Long-term Tesla Motors Battery Study from Plug in America

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

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

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

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

Our Mission

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

Our History

Plug In America is a coalition of early adopters. We’re the EV trailblazers – RAV4‐EV drivers, former lessees of Honda EV+, GM EV1, Ford Ranger and Ford Th!nk City electric cars – that passionately advocate for energy independence and clean air. Before 2008, we functioned as a loose network of individuals organized around various websites like dontcrush.com and saveEV1.com. We then coalesced into a chapter of the Electric Auto Association. On January 2, 2008, Plug In America became a separate California non‐profit corporation. On August 18, 2008, we became an official 501(c)(3) public charity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battery Survey - Model S Battery Capacity-Miles

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

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

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

Battery Survey - Model S Major Maintenance - Model Year

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

Battery Survey - Model S Survey Vehicles

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

Update to CHAdeMO Instructions and Review – Efacec and Greenlots Combo CHAdeMO/CCS

My original instructional post for using CHAdeMO only covered two different CHAdeMO chargers. The Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO chargers. Yesterday, I found a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger from Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) at the ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

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I first noticed the ARTIC from the side of the 57 freeway as I zoomed by on my way home. It is a strangely modern piece of architecture on the same exit as “the Pond” and Angel Stadium. As we passed it on that first drive and on every subsequent drive since then, my wife and I often wondered what it was. It looked like a Disneyland monorail station, except Disneyland was several miles away from the sporting venues in Anaheim.

In preparing to write this update on how to charge using the equipment at this location, I ran into several links about the site that was not very positive about this $189 Million Transit hub.  From OC Weekly when it first opened.  To an LA Times review a week later.  To an update on its operational challenges from the OC Register, half a year later.  Regardless of what the critics may say about this location.  Many of what used to be free to charge CHAdeMO L3 chargers have now been converted to paid use and it is comforting to still have options that currently do not charge for the privilege to charge at higher rates of speed.

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As mentioned, this particular DC Quick Charger is a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger. What this means is that there are two different “heads” to the Quick Charger, the CHAdeMO one which the Mitsubishi iMiEV , Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S (with an adapter) uses, and a CCS (AKA the “Frankenplug”.) The CCS one is what the BMW i3, Chevy Spark, and others use.

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The CHAdeMO is the one on the left and CCS is the one on the right.

In my original post, I had yet to use a CHAdeMO that has been converted to a pay system. During our trip to Vermont, we actually used a couple of Nissan CHAdeMOs that have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  However, we lucked out when the NRG eVgo CHAdeMO was still in its introductory free period.

In addition to an RFID Card, the Efacec system at ARTIC also uses the Greenlots App to initiate the charging session. However, there are a few strange things about this particular location. Though there are few Greenlots locations on the map, this particular one does not show up in it.

Since the system has two ports, there is a set of CHAdeMO and a set of CCS instructions.

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We’ll be following the CHAdeMO instructions.

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So, aside from downloading the App before charging at this location, I went ahead and followed most of the instructions and steps that I wrote in my original guide.

We pick up at Step 5, we still need to make sure to follow Step 4 and align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

So, on the Efacec L3 charger, it looks like this.

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Like the Nissan CHAdeMO adapter, make sure to pull the trigger on the Efacec CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter. Now, with these App initiated.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S. Here is the Efacec CHAdeMO pictured:

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It looks similar to how the Eaton sits on the Model S.  I use the cable to push the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter up so that the weight is on the CHAdeMO cable rather than pulling on the Model S port.

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Now where we differ from the original steps come in a new Step 7.  Now with this new step, all the other steps get pushed back one.

Step 7 is to authenticate with the charging network.  With this Greenlots App, I scanned the QR Code on the charger. If we had the RFID card, you just swipe it. Additionally, it seems that there is also a Credit Card reader built-in to the charger. However, since this location is free, I chose the QR code method.

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Step 8 is to start the charge. With the method I chose, the Greenlots App shows a virtual button to choose which port to initiate charge with. So, I started the charge for the CHAdeMO, which is on Port 1.

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Aside from starting it from the App, the charger still presents the user with a physical button to complete the charge initiation on the Efacec charger. The soft button on the upper right becomes a START button.

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Step 9 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you.  If you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment. On the display of the charger you will notice that the battery capacity and start of charge shows up.

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Green light on the Model S chargeport tells you that the car is charging.

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If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO. As opposed to the Eaton and Nissan chargers, the Efacec at this location was providing me with 152 to 156 miles per hour. I forgot to photograph the screen on the Model S, but I did take a photograph of the charger display before it completed.

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There is no estimate of how long the charging will take, but it does show the elapsed time charging, the amount of energy provided to the car and the car battery’s state of charge (SOC) percentage in real time.

The Greenlots app does a funny thing somewhere around the 30 minute mark, the app does not provide the status of the current charging session.  Before the 30 minute mark, it actually provides a snapshot of the charging session that is anywhere from most current status to as dated as a few minutes (it batch updates).  When it does provide this status, I believe that I saw it provide for a method to STOP charging from their app.  However, after the 30 minute mark, the session disappears from the app.  In order to stop the charging session, one needs to press any of the buttons on the charger directly.

Since no one was waiting, and I was just hanging out at the car, I figured to get it close to full.

Step 10 When done using the charger, press the STOP button

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When I press one of the buttons and the stop is displayed, the screen goes from black to white. I figured to wait until I got to 47 minutes of charging.

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Then press the Stop button (the upper left soft-key).

If you press that button the screen updates itself, first with the following “Ending Process message”.

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Then the charge ended by user message.

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Since I registered for an account, I actually receive an email and text message with the charging sessions statistics, cost, kWh, and time at charger.

From: “do-not-reply@greenlots.com”
To: {Me, the Happy Greenlots user}
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 5:18 PM
Subject: Unplug / Charging Ends

Your vehicle has stopped charging at 43100, ARTIC. You have used 29.61 kWh for 0 hour(s) 47 minute(s).

Billing Details

Sale Amount : 0.00 USD
Tax & Fee : 0.00 USD
Transaction Charge : 0.00 USD
Total Cost : 0.00 USD

Thank you
The Greenlots Team

Step 11 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

The Efacec CHAdeMO is similar to the Nissan charger in that there is a button on top to detach it from the Model S cable.

Step 12 Return the cable back to its proper location.

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Step 13 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.

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If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream. And if you’re looking for the instructions of the same things on a Nissan or Eaton Charger, here is the link to the original instructional post for using CHAdeMO that I wrote a few months back.

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Since this is a combo CHAdeMO/CCS station, I don’t know if it is one of those sites that only lets one car use the DCFC on EITHER the CHAdeMO or CCS OR if it is one that lets two cars use both at the same time. No one else showed up while I was there the 47 or so minutes at the site. The only other EV was a Leaf that was using the L2 J1772 stations that were next to the DCFC (pictured in the background below.)

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Something to see some other time. Seeing that many of the DCFC are available for at least $5 to initiate charge, I probably will only use this “in a pinch.”

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)

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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

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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.

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Additionally, we also were approached by our friends at teslarati.com 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.

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Barstow Supercharger.

So, approximately 124 miles later…

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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.

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

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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”.

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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

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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:

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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.

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

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Even R2-D2 was happy…

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That is, until we saw the following message:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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 teslarati.com 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.

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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.

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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 teslamotorsclub.com called Model S Nature Pictures that I was hoping to post a few of our pictures in.

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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.

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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.

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

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So…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Another one of those locations that we had to use plugshare.com 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.

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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.

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

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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

Range Anxiety? Not really…

Elon Musk’s tweet (“@elonmuskTesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety … via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet. March 15, 2015“) to end “range anxiety” which has since been deleted, had me thinking not about the disappointing announcements regarding the 6.2 software patches, but about when the last time was that I’ve actually experienced range anxiety.

I must admit that it’s been a while for me. We decided to move to Tesla Motors electric vehicles because we didn’t want to have to worry about range. Both the Model S and Roadster have a range of at least 170 miles. As for recharging, using DC Charging, the Model S can Supercharge at over 300 miles per hour or quick charge using CHAdeMO over 130 miles per hour. Over AC charging, our Model S can go up to 80A (or approximately 58-62 miles per hour) and the Roadster can go up to 70A (or approximately 56 miles per hour). That’s plenty fast recharging. Besides, if you charge overnight, it’s time you’re spending sleeping anyway.

When we first started our adventure with electric vehicles with the Active E, range anxiety was a byproduct of moving from a nearly limitless range to one where each full charge lasted 80-100 miles. However, it wasn’t long that I was making the statement that the range of the Active E was limitless, as long as you can get charge and have the time to wait for a charge.  If a charger was available, I plugged in, even at 110V when no L2 was available.

It was not uncommon for me to do 140 mile days in the Active E. It required charging at multiple places, but L2 at 6.6 kW and later at 5.2 kW is not exactly speedy, but it isn’t slow either, at least at the time. Now that I’m used to Supercharging, quick charging, 40 Amp/10kW charging over a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 connector, it seems that approximately 20 miles per hour seems so slow. Public charging in 2012 was fairly plentiful and easy to use in Southern California. Rarely did I have to wait, and most of the places that I found to charge at Level 2 were relatively free. Things became relatively harder at 2013. One could say that projecting the pending difficulty in obtaining public charging with shorter range electric vehicles definitely helped contribute to the decision to get Tesla Motors vehicles.

So, Range Anxiety with the Model S? Not really. One of the first things that I did when we first got our Model S and Roadster were to get some of the available charging adapters. Aside from J1772, we got adapters for NEMA 6-50 as well as NEMA 14-50. so that we could charge the car at up to 40A. Though the Model S (with dual chargers) and Roadster can go to 80A and 70A J1772 if presented with that speed. Plus, as I recently wrote, I just got CHAdeMO for our Model S, that’s a really respectable 130 miles per hour.

Which brings me to hyper-miling and Elon’s announcement.

Hyper-miling is a skill that I learned about and learned to do when I first got the Active E. Getting the most miles per kWh was the goal (or consuming the least wH per mile as is the measure on the Model S, which I’ve measured at 307 wH per mile recently). In a nutshell, hyper-miling involves driving at a constant speed, or motor use and using larger vehicles, trucks, etc. ahead of you to lower the wind resistance that impacts your vehicle.  With the Active E and the size of the 1-series that it was adapted from, it was relatively easy to find vehicles that are “larger” than it to “drift” behind and it was noticeable to see the miles per kWh climb.  I’ve even hit a respectable 5.0 kWh (200 Wh per mile) on the Active E, as heavy as it is.

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My most recent trip to San Diego from Los Angeles County gave me a long time to ponder this thought and put a few things to test with the Model S. Since moving to the Model S, I really haven’t given hyper-miling any further thought. Until now.

As more Model S roll off the factory floor in 2015 with Adaptive Cruise Control or Autopilot, I’ve been intrigued with the ability to set the number of car-lengths to the vehicle ahead of you (pictured below from a loaner I had driven a few weeks ago.) Figuring that such a feature really lends itself to hyper-miling.

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However, a more fundamental question presented itself to me. Can I even hyper-mile a Model S? So, during this same trip to San Diego, I followed a smaller delivery truck that was the ideal candidate for my test.

I started the drive making note of my average 30 mile consumption that is constantly graphed on my dash (as a preference that I’ve set.) See the example below.

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After getting my base (which, I did not record on photographs) I was in flowing traffic of around 75 mph at this point.

I decided to see what the effect was if I implememented hyper-miling techniques behind smaller vehicles. As predicted, it didn’t really help much. Too much of the wind resistance was not cut-down by the smaller vehicles.

Which leads me to try the test with the aforementioned small truck. I decided to pace the vehicle for about five miles and my average Wh per mile consumption during that period dropped at least 20 Wh per mile at a driving speed that was constant with the speed I was following smaller vehicles with.  Is that a lot?  Well, every bit counts and this was for five miles.

Physics doesn’t change, it’s just more difficult to find candidate vehicles to drift behind in a Model S. Next time, I’ll see if I can recreate the test using a loaner with Adaptive Cruise Control to see if I’m better than or if the Autopilot is at trying to hyper-mile. Granted, I have yet to set ACC at less than 2 car lengths for any distance, but that’s what I’ll have to do.

Oh and Range Anxiety, not really… I did that San Diego trip and back (220 miles RT) with no anxiety.

CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S charging adapter – Instructions and Review

A little over a year ago, I put my name on the waitlist for the CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S adapter. At the time, I was unsure whether I would need it or want it, but thought it would be good to get the option. At the time, Tesla wanted around $1,000 for the adapter, and it was very pricey. I figured that I could always turn it down when my number came up.

Well… Something happened between then and now.

Tesla dropped the price and my number was called. So… We said, “what the heck.”

Tesla does such a great job with the packaging for their accessories:

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Tesla’s instructions are elegantly presented in the following pictograph:

CHAdeMO to Model S Instruction

Being a technical person, I found these pictographs to be well done and quite easy to follow. Now, I’m unsure whether they’re great fro non-technical people, but between this pictograph and the one provided for the Premium Rear Console, I have to tip my hat off to Tesla for providing very easy to follow instructions.

Step 1 is to order the product on the website.  Be aware that (at least in the United States) there is a waitlist (as of March 23, 2015).  When your number is called, you have to make the decision whether to order it or not.

Step 2 is to receive the box

Step 3 is to open the box, it’s nicely packed with the pictograph instructions above.

So, how do we use the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter? Well, it depends on which CHAdeMO L3 Charger you’re using.  I chose to try the adapter with an Eaton CHAdeMO charger and a Nissan CHAdeMO charger because the two locations that I identified currently provide the charging without a fee.  Many of the Nissan CHAdeMOs have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  I have not yet used one of these.

Step 4 Attach the CHAdeMO cable from the L3 charger to the Adapter.

Make sure to align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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[Update as of 2015-07-15, wrote a post for the Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) that forks off the instructions from here.]

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Seat the Eaton CHAdeMO to the Adapter and make sure that it is secure.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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make sure to pull the trigger on the Nissan CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 7 is to press start on the CHAdeMO Charger to initiate the charge.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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It’s the blue START button, I forgot to take a picture of me pressing the button.

Step 8 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you. Better yet, if you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would also recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment.

If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:

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From the Eaton CHAdeMO’s display:

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One of the things that you will notice that is different between the Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO station is that the Eaton provides an estimate of how long the charge will take to full. The Nissan one that I have found do not do the same.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:

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From the Nissan CHAdeMO’s display:

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Step 9 When done using the charger, press the STOP button

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 10 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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[I don’t remember if there was a button, but some of them do… press that to release.]

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

Step 10A Slide the Grey lock away from the handle

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Step 10B Press the black button on “top” of the CHAdeMO cable. Make sure to be ready to catch the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

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Step 11 Return the cable back to its proper location.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured

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Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

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Step 12 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.

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If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream.

So, is the adapter worth $1,000? I probably wouldn’t have bought it for that much. However, since they dropped the price to $450, it came down to a price that is less than Henry Sharp’s CAN Adapters for the Roadster.

How useful is it? Well, on a recent trip to San Diego, I found a Nissan dealership (Pacific Nissan in Mission Bay) that allowed me to use their CHAdeMO. This is useful as Tesla has not completed the build out of the Supercharger down to San Diego. The nearest one is the San Juan Capistrano, one that is reported to be very busy with the seven SC stalls at the location.

Thanks for the quick charge @PacificNissan, you're a credit to the #EV community.  Letting a @TeslaMotors Model S charge!

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It was quite useful since I arrived in the Mission Bay area about thirty minutes earlier than I expected to. I’m not sure how often I will need to use the adapter, but at $450, it was at a price point that is intriguing. The product is well-built, well documented, and works. Charging adapters are priceless when you need them in an emergency. There’s nothing more embarrassing than running out of charge.

Elon may think that the recently announced 6.2 firmware will end range anxiety, but I find the ability to charge at any rate is comforting. Even 110V at 3 miles per hour could work, in a pinch. But 130+ miles an hour over CHAdeMO is a bit better than 3 miles per hour.

Just lucky, I guess…

In some cultures, the number 8 is very lucky…

So, I feel fortunate to come closest to 88,888 on my Active E by posting 38,888 miles…

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Went furniture shopping this weekend and used our inverse Active E (known as a BMW X5) and that’s up to 123,456 miles. Considering I recently killed its battery, I have to remind myself to drive some ICE. Used to drive this car all the time and after 12 years, it’s finally becoming a fairly “low-mileage” 123,456 mile vehicle. Used to average approximately 15-20,000 miles a year, and it’s really been relegated to occasional use (up to the mountains to ski or to Costco/haul large items) since then.

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On the Active E front… Got really lucky getting home with 2 miles left.

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I normally back up to park, however, thought I could head in and charge… That didn’t help, so nervously backed up and re-parked (and lost one more percentage point on the state of charge and mile)

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It is better to be lucky than good…

Election Night!

I am an Electronut!

After an evening of showing election maps and their various red and blue states for the Presidential election, instead of focusing on the outcome, it made me think of one of my favorite ActiveE websites…

I am, of course, talking about, the website that is tracking the mileage of FB connected ActiveE Electronuts

Looks like Tom is still a TON of miles ahead of me, but this is definitely the map that I am obsessed with tonight…

So, I figured to publish the spreadsheet of my mileage.  It would seem that I am one of the leaders in the West… As I am driving to get to my 20k mile appointment Monday, November 12, 2012, I continue to hope that the service will be a quick one and I will get back on the road soon after.

PS: Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election and to Governor Romney for a hard fought battle.  It is always impressive that for most of our country’s existence this change of power has been mostly bloodless (yes, I understand that the Civil War was fought, and it was not the direct result of an election result, however, it DID split the country.)