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 2… BMW Active E Electronaut Reunion 4 in Morro Bay

After completing Phase 1 (click here to start at Phase 1) of this trip.  We had an overnight pause before the start of Phase 2.  The second phase of the trip was a trip to Morro Bay for the 4th BMW Active E North-South Meetup in Morro Bay. This was on June 4, 2017.  Long-time readers remember when we had our last one that culminated in the Active E Wake.

Phase 2 – Active E Reunion – WxNS4

June 4, 2017

In previous years we had done this drive from home to Morro Bay.  Morro Bay was chosen several years ago because it was nearly halfway for all the Active E populations from Northern and Southern California.  The other three times that we drove for this meetup, we drove North to Morro Bay, but this time around, we were staying in Silicon Valley and drove South to Morro Bay.

Before our first stop in Gilroy (more a “human” maintenance stop than anything else…)

We spot someone taking off at the airstrip by the freeway.

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And here’s the route planned for us.

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That’s not a route we normally take for this drive, but thought it looked easy enough.

If you remember from Day 1 drive up from the previous post. This is a pretty big location and it is interesting to see so much empty space. We were the only one in Gilroy.

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It was a quick stop, but glad to have the boost. It looks like the winds were blowing hard today.

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Even Atascadero was relatively empty in the early morning.  We caught up with one of our fellow ActiveE alumnus, Jack Brown, the proprietor for the Take Charge And Go EV Hang Tags that I use to notify folks of my charging intent.  He was ahead of us, so he took off a few minutes before we were done with our charge.

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Our first view of the Rock at Morro Bay.

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Lots of EVs and one hydrogen in the mix.  We met at the Grill Hut in Morro Bay for our brunch.

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I even took the opportunity to tease my #EVBingo competitors on Twitter.

Lots of friendly faces waiting to be served at The Grill Hut.

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Here’s a better shot of that side of the table, George wasn’t moving…

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And a shot of the other side of the table.

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My good friend, Tom Moloughney made the trip out from New Jersey to hang with us for this meetup, he’s to the right of my empty chair.

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We parked our S on the other side of the street, there were enough Tesla Model S represented, besides the car is so large that it sticks out of the lines.  You can spot me in the picre below in the Orange.  I’m between the White and Blue i3s.

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It is a BMW Reunion, so we take a close up of the brave souls that stuck with them.

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I suppose the groupcould have spread out a bit more, but we’re a friendly bunch.

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A candid shot of us chatting away in the sunny Morro Bay day (it was appropriately cloudy during the Active E Wake.)

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The other two Teslas that made this trip today.

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The classic Tom and Dennis shot.

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And with Todd Crook joining us.  Todd’s just replaced his 2nd Gen RAV4EV with a Honda Clarity Hydrogen.

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George brought his yearbook.

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and we signed it.

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And after our reminiscing and conversations, we head back North to some great California scenery on our drive.

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And some not so great scenery…  That’s a lot of oil wells.

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But it changed back to great sights soon enough.

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We were thinking of making the turn-off to get some points to plug into Monterey Supercharger, but saw how full the stalls were and with all the traffic, decided to head back and skip it.

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We stop again at Gilroy.  The Gilroy Supercharger on a Summer Sunday afternoon doesn’t look as empty as Sunday morning.

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And then we were back in Fremont for our last night at the Marriott Fremont.  If you squint, you can spot the EVs and chargers at the office building across the street of our hotel.

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We head back to the re-opened Marriott Fremont Executive Lounge to get a great sunset shot of the Tesla Factory.

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We also noticed that this destination had ANOTHER set of chargers in addition to the two that were outside.  We figure to use those tomorrow morning.

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Before turning in, we figure that our #EVBingo totals would be interesting to tally up on a long drive day.

Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 38 1 38
Chevy Volt 14 1 14
BMW i3 5 3 15
Tesla Model X 10 5 50
Mercedes Benz B250e 0 15 0
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 0 3 0
Nissan LEAF 4 1 4
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 1 8 8
Toyota Prius PlugIn 5 3 15
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 4 15 60
Chevy Spark 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 0 30 0
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 0 1 0
Total 251

So, that’s 251 Total US points, or 125.5 California handicapped points.

June 5, 2017

We had a free day in-between phases on June 5, 2017.

Since we were re-positioning to a non destination charger hotel without ready access to a supercharger, we moved the car to one of the destination chargers in the morning and range charged it for our drive around the Bay Area.  Here we are using the Take Charge And Go EV Hang Tags to notify anyone who drives up that we will be done by check-out time.

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Even took the opportunity to check in on the TeslaratiApp and make a PSA Tweet from the OC Tesla Club account.

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Looks like the max for the car is at 252. That’s one less mile than last year’s trips, and 13 miles less than when we first picked it up from the factory. Additionally, there were several firmware changes, so not sure if that affected calculations as well.

On our drive to our new hotel for the night, we spotted a full car carrier full of EVs… Unfortunately golf carts are controversial for the #EVBingo points.  There were at least 18 of them in that carrier.

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We drove by Oracle Arena, jealous of the Golden State Warriors opportunity to win the NBA Championship for the second time in three years.

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And enjoyed our night at the Hyatt House in Emeryville. It was less expensive than most hotels that we looked at that was located near the Tesla Annual Meeting. Besides, we used the re-positioning to have dinner and visit a friend that live on this side of the Bay.

So, the second phase of our three phase trip was complete and we have an extra day before the Tesla Annual Meeting and our drive down home. Click here for Phase 3 of the 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.

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.

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.

My experiences at the Faraday Future FF91 Unveil

A few weeks ago, I got an invite from Faraday Future to join them for the unveiling of the FF91.  The event was going to be at Las Vegas on January 3rd and I excitedly accepted the invitation.

Though much of the content that I have written on this site are Tesla or BMW focused (historically), I have always been a fan of electric vehicle technology and felt that anything to progress the cause further is well worth supporting.

Because, we’re based in Southern California, and Las Vegas is only a few hundred miles away, we took the opportunity to drive to the event. As with other events, we were presented with the choice between self and valet parking. Having waited for extended periods for the valet at Tesla events, I figured to take the self parking option.

I guess there was going to be some media at the event.

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And our car had a nice background to it in the self parking lot that Faraday Future provided for us.

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The thing with the self parking option, is it was on the BACK SIDE of the pavilion that Faraday was using for its reveal.

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And we had to walk down between two pavilions in the dark to get to the entrance.

While walking toward the entrance, we spotted what looked like the FF car before the reveal, I tried to sneak a picture of it, alas my flash went off and ruined the shot.

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The next set of doors that we were able to peak into had some of the AV folks, but no car.

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After a very long walk in the cold, Las Vegas evening, we were rewarded with the entrance to the tent.

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The self parking lot was a little bit of a walk from the front and as a result, it took us at least 15 minutes to get to the party.

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It was the first time to see the skateboard for the Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) that Faraday told us about last year.

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Though, I must admit, it does not look very VARIABLE in the configuration at the party.

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The skateboard looks like a solid piece that isn’t really going to be the modular design pitched last year. Furthermore, this skateboard looks handbuilt.

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It was nice to see the adequate seating provided at the event and the holding reception area was well attended.

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We queued up for the entrance to ensure that we got good seats. And Faraday’s first invites were for the members of the broadcast and video media to get themselves set up to get their feeds in.

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When the doors opened, depending on the color of the wristband issued to guests, seating areas were provided.

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We got silver seating, so we ended up in Section 3.

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However, the three roped off sections in front of us were made available to us to move to just before the start of the event, so we were able to occupy the second row from the front of this section.

The first of many speakers started.

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I have one hand taking pictures and the other on Twitter… And Chelsea decides to scoop FF with this tweet at the beginning of the presentation.

I found out later that evening that she apparently saw the car getting staged around the corner from the entrance of the event, just where she was dropped off by her ride, and decided to take a quick snap.

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The drama and staging was long and grandiose. And I hope that next time they show the car MUCH sooner.

Four speakers long, and I think my favorite demonstration was the self-parking one.

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But that’s because I’m all about range and not necessarily speed.

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I don’t really enjoy the whole “new species” thing when talking about cars. Perhaps it’s watching the Terminator too much and being exposed to the whole Skynet thing.

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Driverless valet’s other great invention, saving valet parking charges and tips.

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This demonstration was the first official view of the car.

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Here’s a video of the car using Driverless Valet:

I liked the fact that in this demonstration the car backed into the spot. Because, if you look at how I parked in the beginning of this article, I tend to do the same thing.

However, I snicker at the snark from EW Niedermeyer on twitter.

The next part of the presentation was cool in that we finally get to see the car up front. However, the view was too short for any value to be derived from these timed drag races in front of an audience.

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I do love the range though.

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I forgot to take a picture of the first car, but here’s the Ferrari.

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The Model X.

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and finally the FF91.

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Rather than provide stills…

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I did shoot a couple of videos…

The first is the initial launch.

The second is the return from that launch

and the third is the launch by the FF/Dragon Racing Formula E Driver

And then they talked design.

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And they pulled their special guest, YT Jia, what happened next was covered in the news, and all I can say is that it was painful to watch while in the audience and even more painful to hear the excuses.

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Faraday’s primary investor, YT Jia, spoke to the crowd and was undeterred by the failure of the car to perform its self parking task. And kudos for him to continue his speech after that uncomfortable episode.

Eventually, the car did drive itself to the middle of the stage and the media were provided close up access to the car. Not an invitation to sit in it or anything, but definitely a chance to see it closer.

I didn’t have a media pass. However, I do have friends in the media, and one of them lent me his pass so that I could take closer shots of the vehicle.

Here’s a picture of the throng of media covering the event and had access to see the vehicle up close.

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On the way to the car, spotted some of the principal Faraday Future speakers being interviewed.

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Finally, close up pictures of the FF91.

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While I was checking out the car, I noticed a familiar sight. Alex Roy, Canonball Driver extraordinaire and editor for The Drive.

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It was around this location of the car that we heard some strange pumping noises. Alex Roy went live on Periscope or FB to try to gather some conversation on what this noise could be. Some of the more skeptical journalists around me thought that it sounded like a diesel. Being married to a Tesla Roadster owner, and as an EV advocate, I proposed that it sounded more like a battery cooling system. It was loud enough to hear in person, but difficult to record, so I gave up trying to record the sound. There was a lot of ambient noise and I decided it wasn’t worth trying to record that.

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I think the noise from the vehicle must have been coming from one of these vents.

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We left the vehicle and proceeded to go to the reception area to see if we can catch up with a few EV friends.

On the way to the reception area, we caught up with a contact at FF and I was able to get a ballpark for prices for the FF91. I was told that $150k to start with lower pricing to be close to $90k after the initial $150k price points. It’s a number that looks realistic with volume, so I hope that they use that VPA platform to build something smaller and less expensive.

    So, what about the car?

I’m intrigued with the interior and infotainment system that they are touting. It would have been good to let us sit in and experience that, if it was truly available. Perhaps at the next reveal.

I like the really long range, but as I’ve often discussed with others, I sometimes have to make stops before I need to charge for “bio” reasons.
During the presentation they bragged about the 200 KW charging system that sounds like a PROPRIETARY charging system. Considering that CCS is already discussing 350 kW and Elon’s latest tweets take aim at beating that 350 kW charging, by the time FF91 is released, 200 kW would have been surpassed. Additionally, who has a charging network built to handle that speed? Perhaps the recent announcement of 400 kW charging stations from Chargepoint would partner with Faraday Future and handle the charging for this. However, that network will need to be built and available after delivery. As it is currently, networks are either the proprietary Tesla Supercharger or some electric corridors that are using CHAdeMO and CCS at a maximum of 50 kW if not 25 kW in some parts.

I really think that FF should have demonstrated the VPA with multiple vehicles rather than just one. If you’re going to tout your ability to have multiple sizes quickly, execute on that.

As for the FF91 itself, the car they showed had four seats. It’s a HUGE car and I would expect there to be at least five, if not seven seats. I thought that the car was going to be a crossover, and thus a competitor to the Model X, not another Model S competitor. At the prices that they are charging for the vehicle, I’d like to see more. The Model X is out, but it’s the only one of its class. By going after the Model S, others have already targeted that vehicle. I think that it was a missed opportunity from FF. By configuring the vehicle with only four seats, it seems that the target market for FF isn’t the United States, but China. It looks like the sort of car that one is chauffeured around in, and not one that an owner drives his or herself in.

I had hoped that there would have been an opportunity to ride in several of the vehicles that were shown at the reveal. Tesla does that at their vehicle reveals, whether the Model 3, the dual motor reveal, and so forth. And I had half-expected FF to do that. Apparently, others got to get a ride in the vehicle several days later.

Either way, it was a good trip. I’m always glad to see future EV choices. The aesthetics were to “space age” for us and we’re probably going to wait for their next vehicle to see if we can be tempted.

Traveling without your EV? Here’s how we do it, most recent stop, Perth, Australia

We love to travel.

Even before our many roadtrips in the Model S, we used to fly all over the place. However, the past few years, we’ve done more driving than flying.

When we went on airplane trips, we always made note of EVs and EV infrastructure wherever we went.

From visiting the BMWi Park Lane store in London when the BMWi brand was still in the concept stage.

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To spotting Nissan Leaf at Hong Kong airport.

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To EV charging stations throughout Malta.

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One of the things that I tried to do during the past few years was to catch up and have dinner or lunch or whatever with someone that I’ve gotten to know in the International EV community. First it was one-on-one meetups with specific people when I visit a country.  And then, last year I figured that it would be more fun to get together with groups of fellow rEVolutionaries on my International trips.

Last year, while visiting England for Rugby World cup 2015, I figured to send a message out to meet up with the EV community in the UK.  I’m pretty active on the Speak EV forum, even volunteering as a moderator.

Speak EV is a great forum for EV enthusiasts because it is not focused on a specific brand of Electric Vehicle.  Many of the really popular ones are.  But Speak EV is different and that’s what I like about it.  The owner/operator for Speak EV is British and many members are from the UK, the presence outside of the UK is mainly Europeans, though there are quite a few of us from this side of the Pond. I started a thread last year to invite folks for this get together that I called the TransAtlantic EV Social and Drinks.

Here’s a panorama that was taken by Tim Ostler at the event.

TransAtlantic EV Meetup - 2015-October-29

From left to right:   @Sussex Trug , @MikeProcter and Hilary Procter, @Dennis and Carolyn Pascual, @dpeilow , @RickMGoldie

And then one which we asked someone to take our picture (to include Tim)

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It was funny because it was an EV Meetup without the EVs. We all had a great time and I truly enjoy comparing EV experiences with folks in different countries.

So, last month, we decided to take a trip to Perth, Australia. A distance of 9,528 miles from Los Angeles via Sydney, Australia. Now, I started off by reaching out to a few guys on Twitter who happen to be involved with the AEVA West Coast branch (Australian Electric Vehicle Association) I also figured to reach out to the Tesla Owners Club of Australia and via a post on Teslamotorsclub.com. We haven’t been to Perth since 2005 and it was a chance to spend time and visit my godsiblings and the new baby that joined their family.

So, on Thursday, October 20, 2016, we had a meetup at the Odyssea Restaurant at City Beach.

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From left to right:   Antony Day, Christopher Cook, Matt (@MDK on TMC) [partially blocked], Chris Jones, Joseph Law, My better half, Me, and my godbrother Aaron.

Here’s a better picture from Twitter… (Matt’s not blocked on this one.)

My godbrother chose the restaurant for the food and service, but also for the large parking lot so that we can take these sort of shots.

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Not an EV, but a cool vanity plate.

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Matt with his cool “plate”

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He was the first EV to cross the Null Arbor part of Australia. Basically, the Outback for thousands of kilometers on his Perth to Brisbane and back trip from earlier in the year. For those of us in the US, that’s like crossing the Us from San Diego to Baltimore and back. Where the only supercharging available would be the original one in California. Luckily, Australia has a lot of three phase power and Matt has an older Model S that can still make use of the 22kW available on dual charging.

Besides, it’s always fun when we visit different places and spot interesting road crossing signs.  Our first trip to Australia in 2003, we had my godparents drive us all over WA to look for a Kangaroo crossing sign and tried to capture a Kookaburra sitting on a gum tree.  We’ve been to visit Oz many times since, so I didn’t go out of my way to spot any of these things…  However, whilst out and about the city, we did spot some interesting signs.

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Spotted the ultra aggressive Black Swans that the river in Perth was named after.

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Funny enough, our first trip here over a dozen years ago, we were chased by a Black Swan, so my better half took this shot using the zoom lens on her camera.

Also get to see a magpie… And now I understand why the Collingwood Magpies have them as a mascot. This particular bird was also unperturbed by our presence at the park when we were hanging out and enjoying time with our godsister’s new baby.

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On the Friday of our visit there, we went to catch a basketball game at the Perth Arena.

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We parked in the parking garage across from the arena.  I was impressed that the parking garage had several charging outlets as well as a dedicated EV charging bay.

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The one EV charging bay was respected by the ICE drivers and the first-come-first-serve spots that had plugs still had a spot available for another plug-in vehicle to use.

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Since these are first-come-first-serve and not dedicated to EV charging, it was perfectly fine for ICE cars to be using these spots.

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And many ICE vehicles did take these spots, but at least respected the dedicated EV spot.

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This means that as EVs proliferate in their city, they can start claiming those outlets for EVs easily.

The basketball game itself was quite fun and the Perth Wildcats won that game.

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It was impressive to see the winning record and staying power of the Perth basketball team in its league.

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It was also quite entertaining seeing the different things that fans do at these games vs. the NBA.

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Those crazy huge head signs would not be allowed in the NBA by the competition committee.

Unfortunately, the Super Rugby and AFL were out of season, but I did get a chance to see their various organizations represented.

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The Perth Spirit, which is the division below the Western Force Super Rugby team actually had its players getting ready for their trip to the Grand Finals (which they won as an away game over the weekend of our trip to Perth.)  Perhaps we brought them luck.

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We also passed by Domain Stadium (which I remember as the Subiaco Oval) (where both the West Coast Eagles and Freemantle Dockers have been playing for years, but apparently both abandoning soon.)

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Later that weekend, we took time to speak with some of the same AEVA crew as they did their EV advocacy at the Perth Spring Eco-Fest in Perth’s Central Business District (CBD), or “downtown” as we would call it in LA.

It wasn’t all EVs, got to see a really tiny Joey.

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Which made me a little guilty that I had the kangaroo at lunch the other day with the AEVA.

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I finally got to sit behind the wheel of a RWD Model S…

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And one that has the same color as our Model S at that.

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Got to see all the different charging plugs that the guys in Australia use for their Model S. Especially in Perth, where there is no supercharging network.

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The charging port is on the same side of the car as the US Model S, which means the driver has to walk around to get to it.

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EV conversions still have a big presence in the Australian EV scene as is evidenced by this Mazda Miata.

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We took a photo with the fellow rEVolutionaries at the Spring Eco-Fest.

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From Left to Right: Mitch Bisby, Bruce Armstrong, Robin (or is it Robyn) Dean (Mrs. Blue Heaven on TMC), Me, Better Half, Matt (MDK on TMC), Rob Dean (Mr. Blue Heaven on TMC), and Joseph Law.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to be properly introduced or speak with Mitch and Bruce, but had a great time chatting with the others.

It’s interesting to note that many of these rEVolutionaries in Australia had decided to switch to EVs without any of the incentives available to those of us in other parts of the world. Their cost per kWh is also very expensive and they have a government that does not seem to be too friendly for the EV movement. The reason that Tesla has focused its Tesla Energy sales to Australia and Germany has to do with their ability to compete against the utilities in Australia. Solar and battery storage is “on par” with the cost of energy from the grid.

That being said, hats off to these rEVolutionaries in Australia that have decided to take the plunge without the help that many of us get from our government.

On our last day at Perth we went to King’s Park to take a great picture of the city from its vantage point.

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And on our last night, we enjoyed a night market before we headed off to fly back home.

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All sorts of cuisine and even American food.

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We enjoyed our visit and meeting with the local rEVolutionaries and discuss their challenges and triumphs as well as bring some of Australia’s, especially Western Australia (the “other WA State”) best home with us is another highlight.

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So, the next time you travel without your EV, you can always see if you can make it a visit with other rEVolutionaries. There are plenty of friendly EV folks out there.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 13 of this trip.

Looking for the start of the trip, click here to read Day 1 of this trip.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

Many readers know that we took the long way round because we got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party.  Rather than just go from Southern California to Reno, we wanted to combine that trip with a trip to the the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) and attend the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visit family who was attending camp in Seattle, WA and visit family living in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So how did this trip look on the map?

Recap_Road Trip Full Map LB to LB (Pacific NW)

It looks like we went pretty far to go someplace a lot closer. That’s the “fun” of driving a Tesla powered EV. The Tesla Supercharger network enables travelers to go, wherever they want to go.

So, how did we do?  Well, as is the goal for any long road trip.  We arrived home still happily married.  So, that’s always Goal #1.

After 13 Days on the road, we’ve made it to all our intermediate goals on this trip.

1) We made it to Portland and attended EV Roadmap 9 Conference.

Even got to ride the BYD e6 and write a quick review of it.

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2) We made it to Seattle and had spent a day with our niece as she spent time away from home in a camp.

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3) We visited our relatives in Vancouver and got to hang out with them.

Had great dinner at Ask for Luigi.

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And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

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And pondered why they didn’t just make an EV version of this little car.

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4) Met with friends that we made on the Internet who are EVangelists in real life some for the first time, and others as a catch up.

In Washington State…

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In Oregon…

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In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

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And in Reno at the Gigafactory

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5) And we attended the Tesla Gigafactory Grand Opening Party.

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Throughout the journey, we ended up with two other mini-obsessions…

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

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and the Tomato Truck

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We felt incomplete and left “hanging” looking around for the pasta truck to complete the set.

AND

2) We looked at the “logging industry” life-cycle…

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

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Then followed the raw logs

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cut and shaped wood

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and finished products.

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So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

1) It’s good to get food recommendations from a Chef.  The restaurants that we experienced from the recommendations were superb.

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1A) It’s also good to listen to locals for their recommendations for such things.  We enjoyed the Dutch Bros. coffee and didn’t know about them before we were introduced (especially the Iced Caramelizer.)

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1B) This one is not always reliable, but give it a try anyway, our sushi in Vancouver area this trip was good, but not spectacular.  Considering the spectacular Dim Sum we had at brunch, we’d forgive this.

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2) Budget lots of time when crossing International Borders.  Try not to schedule anything too tight from when you assume to cross the border. Or at least take the commercial crossing instead.

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3) Continue to be fearless with taking off highway routes, you never know what you’ll see and experience

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Considering that the travel is its own reward.

4) Continue to have backup charging identified.  Even when picking hotels that are destination chargers, sometimes it won’t work as expected.  When you have a backup, it’s no big deal to go to the alternate.

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5) Read up on notes that others have made on the various charging apps, i.e. Plugshare or Teslarati or others.

6) There might be a benefit to reserving your hotel ahead of time (i.e. Our Day 13 plans was extended by our “winging it.”

For example this map on Day 13 should have been a lot shorter…

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We ended up home at least a day, if not two days sooner than we had hoped.

That being said, what was our final statistics. 3,388 miles driven and 1021.3 kWh consumed and a direct energy cost of $16.82 from one overnight charging session in Bellevue, WA.

Looking at our statistics, the trip average is around 301 Wh per mile (or approximately 3.32 miles per kWh).  That’s below my normal driving of 308 Wh per mile since we bought the car.  The Model S is definitely an EV energy hog compared to some of the other EVs (i3, for example.)

Additionally, the $16.82 that we spent on energy for the trip means that our direct cost was $0.005 per mile directly spent on fueling our car for this trip.  It was cheaper for us to fuel our car on the road than it’s been on the computed $0.008 per mile that we fuel at home on our Solar power.

Thanks for joining us on 2016’s Tesla Roadtrip, The Long Way Round…

…I wonder where next year’s “big” trip will take us. (Perhaps we’ll spot the pasta truck that’s been missing since Day 1!)

Why not subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to find out…

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

…I still have two National Drive Electric Week stops that I attended in the past month…

…Just got to ride the Bolt EV this weekend, I might have my impressions on that car sometime soon…

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.