S. This time, it was practically new. The car was a grey P85D with only 228 miles. It was an Inventory model and didn’t have any plates on it, yet. The inventory vehicle came from a store that just took delivery of a P90DL, so the P85D as moved to loaner status.

The P85D was equipped with the latest sensors and the like.  It had the active cruise control on, not auto-pilot, but at least the hardware for it.  As I mentioned in the beginning, all these experiences was in September 2015, before auto-pilot was released.

Aside from the label on back, we know that the vehicle is a P85D because it was equipped with Insane Mode and not Ludicrous Mode.

Thought to do a little recycling with the P85D.

One of the deficiencies of the D is the small Frunk (for a Model S, big if comparing it to the i3.)  They had to make room for the second motor, so that takes the place of where a large frunk would be.

After several weeks with the various P85 models, we finally got our Roadster back and the P85, P85+, and P85Ds were all returned to Tesla… But that’s just part of the story…

Since the Model S was scheduled for service as well, we got a 70D to try out while the Model S went in for service.  But that’s another post… (perhaps in a week or so…)

[edited, added 2/20/2016 9:47AM Pacific / 17:47 GMT]

Figuted that this might be helpful to those looking at these “out of production” Model S –

http://ev-cpo.com/

or the official Tesla Motors site:

https://www.teslamotors.com/models/preowned

## Our third year of Solar usage.

This is a third year update. Click here for the 2nd Year of Net Metering.

It’s been three years since our PTO was approved, we originally estimated our savings on driving the Active E or a vehicle like the Active E. Since then, we moved from one EV to two EVs to three EVs back to two EVs. We’ve also driven around a lot and our mileage has grown significantly since then. I haven’t done the math, but estimated that we’re either at break-even this year or definitely in a few months.

In our first year of Solar use, we had a credit. Which, as we found out, we could not claim. Because, it turns out, Net Metering means that though we’re credited for the production at a \$ rate, customers are paid out on OVERPRODUCTION of power and not on the CREDITS earned. What this means is the system produced greater kWh of energy than consumed by the end user. If this is the case, the customer is PAID OUT the power times the wholesale rate of production. Last year, we paid over \$200 to SCE for the entire second year of Solar. This third year, coupled with our nearly a month of travel to Maine and back in our Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip, we’ve been out of the house for about a month. So, that created a month of overproduction. As a result, the annual net metering statement was for approximately \$40 for Year 3.

This full third year of solar production is basically the Model S and Roadster. What is interesting is that our usage this past 3rd year probably would have cost us less than Year Two’s Annual bill. But the month off really helped. At less than \$4 a month for power for the third year is greater than I expected. So, I chalk this third year as a monumental year. Considering our average electric bill prior to going EV and solar was closer to \$200 a month, it is incredible to get most of our transportation and home energy use at so little.

Now, this current fourth year, I wonder what our bill will be. Most of the past three years our electric tariff was on TOU-D-EV. This was a special whole house rate with a discount for EV drivers. A few months ago, Southern California Edison got rid of that tariff and adjusted the Time of Use tariffs so that the times that start with Peak, Off-Peak, and Super Off-Peak.

Under TOU-D-EV, the Peak rates were from the hours of 10am-6pm M-F, the Super Off-Peak hours were from midnight-6am every day, and Off-Peak is any other time. This was great because Solar was credited during the peak times most days and helped off-set a lot of the costs.

Under TOU-D-A, the Peak rates are now from the hours of 2pm-8pm M-F, the Super Off-Peak hours are now from 10pm-8am every day, and Off-Peak is still any other time. Though the Super Off-Peak hours are longer, the effect of moving peak time to the hours between 6pm-8pm means that we’re no longer generating credits at the Peak rate between 10am-2pm. Additionally, we’re spending more between 6pm-8pm because we’re paying at Peak rates and not Off-Peak rates.

So, I’m projecting paying a little bit more for electricity next year… Unless we go on yet another LONG roadtrip.

Interested in going solar? Get a quote from my solar vendor – Real Goods Solar.

## MyEV post-mortem review…

A few months ago I published a guide to install the MyEV on our Tesla Model S. What I didn’t share in the original post, but did on subsequent comments is the purpose of the support of the Indiegogo project – MyEV Electric Vehicle Logger and App.

Since we’re a two electric vehicle family, there is some healthy competition between my wife and I on who is the “more efficient” EV driver. The marketing for the MyEV project introduced the fun, social gaming concept using the loggers that MyCarma built for the MyEV product. Since my wife drives a 1.5 Tesla Roadster, I made sure that the folks at MyCarma are able to support her car for the purchase of the two units. I was pleasantly surprised by their positive answer.

The original version of this post was to be along the same lines of the installation guide for the Model S, but we ran into some snags with the way that the Roadster reports itself. Furthermore, it appears that we were the only Roadster owner to support the project for the Roadster. In the end of the day, the Roadster reported data at a rate that was too much for the logger. I appreciate the effort from MyCarma to try to resolve this challenge. Especially since I needed them to make the product work in conjunction with OpenVehicles.com OVMS.

Here is the Custom Roadster cable to the MyEV unit.

The folks at MyCarma were aware of my requirements to have the unit work with OVMS, so they sent me a Y-cable for the Tesla Proprietary diag port with custom OBD adaptor.

Like I said, this one is built for the Roadster

Here is the cable chained up.

And connected

Here is the footwell with the OVMS installed in the Roadster.

Pulled the cable and OVMS off…

When connected, the Bluetooth connection should work.

And start transferring the log files.

Here’s what the setup looks like, before it is tidily installed.

Then put it back in place.

So. It all hooked up just fine. The problem lay with the fact that though it looked like the unit was logging and transferring it actually wasn’t. I tried playing around with it and finally asked for help.

Tech Support at MyCarma replaced some cables, did some programming and generally tried to help me for at least a month if not longer. At the end, since we were the only Roadster purchasers of the product, it became cost ineffective for them to figure it out and offered me a refund for the unit. I explained to them the reason why we purchased two units (one for the Model S and the one for the Roadster) and they went ahead and refunded us for both units.

The app looks like a lot of fun, but we really needed it to work for both vehicles and it was quite good customer service of MyCarma to provide us with the resolution. I continue to hope that they fix the Roadster, but lacking any further sales. It’s like Waiting for Godot.

[Added at 10:20 PM 9/27/2015 – I forgot to add pictures of what the software looked like when I was using the product]

All these screens are for the Model S as the Roadster one never really processed the data properly. The roadster processed at a speed that the logger could not figure out.

Here is the summary of the power charged for as long as the unit was plugged into the Model S.

Here is the charging histogram of when the most amount of power was added to the car. Considering that the unit was installed before the start of our Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip in May 2015.

Several leaderboards, this one is for the Same Model (Model S) in the Same Region (California?)

The next leaderboard is for All Cars in the Same Region.

The last leaderboard is for all cars in all regions.