Drivetrain failure on a P85D loaner and a temporary solution

So, we brought my better half’s Roadster in for its annual service .  Since we scheduled our service a while back, we were able to request and receive a loaner. Our first loaner was a regular P85 and it was a nice ride.  However, while the Roadster was in for service, the guys at the service center found an issue when the car was headed back to us after completion of the service.

Roadster parts and service is a little bit more of a challenge to Tesla than Model S service.  The issue with the car is still ongoing and the fault has been isolated.  In the meantime, the loaner will be with us a little longer than expected.  Having never experienced Autopilot as a driver, I requested a swap out of loaners to an AP enabled one, should the service center be able to accommodate.  A while after the request, and about a week after we’ve been driving a standard classic Model S P85, we got word from the service center that an AP enabled Model S was available for a swap, so I hurried down to the Service Center to swap out the P85 loaner for a P85D loaner.

IMG_20160927_150103

IMG_20160927_143622

IMG_20160927_150111

Not a Ludicrous P90D, but still insane.

IMG_20160927_150744

So, aside from auto pilot, we also got Insane.  I’ve been through a few Insane launches previously, so I didn’t really care to try that again.  One of the things that struck me with this Model S is the upgraded TPMS system that these newer Model S has.  Older Model S TPMS did not indicate the status of each individual tire pressure.  The Roadster does, but early Model S did not.

IMG_20160930_123949

The car had firmware 7.1.

IMG_20160930_124003

One of the best tests for Autopilot is in stop and go traffic and you can see this loaner handling that fine.

IMG_20161005_112454

Speeding up when the traffic ahead starts to move faster.

IMG_20161005_112445

We took it out for the weekend.  Both the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (meetup, TMC, or Twitter) and Los Angeles (website or Twitter) decided to go Apple Picking in Yucaipa.  We figured it would be a great way to try out the autonomous features and get some experience with Auto Pilot since none of our current Tesla cars have it.  We met at the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger and left for the Apple Farm from there.

IMG_3442

IMG_3445

IMG_3446

IMG_3447

IMG_3449

The caravan was fun, but we were in the back, and the group ahead of us got there a lot sooner than we did.

Here we are at the Apple Farm with the group.

IMG_3450

It was a great long trip to Rancho Cucamonga and Yucaipa.  The car performed admirably and I still was not as comfortable as others with the Auto Pilot.  It worked great, but I’m just too much of a control freak.  The car seems to sit closer to the right side of the lane than I do.  Either way, there’s a lot of coverage on AP and now that 8.0 is released and AP 2.0 is getting produced, I’m not adding anything to further the pro or con case for AutoPilot 1.0.

However, I can give some hints on what can be done should you encounter some trouble.  This is not an all-inclusive list, just a story of what happened to us and how we temporarily resolved it.

A few days after our club trip for Apple Picking.  Something distressing happened.  The drivetrain failed.   We were doing some errands locally.  I was making a left and had the PRND status on the driver dashboard go red, that was strange, so, I put the car on park, and the PRND status went to P.  I then switched back to D and it engaged.  Figured that this was a weird event, we decided to head home and swap cars.

Five minutes later, we were at a stop and the PRND status went red again.  Once again, I didn’t get a picture of the failure because of traffic.  Unfortunately for us, we were in Pacific Coast Highway at a stoplight.  Now this is a very busy road, and we were a little stressed at the speeds that people behind us were traveling before the stop.  We called Tesla Roadside Service to see what was going on.  Their solution was to send a tow truck to pick us up.  However, we were stalled in the middle of the street.  So, we called our service center and were advised to reset the car.  Now, it was too dangerous to get out of the car to do this.  Turning the car off would have turned off our hazard lights.

The service center had a novel and ingenious way of restarting the car to see if the car can fix itself.  While parked.  Brace yourself so that you can raise yourself off the seat.  Open and close the door quickly.  What this does is reset the vehicle.  The car went off and then turned back on.  Guess what.  It worked.  The drive train was able to be re-engaged.  We were a few minutes from home and were happy to get home unscathed.

Called Tesla back to redirect the tow to our home.

IMG_20161010_161505

As with any Tesla, the car needs to be towed by a flat bed.

IMG_20161010_162026

IMG_20161010_161505

IMG_20161010_162026

IMG_20161010_162030

It was an afternoon in Southern California, during Rush Hour…  So, we spoke with the service center and they were able to get us a replacement loaner.  No auto pilot, but a nice Silver P85.  Here is the P85D getting towed.

IMG_20161010_172148

IMG_20161010_172150

This loaner has the built in center console and I used to want one.  Now, I’m sure I prefer to have the open space.

IMG_20161010_174827

Bottom line is, the car is great, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where the drive train won’t engage.  Try a few things.

1) Put it in Park. (and then switch it back to gear.  This worked ONCE and wouldn’t again.)

2) Step out of the car and step back in. (or make it think that you do by lifting your bum off the seat, then open and then close the door.)  Car will go “off”. Then start the car as normal.

Hope that helps.

National Drive Electric Week 2016 – Santa Monica, Long Beach, and a wrap-up

I usually attend two or three of the National Drive Electric Week (formerly National Plug In Day) events a year. I’ve always found them to be fun and key to confirming me as a member of the rEVolution.

This past year’s events in Diamond Bar and Los Angeles were published on this blog pretty much as it happened.  I wanted to cover the other two events that I attended in the same manner, but also wanted to share our Long Way Round Trip with readers two months from when the trip happened (and, intentionally, as a way to celebrate National Drive Electric Week.)  The trip won out and so, here we are with Santa Monica and Long Beach coverage weeks later.

Santa Monica, September 16, 2016

The Santa Monica NDEW2016 event was held on Friday and Saturday (September 16-17, 2016) in conjunction with Alt Car Expo.  I actually went to Santa Monica to attend Alt Car Expo, and was pleasantly surprised by the NDEW2016 event that was being held at the same time.

Drove to Santa Monica in the better half’s Roadster.  We’ve been having some challenges with its charging and I wanted to test the car and see if it faults with the chargers at the parking lot in Santa Monica.  Luckily (and yet frustratingly), for the test, it did not.

IMG_20160916_083559

Untitled

The City of Santa Monica is one of the most EV friendly cities and many of the municipal lots have free charging and the one at the civic center is no exception.  Additionally, these Level 2 chargers were also powered by a solar carport.

IMG_0476.JPG

At 30A, charging was going to take a while, but I’m here for the whole day, so I put my contact information on the EV Hangtag, checked into Plugshare and gave a status on when I expect to be done with charging, and went inside to the Alt Car Expo conference.

IMG_20160916_092155

The NDEW part of the conference was set up in a cordoned off section of the parking lot.

IMG_20160916_144529

The check in table for the Alt Car Expo was apparently where one also signs up for the Ride & Drive portion.  Something which I did not fill up at the time, and turns out, I should’ve.

IMG_20160916_144603

The Santa Monica set-up was a mix between EV owners and drivers demonstrating their EVs to the public (no Ride and Drive.)

IMG_20160916_144612

The Coda Sedan that was at the site was owned by the same gentleman who owns and operates several Codas and Coda gliders. In talking with the owner, it turns out that he was the same Coda that I spotted at the Los Angeles event as well.

IMG_20160916_144621

The Corbin Sparrow that was at Santa Monica is also the same exact one that was in the Los Angeles event.  I guess, I’m not the only EVangelist who enjoys talking EVs with the public.

IMG_20160916_144624

At this location, only the car manufacturers were the only ones providing Ride and Drive events at this location. The participating vehicles were more than just BEVs, there were several hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well.

IMG_20160916_150451

The Honda Clarity,

IMG_20160916_150456

the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell,

IMG_20160916_150502

and the Toyota Mirai was there too.

IMG_20160916_150613

I was surprised to spot a Diesel Volkswagen at the site, it was part of the Zipcar car-sharing program and I suppose that Alt Car considers this to be an acceptable solution.  I’m not too keen on any more diesel vehicles.

IMG_20160916_150513

Personally, I think the service from Waivecar.com is a better candidate as it provides car sharing AND an EV (Chevy Spark EVs, to be precise) for no cost for the first two hours is quite an amazing deal.

IMG_20160916_150528

There were other exhibitors here as well.

IMG_20160916_150507

It looks like the same Chevy Bolt EV that was in Portland for EV Roadmap 9 was in Santa Monica as well.

IMG_20160916_150642

The only plug-in that was at the site that I have yet to drive was the Audi A3 E-Tron.  Unfortunately, I did not sign up for the Ride and Drive portion of the event in front, and I wasn’t that thrilled to drive a plug-in hybrid anyway, so I skipped it.  I spent the time at the event talking to and catching up with EV friends and decided to pass on the evening reception for the conference.

Leaving Santa Monica during rush hour is often an exercise in futility.  I decided to take some surface streets South through Venice.  Had an interesting sighting on my drive.  I spotted some manufacturer cars being driven around.   Unfortunately they were not EVs, but still a thrill to spot these camouflaged vehicles on the road.  I’m guessing its a new BMW 7 series, but could be a 5 series, I suppose.

IMG_0485.JPG

IMG_0481.JPG

IMG_0482.JPG

Hard to see, but click and zoom in on the rearview mirror. Can’t mistake the “kidney beans” on the front grill.

Untitled

I know that BMW is working on further electrification, but it would have been cool to spot a new EV on the road.

Long Beach, September 17, 2016

The following day, Saturday, September 17, I attended the NDEW gathering in Long Beach, CA.  This event was the closest to the traditional NDEW events that I have attended in the past. This one had less manufacturer involvement in it and more public-facing event. It was more traditional in that we were welcomed by some politicians and spent the time just “hanging out” and talking to folks.

NDEW2016 - MF - 1

There were a lot of Teslas at this event because the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County had identified this particular NDEW for its annual NDEW event.

IMG_3329

IMG_3330

IMG_3332

All manners of Teslas were represented.

IMG_3333

IMG_3334

The red roadster was for sale and is VIN #5.

Of course the Falcon Wing Doors have to go up with the Model X in the crowd.

IMG_3347

It is the latest Tesla around.

and we had three Roadsters at this event.

IMG_3348

There was representation from members of the EV community as well.

From other vehicles like the Zero Motorcycle and Smart ED.

IMG_20160917_105626

IMG_3350

To several Leafs and a Porsche 912 conversion that gets around 150 miles.

IMG_20160917_105738

IMG_3354

NDEW2016 - MF - 2

NDEW2016 - MF - 3

NDEW2016 - MF - 4

There was a Fiat 500e and a Coda (same owner as was in Santa Monica the previous day and Los Angeles the previous week.)

IMG_3355

Even the Honda Fit EV made an appearance.  Three times, to be exact.

IMG_20160917_105723

I don’t believe many of the Tesla owners allowed the public to take a drive in their vehicle.  The owner for the Red Roadster #5 did take a few interested parties out in that car, then again she was also taking the opportunity to see if anyone wanted to buy her car.

The other manufacturer’s car was different.  I saw a few take rides in the converted Porsche and I believe one of the Leafs took a drive around.

IMG_3336

IMG_3337

Conclusion

Around Southern California, National Drive Electric Week is celebrated in many places and some get a lot of car manufacturer support, whereas others are sparsely attended by the manufacturers. It’s great to see all the participation in these events and I hope that more and more and convinced to go electric as a result of attending these EVents.  As for letting folks drive our EVs, I was a lot more forgiving when I drove the Active E for this event, but when we moved to the Tesla, not so much.  Besides, in California, Tesla does a great job providing folks with a nice long drive at their retail locations. Some of the events seem well attended, whereas others are more sparse. The one in Diamond Bar was much better this year, but the Los Angeles one seemed to have less people. Either way, I hope that we’ve convinced more people to go electric.

I often look forward to September because of this week and am looking forward to when it becomes every day that we celebrate Drive Electric Days.

Home Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New BMW ActiveE first night at home 2/23. 5

New BMW ActiveE first night at home 2/23. 4

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

Visiting family with our new @BMWActiveE and using the included Level 1 charger stretched to the limit!

Needless to say, that got old FAST…

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

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

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

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

CT500 EVSE Install 1

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

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

CT500 EVSE Install 5

Untitled

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

IMG_1044

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

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

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

Untitled

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

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

IMG_7426

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

IMG_7425

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

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

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

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

IMG_5007

IMG_5008

IMG_5009

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

Here is that outlet without the Roadster plugged into it.

IMG_7427

IMG_7428

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

IMG_5010

IMG_5011

IMG_5012

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

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

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

IMG_5394

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

IMG_5395

IMG_5396

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

Looks like the Family is complete... we can start Thanksgiving lunch! (3 EVs in our garage/driveway)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_20160921_173153

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

IMG_20160921_173212

Unboxing the HPWC…

IMG_20160921_173233

IMG_20160921_173237

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

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

IMG_1205.JPG

IMG_1211.JPG

IMG_1206.JPG

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

IMG_1209.JPG

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

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

IMG_0492.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

The Long Way Round – Day 09

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

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 8 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

The main reason for staying on this route is we are trying to meetup with many fellow EV folks who reached out but were unable to get together during the Northbound journey.

Day 9 – Vancouver, BC Southbound to as far as we can..  July 26, 2016

We got a good night’s sleep and fully charged at our hotel before we rolled out.

Had $30 CAD left in my pocket, and since we’re not planning on being in Canada anytime in the near future, decided to go ahead and apply this cash to our hotel balance.

As I was settling up, it looks like another Model S was just moving in.  Perhaps a single HPWC is all this location needs for now.  I do believe that they just need a little more parking spots dedicated to the hotel.  I’m quite aware that many EV travelers will need to be more cognizant of fellow EV travelers and make accommodations for folks to share a single HPWC.  This means that they should be ready to move their vehicles when done charging (a good plan) or to at least provide their contact information if unable to do so easily (or both, an even better plan.)

IMG_20160726_092436

IMG_20160726_092711

IMG_20160726_092715

IMG_20160726_092725

Our range charge at start of today is at 252 miles, nearly the maximum that the car displays when fully charged.

IMG_20160726_092729

And with that starting charge, we’re headed back to the United States… Same route, but hope to catch up with friends (and perhaps some Pokemon) along the way.

IMG_2347

IMG_2348

We make the border in rather quick time.

IMG_2349

We opted to cross the border at the “touristy” crossing again.  We got there around 10:00 AM.

IMG_2350

IMG_2351

IMG_2352

There were lines again, but it felt like it was moving faster.

IMG_20160726_100832

IMG_20160726_101108

IMG_20160726_101109

After all, we’re traveling in miles again! 😉

IMG_20160726_101114

IMG_20160726_101117

IMG_20160726_101121

Somehow it feels like we’re traveling 1.6x faster on miles than we are in Kilometers!

IMG_20160726_101508

This interesting sculpture was installed just behind the border crossing.

IMG_2356

In all seriousness, the crossing back to the United States took about 35 minutes. That is quicker than the crossing into Canada.  Additionally, our rear windows did roll back up unimpeded.

We headed back to Washington State and were accompanied by a famous VW Bug.  It’s an ICE, but with Herbie, the Love Bug striping, I can forgive it a little.

IMG_2359

Not that we needed a charge, but I did need to make a pit stop and were surprised to be greeted by a couple of friends.

IMG_20160726_104321

Some free to use Aerovironment EVSEs at the first rest stop from Canada to Washington on I-5.

IMG_20160726_104326

And it was sponsored by our good friends at Adopt-A-Charger!  I already feel at home.

IMG_20160726_104333

IMG_20160726_104341

Earlier on our trip, I wrote about my better half’s quest to document the “logging industry life-cycle.”   She took some photographs of cut trees on trucks as step one.  We figure that these pictures of nicely cut lumber is step two of this cycle.

IMG_2361

And we continue our Southbound journey through Washington.

IMG_2365

And quickly  make it to our first supercharger stop of the day at Burlington, WA.

IMG_20160726_115026

IMG_20160726_115029

IMG_20160726_115035

IMG_20160726_115148

IMG_20160726_115152

We had several potential meetups on the drive South, some of whom unfortunately were busy on a Tuesday to meet up, so we ended up missing them on this trip.  One that was able to meet up was Tony Giannini and his wife Vanessa.  Tony and Vanessa both drive Model X and were gracious enough to offer their HPWC for a charge and chat on the way down.  Since we’re pretty well stocked on electrons around their part of Washington state, we just figured to stop off for a snack and chat instead.

Tony and I have exchanged twitter conversations on many things Tesla and T-Mobile (my preferred mobile provider since Voicestream did the bandwidth swap with Cingular and enterred the California market as T-Mobile) and were delighted to take them up on their offer.  Besides…  They said DONUTS.  And who am I to turn THAT down!

They directed us to Top Pot Doughnuts and coffee and we met up with them and their kids.

IMG_20160726_134456

The donut choices were excellent and the conversation was even better.

IMG_20160726_134053

IMG_20160726_143814

As is customary on these EV meetups, we checked out their car. (They brought one of their Model X)

IMG_20160726_143504

IMG_20160726_143542

Here’s a great shot of us with the cars.

IMG_2372

We could have spent more time with them, but had to cut it short because we had the goal to be past Portland tonight and had tentatively scheduled some time to possibly meet some of the other contributors to Transport Evolved, Kate Walton-Elliott, in Olympia, WA, as well as TE’s editor-in-chief Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, around Portland, OR, in real life.  Both these meets were in flux for one reason or the other, and we hoped to be able to time it at a mutually convenient time and meet IRL.

Nikki was supposed to be on a panel the previous week at EV Roadmap, but had to cancel for personal reasons, and we have a chance to meet later today.

Southbound journey to Portland seemed to be faster to ditch Seattle altogether and we pass our Hilton in Bellevue, WA.

IMG_2375

Yup, lots more traffic in the West.

IMG_2378

This Eastern route has given us a better view of snow and glacier capped mountains, so that’s a plus.

IMG_2385

And the traffic was so bad, we decided to follow the interesting alternate routes that was offered to us.

IMG_20160726_154528

IMG_2390

The beauty of GPS and a sense of adventure on these long roadtrips is the ability to get off the Interstate and see the countryside.

IMG_2393

We got a text from our first potential meet with Kate Walton-Elliott, and unfortunately the timing wasn’t going to work.  So, here’s to hoping for another chance to meet IRL.

In the meantime, we had hoped to catch some well recommended, Chef Jenn Louis stop around Olympia of Tacos La Fuente.  Unfortunately, they’re a daytime only place and we arrived 15 minutes after they close the whole restaurant/bus down.

IMG_20160726_172030

Needless to say, I was NOT HAPPY.

This is an unhappy selfie…

IMG_20160726_172018

And we’re back in Centralia, WA for a supercharge.

IMG_2400

IMG_20160726_180037

We make a route to somewhere near Nikki’s part of Portland, as we were still “touch and go” on the meetup plans and wanted to make it as easy on her to come on out and chat.

IMG_20160726_180041

IMG_20160726_180045

IMG_20160726_182152

We have a little bit of time around here…  Unfortunately there’s a glare, but if you look to the right of the charger on the left, there is a bucket with a squeegee there that has been provided by a generous local for those of us traveling through Centralia, WA.

IMG_20160726_190049

We didn’t avail ourselves of the squeegee as the car was relatively clean, and we headed onward…

…apparently toward where Lord Vader resides.

IMG_2404

The better half has been obsessed with the logging/lumber industry on this trip and points out the tall trees.

IMG_2406

It’s amazing to see all this green on the drive.

IMG_2410

Even this bridge is green.  It’s painted like the color of army tanks in old World War 2 movies.

IMG_2417

IMG_20160726_200918

We’re nearing Battle Ground, WA.  Just an interesting name for a town, wonder what battles were fought there.

IMG_2418

We’re nearing Oregon again.

IMG_2420

IMG_2431

Looks like we’re going to miss meeting Nikki IRL today.  We’ll eventually meet-up, but not on this trip.  Will have to continue corresponding over the ‘Net.

IMG_2436

Since we are not meeting up with Nikki, we made plans to supercharge at Woodbury, OR.  This was the supercharger that “surprised us” on Day Two of our Northbound journey when we were headed to EV Roadmap 9.

IMG_20160726_210238

IMG_20160726_210244

So, we stopped off and charged, had dinner next door at the Red Robin.  We got to the location close to the closing time for the site sponsors and we felt like going to a chain that would be open longer.

While at the restaurant, we made plans for our next stop, and found the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR as a viable stop for us.  The hotel is just around the corner from the Supercharger at Springfield/Eugene, OR that we charged in on our Northbound journey, but we felt like we can have the car charged while we sleep.

We made our lodging plans for the evening and did the drive from Woodbury to Springfield/Eugene, OR.

IMG_20160726_230820

IMG_20160726_230824

It was one of our shorter legs for today.  We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 PM and were tired.  One of the two chargers at the location was available, but the way the parking was configured meant that we would have to cross vehicles to charge and didn’t want to run “the risk.”

I was too tired to deal with it, we made a mental note to write an entry into Teslarati for this destination charger location and went to bed.  We’re less than a mile away from the supercharger in town that we can easily drive over there in the morning.

The next day of this series, Day 10, is published here.

2016_Day9_Vancouver to Eugene

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

The Long Way Round – Day 05

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

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 4 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today? We’ve achieved our intermediate goal and attended EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, we’re now on our way to the Gigafactory… After we visit family in the Seattle area and Vancouver, BC area.

Day 5 – Portland to Seattle, WA area.  July 21, 2016

IMG_20160722_104830

IMG_20160722_104746

Interestingly enough, it looks like we had no vampire drain last night. We rolled in with 195 miles of range and rolled out with 195 miles of range. We had a little bit of a late start for our drive to Seattle. The distance between the two cities is rather short compared to our other drives that we figured that we should be fine even with the late start.

For those unfamiliar, Portland, OR is actually very close to the border with Washington State.  So, when we headed North from our hotel toward Seattle, it wasn’t long until we saw the following sign on our bridge crossing.

IMG_2018

And we were greeted with signs for Vancouver… Washington.

IMG_2019

You know that the border crossing occurs often when the state sign is pretty understated.

IMG_2021

Not quite at the border, there was a better state sign.

IMG_2022

But the border was where the understated sign was.

We actually encountered some rain on this part of the drive and were quite happy about that. My expectations for a trip to the Pacific Northwest is to have some rain. As it was, we’ve had nothing but perfect weather. Apparently the rest of the country was suffering from a terrible heat wave.

We were being chased down by a Red Leaf in Vancouver, WA.

IMG_2023

And then we were passed Vancouver, WA

IMG_2024

IMG_2025

Still driving along the Columbia River, I think..

IMG_2027

IMG_2031

Thanks to MelindaV, we had some good local provisions to hold us in place during this drive.

IMG_2032

And we hit weather again.

IMG_2040

We did have some interesting sights on the drive…

On the way to Centralia, spotted these interesting sculpture. Not sure whether it’s just aesthetic or functional, but looked cool.

IMG_2039

Logging trucks are not one of the things that we often see around Southern California.

IMG_2041

IMG_2042

My better half made it her goal to try to follow the “logging industry” life-cycle on what we spot on the road. So, let’s consider this truck of cut trees as step one on this life-cycle plan. Our goal is to follow the wood through its process.

In the meantime, though we had some provisions from MelindaV, we were nearing one of the places that Chef Jenn Louis recommended. It was a Mexican restaurant in Centralia, WA that was about a mile from the superchargers.

As we got closer to Centralia, we saw some strangely colored Washington cows…

IMG_2043

Downtown Centralia, WA

As I wrote about yesterday, Chef’s usually know good places to eat, so we took her suggestion and headed to Downtown Centralia, WA.  The exit was one before the Tesla Supercharger in the same town.

IMG_20160722_122616

IMG_20160722_123130

La Tarasca is apparently an institution in Centralia (1001 W Main St, Centralia, WA 98531.)  They’ve been open since 1997 and only a little over a mile away from the supercharger, a must stop.  Some may supercharge and take local transportation to the restaurant and back.  I would suggest to just stop, enjoy the meal, and then head over to the supercharger.

IMG_2049

IMG_20160722_123309

Here are the hours of operation for La Tarasca.  It was good that we decided to have lunch here on Friday rather than try to squeeze them into the return drive.  We plan on leaving Vancouver and head South on or around Tuesday and expect to pass Centralia on that day.  It’s also important to note the sign that lets customers know that they do not serve “chips”.

IMG_20160722_123324

We parked at the restaurant to eat lunch with plenty of range left on the battery.

IMG_20160722_123214

So, we ordered our meal.

I was going to be a smart aleck, and ask for chips, but my shins hurt too much from my wife’s subtle reminder NOT to be a smart aleck. 😉

Instead of chips, they brought out these pickled vegetables.  I tried one, it was ok, but it gets a big thumbs up from the better half.

IMG_2046

The meal was a good authentic Mexican Food from Michoacan.  We ordered the Chile Verde and

IMG_20160722_124623

the Carnitas.

IMG_20160722_124632

These are provided with freshly made corn tortillas, and not flour ones. Another “house rule”, no flour tortillas.

IMG_20160722_124637

It was a filling meal and after fueling ourselves, we headed to the superchargers at Centralia (located at the outlet mall).

Centralia Supercharger

We took local roads to the Centralia Supercharger as it was about a mile away from where La Tarasca was located.

IMG_20160722_132559

IMG_20160722_132603

IMG_20160722_132609

We had enough charge to get to our next stop, which was our hotel for the night. But not enough to do our driving around the Seattle area.  We had a schedule to keep and wanted to have enough time to check in to our hotel in Bellevue, pick up our niece from Summer Camp in Seattle, and then drive up to Everett to see Billy Elliot, the Musical.  We chose our hotel in Bellevue, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, for the evening because it had some J1772 chargers according to Plugshare.  The difference in cost for the hotel stay versus hotels on Tesla’s destination charger network made it worth it to pick our hotel, even though we would have to pay fees to charge on the J1772 at that location.

Since this was the start of a Summer Weekend, We noticed that this was a busy supercharger and we were joined briefly by a fellow Californian in a Signature Red Model X.

IMG_20160722_132831

IMG_20160722_132854

To minimize the Level 2 charging and to ensure that we have enough “driving around town” charge when we got to the Seattle area, we range charged at this supercharger.  As we mentioned earlier, we need to travel between Bellevue, Seattle, and Everett for our evening plans.

We did a little outlet shopping at Centralia while the car charged.  We were going to be hanging out with our niece for a few days and picked up a present for her and a few things for us.

So, with our battery near capacity, we rolled out of the supercharger to Bellevue.

IMG_20160722_143904

IMG_20160722_143906

IMG_20160722_143911

We meet up with traffic in Olympia, Washington.

Spot a California Jedi of presumably Hispanic origin.

IMG_2050

The good thing about traffic is we get to enjoy the sights around us without blowing right past them, like this cool helicopter overhead

IMG_2051

And this beautiful church on the other side of the freeway.

IMG_2052

We pass the Tacoma Dome, the now departed Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), had played there for a season while the Key Arena was renovated or built, I don’t remember my Sonics’ history.

IMG_2054

Looks like there’s a cool museum that we’re skipping.

IMG_2055

Another lumber truck for the “logging industry” life-cycle project.

IMG_2057

We were lucky because it looked like a lot of the traffic was headed South and not North.

IMG_2058

We did hit some traffic, but luckily Washington also use HOV lanes with a 2+ person count like California, so I used those lanes.

IMG_2060

We made it to Bellevue.  Seems like a nice looking city.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been here before, but now I can say that I have.

IMG_2064

We arrived at our hotel in Bellevue with enough time to check in and get our room assigned.  But we were nearing the time we needed to depart to pick up our niece from her dorm.  We headed to her camp which was using a dorm from Seattle Pacific University.

First we had to traverse Bellevue and it’s interesting to see so many trees interspersed with the city.  Considering all the building off the freeway, I didn’t expect this much foliage.

IMG_2066

IMG_2067

Original estimates had the drive at a leisurely 30 minutes or so, but the estimates changed drastically when we were getting on the bridge connecting Everett with Seattle, we ended up taking about an hour longer to traverse the distance because of an accident on the bridge.

IMG_2069

Additionally, this was a toll bridge, now there was a way to sign up as a visitor in the area to at least pay for the tolls like a resident before getting a fine. So I made a mental note to fill that out.  The system was called GoodToGo and one should consider signing up for a visitor account before heading in, that minimizes your toll costs.

IMG_2071

Seattle traffic was pretty bad.

IMG_2073

Spotted traditional electric trolley buses with the constant power connected overhead rather than full EV buses with its own battery pack like the BYD ones at the conference the other day.

IMG_2074

We pass through some interesting parts of Seattle to get to our niece’s dorms.

Looks like some boats are parked above ground.

IMG_2076

Another bridge…

IMG_2078

It made me think of “Many Rivers to Cross”… (though I’m sure it was just one)

And some Portland area coffee has made in-roads into the Seattle Coffee scene. (quick alert Starbucks!)

IMG_2079

And after the traffic filled journey, we make it to her dorm.

IMG_20160722_181332

Our plans for the Seattle area for this evening is to catch a musical, Billy Elliot at Everett Washington.  Still a little bit of a drive from her dorm, but we can make it.

We’re not proud of it, but we fed her (and ourselves) burgers and fries.  I’m a big fan of the spicy fries that Five Guys Burgers produces and am glad to see the quality is the same all over the country.

IMG_20160722_191243

IMG_20160722_192427

At the parking structure for the play, we found our WA state twin for our Model S and parked beside it.

IMG_20160722_194713

Crossed the street in Downtown Everett to the Village Theater and found our seats with ten minutes to spare.

IMG_20160722_194854

IMG_20160722_195318

We figured to take our niece out for a nice musical on her night of freedom from her summer camp.

IMG_20160722_195357

I was impressed with the production in Everett.  It wasn’t Broadway, but it was a high quality traveling production.  The acting and direction was entertaining and the singing and dancing were superb.

We were going to take our niece for Ice Cream after the show, but she was tired and it was time to take her back to the hotel.

IMG_2096

After all the driving for the day, we parked at the hotel with 78 miles of range. Had to do a little driving around the hotel parking lot, but figured a 200V/30A feed would be fine for an overnight charge.

IMG_20160723_074913

IMG_20160722_235837

IMG_20160722_235840

IMG_20160722_235848

We’re not going to charge it up to full, but at least have enough to do our driving around Seattle area day on Saturday.

IMG_2098

The charge rate improved a little when I checked on the App and we went to bed.

Untitled
The next day of this series, Day 6, can be found here.

2016_Day5_Portland to Bellevue
It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 01

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

After taking 23 days to travel from Southern California to Maine last year, we’ve been on several “long” roadtrips.  Nothing close to the 8000+ miles of that trip, until this past summer when we took off for this trip.

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

At the end of the day, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

Without further delay, put yourself back a few months, and join us on our trip.

Day 1 – North to Portland, OR and stop somewhere in the middle. July 18, 2016

Last year, before we went on our cross-country road trip, we did a lot of pre-trip planning.

We did most of the same things, but since we were planning on a trip to Canada, we added taking our passport with us…. as well as a few other things.

One thing that we did not have readily available on last year’s trip was cleaning supplies. So, rather than purchase these on the road, should the opportunity to clean the car were to present itself, we brought our usual cleaning supplies.

IMG_20160718_072543

IMG_20160718_072512

We figured to add an emergency kit for our trip as well.  We brought a Survival Kit which we originally got for earthquakes, a first-aid kit, and an emergency radio.  Just in-case.

IMG_20160718_072814

For the past few weeks, we’ve been driving around town without our spare tire in the frunk, but this trip to the Pacific Northwest is an estimated 2,600+ Mile drive.  We figured to put that spare back in.  Additionally, our cleaning supplies and emergency kit fit in the “microwave” box in the frunk.  (The joys of a rear-wheel drive 2013 Model S).

IMG_20160718_072556

As I surmised, all our supplies fit in the “microwave” box and the spare tire keeps it in place.  One thing I had to make sure was to ensure that it didn’t rattle or move about back there.  Nothing more irritating than a persistent noise in a Tesla and didn’t want to “self-inflict” noise in this instance.

IMG_20160718_072947

Figured to take a photograph of the mileage and other statistics for this drive.

IMG_20160718_085122

The car’s mileage at departure is 60,896 miles and the Rated Range and we decided to range charge the car this trip. It used to fluctuate to 254 to 255 miles last year, now firmly at 254 miles. Granted, the firmware has had numerous updates since last year, so take that max with a “grain of salt.”

Untitled

IMG_20160718_085129

I took a picture of our trip stats at zero for B trip.  I left home planning on tracking the energy use on a daily basis…  …more on what we ended up using this for later.

IMG_20160718_085140

Another difference from last year’s long summer road trip is the community at Teslarati now has many other members who update entries on the the released version of the Teslarati App for the iPhone.  Last year’s big trip was focused on posting something on Teslarati for each stop.  However, we’re not going to be adding too many new sites for this trip as the community has done a good job covering these locations.  We’re actually going to be using what others have already provided for us.

On this first day, our intermediate goal is to reach Portland, OR by tomorrow evening.  Aside from planning the long way around to the Tesla Gigafactory party on July 29, I am registered to attend the EV Roadmap 9 conference in Portland which is held on July 20 and 21.

With those goals in mind, we left home and proceeded North.  Leaving home during Rush Hour is probably not the ideal way to start a trip, but considering this was a Monday drive, it is inevitable in Southern California.

Luckily, we have access to the HOV lanes because we consider two or more people to be a “High Occupancy Vehicle” drive in Southern California, coupled with the white stickers that are available to be issued for EVs.

IMG_20160718_115911

Though the HOV access throughout Southern California is vast, it’s not endless… And we encountered further traffic on our Northbound journey.

IMG_20160718_121529

Even areas around the Grapevine, which is normally pretty open in the summer had a bit of traffic, though not to the degree we see in rush hour commute.

IMG_20160718_123336

Before we arrive at our first Northbound Supercharger, we cross the 61,000 mile threshold very early on in this trip.

IMG_20160718_124804

And this achievement was quickly followed by the Tejon Pass summit.

IMG_20160718_125344

This summit is at the apex of the approach to/from the Tejon Ranch Supercharger. Since we had enough range to skip this supercharger, and our spot consumption says we can go 999 miles, we decided to go to the Buttonwillow Supercharger instead.

IMG_20160718_131911

The Buttonwillow Supercharger is just off the freeway and my wife was able to catch a great shot of the supercharger from the freeway.  The supercharger stalls are installed in a manner where the back of the stalls face the street and the front face the freeway.

IMG_1880

Buttonwillow Supercharger.

So, approximately 165 miles later, and a short visit in between, we arrived in Buttonwillow around 1:45 PM. Not as early as we had hoped. But it’s nice to be out on the open road, or at least Interstate 5.

IMG_20160718_134203

IMG_20160718_134207

The last time we were here, it was the middle of the night. Everything in the same parking lot was closed, so we stayed in the car and charged. Not only that, as previously mentioned, the superchargers are located in a manner that forces travelers to park with their backs facing the street.  This orientation makes one feel exposed in an open, dark parking lot.  However, in the bright light of the day, it’s fine.

This time, not only did we need to refuel the car, we needed to refuel the driver. We drove out of Metropolitan Los Angeles area without getting any coffee and this supercharger is located at a parking lot adjacent to a Starbucks.

IMG_0582

It sure looks like we were not the only ones that had the idea to stop off and get some coffee here.  Considering this was the middle of the day, in the outskirts of Bakersfield, it’s pretty busy.

IMG_20160718_135036

Something tells me that I will be stopping here more often than Tejon Ranch and I figured to document the business hours for the Starbucks

IMG_20160718_135239

and the Subway, next door.

IMG_20160718_135300

After getting charged up, we decided to head off to Harris Ranch, our next stop on our I-5 Northbound route.

It is quite common on this route to see produce moving around in trucks. Considering that the center of California is where many of the farms are, it is only logical to see produce trucks in this route.

As we headed North on this route, we spotted an interesting truck which we couldn’t determine what was on it until we got closer.

IMG_20160718_141702

Sure looks like garlic. Which is interesting because the truck is South of Gilroy and headed Northbound.  Gilroy, California is well-known for its Garlic Festival (and for one of the original supercharger locations for Tesla drivers, the Gilroy Supercharger). I guess there are other garlic producing areas in California.

However, the next truck immediately ahead of the garlic truck made us wonder…

IMG_20160718_161447

…a Tomato truck! (Not necessarily the one pictured because we drove past that one…)  So, a garlic truck, a tomato truck…. we were wondering where the pasta truck was going to be.

Alas, we were disappointed because we never did see that pasta truck, and now I’m craving Italian food.

Harris Ranch Supercharger

Our next stop Northbound is the Harris Ranch Supercharger.

IMG_20160718_152344

IMG_20160718_152401

We were the seventh to arrive, and it looks like everyone else in this HUGE 13 stall supercharger have done this travel before.

IMG_0788

Every Tesla traveling through this location is not sharing its charge with its A or B twin. I often will try to pick stall 7A when passing through Harris Ranch.  It is the one pictured on the far right, beside the silver Model X.

So far, our drive North has been quite ordinary. The many trips to the Bay Area that we’ve done since last year had traversed through the same routes. (Here is one when we tried to drive up and down the same day.) However, our next stop is the Manteca Supercharger. A location that we’ve never been to.

IMG_20160718_153127

To prepare for that new location, I figured to check out the entries for the particular stop on Teslarati’s app (which is now available over a browser.) Looking at the comments, I stumble across one entry (from July 3, 2016) that put me a little “on alert.” Seeing that we won’t make it to the Corning stop (the one AFTER Manteca) I decided not to startle my wife on the entry that I read on Manteca.

Just North of Harris Ranch is the cattle operation that makes the beef at the Harris Ranch restaurant famous. (This is also one of the reasons why I think that Tesla made the HEPA Filters for the Model X and newer Model S 🙂 .)

IMG_20160718_160701

IMG_20160718_160711

IMG_20160718_160714_1

IMG_20160718_160726

We were lucky in that the “wind” was favorable for us today.

So, we drove North. Where we normally would head toward Gilroy (the Garlic Capital of California), we stay on I-5 to get to the Manteca Supercharger.

IMG_1888

Just after the turn-off for Gilroy is an interesting site.

IMG_1889

Not sure what it was, but it looks like a cool church tower. I wonder if its one of the many “Missions” that Spain and the Catholic Church had set up throughout California.  I suppose if I had spent the fourth grade in California, I would have known about the missions, but I didn’t. So, we zoom pass it.

IMG_20160718_161424

We keep seeing tomato trucks on I-5, but still no pasta truck.

IMG_20160718_161442

We see different crops. Not sure what these trees are, but it’s pretty orderly.

IMG_1886

Been pretty used to seeing cows throughout the drive, but apparently, there were also sheep.

IMG_1899

After a few hours of driving, we find ourselves at the Manteca Supercharger.

Manteca Supercharger

IMG_20160718_180118

IMG_20160718_180122

IMG_20160718_182729

This stop is going to be a longer one than our normal stops. We arrived at the site with 58 miles of range left on the gauge. Our plan is to stay on I-5 and charge at the Corning Supercharger (177 miles away) and find a place to stay the night between Corning and Mt Shasta.  We like to have a buffer for our charge, so we planned on getting near a maximum range charge to provide us with flexibility as we head North in the evening.

We were not alone at the supercharger when we arrived at Manteca. One of the things that one starts to notice on heavily traveled supercharger routes are fellow Tesla travelers or at least their vehicles. This stop was no exception, we’ve been traveling with the Model X at the far charger since Buttonwillow.

IMG_20160718_180538

This supercharger is located in what looks like an like a recently completed shopping center.  However, upon further inspection, I wonder if the center ever got to the point where it was full.  I was a little comforted with seeing another car here, we figured to head out and forage.

We walked toward some traveler convenient locations and grabbed some dinner.

IMG_20160718_181934

Because I was a little “on edge” from the entry on Teslarati and not wanting to leave the car unattended too long, we headed back.

IMG_20160718_182110

I was able to speak with our fellow traveler, and it turned out that the X owner was headed to the EV Roadmap 9 conference in Portland, and he was planning on spending the night at Sacramento. We spent some time chatting and getting to know each other. We wanted to get a little further than Sacramento. After he left, we spent the downtime at Manteca Supercharger to finalize our destination for the evening. We booked our hotel at the Hampton Inn and Suites at Red Bluff, CA. There seems to be available NEMA 14-50 outlets at the site, but the information was contradictory as to whether the charging is free to use or if there was a charge. Upon conversation with the agent (who was new) at the front desk, we determined that it was best to supercharge before we get to the hotel as she indicated a $50 charge to plug in (she was new and thought that it was the same as what the Hampton Inn would charge RVs that are staying at their hotel for the night.)

We stayed at the Manteca supercharger longer than the our fellow traveler in the X.

IMG_0789.JPG

Without anyone else near us, these superchargers really feel remote from everything else. That entry on Teslarati really perked my awareness for danger, so I thought that it might be good to head out as soon as we had a “good buffer”.

IMG_0790

We proceeded Northward to the next stop for the drive. We’re definitely in the agricultural part of California on this drive.

IMG_1901

IMG_1902

IMG_1903

IMG_1907

IMG_1909

A water tower welcomes us to the State Capital.  As long as the drought has been in California, part of me was wondering how full this particular water tower can be.

IMG_1910

IMG_1911

IMG_1913

We pass Sacramento on our way to Corning and Red Bluff.

IMG_1914

and have the open road ahead of us.

IMG_1919

IMG_1923

No matter how open the road is, Interstate 5 is simply not as empty as other Interstates.

IMG_1928

To pass the trip, one of the things that we’ve decided to do on this trip was to see if we can catch up to our 20+ year old nephews in Pokemon Go. Our thesis was that the makers of Pokemon Go would make different Pokemon common at different cities, so we tested this hypothesis and started playing the game.  Here is a picture of my better half playing while I drove to Corning.

IMG_1931

We arrive at Corning in the evening and the parking lot was somewhat empty.

IMG_1933

Corning Supercharger

IMG_20160718_222842

IMG_20160718_222847

It was at this stop that I noticed that I was instinctively resetting Trip B on each supercharger stop.  I basically sabotaged my plan on tracking daily usage and decided to measure TOTAL drive from this point forward for this trip rather than a day-to-day total as we’ve done in past trips.

This location was a little “scary” at night, not Green River, UT “scary”, but a little more unnerving than the Buttonwillow, CA Supercharger at night.

IMG_20160718_232228

IMG_20160718_232220

IMG_20160718_232224

IMG_20160718_232239

IMG_20160718_232245

There was a strange person hanging about, so we stayed for as long as we felt safe and headed twenty miles down the road to our hotel for the evening.

Hampton Inn and Suites, Red Bluff, CA

IMG_20160719_000152

IMG_20160719_000200

I was glad that we decided NOT to rely on charging at the Hampton Inn overnight as the NEMA 14-50 chargers for the hotel is located on the extreme side away from the main desk and at a location of the parking lot that seems to be exposed. It turned out that the new desk clerk I spoke to was incorrect and that we could have parked and charged for free at this hotel.  Having the car parked closer to where I felt the car would be safer was more important than getting a slow charge overnight.  We decided to park the car near the front with a full 200 miles of range left and left the car on “always connected mode” rather than let it go to charge saving mode as we turned in to the hotel for our overnight rest.

I planned on plugging the car in for a slow charge in the morning so that I can familiarize myself with this location and to “add it” to my car’s “places that I charged” database.  With the plan in place, and shelter found for the evening, we turned in after driving over 575.8 miles for the day.  Not quite the power-drive from last year, but definitely not a leisurely stroll.

Click here to continue on to the next day of this series, Day 2.

2016_Day1_LB to Red Bluff

National Drive Electric Week 2016 – Los Angeles

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

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

Untitled

So… I had high expectations for 2016.

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

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

IMG_3303

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

IMG_20160911_105756

IMG_20160911_105829

IMG_20160911_105834

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

IMG_20160911_105926

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

IMG_3306

It was well attended by the car manufacturers.

IMG_3308

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

IMG_3309

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

IMG_3310

IMG_3311

IMG_3312

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

IMG_20160911_111129

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

We caught the vehicles with their lights flashing…

IMG_3313

VID_20160911_112431

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

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

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

IMG_20160911_113309

IMG_3321

IMG_3322

Volvo XC90 T8

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

IMG_20160911_120920

It has a nice interior.

IMG_20160911_120931

IMG_20160911_120936

IMG_20160911_120939

and the seats were comfy…

IMG_20160911_120943

IMG_20160911_120958

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

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

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

IMG_3326

IMG_3327

There were other choices there as well.

IMG_3328

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

IMG_20160911_125723

IMG_20160911_125730

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

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

IMG_20160911_130503

IMG_20160911_130512

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

IMG_20160911_131028

IMG_20160911_131033

IMG_20160911_131041

IMG_2523.JPG

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

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

IMG_20160911_123012

IMG_20160911_124332

There was a Corbin Sparrow, front and center.

IMG_3318

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

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

IMG_20160911_132127

IMG_20160911_132146

That’s one rare EV.

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

National Drive Electric Week 2016

As I mentioned yesterday, since one of the many questions that the public often ask at these events is “how far can you go with your EV.” Last year we went from Southern California to Maine, this summer, we went to the Tesla Gigafactory Party, The Long Way Round via Vancouver, BC.