The Long Way Round – Day 08

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eight 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 7 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… 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, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today’s goal is to continue our visit with our relatives in Vancouver. We’ve visited Vancouver as tourists over 15 years ago and have done some of the basic “touristy” things, so this was really about hanging out with family.  Our entire stay in Vancouver is at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver, another Tesla Destination Charger hotel.

Day 8 – Visit family – Vancouver, BC.  July 25, 2016

The Hilton Metrotown Vancouver is an official Destination Charger location, it has one HPWCs rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A, when we went to bed the previous night, just past midnight, I was already done charging, but there were no hotel parking spots available.  I decided to stay in situ. To alleviate any “EV-hole” behavior (or should I spell it behaviour since I’m now over the border, I parked close to the wall, unplugged our car, and put our EV Hangtag (designed by Jack Brown) with my contact information on the dash so that I can be contacted easily.  This way, in case someone needed me to move to use the HPWC, I can be reached.  Additionally, unplugging our car from it also provides ample reach for a second Model S or Model X to come in and take the spot next to me and charge quickly.


Luckily, no one did overnight, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.


We parked the car at 380km of range and lost 1km overnight.


Switching to miles, this shows 235 miles of range in the morning, flipping back to the picture from earlier in the morning that showed 236 miles of range. So, for the algorithm, I guess 1 km=1 mile… The vampire drain on this car during this trip has been strange, to say the least. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have enough range to drive around town several times in either kilometers or miles.

As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit with our relatives today and start it with a Dim Sum brunch. Vancouver, BC is one of the better places in the world to eat Dim Sum, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to go ahead and have some while in town. We did get up a few hours earlier than our scheduled meet up with relatives and decided to see if we can catch the Electra Meccanica location in downtown Vancouver.

Electra Meccanica had a functional test earlier in the summer that I followed over the Internet, but were unable to attend and I was hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this three wheeled EV at their location. So, we headed into downtown Vancouver to visit their storefront location.

On the way there, we spotted an i3.


Just in case you were having a hard time squinting on zooming in on the picture above, here’s one with the Zoom on.


Parking near Electra Meccanica was a breeze, we were able to get good and free street parking nearby.  As a Southern Californian, I always appreciate free parking.


Electra Meccanica has been showing off a Corbin Sparrow as the inspiration for their 3 wheeled EV and a bright, red one was parked outside of their storefront.


The picture rendering for the Solo, Electra Meccanica’s EV, can be seen on the sign. The Solo does not look as “fun” a design as the Corbin Sparrow, but thought to still go in to chat with the guys there.

Any Tesla fan or customer that has visited a Tesla store will recognize some similarities with the way that Electra Meccanica has set up its location in downtown Vancouver.

The chassis of the Solo on display is reminiscent of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X chassis that has adorned the Tesla stores in the Tesla sales network.


The railing that is pulled out on the chassis display demonstrates how the battery packs for the Solo will be installed in the finished product.


Not sure if they mean to have battery swap, or just for ease of maintenance or repair for the vehicle when needed.

The pictures on the chassis shows the same location for batteries when it is slid back in place.


The vehicle does not seem to have any DCFC capability and has its charging port in the rear of the tricycle.


There’s a merchandise wall that shows hats and T-shirts for folks that may wish to go ahead and pick some of those things up.


In the back is a roadster that Electra Meccanica’s sister-company, Intermeccanica, produces. Unfortunately it’s only available in ICE.



Too bad, that little car in an EV would be a contender.  Perhaps a successful Electra Meccanica can find a way to bring that ICE Roadster into an EV package.

Apparently we just missed the prototype that I wanted to see by thirty minutes.

Either way, my visit to Electra Meccanica was informative and I am excited to see these little things on the road. They may not be as “goofy” as the Corbin Sparrow, but feel that they can fit a niche. Besides at nearly $20k CAD/$16k USD, it’s a good deal for a nearly 100 mile range commuter EV.

After our visit to Electra Meccanica, we headed over to our relatives to pick them up and have them experience the ride in our Model S.  Our choice for Dim Sum is Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Richmond, BC.




Dim Sum is best experienced with many people so that the diners can order many different items. So. we gladly obliged.




The restaurant was located in a center called Aberdeen. Unlike others who may first think of Scotland or South Dakota, both of which ALSO come to mind for me… I always think of Hong Kong first when I hear Abderdeen, and our meal in Richmond, BC could easily have been experienced in Hong Kong. Albeit with a bill in CAD not HKD dollars.

As I previously mentioned, we had an issue with our windows having a hard time rolling back up at the border. Like many California Tesla owners, our car is tinted. During our border crossing into Canada yesterday, the Canadian border crossing agent asked us to roll our windows down so that he can peer into the back seat. Well, we were able to roll it down, but it was a struggle to roll the windows back up it took us a minute or two to get the windows up.  Additionally, as we mentioned, on the drive between Portland and Seattle, our wipers were skipping (we’ve been living in mostly drought weather, so we hardly ever use the wipers.) Though we were able to eventually roll up the back windows, we didn’t know what was going on with the wipers, we wanted to see if we can get a center to give it a quick look. We were headed to Granville Island with our relatives and it so happens that the new Tesla Service Center Plus that just opened is a short walk from our destination. So, we decided to head over and ask them to take a look at the car. We did not want to be stuck on the rest of our drive without operating back windows.

A Tesla Service Center Plus is basically a location that combines multiple features to the location, much like the one in Day 7 of last year’s journey in Lyndhurst/Cleveland, Ohio. This center combines the Sales, Service, and Delivery Center functions in one location. I don’t know if they also had an in-service center supercharger, but they at least had multiple functions at one location. What sets this center apart from the one in Ohio is that it was not located in a former auto dealership.





So, we stopped off and dropped the car off for their inspection and went to Granville Island.



It looks like this bike sharing thing is really taking off all over the world.



What was different in the Vancouver Bike Sharing stand is it looks like bike helmets are provided with each rented bike.  A good idea, but one that makes me wonder about the previous “bike wearer”…


We cross into Granville Island on foot.


Seeing the traffic that was stuck on this little island made me glad that we left the car at Tesla to be looked at and continued our walking tour of the island.


I think that sign means children at play (or perhaps watch out for the crazy pedestrian kicking a ball.)


At the edge of the island were these houseboats that would be better called mansionboats.



I’m not used to seeing two story houseboats.IMG_20160725_160825

There was an interesting industrial complex that was part working industrial complex and part art installation.



I don’t know who to commend for the absurdity of the piece, the Brazilian artist or the folks who commissioned him.

There were apparently a few more giants hiding.


There was also a kinetic piece that we captured a video of.


As we strolled on in Granville Island, my eagle eye spotted two unused EVSEs.


Those sure look like Chargepoints. Later in our trip, I would find out from Paul Carter, a Vancouver native (and head of the Tesla Owners Club of British Columbia) that these two locations are often used and to find them available was a rarity.



Now, produce when traveling within the country is pretty free to traverse borders (within limits, the State of Hawaii has agricultural checks at the airport and the State of California at all the land-crossings). However, traveling internationally is another story. As tempting as any of the fruit may be, one has to consider the fact that it must be consumed before crossing the border.

Meat and cheese are even harder to travel with.



Still, it was cool to look at.


Now, Maple Syrup would have been tempting, but I don’t really use it that much, or at all.



We heard back from Tesla a few hours after we started, but definitely enough time to experience Granville Island this Summer day.  So we headed back to pick up the car.


It would seem that the vaunted Service Center Plus in Toronto has a basic grade for the coffee service.


So, what was the problem with the car? We were told that the problem with the windows was tree sap and that the windshield had some “coating” on it that made the wipers skip. They did replace the wiper blade assembly and blades and were charged $72 CAD for the service and given our keys to take our vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t pulled up for us and we had to go searching for it in the garage.



Looks like some Washington State owners have their vehicles serviced in Vancouver.



Lots of nice cars at the lot, but it was time for us to head out.

Our next stop today was to see where the Olympic flame was kept at the city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.  As we mentioned before, we’ve been to Vancouver as tourists before and thought to just do some of the things that our relatives felt we should see, so we went with them.

At the center around the Olympic torch/cauldron, spotted a cute Canadian bear and a moose in a Mountie outfit.



Impressive building, it reminds me of the Denver International Airport Terminals.


I think these folks were either texting or looking for Pokemon.


At the convention center where the Olympic torch is kept, there was a sculpture called “The Drop.”


It’s meant to be a single drop of rain.


It was quite cool watching the cruise ships head off, probably to Alaska…


And the seaplanes land and take off…


Here is a video of a seaplane landing.


And around the corner is where the Olympic Flame resided in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.



It would probably be more impressive with snow around it and fire flickering… So, use your imagination.


In the distance my better half was able to take a picture of a cool Killer Whale sculpture.


and back to our car to head out.


On our way to our family’s home, we spot a funny pile-up.



During our drive around Vancouver, we kept spotting some weird stickers on vehicles. Turns out NEW drivers and STUDENT drivers in BC (not sure if it’s provincial or federal law) have to stick their respective stickers on their cars to let others know of their status. Here’s a New driver.


It’s a good idea, I wonder why we don’t implement it either in California or other states.

And, on the way back to their home, we see a properly snow capped mountain in the distance.


After a brief respite, our long day of sightseeing meant that it’s time for dinner.

We thought, why not test out the sushi in BC. Our cousin recommended Sushi Nordel, a local establishment that is an all you can eat sushi place that they like to go to, so we joined them for dinner there.  We weren’t that hungry, so we just ordered A la Carte.




I think they’re more of a “roll” place.




The sushi was good, not spectacular, but definitely a good deal and the company was what we really wanted from the dinner experience, so a good time was had by all.

After saying our goodbyes. We headed back to our hotel.


We got back at 11:00 PM and we’re headed to Reno starting tomorrow.



The kilometer numbers were big, but still not really processing, so I switch back to miles.



And it looks like we took a 106 mile day around Vancouver today.

Parked the car similarly to how I parked last night (to give some space for someone else to park with us.)



And I finally remembered to document the low ceiling… (and post my findings on Teslarati App (and website).)


Turned in for the night as we don’t know how far we want to drive tomorrow. All I know is I would like to at least make it to Portland in one day.  We hope to have meet-ups on the drive to Reno.

The next day of this series, Day 9, is available here.

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 –

National Drive Electric Week 2016 – Los Angeles

One of my favorite National Drive Electric Week events last year was the one in Los Angeles.  Mainly because almost all the EVs and PHEVs available on the market were represented by the OEMs for test drives at that event.

I was able to test drive the new, larger battery Nissan Leaf last year and we saw one of the early Bolt EVs at the same event.


So… I had high expectations for 2016.

The location for this event this year was at the same place as the previous year, so it was easy to find. (Interestingly enough, all three of the locations that I intend to visit this year are all being held in the same, exact location as 2015. This is also true of the Long Beach event that our Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (formerly OC Tesla Club) will be attending as a club on September 17, 2016.

The particular lawn on Expo Park that the event is located was just behind the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


We arrived just before 11:00 AM, about two hours after the event started.  As opposed to the Diamond Bar event where EV and PHEV drivers park separately from ICE vehicles, the LA event has OEMs provide the Ride and Drive event, so all public attendees have to park in the parking lots nearby.




We headed to the sign-in tent and got some giveaways from the organizers.


This year’s event did not seem to have as many people as the previous year’s event.


It was well attended by the car manufacturers.


The Bolt EV was there, alas, Chevy was only letting folks drive the new Volt.


One of the cool things that is at this carnival-like atmosphere were the creative games that some of the exhibitors allowed the public to play with, and I had a good time playing Chevy’s Plinko game. I ended up winning some “flip-flops” by pairing the token with its corresponding Chevy color.




Around the driveway where the ride and drive events were being held, was an interesting solar powered Level 2 charger.  I didn’t see anyone use these chargers, but it was cool to spot it.  It’s not permanently installed, so I’m sure it’s meant to be portable.


Looks like LAPD still kept the Tesla Motors Model S and BMW i3, but the i8 from last year was nowhere to be found.

We caught the vehicles with their lights flashing…



…about the only time I like to see the flashing lights.

I signed up to ride the Volve PHEV, the Volvo XC90 T8 as it was the ONLY one of the plug in cars that was available to test drive that I have not driven yet.  I went to the Volvo tent to fill out all the information to get a test drive.  The wait was a few minutes, but as my turn was up, the panel regarding EV Storytelling with Chris Paine, Dean Devlin, and Chelsea Sexton was about to start.  So, I paused my drive to go and listen to the panel.

I figured to stream the event, so I set it up my iPad for a Periscope session. (I also uploaded the same content on Youtube for those that prefer that.)




Volvo XC90 T8

So, how was the drive for the Volvo XC90 T8? Well…


It has a nice interior.




and the seats were comfy…



However, I never did get to experience it in EV mode. For the very short amount of time that I did drive it, the representative and the car wouldn’t let me experience it without the ICE engaged. So, it was quite disappointing.

I think Volvo has a lot to learn of why folks do drive events at National Drive Electric Week.

As a reward for doing a test drive, we got vouchers to get food from the food trucks at the event. We used ours for Border Grill and Coolhaus.



There were other choices there as well.


One of the interesting exhibitors at the event was and one of their Tesla Model X.



Had a good few minutes to talk to their representatives about their business and their plans to assist area commuters to swap their vanpools for clean EVs (such as the Model X.)

Additionally, the guys from Tesla Club LA had a tent at the event and had a few of their cars there.



(one of our OC members’, Jamie had his Black Roadster there (as well as at Diamond Bar, the previous day.)





One of the cool things about California National Drive Electric Week is to play “rare” EV spotting.

So, I did pretty good today. Saw a few RAV4EV (both first and second generation)



There was a Corbin Sparrow, front and center.


However, even more rare than the RAV4EV, possibly as rare as a Corbin Sparrow, is spotting a Coda Sedan…

…and we spotted one on the way back to our car.



That’s one rare EV.

Either way, we added today’s photos on the same Flickr album as yesterday’s Diamond Bar event.  Starts about 23 photos in…

National Drive Electric Week 2016

As I mentioned yesterday, 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.