I’m sure that we’ve driven over six orbits of the Earth on EV power alone!

Last week, I noticed that my wife’s Roadster reached 24,000 total miles on the odometer on May 4.

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A few days later, on May 7, we reached 75,000 total miles on the Model S Odometer as well.

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My wife is the second owner of her Roadster and it had 2,200 miles when we picked it up and the Model S had 22 miles on the odometer.  In the three years and eight months of Tesla ownership, it was a bit of a shock when I realized this morning that the total of these two mileages was 99,000 and that we were very close to having a 100,000 Tesla miles on our own vehicles.

Considering that we turned in the Active E with 54,321 miles on the odometer in February 2014 after two years. That means that our total EV mileage driven on vehicles that we’ve owned or leased now totals greater than 150,000 miles on electricity.  As impressive as this is, it is even more interesting to note that our actual totals are much greater than this.

During periods when we’ve had our cars in for service, I’ve been tracking our EV vs ICE miles and we’ve done about 80,000 miles on loaners and rental EVs.  So, our actual total is about 235,000 miles of electric driving.  In the meantime, we’ve done about 24,000 miles of ICE driving on our 2001 BMW X5 (both our driving, and when we lend the car out to visitors) as well as the times that we’ve rented ICE cars when we travel.

When I reached 74,000 miles of the Model S earlier in April, @Brian_Henderson (FYI: 75k is 3 orbits of Earth 🌏 driving pole over pole. ⚡🚘😃) reminded me that a circumnavigation of the Earth is approximately 25,000 miles and this is also cool to hing that all the vehicles that we’ve owned or leased means that we’ve travelled 6 orbits of the Earth.  So, that’s cool.

So, are we going to reach 75,000 miles on the Model S this month?  I’m pretty sure that we’ll get there before the end of this month.  If not on our beginning of June trip.

A few thoughts and reactions on today’s Tesla’s impressive re-commitment to charging infrastructure

Impressive supercharger expansion plans were published on Tesla’s blog today.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

In the first couple of sentences of this latest blog,  Tesla reaffirms its commitment to charging for its customers.

As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority. It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future.

Well, supercharging does that for almost ALL the models of cars that Tesla has sold.  Just not ALL the cars that they have sold.

The Roadster and Model S 40 both do not have access to supercharging, but have ample range to make it the distances that are set up between MOST of the North American Supercharger network.  I have not traveled on any of the other Tesla Supercharger networks, so I am unsure of the distances between their sites, but would presume that this statement also holds true for those distances.

We have been blessed to have our Model S available for us to travel these distances, but we know of several Roadster owners who would prefer to travel these distances and I would like to try to do that, one of these days.

To that end, if Tesla’s blog-post is any indication, it would seem that Tesla’s next iteration of supercharging might indicate a LOT more space and dedicated Tesla lounges in the locations that would be dedicated to this activity.  If this is what Tesla is planning to do, why not provide a couple of stalls with Tesla dedicated Level 2 for those that are not in need of a supercharge.  They can even fit these devices with a credit card or other payment system so that those opting for the slower charge can pay for the energy and/or stall that they are using for this travel.  This allocation will then provide for Tesla to follow through on the statements that introduced this latest blog post.

Besides, in terms of costs, it would seem such a high density supercharging location would be more vulnerable to higher utility costs than current density supercharger locations.  Things like demand charges and the like will definitely be a challenge toward the execution of this vision, therefore the costs associated with a couple High Power Wall Chargers (HPWCs) is really quite negligible.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

The other thought I had with this concept release was a feeling of “deja vu…” and I realized as I was writing this article that it reminded me of the Rocklin, CA Sales, Service, Delivery, and Supercharger location from Day 11 of 2016’s Long Way Round Trip to the Gigafactory.

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Which actually is a further case for this proposal to add High Power Wall Charger (for Roadsters, Dual Charger, or High Amp charger Teslas) at these new conceptual Supercharger locations.  At this stop in 2016, we met with a couple who were also taking their Roadster up I-80 to Reno for the Gigafactory and TMC event.

The direct costs for a stall or two of High Power Level 2 (keep it on Tesla proprietary plug if they must) covers all Teslas built.  Most of the Roadster owners that I know have already purchased my recommended accessories for the Roadster, i.e. Henry Sharp’s The CAN SR/JR, etc. and can therefore work with the Model S/X North American Proprietary plug.

The more analytical may counter that the opportunity cost for two stalls on HPWC vs another pair of Supercharging stalls outweighs the benefits of covering ALL Tesla vehicles, but I say that the goodwill created by such a program is more important than that.  Tesla should execute on its statement today, but for ALL Teslas, not just the ones that can supercharge.

So, a week ago I got interviewed for a New York Times article…

It was an unexpected honor to find myself featured in an article in last week’s New York Times.  When I was being interviewed for the article, I did not expect to be featured, but felt the need to represent my opinions as both an owner, EV advocate, and investor in Tesla. There is a fear among some early Tesla fans that the media will give us the “Broder” treatment.  I won’t be re-hashing the controversy here, but I feel that it would be foolish to approach this without considering this years old controversy.

I’m glad to confirm that the New York Times coverage was fair and all quotes attributed to me are accurate.  However, I did spend a lot more time with the writer and the nuances of my conversation with him, didn’t show.

I’ve excerpted the portion where Neal Boudette covered my comments:

Among the skeptics are some of Tesla’s biggest fans.

Take Dennis Pascual, a tech industry consultant in Long Beach, Calif., and owner of two Teslas — a Model S sedan and a two-seat Roadster, the first car Tesla put on the road. He is such a fan, in fact, that he has put down deposits to buy two Model 3 compacts once Tesla starts making the car later this year.

He also owns some Tesla stock, but is not about to buy more.

“It’s a little pricey for me to jump back in,” he said, speaking by phone from his Model S. “Right now, I think we’re in a hold.”

Moreover, he worries about Tesla’s ability to carry out the bold expansion plans it has for this year and next. Tesla’s high-profile chief executive, Elon Musk, has said the company expects to begin production this summer on its first mass-market offering, the Model 3, ramping up to 5,000 cars a month by the end of the year and driving output to several hundred thousand cars over the course of 2018.

“They really need to deliver, and that has me concerned,” Mr. Pascual said, who has worked at start-up companies and has years of experience in the technology business. “I’m bullish long term, but yes, I’m worried. I’m always worried about companies executing.”

Part of where the nuances didn’t show is my discussion with him that indicated my willingness to trade options on Tesla at the current levels, and that though this is different from additional ownership in the stock, still shows my bullishness.  So, the quotes make me look less bullish, but that’s also a function of the impressive rise in recent months.

The last quote attributed to me about being worried about companies executing is verbatim.  It’s also how I tend to balance ANY company that I invest or work for.  At the end of the day, it’s always the execution that I worry about.  Whether it’s Tesla or any other company that I am rooting for.  Missing expectations have a nasty way of biting folks in the … rear end..

It’s not everyday that I find myself in a prestigious newspaper like the New York Times, so I did what anyone would do and we went around town to buy several copies of the actual hard-copy of the paper.

IMG_20170418_112732 In preparation for the article, I spent a couple of hours taking pictures with Andrew Cullen and I am sure that he had a lot of great shots with my smile on it.  The best shot from Andrew was in the original link to the online version of the article that featured me in the Model S looking out.  This was what accompanied the first round of the article when it went online on April 11, 2017. IMG_1449.JPG

I had a smile and looked happy in that one.

However, later photos replaced that for the print and online versions on April 12, 2017.  Andrew did a great job taking photos and I have to thank him for being patient with me.  In keeping with the tone of the article, the photo editors of the paper picked some shots that made it look like I was worried.  I was far from worried, I did have the sun in my eyes for these next shots that were selected for the article, so let’s just chalk that up to great editing.

IMG_20170418_112743 Those that know me well, know that this particular pose and introspection is not how I usually am.  So, it’s rather humorous for people to see me with such a “serious” look. Andrew Cullen for the New York Times (April 12, 2017) IMG_20170418_112820

Either way, I was pleasantly surprised to make it onto the New York Times.  My mother is a huge fan of theirs and I’m sure it thrilled her to no end and a week after its publication, I thoroughly enjoyed the attention it has gathered with family and friends.

My favorite story came from my de-facto aunt and uncle (some of my mom’s closest friends) in New York City who reached out to my mother to convey their surprise at having my picture in the paper during their breakfast ritual.  Paraphrasing my uncle to my aunt, “you would never guess who made it to the front page of the New York Times…”  Beats the heck out of being on the wall in the Post Office. 😜

Five Years of EV Ownership

February 23 is a special day for me. It’s the day that we took delivery of our first EV in 2012. This means that five years ago, today, I joined the rEVolution and picked up my BMW Active E from Long Beach BMW.

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I didn’t even have Level 2 charging installed in the garage on that day and had to plug in the car on 110V.

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In fact, it wasn’t until several weeks have passed until I got our Level 2 charger installed under a grant that covered the charger, but not the installation. It’s a 30A J1772 charger from Chargepoint (CT-500) that is still going strong today (I use this for the Model S predominantly). It’s lost it’s networked feature as the modem in the device is no longer supported.

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What this also means is that February 23 is also a bittersweet day for me as well… As that same Active E was taken from me quite unceremoniously on this same day in 2014.

Time does heal old wounds and I don’t pout when I say Active E anymore.

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Then again, we did add the Roadster and Model S to our garage as we wait for our Model 3 and whatEVer else will take our EV future.

It helps that I can borrow the Roadster when my wife feels generous in letting me use it.

These next two pictures are from when we first picked the Roadster up…

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and how it looks a week ago.

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Here’s the Model S when we picked it up at the Tesla Factory

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at its first Level 2 charge on our delivery weekend first roadtrip (in Sonoma for this shot).

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And this recent shot when I was using the CHAdeMO charger near the Fountain Valley Supercharger from almost two weeks ago.

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And a little nostalgia for those few months that we had more EVs than drivers in 2013-2014.

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That was all three cars scheduled to charge at various times throughout the night on their own chargers.

Unfortunately, didn’t have a better shot of all three cars… Here’s a classic shot of the Model S and Roadster on the Model S first day home.

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In fact, for the past five years since we picked up the Active E  With all three cars (and various loaners and the few EV rentals we’ve done), we’ve added approximately 204,000 electric miles vs. 24,000 gasoline miles (both our own use, and when we lend our lone ICE car to visitors, as well as our use of ICE rental cars).   What’s funny is how much fanfare I had when I first hit 100,000 electric miles, and 200,000 went by and I didn’t even pay attention to it.

I’ve documented the challenges that we’ve had with all three cars and they’ve all pretty much “behaved.” In fact our Model S just replaced its first 12V battery earlier this week. We’ve actually just replaced all four tires on the Model S a few weeks prior (still around 69,000 miles on the Model S).

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To be fair, we did replace ONE of the four tires about 30,000 miles or so ago for a tire failure from driving over a road hazard. But the wear was pretty even, and we replaced all four tires when the tread was around 4/32 for two of the tires, and kept the other two (at 5/32) as “back-up”. The tires are “special order” and I would hate to have a failure and not have a pair ready to swap out (at the same tread.)

I guess what’s really special with driving EV is how “normal” it is for us now.  In the beginning everything felt like it was going to be a challenge.  How we managed to get 54,321 miles in the Active E in the two years that we had it depended a lot on available Level 2 charging.  The infrastructure was there and we planned our trips so that we can recover miles when we got to our destinations.  With the Roadster, we didn’t need to plan as much.  We often had enough range to get back home.  Now with the Model S, it’s even more interesting.  We went Here, There, and EVerywhere as well as the Long Way Round to the Gigafactory Party.  But the fact of the matter is, we picked up the Model S at the Fremont Factory.  Went to Sonoma for wine and then back down to Southern California in November 2013, without much planning.  That’s what EV ownership should be like.  Pick up and go.

Are we there yet?  To me, I’m there.  But to the rest of the world, perhaps we’re getting there.  It’s been a great 5 years and 200,000 miles of EV driving, and I’m looking for more and more EV adventures.  Stay with us and see where electricity will take us.

Model S Third Year Anniversary – November 8, 2016

I am drafting this post around 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern on November 8, 2016 as the pundits and media discuss the initial returns of the current Presidential Election Cycle.  Everywhere else in the country folks are talking about Election Night 2016.  As I write this, we didn’t know who has won the race. The polls in California are not even closed.  It’s been a very challenging election season and I thought that it would be good to step away from all that and focus on something I really like to do.

…and that’s write about EVs and my experiences on this blog.

It so happens that November 8 is a significant day in our family.  It’s the day that we flew up to Fremont to pick up our Model S from the factory and started our ownership of the Model S.  This is one of the big benefits of Tesla, they’re an American company with a factory that actually builds its cars in California.

I did a bunch of “near real-time” posts on the blog that probably would have been best served by Twitter three years ago.  But if you’re interested in following that, just click above and follow the subsequent posts.

I decided to publish this post on November 10 to separate my car’s three year anniversary from Election Day and post-Election Day coverage and to emphasize that US produced electrons from the Sun has done its part to save me money and to ensure that we don’t create more veterans of wars for oil.  Energy independence means less need to go and fight wars, but I digress.

On November 7, 2016, we brought the Model S in for its annual service.  It was originally scheduled for the previous month, but the Roadster has been in for an extended period, so we tried to time it when the Roadster was going to be ready.  We brought the car in with slightly above 66,500 miles and picked up the car and brought it home with 66,569 miles on the odometer.

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So, what do they do for the three year service?  Well, apparently they match it against the mileage of the car.  Our car got service as if it was a five year old car at 62,500 mile service.

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We had prepaid our first four years of Model S service and were charged accordingly.

Ironically, when we were exiting the freeway to drive to the service center, the TPMS warning light went yellow and rather than stop and check it out ourselves, I figured to go ahead and drive to the service center directly and just report the notice to Tesla.  I’m glad to report that even though the tire had a nail in it, and Tesla’s previous policies were to replace the tire, the service center are now patching tires under certain conditions (in a nutshell as long as the sidewall is not compromised.)  We are still on our original set of four tires.  We even added a fifth one (that is usually in the frunk) and that one is at 8/32.  We’ll need to replace those four tires soon (Tesla recommends replacement at 3/32)

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The other thing that we reported to Tesla (and had reported it earlier in the year as well) is the continuing and increasing level of milling noise coming from the motor. Our previous request to repair this noise resulted in Tesla notifying us that the noise was within parameters. The last time this occurred was around 25,000 miles and it resulted in the motor being replaced. The noise is a constant whir that occurs between 20-35 mph (32-56 kph) and gradually lessens (though still existent) as the car approaches 55 mph (88 kph) and then is imperceptible to my ears.  The error was not as bad as the drivetrain failure on the loaner P85D but is quite irritating and I don’t know if it’s a symptom prior to a bigger failure.

This time around, apparently the noise has gotten to the point that Tesla Engineering has approved the replacement and we are waiting for the replacement part to arrive to re-schedule the repair.  Since we just got the car back today, there has not been an estimate on when the service center expects to receive the replacement motor.

In all, the car spent less than 24 hours at the service center and we were able to pick it up “good as new.”

So, how does our three year old car look?  Let’s compare to previous pictures at pickup at the factory.

Three Years Ago

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Today

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Today

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Three Years Ago

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Today

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So, our car still looks pretty close to how it looked when we picked it up three years ago. Not bad. In fact, if Tesla had not modified the fascia of 2016 Model S, I would dare say that our car would still look brand new.

With the service that we receive from Tesla, we can hopefully say the same for the car many years to come.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

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

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

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

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

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

So how did this trip look on the map?

Recap_Road Trip Full Map LB to LB (Pacific NW)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had great dinner at Ask for Luigi.

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And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

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

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

In Washington State…

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In Oregon…

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In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

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And in Reno at the Gigafactory

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

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

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

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and the Tomato Truck

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

AND

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

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

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Then followed the raw logs

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cut and shaped wood

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and finished products.

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So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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Considering that the travel is its own reward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

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

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

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

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

The Long Way Round – Day 12

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the twelfth 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 11 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?  It’s the Tesla Gigafactory Party day!

Day 12 – Reno, NV – Tesla Gigafactory Party – Sparks, NV..  July 29, 2016

We picked the Harrah’s Reno location because we had friends that were staying here and the shuttle bus for the Gigafactory party and the pre-party for those of us with four or more referrals were leaving from the hotel across the street (Whitney Peak Hotel).

We had breakfast with our friends at the Hash House A Go Go.  I haven’t had my coffee yet, so everything was still blurry.

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The meals at the Hash House are filling and tasty.  The portions definitely rival the size of the Cheesecake Factory.

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The waffles were huge.

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We had a great breakfast with our friends, but had to hurry off to the first face to face meetings with the Presidents of the various official Tesla Owners Clubs.  Many of these folks flew in for the Gigafactory party and though some were going to TMC Connect, others were not, so we had a lunch with them at a restaurant close to the Atlantis Hotel.  We found two Model S and decided to take the third spot beside them.  The one in the middle is Greg (ggr) from San Diego’s custom painted Signature Model S.  He had carpooled up to the event with a few of our friends from the TesLA Club (Los Angeles).

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The lunch meeting was well attended, and there were members there from Australia, Canada, and Europe, (as well as many from all over the US.)  It was more about meeting the folks than lunch for us (you DID see the size of our breakfast portions, right?)

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We gathered around outside to take a picture, and look at all the pretty cars.

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And on the way back to get ready for the Gigafactory party, we stopped off at the TMC Connect hotel, Atlantis, to drop off our new friends from The Owners Club of Australia (who needed a ride) and to see if we can take better pictures of the cars from last night.

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Definitely better looking in the sunlight than the dark parking lot from the previous evening.

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The supercharger station still had availability.

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And that’s one SweetEV (with the new R80 badge to denote the 3.0 battery giving approximately 340 miles of range.)

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On the way to drop the Aussies off at the Atlantis, I spotted Rob N.’s Electronaut inspired Model S striping at the Convention Center, where TMC Connect was being held during the day and I felt compelled to track it down and take photographs.

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California DCPPOWR meet Massachusetts ACPOWR

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After taking all the ActiveE like Model S,  we headed back to the hotel. We’re not planning on driving further today, so we park at the hotel and take note of the mileage and range left.

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After getting ready for the party, we cross the street to the Whitney Peak Hotel for the pre-party and shuttle buses to the event.

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The ore-party for the Gigafactory was at the bar in Whitney Peak Hotel.  They served not only drinks, but Ice Cream as well…

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Gelato, actually.

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And the toppings were great too.

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That’s one Happy Dennis.  Remember all the Ice Cream stops in last year’s trip, Here, There, and EVerywhere, like the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.

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So, the pre-party was also full.  Lots of folks to catch up with.

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I even get my few seconds on Youtube (via Bjorn’s channel)! (around the 27:10 mark if I didn’t embed this right) 😉

I suppose I should check to see if KMan has me on his channel too.

A few of the folks drove here to get in the pre-party and some are using the shuttles to the Gigafactory.

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The drive to the factory from downtown Reno took about 20 minutes.

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There was a line to get into the parking area.

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The factory was hidden until one gets into Tesla’s property.

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And once you catch a glimpse, it just keeps getting bigger.

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It was a pretty orderly line to get in.

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And Tesla had a cadre of valet attendants.  I suppose when the cars are fully autonomous these guys will have to do something else.

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The queue to get into the party was pretty orderly.

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All smiles as we wait in line to get in.

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Someone just got their party badge!

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And that someone is pretty happy.

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We get into the party tent and it’s nice and cool.

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Here’s a model of the factory on the desert background.

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Looks like we’ll get a peek inside the factory before many people do.

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The line to get to the tour.

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Tesla needs to hurry up and have electric buses for us to use.

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No, that’s not our tour guide.  That’s one of the Tesla executives welcoming us to the Gigafactory.

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These kind folks are the employees who will be taking us on the tour.  They have other jobs at the Gigafactory, but for the tour, they’re our tour guides.

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We drive around the building and into some uncompleted sections and end up at the start of the tour.

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The hallways are nice, cool, and clean.

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We were shown a Tesla battery…  Lots of discussion whether we can tell the difference in mm from the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) format to the new Model 3 (20700) cells.  Some could swear that they can tell the difference…  I lied and said that I could, I’m just NOT THAT GOOD at telling the differences in battery cylinder sizes.

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Here’s a comparison against an iPhone 5. (with a backup battery case hard at work.)

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Part of me was wondering, what’s the worst that Tesla will do if I make a break for it… Then again…  I decided to continue on with the tour! 😉

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Yeah, I don’t know what I’m looking at here.  It’s lots of wires and empty walls.  However, I do remember them saying something about Inputs and Outputs and the ability to drop a wall and continue to expand the building.  Apparently only 12% or so of the factory is complete.  Though it seems to me like a lot of the inside still needs to be filled in.

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It’s good to hang out with friends from faraway and our particular group has Jeffrey Cadman who had a bear of a time flying cross country from the Mid Atlantic States to get to Reno, his airline cancelled the leg from the Bay Area to Reno and had to share a rental car to get here.

Jeff is one of the crazy guys from Tesla Roadtrip whose misadventures inspired me and my better half to get into Tesla LONG DISTANCE Roadtrips, especially last year’s Cross Country adventure, Here, There, and EVerywhere.

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As you can see, even with the misadventures of airline travel, he’s happy now. But what a mess, unfortunately he reached out to us when we were already on our way to Reno from Sacramento and had to split an ICE rental with two other attendees for TMC Connect and/or Gigafactory who were on the same flight.

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I could try to lie outright and say what the heck this device is… But, another thing that I remember is many parts of the Gigafactory is actually Panasonic’s section.  The cooperation between Tesla and its suppliers is amazing in that the factory is really demarcated between Tesla and its suppliers from where the raw goods are brought in, processed, and provided to Tesla for its assembly into battery packs.

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The gentlemen presenting were giving a good detailed explanation of what this part of the process is, but I continued to be distracted and just enjoyed “taking it all in.”

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Some of the machinery is covered up in tarps whereas others are in plain sight.  One can only imagine at what state the production really is at this point that the general public was allowed the opportunity to photograph the factory.  Understanding the umpteen NDAs and warnings against any photography of Tesla’s Fremont Factory, let’s consider what we see with a “grain of salt.”  It’s impressive what Tesla and its partners have done, but if it was producing things that are proprietary, we would not have been able to photograph things.

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It was still pretty cool to walk through.  For crying out loud, there were parts of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour where we were NOT allowed to photograph as well.

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More impressive machinery…

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I seem to recall something about storing some of the finished products in these racks, but as you can see, nothing is stored, yet.

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One of the things pointed out to us is the use of automation and robots in the plant and the markings on the ground are the pathways that the robots use to follow and move material from one point to another in the factory.

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Here is a stationary robot that we pass.

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And still lots of space to be filled up.

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At this junction, I believe that we were nearing the division between Panasonic’s part of the factory with the Tesla assembly portion of it.

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So, should I make a break for it?

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Move along buddy!

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Off to the Cell Aging Room.  Why we need to age the cells, I don’t know.

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This should give you a good idea at how tight this room is.

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Here I am with a robot behind me.

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And here it is photobombing me.

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It’s a pretty friendly looking industrial robot.  Don’t think we have to worry about Skynet…

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…yet.  Though if Elon and Tesla keep fine tuning the “machine that builds the machine.”  His term for the factories that Tesla uses to get products out there, who knows at what point the machines will decide to skip humans altogether.

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These trays are where the completed battery cylinders are placed when done being made into the battery format before it is combined to make the battery sheets for vehicles and/or power walls.

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You can see some batteries above standing up waiting to be put into packs.

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Once again I don’t remember if these cylinders are for the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) size or Model 3 (20700) size.

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Apparently I mis-wrote earlier.  This is the demarcation between the Tesla side and the Panasonic side.  Either way, the point remains, on one side of a wall is Panasonic and Tesla’s suppliers and on the other side is Tesla.

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Walking into Tesla’s side, the same cylindrical batteries take the shape that we are familiar with.  The battery packs that go in our cars and the ones that will be put on people’s walls and utility and commercial locations

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These red robots look familiar as the X-Men inspired ones in Fremont that help build the cars.

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It must be tempting to hop on a robot, otherwise, why the sign?

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Once again, lots of visible assembly line areas and the whole floor looks “clean.”

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We pause and take a picture of us at the Tesla side of the factory.

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That looks like a Model X chassis.  Those shock absorbers on the back look much bigger than a Model S.

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Some information on the products from Tesla Energy.

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And it looks like wood pallets of Tesla Powerwalls are all ready to ship.  I presume these are Australia and Germany bound as those markets are more mature than the US for the delivery of home battery storage for power.

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We pass more battery packs in various states of construction.

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It’s interesting how such a small cylinder can be combined together to give the capacities of storage that we need for our mobility or home or utility electrical storage needs.

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Didn’t get the time to count all the completed boxes, but I’m sure now that a BIG commercial account was announced recently, these guys are busier than they were two months ago when we were there for this launch party.

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Ok, pallets are for Tesla Powerwall (Residential installs)

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and these refrigerator looking boxes are for commercial PowerPack installs.

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We figured to get someone to take our picture with the big Tesla sign behind us.

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It was cool to see the “battery lifecycle” input/output factory tour, but it looks like a lot of work still to get it fully functioning.  Tesla originally were offering a ride to a lookout with a great picture opportunity for the factory.  However, a quick moving thunderstorm entered the area as we completed our tour and we were ushered back to the party quickly.

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Summer weather in the desert can be quite interesting.

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They offered to possibly restart the overlook process, but muddy feet was not part of the plan for today.

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We had hoped to ride in the Model 3 on Gigafactory party day, but the rides that they were offering were solely for Model S and Model X.  So, I wasn’t really interested.

We did pass the Model 3 in the VIP section of the party as we quickly went back to the party tent.

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It looks bigger in person.

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And we had to use zoom lenses to capture shots of it from afar.

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One had to be Elon’s guests to get closer to the red Model 3.  However, as many have pointed out this red one is actually a full size mockup without any working innards, so there’s that.

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It still looks pretty and we would still have enjoyed a chance to look at it.

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I took a panoramic from the party tent of the 12% of the building that has been completed.  This party tent and parking lot will be demolished as the factory is expanded.

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On the other side of those lights are Model S and Model X that are being used for the Test Rides.  It’s not even a Test Drive, and since we did drive thousands of miles to get here, a place about 500 miles away from home, I think we’ll let someone else drive and ride while we enjoy the company and the party.

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Some folks had great spots to see and hear Elon and JB welcome us and talk about the Gigafactory.  As with many Tesla events, it was quite full and crowded by the stage, so my better half and I enjoyed hanging out with EV friends and listen to Elon and JB talk in the same room and have the comfort of the AV professionals view.

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We took the opportunity while Elon and JB were speaking to take a few shots of the models of the Gigafactory and surrounding location.

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It’s incredible what the vision is for the site, once built.  And it is important to note that this Gigafactory is the first of a plan to build more of these worldwide so as to deliver vehicles and energy storage closer to where the demand is.  I’m assuming that means an Asian and European Gigafactory along with future Tesla auto factories at those locations as well.

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No detail was missed in the model with a pair of Model S supercharging factory side.

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We stuck around pretty late to see if we can make it to the Model 3.  We tried different avenues to get an invite to go across to see it.  Alas, here’s a great shot of it via zoom lens later in the evening.

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The test rides have wound down and many have left the party.

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As we exit, we figure to take a picture of the sign welcoming us to this party.

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And we head back in our shuttle.  We check into our room at the Harrah’s Reno and take a picture of the little city of Reno.  It was great to see the building and Gigafactory in the state that it is in.  It would be better to see it in greater operation.

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The next day of this series, Day 13, is published here.

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