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.



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


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


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.


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


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




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.


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


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


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.




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



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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


This demonstration was the first official view of the car.



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.


I do love the range though.


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


The Model X.


and finally the FF91.





Rather than provide stills…


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.



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.


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.



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


Finally, close up pictures of the FF91.








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


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.


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


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.

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 23

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the twenty-third in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 22, click here.

Day 23 – Drive on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Yesterday’s drive was fun and scary at the same time. We decided to head South on I-15 when we reach it rather than North and through a longer way back to Southern California. The question at the start of the day is where do we stop tonight?

There are many National Parks to visit in Utah and we got to the one that was top of my list. Mainly because I like to drive through this process and not necessarily get out of the car, I’m kind of funny that way. The only other place I wanted to drive through in Utah was Monument Valley. Unfortunately, we drove a different direction from that location when we left Moab and proceeded to stay the night in Richfield, a location several hundred miles away. It seems like the superchargers between Blanding, UT and Flagstaff, AZ would be a really hard stretch (251 miles per Google) and though the car on a max charge can do 255 miles, I didn’t want to backtrack to Moab and beyond. Additionally, I’m not sure as to the state of the three mobile providers that we have for that 251 Mile stretch (in case we needed to call for help.) We decided to abandon that area of the country for this trip.

We had a “fuzzy plan” of perhaps staying in Vegas for the night and just doing the “usual” Vegas things. Oh wait, Vegas is like “Fight Club,” after all, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”

Holiday Inn Express Richfield

Either way, after the fiasco of a stay that was the Omni Hotel Interlocken, we were glad to have had the comfort and consistency of the Holiday Inn Express. Though the hotel is considered a “limited service” class of hotel, their hospitality was top notch.

Additionally being a hosting site for the supercharger is a huge plus.

Unlike the “gentleman” we met at the Moab Best Western, we practiced “Best Practices” of parking our vehicle away from the supercharger stall when we’re not charging. Notice our Blue Model S, just by the entrance and the tree on the right, as it sat there waiting for us to move it to start the morning’s charge.


Richfield Supercharger

Colder weather in the UT desert. Notice the dashed yellow lines for power and regenerative braking. This means that supercharging will also be slower until the pack warms up.


We used 1.353 kWh to move the car to the supercharger stall, but we’ll get that back in a blink when we charge it.


The car firmly parked in the stall with our filled out Pluginamerica EV Card on the dash while I head back to the room to get ready for the drive ahead.  The speed limits in UT are 80 MPH and we have to travel about 160 miles to St. George as we figured to skip Beaver on this drive, so we range charged to full.


Must be early or folks are sleeping in. Relative to other hotels that we’ve stayed at on this trip, there are still a lot of people at the hotel when we got up.


No other cars were with us at the supercharger though.


So, I got back up to the room and here’s a picture of the car supercharging by itself.



Before heading out, we decided to pay closer attention to the condition of our car after yesterday’s drive.


You can see the effect of the wind on how the dirt is moved around.



We reached out to Mark Larsen, a fellow EV and Solar rEVolutionary to see if he can meet us today and were in luck.  Looks like our schedules match up and we can meet up. We were not able to meet up on the way East over three weeks ago.

We still get 255 miles on a range charge and we timed it so that we roll out when full. Though the Beaver, UT Supercharger is between Richfield and St. George, we opted to skip it as we have enough charge to get to Richfield, even with the insane Utah speed limits.





It’s interesting to continue to see snow in May.



The clouds today are not as threatening as yesterday’s clouds, but it still manages to block quite a bit of sunlight.  Rain is threatened today, but compared to what we had in the Rockies, we’re ready for anything.


As I mentioned earlier we definitely know that we’re in Utah, the speed limit is 80 MPH. (P85, P85+, P85D speedsters, the speed limits alone might be reason enough for you to visit Utah on a Tesla/supercharger powered roadtrip.)


My wife managed to capture a picture of the Beaver Supercharger as I was zooming by at 80 MPH. That’s pretty impressive.  We didn’t slow down and this was using the Optical Zoom on our digital camera as I was speeding by Beaver, UT.

Besides, we’ve already stopped off at all the superchargers on this route and made our entries in the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.


It didn’t look like anyone was supercharging there right now.  I wondered whether we should’ve stopped for a wash at the car wash that is supercharger adjacent in Beaver.

A nice sign for Beaver, UT.


It’s Sunday on a holiday weekend, so I don’t expect there to be any construction at these construction zones.


We spotted some smoke from the distance. I wonder whether these fires were “controlled” and what it was that they were burning if it was.



We spotted a bunch of cows on the side of the freeway.  The cattle on the side of the Utah road doesn’t seem to be as “free range” as the ones in the other states that we’ve passed through.  I often think of the Far Side comics as I pass by cows on the side of the freeway.  I wonder what they’re thinking.


What are they burning?  We spotted a second set of smoke and fires.




As we were getting closer to St. George, in Cedar City, UT, we spotted a strange sight on the side of the Freeway.

A lighthouse on the side of I-15.  Apparently, this is not the ONLY lighthouse in Utah off the side of I-15.  Because I was searching for the answer when I was researching this lighthouse and the first hit on the search was one North of Salt Lake City.  Here is what others have written about it. We just continued on, we had a meet-up in St. George to make.


Normally if one were to see 80 MPH on the speedometer, one could surmise that we were speeding.  Not so in Utah, besides we just hit 42,500 miles on the odometer there.  Not only were we going 80 MPH, our 30 mile average consumption was less than 200 Wh/mi.  That’s fast AND efficient.



Each state in the Union has a distinctive feel to its place.  We noticed that there seems to be a change with every state crossing that we’ve done.  And Southern Utah and these deep red hues speak of the St. George area for us.



Just North of St. George is a BIG Walmart distribution center when we originally passed it on Day 1 of our drive, I was impressed by it, but forgot to take a photograph.  I suppose when you operate one of the world’s largest retail establishment, you need really large distribution centers and I was impressed with the size of this location.  Traversing the freeway at 80 MPH we were still able to capture the center in three shots.



When we made the exit toward, St. George’s, we spot a really large D on the side of the hill.  We passed a “P”, a “C”, and some other letters.  Considering all the humor regarding the D launch event, figured to capture another D on our blog.


We arrived in St. George making the long trek across town to get to the oasis that is Starbucks and the Tesla Supercharger.  In contrast with the various other supercharger locations on this trip, the St. George location seems to be a ways off from the highway.  I suppose that Tesla had to find a willing participant to host the site and we’re glad that Starbucks and their landlord was good enough to oblige.

St. George Supercharger

Traveling at 80 MPH for most of the drive was fun, but I was more impressed with the 290 Wh/mi figure that we were able to sustain.  Even with some light rain on the drive.



Since the area around the Las Vegas Supercharger felt unsafe, we decided to get as much a charge as possible.  Besides, we were going to be meeting Mark Larsen in real life. So, we had pleasant EV company to discuss all things EV and Solar with.  Mark has done a great job creating and maintaining a graphic representation of EV sales through the years.


Aside from Twitter, Mark also writes on his own website.  Before the establishment of the Tesla Superchargers in St. George, Mark was one of the first people to share his plug on Plugshare to provide folks with a charge when they visit Utah.


Both Mark and I are big fans of the Transport Evolved, so it was nice for a couple of rEVolutionaries to meet up at the St. George Supercharger (my wife is taking the picture of the two of us.)


Another Model S from Riverside, CA pulled in during our meetup to get a charge and head back South. They were friendly enough, but we didn’t spend much time talking to them. They were up in the area playing golf and out for the holiday weekend.

After getting our charge and spending time with a fellow rEVolutionary, we headed off to Vegas.  At this point, we were planning on playing it by ear.  Hotel rates in Vegas were a little higher because of the holiday, but not too bad. Additionally, we wanted to see how we felt when we got there since we knew that traffic between Vegas and Southern California on Monday would probably be worse than the traffic today or on Tuesday.






The drive between Utah and Arizona is through a canyon pass that was under construction.  No active work being done on a Sunday during a holiday weekend, but the number of lanes was restricted.






We missed taking a photo of the Arizona State line, but we’re not missing the crossing into Nevada.


What is that mirage (not the Mirage, just a mirage) that we see?



It was strange to see Vegas from this view.  It’s not the angle we’re used to seeing on the drive from California.  We usually see the Strip first, but that’s because we approach it from the South.  We’re coming in from the North and we see Downtown Las Vegas first.


Under the auspices of “Whatever Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”  I can neither confirm nor deny any “gaming” activities that occurred between seeing Downtown Las Vegas and stopping off at the Las Vegas Supercharger.  But, between you and I, I was doing pretty well at the table that I sat in… If you know what I mean. 😉  However, not well enough to stay in Vegas for another couple of days.  We decided to head home.  We’ve been out for 23 days at this point and the allure of the “short” drive home from Vegas was overwhelming.

Las Vegas Supercharger

We could have made the drive to Primm Supercharger from where we were (it’s approximately 40 miles) but we decided to get an insurance charge.  After all, it was in the desert on our first day that we decided to charge often and charge lots.

We arrived at a near full house at the Las Vegas Supercharger.  We didn’t take a photograph of the charger stalls at this time because folks were all in their cars. We did notice that the car from Riverside that was charging beside us when we arrived was the same one that we met in St. George earlier in the day.  They lapped us, i.e. we left them charging when we left St. George.  We greeted them when they got out of their car to unplug from the supercharger as they prepared to leave.  Because of the heat many stay in their cars in Vegas and run their air conditioning while supercharging.

We had the detour, which I can neither confirm, nor deny, and now we met up with them again at the Las Vegas Supercharger.



Satisfied with our insurance charge, we skipped the famous Las Vegas Strip and headed to Primm.

However, my wife was able to take photographs of some of The Strip properties as we passed it from the freeway, The Mirage.


We skipped New York, New York.


We skipped The Excalibur.


And we skipped Luxor.  Though it’s pretty cool to have a pyramid in the shot.  I sent this photograph to my East Coast cousins telling them that I must’ve made a wrong turn somewhere (implying Egypt, of course.)


Primm Supercharger

And a short drive of about 40 miles later, we find ourselves at the border of Nevada and California at the Primm Superchargers.





There’s plenty to do at Primm while supercharging.  Aside from “gaming” there is a big outlet mall attached to the Primm Valley Resort and Casino.  We opted to do the activity which shall remain nameless.  Let me just say that we ended the “gaming” part of the trip with $0.77 in profit.  (Penny slot machines really do pay out in pennies.  Though you don’t get the coins anymore, it’s printed out on a claim ticket that you have to redeem at the casino cashier cage.)

It’s been a while, but my wife graciously offered to drive the leg back into California.  So, I accepted.  I’ve seen some of her photographs (as you have too as she’s been the main photographer for this blog) from the trip and I needed to ensure that I didn’t embarrass her.  So, I made sure to capture the state line photograph.  (Oh the pressure…)

I did a two device technique for the crossing back to California shot and was glad with both of them.



Up next is that huge solar farm at the border of California and Nevada that’s been in operation for a year or so.



Good for us California, but not good enough! Let’s get more! (I’m a Californian, I can complain about the progress.)

It’s my turn for the sunset pictures.  There are several more on Flickr, but these are the ones that I thought to share on the blog.



As we expected, the Sunday of a three day weekend usually shifts the traffic to Monday and the traffic this evening was quite moderate for this trip.



With all the newfound time that I found in being in the passenger seat, I start to do some photographic compositions of “The Moon and I”


or, just the moon.


Some more sunsets.  My theory on photography is akin to the theory of the thousand monkeys typing the works of Shakespeare.  A good composition “could happen” in volume.  That’s one of the great things about the exponentially cheaper cost of digital photography versus the last time I took a cross country trip and the photographs had to be shot on film (and the cost to develop, etc.)


Back then film was expensive.  Additionally, I was barely an adult, and still needing assistance from my mom.  Her rule with photographs was that there better be someone we “know” in the shot.  So, I wasn’t much for “nature” photography or anything like that.  So, boy am I glad that digital photography is now the norm.


I can do this picture in two shots that I am calling “Passing a Truck 1” and


“Passing a Truck 2”.  Yes, that’s the same truck.  I had a LOT of time to snap away, I’m not driving this leg, remember.



I was supposed to rest and nap, but I couldn’t.  I was having too much fun taking pictures.  And getting loopy as we got closer to home.


And just after sunset we reached the Barstow Supercharger.  Now, the handy-dandy navigation trip planner originally had us routing to the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger, but we know from experience that we can make it home on a full charge in Barstow, so we ignored the beta software again and just charged up.

Barstow Supercharger

We arrived in Barstow with plenty to spare and plenty of time to charge.



As we charged away at the site, another Model S pulled up to the hotel next door and was letting its passengers out for the night before he pulled into a couple of stalls over from us.

In the meantime, a new brown 70D pulled up on the newer stalls (not covered by the solar canopy.)  Since we haven’t seen that color before, I stepped out and introduced myself and my wife and had a pleasant conversation with the father and son that arrived in the 70D.  They were on a long Sunday drive that the son was using to convince his dad to go Tesla.  The son is a Service Concierge at the Palm Springs Tesla location and they took some back way to the supercharger from there.  We spent the time helping the son make the case for Tesla before we wished them well as they were on their way to dinner.  Here’s to hoping that the dad followed his son’s advice.

Long Beach, CA

We arrived in our home city just passed 11:00 PM and decided to counter our Atlantic Ocean view with a photo of the car by the Pacific.  We headed to Seal Beach for the beach parking lot shot, but it was too late and dark.  So, we opted for a Marina shot in Long Beach for our arrival night.



Besides, readers of previous days of this blog know what time it is when our shots are REALLY blurry. And after 23 days on the road, it is definitely time to get to sleep.

We were fairly efficient on the last leg from Barstow to Long Beach and more efficient than how we’ve been driving around home for the day (304 Wh/mi.)



After 23 days on the road. 25 other states visited. 8,245 miles. As varied an experience that we’ve had in our various hotels, it was great to once again sleep on our bed and be home.

We’re taking tomorrow off, it’s a Holiday after all, and publish our trip conclusions and such on Tuesday, three hours later than we’ve been publishing. So, come back and join us for that, will you?

As we’ve neared the end of this series of posts, after the post on Tuesday, I will be updating the blog somewhat randomly. So, if you’re interested in being notified, just subscribe to the blog (there’s a choice to do so in the sidebar) or follow me on Twitter, I tend to auto-tweet new posts there.

Go on to Lessons Learned.

23_Richfield to Long Beach

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 01

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the first in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

A few weeks prior to the start of our trip, a bunch of Teslas decided to get together at Ocean City, MD for the third annual Tesla Road Trip.  These folks were the same group that set out to debunk the controversial NY Times Supercharging hack job that was written early in the Model S launch.

We wanted to join them, but didn’t have the time to do so at their event. However, this was without much consternation and effort to plan a Coast-to-Coast U.S. Roundtrip.  This is the first in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Day 1 – Drive on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Aside from the pre-trip planning that I wrote about in the previous post there were some things we wanted to do and document before we leave home.

How clean the car is (because, we don’t expect it to stay that way throughout the trip)




And what the car statistics are… i.e.

The car’s mileage at departure is 34,697 miles and the Rated Range at 90% daily charge was 229 miles (didn’t do a Max charge for the start of the trip, but it has been around 254 to 255 miles the last time that we did.)  Additionally, our average consumption since the factory has gone back to 308 Wh per mile


Figured to also use the Trip meters on the car for additional logging. So, we logged that Trip A is used from the statistics since we picked up the car at the factory. We will reset Trip B and used that for the current daily totals. And the automated Since Last Charge is exactly that. Which means, plug it in for a few minutes, and that counter resets back to zero.


Additionally, we also were approached by our friends at to help with the beta version of the (now released) Teslarati App for the iPhone. Namely, help fill out the information for each spot as we get to it with hints. We committed to at least including a photograph for the site.

So, what is our route… Today? or in general? The answer is complicated. But, to map out scenarios, we used the EV Trip Planner website to help map out guidelines and what we could expect on this trip. So, we figured to use that as a draft and we plotted our trip.

So, to answer the question. The goal for the trip, at least in the immediate plan, was to make it to Grand Junction, CO for the evening. Furthermore, we wanted to be around Akron, OH by Friday, May 8, but felt confident that we could be there by Tuesday evening, so figured that we would go all the way to New Jersey and be back in Akron, OH by Friday and then head back to the East Coast on Sunday, May 10. Since we figured that all plans have to be flexible as to the situation, I only made two other hotel reservations after Grand Junction, CO.  They are, Sunday evening to be in Rapid City, SD and Madison, WI on Monday evening and not much else until we got on the road.

EV Trip Planner advised a stop at the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger, but we’ve done the drive to Las Vegas and back before (as Southern California residents often do) and decided to just charge to 90% and roll out around 9am.

Of course as we rolled out of home on our trip, we realized that May 2nd may not have been the best day to travel toward Las Vegas. There are a ton of sports going on this day.

1) The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight was going on in Vegas.
2) Game 7 of the first Round NBA series between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs
3) The Kentucky Derby

There may have been something else, but I forget. So, we rolled out anyway, with the expectation of traffic for these sporting events.


Barstow Supercharger.

So, approximately 124 miles later…


We’re in Barstow. Well, that was easy.

A few changes have happened in Barstow since we were last here.

1) The construction of the additional 4 Superchargers was completed.


2) The location now has a solar panel canopy over the original four stalls.



We arrived around 10:30 AM and Chili’s was closed until 11:00 AM.  Had to use the “facilities”, so I went to the Country Inn and Suites on the other side of the parking lot and they graciously let me use the “facilities”.


Since we were still on a familiar part of our trip, we figured that we would test out the “Beta” Navigation through superchargers option that was rolled out as part of the latest Over the Air (OTA) Firmware upgrade


One of the things it does is when you plug in, it gives you an estimate in time of how long to charge so that you get enough to continue your journey. Additionally, the latest version of the software also gives an estimate (while supercharging) of the time it will take to get to full.

With the latest release, the system will let you know when it thinks that you’re ready to go. It pops up with this message:


We didn’t unplug right away, we added a few more miles, of “just in case miles”.

While waiting at Barstow, we met this nice couple from Nevada on their way to California.  They made some recommendations on the route and we made a note of their advice. They had a nice white Model S with some Carbon Fiber wrap on it.



So, we rolled out toward Primm, NV with the recommended charge plus a small buffer and went merrily on our way.


Even R2-D2 was happy…


That is, until we saw the following message:


So, we thought… That’s not a good sign. So, we slowed down. Experts have noted that 62 miles per hour is the “ideal” mix of travel speed and “refuel” time to optimize time spent “moving forward” with “stopped and charging.” We were going a bit faster than that.

My wife, who was driving at the time, did what we do when we need to “eek out” those miles and found a slower moving, larger vehicle. (Now this was easier back when we drove the Active E, a LOT easier in the Roadster, not so much in a Model S.)  However, being the experienced EV driver that she is, we did fine.


So, she picked a few trailers, big rigs, and campers to get behind and the differential in what our expected State of Charge (SOC) on reaching Primm, NV will be. The nasty “slow down” message went away, but the feeling that it gave stayed behind. That is, until we hit some “traffic.”

We never did hit the “now” expected traffic for the “sports” day for Las Vegas betting, but between Baker and Primm, NV, there was some traffic and we crawled to a stop. Now the beta software wanted us to slow down, but we were STOPPED.



and we were operating with the margin that we added on top of the beta Navigation recommendations (plus a few miles that we added ourselves) so we did what any experienced EV users would do and lightened the accessory load on the car and turned off air conditioning, unplugged all devices and waited until the traffic cleared.

We passed the time by taking nice pictures out of the window.



(as well as re-thinking our initial plan of following the Beta software.) Part of me was wondering if our trip was over before it even began at this point. (not going to lie to you, it was tense in the car, my better half wanted to go with our “usual” buffer of at least 40 miles, if not more, and I wanted to give the Beta a “chance”.)

Needless to say, after this “experiment” we went back to our “regular” method of adding at least 40-60 miles to the range. (since we’re on vacation and decided to have the option to “go off trail” we upped this to 100 miles, where possible, i.e. where the range to the next SC is lesser than 155 miles away.)

The downhill ride toward Primm, NV had a lot of regeneration on it that we were gaining rated miles as we neared it.  Took some fun shots of the rather impressive Solar Farm that was built and activated recently at the California and Nevada borders.




Additionally, there were some folks that were enjoying the desert that fine Saturday. Now, if they used an EV to bring their land yachts/sand yachts then they could have been powered by all renewable energy. One could only hope. But considering the number of folks who bring ATVs, and the like, have to be thankful for those enjoying the desert with wind power instead.



Primm Supercharger

So, our next stop was at “the Border”.  Primm, NV has been a popular Southern California to Vegas or back stop for as long as I’ve been an “adult” and it’s gone through a bust to boom to bust cycle.  The superchargers are located in the edge of the parking lot near McDonald’s and the gas station.  There are a total of eight superchargers there and there are “lots” to do in the area.


The Primm Valley Casino and Resort has a factory outlet mall attached to it for those that do not feel like gambling or “gaming” as they call it.

Needless to say, with the challenge that we faced with the drive from Barstow and leaving with less than what we’re comfortable with, my wife had to be very efficient in her Model S drive, and as you can see, she was. Averaging 292 Wh per mile on a series of climbs and descents is pretty impressive.


As you can see, our 40 mile “regular” buffer would not have been enough.


So, this is where we decided to really just go ahead and up our buffer for this trip and not worry about it again. The algorithm that Tesla has created are for those that can follow the car and be as efficient as it wants them to be, but we’re not in a rush, and we’re on a vacation, for crying out loud.

Las Vegas Supercharger

The Las Vegas Supercharger is only 44 miles away from the Primm Supercharger. Not really worth a stop. But, when heading into Utah, and after our “experiment”, we both agreed to get a supercharge “security” charge in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Supercharger is in the middle of Downtown Las Vegas, in a “sketchy” part of town.



As “sketchy” as the location is, it is quite busy. But like superchargers in the LA area, there are a lot of folks getting charge here.


However, like in most urban superchargers, we all pretty much stayed in our cars and didn’t socialize with the other Model S charging at the location.


I was surprised to enter Arizona on the way to Utah, didn’t really think about it.  But get camera ready as the canyon passes in the 15 are very iconic West






St George Supercharger

So, the first supercharger stop outside of our “normal” range of travel is the supercharger in St. George, UT. This supercharger is different from others in that the location is deep within the city and further off the highway. Now, if we used the app from that we were beta testing or the fairly reliable plugshare app, it would’ve mentioned the Starbucks prominently, but we used the in-car navigation and it gets a little confusing to find superchargers in that way.

Regardless, we found the chargers.



I would advise those that are backing into these chargers to be wary, as the curb is a hazard and they really should put air suspension on “high” as one backs into the spots. Additionally, the Starbucks drive-through is in front of these chargers, so watch out for the curving curb of the drive-through.

You can see the curved Starbucks curve here.


This next shot is one of our favorite ones and have shared it on a few forums and Twitter. It’s as close to nature as we’ve been on the trip, so far. There’s a thread on called Model S Nature Pictures that I was hoping to post a few of our pictures in.


The Tesla beta navigation recommend a very limited stop, however, we recommend a longer one because you get 75- 80 mph speed limit on the drive to Beaver. The inclines feel steep and we’re pretty inefficient in wh use, but a lot of fun to go Zoom, if you ditch Tesla’s recommended charging pattern. Additionally, Utah has some of the highest speed limits and MANY motorists tend to go faster.

Beaver Supercharger

Now, the navigation had us going to Beaver next and skipping Richfield, but, we had a heck of a day so far, so decided to hit both. Boy, was I glad to. The Beaver Supercharger had a Dairy Queen and one of the first ones to have a car wash adjacent to it. So, if you feel like washing your car, this would be a good stop.


Trying to keep up with the speed limit at 80 mph, and a climb will yield a higher than normal average usage of 367 Wh per mile.


However, stopping at this location can reward the traveler with Dairy Queen Ice Cream…




What can I say? I haven’t had DQ in a while.

Richfield Supercharger

The next stop at Richfield has a brand new Holiday Inn Express at the location. We made a mental note of how friendly the staff was when I went inside to use the “facilities” and decided to swap driving duties at this location. The better half has been driving all day, and it’s my turn to drive.




581.5 miles of driving and the stress between Barstow and Primm, I got lucky with finding my wife and partner-in-crime. 😉

If we had not already booked a hotel in Grand Junction, CO I would’ve proposed that we stop at Richfield, UT. However, we had booked a hotel in Grand Junction, CO and pressed on.


Green River Supercharger

Now the next stop was a bit stressful because it was another of those locations that was difficult to find. Even harder in the dark. The four supercharging stations of the Green River UT Supercharger are in a dark parking lot of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum.


Another one of those locations that we had to use to find the location.

We arrived here around 2:00 AM and boy were we tired. I took a quick cat-nap while charging, while my wife stayed awake.


Doubletree Grand Junction CO

So, looking at our mileage and distance from our hotel, made us decide to drive directly to our hotel in Grand Junction for the evening.



The hotel looked like a beacon in the desert and we decided to stop for the night.


Parked the car with full 89 miles of range left and turned the car to full sleep mode (turned off the “always connected” option) as we turned in ourselves.

And the promise of “Doubletree cookies” at the end of this very, very long 808 mile day.

Go on to Day 2. Click here.

01_LB to Grand Junction

Vegas Baby, Vegas

In honor of Swingers… Vegas Baby, Vegas.

A week ago was a rite of passage for my EV ownership experience.  (Not that I’ve driven any longer than my first weekend with the Model S  that I wrote about on my blog a few months ago (start here).)   The first was our Model S just passed our Roadster for total miles on the odometer and the second is the somewhat of a Southern California driver tradition to “drive to Vegas” as a young adult.  The Sin City drive is one that a lot of my contemporaries did as they turned 21 and most still do.  As I’m not nearly as young as I have been, this was a trip I normally would have taken an airplane to, after all I’m about 300 miles from home to Las Vegas.

With some published reports of all these new chargers installed on the Las Vegas Strip coupled with hanging out with more environmentally conscious folks have provided me with a little bit of eco-conscience, so, I figured to try driving EV all the way to Vegas for this conference.  Besides’ there is nothing that convinces a Southern California driver more that a vehicle is a worthy one than a positive answer to the question “can I take the car to Vegas”.

Basically, yes… You can take it to Vegas, and refuel in Barstow (like most do). However, your “fuel” is free, courtesy of the Tesla Supercharger installed there. So, drove about 120 miles to Barstow with some wicked elevation changes that was the draining part on the battery.

Barstow supercharger pictures in a beautiful sunny day in the California desert.





The location in Barstow, was tough to find, it’s behind the Chili’s Restaurant and beside a hotel. So, if you arrive there during a meal service, pop in and have something to eat.

Since we did this drive during the day, we got to see the new Solar Plant that was installed on the California side of the border with Nevada. It’s a cool side-note to see the installation of this facility. The last time I did this drive was approximately two years ago and did not notice these plants the last time.



We arrived in Vegas after another 160 mile drive with even more wicked ascents (with consumption above 530 wh/mile) with corresponding descents that recovered some of the charge back with the regenerative braking.  My back of the napkin calculation had me lose about 30 miles of range on the ascent and recover about 10 miles on the regenerative braking.

The superchargers in Downtown Las Vegas was in a covered garage in a commercial part of the city.  No casinos close by, so saved money by not gambling.



Here are the stats for the LA to Vegas portion of the trip.


We decided to supercharge in Downtown Las Vegas because we arrived in town with only eighty miles on the tank and several days of Vampire Load ahead of us, figured to get some charge back into the car and let park the Model S unplugged at self parking.

On the first day of check in, I didn’t notice that I walked by a construction site that was installing two Chargepoint J1772 EVSEs at my hotel.  I was aware that Valet Parking had NEMA 14-50 outlets installed which are ideal for Tesla Roadsters and Model S to charge with (as well as any standard EV that decided to purchase a portable EVSE with this capability).  However, I decided to park in self parking when we first checked into the hotel.

On the second day, I had to get something from the car, and noticed the construction site  that I obliviously walked right beside the previous day and took some quick snapshots of the installation of some new Chargepoint CT-4023 dual head/single circuit 6.67kw shared J1772 chargers.




I remember reading about these new chargers from Chargepoint and this display clued me into the fact that these newer Chargepoint CT4000 series EVSEs split the power from 32A to 16A when both ports are used.   In my experience, the older dual head Chargepoints, the power is 30-32A to each port.


The next day, I decided to contact Aria Guest Services to see if I would be able to use the chargers and were told that I may.  On my way to move my Model S and plug in, I met with the Manager for High Voltage services (in their Facilities group) and was in charge of all the EV facilities for the resort and he mentioned that he had a lot of NEMA 14-50 installed in Valet Parking for EVs to use.   Most folks that pack their own NEMA 14-50 drive Teslas (Roadsters and Model S use the same port) or use the modified ones from Tony Williams (the JESLA) and now with the release of the Clipper Creek portable EVSEs, other EV drivers can as well.

Since I’m a geek, and more importantly an EV geek, I figured to provide some assistance with testing out these Chargepoint stations.  I first plugged into one of the units at full 30A draw and got GFCI a few minutes later.  I moved the vehicle and plugged into the other one, and got the same error.

I decided to do something that Teslas do well, but other EVs don’t seem to have readily available and drew down my Amperage request from less than what the pilot was sending.  I started the draw at 16A and the EVSE began to work.  It projected an eight hour charging session.  So, I decided to kick it up to 24A and that continued to work.  After I had successfully started the charge at 16A-24A, I did what any responsible EV driver should do and added the station on Plugshare.

After my last meeting, but before the end of my charge station, I decided that I’ve had enough of being in one resort for a few days that I took the car out to see the rest of Vegas for my third evening in town.  When I got back to the car I noticed that the car stopped charging and had a Red Fault on the unit and not just a soft GFCI fault (as was earlier) so I reported the fault to the Aria Facilities Manager.  I gave him my telephone number.  I also gave him as much detail as I could and went to the rest of the town.

One of my other stops in my Vegas trip was to have dinner at the Wynn Hotel and Casino because I figured that the food would be good.  Additionally, it was reported that the Wynn Valet would also charge any EV as long as it had a J1772 outlet.  Luckily the Model S has an adapter for this and I decided to try them out.  One of my favorite games to play with the Model S that the Active E didn’t do was collect “charging spots” on the Navigation.  The Model S will put a dot on your Navigation map in all the spots that the car has stopped to charge.  It also will store the profile of the type/speed of charge that it encountered at that location.  I wanted to populate my Model S visited chargers map with multiple locations in Las Vegas and the Wynn did not disappoint.  Though the chargers were J1772, they were full speed 40A ones that would help higher charge vehicles such as the Model S, Roadster, and 2nd Generation Toyota RAV 4 EVs.

While I was out and about in Las Vegas, the Aria Facilities Manager called and told me that both he and Chargepoint needed to do some further testing and repair of the J1772 chargers in Self Parking, and advised that I should use the Valet parking facilities instead.  On the wire side of the chargers, he was seeing some “noise” and needed to isolate and clear it so that the Chargepoint chargers would be fully operational.  Since we were leaving for home the next day, and wanted to maximize my charge, I did as he requested and parked the vehicle at Valet Parking.  The attendants at the Main Valet knew of the Model S and asked if I had my charging bag in the car and I replied affirmatively.  I didn’t actually park and charge the car myself, so I took screen shots of what my Tesla App showed.


After (Max charge ’cause we’re driving home on checkout)

Apparently the Valet Parking is directly underneath the main casino complex.

The last day of the conference was just a morning session, so around noon we left the resort and headed out of town.  Since this was a travel Wednesday, decided to take a slower pace home.  Stopped off at a few casinos that had no chargers (and thus won’t get a mention here) then made the “run to the border.”  Both Chargepoint and Plugshare identified a 30A charger at Whiskey Pete’s at Primm, NV.

It was a legacy CT2000 Series dual head J1772 charger at 30A a side with the B side as constantly reported as “failed.”  I was lucky enough to have been the only EV around, so I took the port and charged up the car for the drive home.


The irony of having a Chargepoint charger located right beside the gasoline (petrol) station was not lost on me, and I took this shot because it illustrated this best.


It was interesting to note that our rated range was within five miles of our home from the time that we left the border. Understanding the elevation changes ahead of us in our trip coupled with my lead foot we made the decision to stop at the Barstow Supercharger again.

The speed of the charge was enough for us to do a quick stop so that we can continue quickly.


I tweeted this picture commenting how nicely the darkness makes the Model S look a lot cleaner than it actually was.



Our stats at the return stop in Barstow.


We headed back home from Barstow and the descents were definitely more than the ascents on the way to Vegas.

Our ending stats for the entire trip.


So, the Southern California native typical question of “Can you take the car to Vegas?” is a resounding “YES!” and the fuel cost is $0.