Finally installed our PowerWalls Part 1… The build-up to the actual installation…

I will be posting the installation article a few days from now, but first, I wanted to catch my readers up on what led us to this point and provide you with a little tease…

Some History

On April 30, 2015, we were introduced to Tesla’s PowerWall.  We had a great time at the party.  We were supporting some of our friends in the EV media (namely Teslarati and Transport Evolved) by providing some coverage on social media.  I never did get to do a full write-up of the event as we departed for our epic Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip from Southern California to Maine and back the next day.

I did a bunch of tweets during the original Tesla Energy, PowerWall and PowerPack launch event from April 30, 2015…

(Here’s a link to the Flickr album from the Tesla Energy event.)

Some selected tweets from the original Tesla Energy Event:

 

 

However, a few things happened at that party.

  1. We grasped the applications we can use the PowerWalls for and were intrigued.
  2. We signed up to be “on the list” to buy several PowerWalls.
  3. And on a completely different note, we volunteered to help Beta Test and provide content to the Teslarati Mobile App which needed help fine-tuning and more importantly content for Tesla locations ex. California.

The @TeslaMotors Home Battery solution in a nice red! #TEatTesla

Back to the PowerWall.  As you can see above, PowerWall 1 is aesthetically pleasing.  It looks like modern art and looks great hanging on a wall.

IMG_20150430_215052

One can order it in many colors, and, more importantly, many sizes.

IMG_20150430_214917

Your correspondents for @Teslarati @danielsparks on left @dennis_p on right #TeslaLive

(Here I am pictured with @DanielSparks with the nice blue finish PowerWall.)

However, the original PowerWall was limited in its applications and at the time of the original party, the customer had to decide whether to buy the product for daily use OR for backup purposes.  Additionally, the PW1 was more expensive, required purchasers to install their own DC-AC inverters, and had half the storage, between 7-10 kWh of battery storage, depending on which application people purchased the PowerWall for.

Regardless of the application, we thought that it would be a great add to our home and we spent many a conversation on our our epic Here, There, and EVerywhere roadtrip from Southern California to Maine discussing what we would use our PowerWall for.

I was hoping to adapt the system to eventually be the storage for our excess solar production, in the future.  However, what I wanted to use the PowerWall for was to charge the batteries during our cheapest rate which is overnight and discharge it for our use during the peak (so we can maximize the solar energy that we send out to the grid and use the off-set as greater savings).  The original PowerWalls were strictly DC and required an external inverter.   We figured to “get in line” and wait until we get the call from our first night’s reservation to make that eventual decision.

Then…  NOTHING HAPPENED.  Tesla sold and installed a bunch of these PowerWall 1 systems in Australia and Germany, but very few in the US.  I was in the “right” state to possibly qualify for Tesla to install a PowerWall 1 into, we never got the call.  In fact, I know several who made reservations for PowerWall 1 that never heard from Tesla.  To be fair, the PowerWall 1 reservations was just a form to show intent.  No money changed hands at the reservations, unlike other Tesla reservations.

Tesla Solar and PowerWall 2 Event

On October 28, 2016, we attended the Tesla Solar event at Universal City.  We gladly covered the event for our friends at Teslarati under their Twitter handle for this party as some of the regular folks had personal commitments and conflicts.  So much more details of THAT event on a proper article on the blog, so you can read more about that event in the link.

We put a reservation AND a deposit down for three PowerWalls at the event and waited.  The PowerWall 2 is a dramatic improvement over PowerWall 1 in everything but its appearance.  I prefer the aesthetics of the original PowerWall, but loved everything else about the PowerWall 2.  With an integrated DC-AC inverter, the PowerWall 2 was more flexible than the PowerWall 1 and can be used to charge off ANY source.   I emphasize this as this was the categorization from many Tesla Energy folks that I spoke to.  Of course, Elon and crew focused the ability to recharge the batteries off renewable sources, specifically the Tesla Solar Roof that was the focus of that October night’s event, but there was nothing technically about the PowerWall 2 that precluded it from taking a charge from the electrical grid.  So, typical Tesla.  Order placed, and now the wait…

Some seemingly random Contact Points throughout the process.

I get my first phone call several weeks (months) after the initial deposit, the agent was nice enough, but no information.

Several months later, on February 1 and 2, I get a phone call AND an email and had some conversations with some Tesla Energy employees.

The first one left me an email

Hello Dennis,

Thank you for your interest in the Tesla Powerwall 2. My name is [removed to protect the innocent] and I just tried to reach you by phone to respond to your request for information about the product.

I’m happy to answer any questions you have about Tesla’s Energy products, including Powerwall 2, and our solar energy options.

Please feel free to respond via email, or give me a call on my direct line at 725-XXX-YYWZ.                                         

I look forward to speaking to you at your convenience. 

He signed the email and his title was Inside Energy Advisor, Solar City.

I responded via email

I returned your call today.
I will be available to speak tomorrow after 10AM tomorrow.
Please call me back.  I have registered my interest in PW since PW1 and paid a deposit for 3 PW2s…
I am looking to use the unit for charging on AC during Super Off Peak (overnight) and use the PW during Peak (when my solar is also feeding into the grid)
We have net metering in California and I want to knock out all my Peak needs and get more credit for it during the day.
(until Net Metering is done, then I’ll charge from the panels.)  I have Solar through Real Goods Solar (on a PPA (fully prepaid))

And followed up with a phone call and got the following as a response from the person that I spoke to on the phone.

Hi Dennis,

Thanks again for taking some time for me to talk about your interest in Powerwall 2. As I mentioned on the phone, we expect to schedule your site survey for you by the middle of the year. I’ll send you another email when I have more information of Time of Use load shifting and the state of net metering in California. Feel free to consider me your point of contact here. I am available to answer any questions you have, and address any concerns about your home’s ideal energy solution.

The person I spoke to had the title Referral Energy Advisor | SolarCity.

So, it would seem that SolarCity (now Tesla Energy) has been integrated into the delayed gratification ways of Tesla.  But, they were at least setting expectations in February that this won’t be happening for a few more months.  The Site Survey wasn’t even on the radar until mid 2017.

Exceeded expectations – Site Survey

Wow.  Even though Tesla’s communications in February was that the Site Survey wouldn’t be until mid 2017, we actually were contacted in March and got our Site Survey scheduled and completed on March 22, 2017.  The guy who came out from Tesla was friendly and accommodating.  He took measurements of the house, photographs of some parts and and we discussed various locations of placement for the PowerWall 2.  At the time, he was looking at spreading the PowerWalls side, by side, by side, akin to how the PowerWall 1 was configured and wall mounting the unit.

Apparently in March, Tesla was unsure how to take care of the middle units of a stacked configuration, should failure occur in the field.  I explained to the gentleman that we saw the stacked configuration and understand that Tesla was going to deliver on that configuration as well, so we would like to design the one to the house in that manner.  He capitulated.

The next challenge with regard to the initial location discussions was the Tesla representative wanted to place the units (stacked or unstacked) in a heavily trafficked location of our home.  Our gardeners and others walk by that section all the time.  Additionally, there is not much room to walk by there, so we identified a location that he felt was controversial because of its exposure to sunlight.  Nevertheless, he took notes to bring the whole solution back to the engineers to approve of any of the plans in our configuration.  It would take weeks before we heard back regarding this information.

Self Generation Incentive Program

The second week of April 2017, I started sending some documents that Tesla required for the project, utility bills and the like.  I assume this was to get my utility account information so that Tesla can work with SCE to get the installation approved, etc.  Furthermore, I was interested in the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and filled out the paperwork in April since the application program from the state was re-opening on May 1, 2017. One thing I learned in this process, because I was ordering three PowerWall 2, that kicked OUR order into the Commercial and not Residential traunch for the SGIP.  Needless to say, it didn’t look good to get the help from California, and this was later confirmed that we “missed” qualifying for Step 1 or 2 of the program and hopeful for Step 3.  As opposed to other incentives for Tesla Purchasers, this California program is filed on the customer’s behalf by Tesla (or whoever you’re purchasing your battery storage from.)

It was also around this same time that the design was getting tightened and our contract with Tesla was getting finalized.  The engineering drawings arrived with the proposed PowerWall 2 location in the wrong spot.  It wasn’t even on any of the spots that I discussed with the site engineer.  A bunch of emails and phone calls later, we clarified and agreed on the location that we wanted to install the product in.  Throughout this time, we understood that we would be getting the AC PowerWall 2 as we have micro-inverters from our Real Goods Power setup. Additionally, we continue to be interested in charging the PowerWalls during the Super Off Peak time of 10pm to 8am.  The same times that we charge our EVs.

On April 28, 2017, we executed our Agreement and the wait to install started.

Install Scheduling and Specifications Call

On Sunday, July 9, I received a call while we were on a roadtrip to the Bay Area and had a great conversation with a very knowledgeable Scheduling Specialist who was able to answer and confirm all of our requirements.  As I had indicated since the beginning, with the AC PowerWalls, we continue to be interested in recharging the units using the grid and using our Super Off Peak while Net Metering and those tariffs were still available.  He mentioned to us that current projections from Tesla in July was that the Off Peak scheduled charging that I expected the system to do was being finalized and expected to be released in approximately four weeks.  With that, we identified our installation date for Monday and Tuesday August 7 and 8.  We were told that we should expect to have power off for at least half the day for both days (four hours for each day.)

Concrete Pad pre-installation

After the scheduling call, one of the items on the contract that was still unsettled was the concrete pad that I wanted installed to floor mount the three PowerWall 2 units on. I did not want to have the units stacked and tear the wall off, so, I asked Tesla about those. On our original contract, it showed a $0 value for the work and it was listed as additional and optional. After further discussion, it turns out to be another $500 that Tesla was going to charge for the concrete work.

To prepare for the PowerWall 2, we needed an old planter removed and replaced.

Here it is before:

IMG_2729

IMG_2730

And we wanted the concrete pad to be an inch taller than our airconditioner.

IMG_2731

Instead of having Tesla do the work, we got a local concrete guy to take care of it for less than $200.

It took a little while to get specifications from Tesla and they started off with a 48×48 inch concrete pad. I said that sounded excessive, and they finally said 36×36 inch pad. That still seemed big to me, but decided to ask our concrete guy to do a 37×37 inch pad.

So, a few weeks prior to Tesla’s installation, on July 22nd. We had our concrete pad completed.

IMG_2744

IMG_2745

We asked him to raise the pad an inch above the airconditioner, so it is a 4 inch rise, and not a 3 inch one.

IMG_2746

IMG_2747

Here it is dry and waiting for the installers.

IMG_3173

Waiting for Godot, err… Tesla

Having completed our concrete pad…  we waited…  Being a long-time Tesla owner is like being in Samuel Beckett’s play…  Except, it’s not Godot that we wait for.

And, as I mentioned earlier in this article…  I wanted you, dear reader, to experience our Tesla PowerWall installation as a tease.  Your wait will NOT be as long as ours, but definitely a good tease, because Tesla was on-time on August 7 and 8 and we have pictures…

…on the next article…  However, I don’t have that written yet, and I intend to publish…

…Soon.

IMG_3207

In the meantime, a recap of some Tweets I’ve sent out (and some responses) recently…

@vdivanov corrected me and said CONDUITS, ’cause it’s not liquids going through that!

Lots more to come, in another article… SOON!

A Trip in Three Phases… Phase 3… The Tesla 2017 Annual Meeting

Phase 3 of the trip was attending the Tesla Annual Meeting in Mountain View on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  (Phase 1 is here, and Phase 2 is here.)

Phase 3 – Tesla Annual Meeting 2017

We attended our first Tesla annual shareholders meeting last year (Day One, Day Two).  This year, since we were already in the area right before, we decided to attend the Tesla Annual Meeting again two weeks ago.

The previous Annual Meeting trip in 2016 was the central focus of those two days.  However, this year’s (2017’s) attendance was the afterthought to other activities that brought us to the area.

The Tesla Annual Meeting is a great place to spot Teslas and other EVs…

As well as cars that hope to be EVs soon.

IMG_20170606_115541

Some one was part of Luke Skywalker’s squadron.

IMG_20170606_121356

We figured to boost our charge for the drive home. We want to get home at a decent hour after today’s Annual Meeting.

IMG_1939.JPG

Tesla spotting in the row that we parked our cars in.

IMG_1940.JPG

IMG_1941.JPG

IMG_1942.JPG

IMG_1943.JPG

On the way to the line-up, I forgot to get a close up of the Blue S with its trunk open on the right side of the photo above.  That’s TMC’s Papa Fox headed out on another Mainland Roadtrip (from Hawaii)

IMG_1944.JPG

We waited in the shade of the trees before security let us into the event.

IMG_1945.JPG

And here I am chatting with Papafox from Hawaii.

IMG_0826

Chatting with Bonnie as well as Linda and Bill from our home club, the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County.

IMG_0827

And the line started to form… Nanette from Tesla Owners Club of Hawaii was with us as well.

IMG_1948.JPG

And we catch Steve Jurvetson shooting video of the line…

IMG_1946.JPG

IMG_1947.JPG

It just gets longer

IMG_1949.JPG

Better half gets a better picture of me with Linda and Bill.

IMG_0828

And finally, the queue to get into the building opens and security lets us through…

IMG_1950.JPG

The guy ahead of us must have been made of metal, ’cause he should’ve brought a purse with all the stuff he had to empty from his pockets.

IMG_1951.JPG

The Annual Meeting was held in the same room as last year.

IMG_1952

We did get a better seat.

IMG_0829

IMG_1954.JPG

The agenda was relatively brief.

IMG_1953

And lots of familiar faces.

IMG_1957

And hanging with the Hawaiians

IMG_1958.JPG

This guy had looked familiar too…

IMG_1962.JPG

IMG_1961.JPG

IMG_1964.JPG

Better view this trip, but not better pictures.  Unlike last year when Elon and JB really went “off-book” and kept us entertained at the meeting for several hours.  Elon was pretty structured.  A lot of it had to do with IR taking and filtering questions the day before via Twitter submissions.  There was no in-room queuing for live questions.  So, though the IR department let some less serious questions come through, it was all pretty well managed.

No “earth shattering” revelations and even the Model Y tease wasn’t really much.  Still, it was a good way to cap the past few days of Tesla and Active E EV activities and we had a good time.  When we headed out, and finally caught a photo with the Model S with the Hawaii plate.

IMG_1967

IMG_1968

Great shot of the Roadster getting its 3rd party netting top. We need to find one of those for the better half’s Roadster.

IMG_1971

Our route is plotted into the NAV…

IMG_1975

and we’re headed home.

We spot a Zero Motorcycle on our way out of the Annual Meeting.

IMG_1978

The Annual Meeting this year let out in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour Traffic… So, that just means more chances to play #EVBingo.  Only drawback was I found out about thirty minutes later that some of my friends caught a Model 3 at the Mountain View Supercharger. As usual, it takes the Belgians on a trip to California to get great pictures of the Model 3.  😜 (Thanks again for the DM Martin and for not “rubbing it in”)

And what cars did we get to catch on camera?  Well, unfortunately, we were only able to catch a couple of #EVBingo cars on this Rush Hour Traffic drive.

This Audi E-Tron was blurry on the camera, but you can make out the outline of the green HOV sticker on the car. It’s the green discoloration on the rear bumper’s right side. (I spotted the car fine with my eyes, but we were fighting traffic here.)

IMG_4665

And the other EV Bingo car we captured on camera was the Ford Focus Electric that was a few cars ahead of me in the carpool lane.

IMG_4666

So, how did we do around the Bay Area/Silicon Valley (not counting the time waiting for the Annual Meeting, or right after…

Bay Area
Total – 6/6 Bay Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 29 2 31 1 31
Chevy Volt 26 26 1 26
BMW i3 11 11 3 33
Tesla Model X 12 8 20 5 100
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 1 15 15
Ford Fusion PlugIn 7 7 2 14
Ford Focus Electric 1 1 12 12
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 22 22 1 22
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 4 4 3 12
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 3 3 15 45
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Zero Motorcycle 1 ?
Totals 361

Tried to get a ruling on Zero Motorcycle, but we didn’t have points. So, that’s 361 before the California Handicap, and 180.5 after the 50% discount for the Bay Area spotting.

Just at the Annual Meeting parking lot and adjacent, supercharger.

Annual Meeting
Total – 6/6 Bay Area Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 53 1 53
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
BMW i3 1 3 3
Tesla Model X 37 5 185
Tesla Roadster 1 25 25
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 15 15
Totals 283

The total of 283 points, pre-California 50% handicap of 141.5 points.  Which means that we have 644 total points (322 post handicap) before we leave the Bay Area/Silicon Valley area.  I like to use the Gilroy Supercharger for the spot that we delineate these areas, so past that is between Metro Areas count.

So, we head through, still mesmerized by the progress one really wet year has done for the state’s water levels.

IMG_4671

We pass that duck pond again.

IMG_4673

IMG_4675

Furthermore, driving on the Southbound/Westbound side of this drive gives us better views of the reservoir to see how close to its capacity its been since the wet Winter that we’ve had.

IMG_4679

IMG_1993

And it wasn’t long until we’re back on Interstate 5 again.

IMG_4686

IMG_2009

IMG_2008

We stopped off at Harris Ranch for a big boost and had a Red, White, and Blue shot… Too bad we drive an S, and not an X, otherwise it would have been a cool Model X Red, White, and Blue shot.

IMG_2014

IMG_2013

After leaving Harris Ranch, my better half played around with her camera with these great sunset shots.

IMG_4689

IMG_4693

IMG_4700

IMG_4703

IMG_4712

IMG_4724

We were traveling in darkness for quite a bit of that drive back.  Not as late as last year’s Annual Meeting, but still a quiet Tuesday evening drive.

In Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/6 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 4 1 4
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
Tesla Model X 5 5 25
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 2 3 6
Totals 39

Even though Model S and Model X lights are easy to spot in the dark, we did a decent EV Bingo total of 39 points for inter-Metro travel.  We even beat the total for the LA Metro.

Granted, it was really late and we got home just after midnight.  But we scored a pathetic 1 Model S spotted on the drive. That’s HALF a POINT after the California discount.

At least we got home at a fairly decent hour.

IMG_2032

Lots of bugs gave up its life in this drive… And we’re glad that water restrictions have been eased. ’cause it felt good to clean this car.

IMG_2038

If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

A Trip in Three phases… Phase 1… The Tesla Owners Club 2017 Leadership Conference

The beginning of June has been a jam-packed time for our EV life. We packed three differing EV related events into six days on a trip to the Bay Area.  Thus, this series of a trip in three phases.

A few weeks prior to this trip, I’ve been playing #EVBingo with a bunch of fellow EV enthusiasts on Twitter. Derek Osborne, from Glasgow, Scotland sent the following Tweet and I became addicted playing this game with them since the last week of May.  (We decided on Twitter to handicap California scoring from the US system that they came up with by 50%).

EV Bingo Card - US Edition

The game is played by tallying up the points for all the vehicles that is spotted on the road and adding the point totals. There’s a lot of EVs in California, so this particular game had to be handicapped for us at 50% the total value.

So, the first phase of the trip (June 1-June 3, 2017) was focused on meeting with the leadership of the official Tesla Owners Clubs and working with Tesla on the relationship between the clubs as well as the relationships between the club and Tesla.

Phase 1 – Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference

June 1, The Drive and Reception

The drive on June 1st targeted arriving at the Marriott, Fremont (which is across the freeway from the Tesla Factory) in time for the evening reception for all the participating Tesla Owners clubs at the hotel.  We left home and proceeded North through the I-405 traffic in West Los Angeles because of the #EVBingo addiction.  I figured to spot more EVs in the heavier, more direct West LA traffic than going the longer, but less populated route through the foothills.

Even with my more direct, but heavier traffic route, the in-car Trip Planner only required us to make two stops to make our destination.

IMG_0774.JPG

Before leaving the LA Metro area, we spot a very positive sight. The California Aqueduct is flowing with lots of water again.

IMG_0778.JPG

Additionally, in the interest of figuring out how many #EVBingo points I would spot on the drive within the LA area vs. between metro areas vs. Silicon Valley/Bay Area totals.  So, as we pass the California Aqueduct in the northern parts of LA County, we ran through our totals for the drive through traffic.

So, before we headed into the parts of California in between the LA Metro Area and Silicon Valley/Bay Area, we did a quick total count.

Total – 6/1 In LA Metro Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 55 55 1 55
Chevy Volt 43 43 1 43
BMW i3 16 16 3 48
Tesla Model X 8 6 14 5 70
Mercedes Benz B250e 3 3 15 45
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 5 6 11 1 11
Fiat 500e 6 6 7 42
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 2 2 8 16
Toyota Prius PlugIn 6 6 3 18
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 8 8 15 120
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 2 2 30 60
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Golf Cart 0 0 0 0
Total 675

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 337.5 points.

And we’re reminded of why California is called the Golden State. Dry Brush sure looks like gold.

IMG_0782.JPG

#EVBingo was not the only game that I was playing on the road.  I was also helping beta-test TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) from HappyFunCorp. And one of the categories in this Tesla Social/gamifcation app is number of superchargers visited for the week, either for all the folks on the app, or your “friends.”  So, I made a deal with my better half that we would stop in as many supercharger locations and plug in as long as we got to the conference in “decent” time.

Besides, there were several added new superchargers along the route (as well as some expansions to existing capacity.)  We stopped at all these superchargers, but charged for a very short time at each one as the time required to charge in the one stop only required fifteen minutes.  We did stop at the Tejon Ranch supercharger for about ten minutes (Supercharger D in the image below), but that had a lot more to do with the coffee I drank in the morning, than really needing to stop and charge.  If you look at the map below, it was directing us to the Bakersfield Supercharger (which is the end of the BLUE highlighted GPS route, before it turns GREY.)

IMG_0780.JPG

IMG_1673.JPG

If you look above, the Tejon Ranch supercharger has four more supercharger stalls deployed. Granted, they are of the “mobile” supercharger variety, but this is usually an indication that further, more permanent stalls will be placed at this location in the future.

IMG_1675.JPG

Our first new, to us, supercharger stop was at the Bakersfield Supercharger. This location is interesting in that it is one exit South of the Buttonwillow Supercharger on I-5. Having stopped at Buttonwillow late night/early morning in the past, we can attest that this location with its placement at a gas station location (and IHOP, as well as being located a block away from the California Highway Patrol) makes it ideal for any late night supercharging that we may have to do on this route in the future.

IMG_4507

Our view while supercharging at the stall perpendicular to the rest of the installation has a nice view of the current gasoline prices on this route.

IMG_1676.JPG

What it looked like behind me, before someone else was by to join us at the supercharger.  The Trip Planner had us originally scheduled to stop and charge here for fifteen minutes before we headed to Harris Ranch.  However, I was pining for some coffee and we knew that Buttonwillow (which is the next exit North of us) was collocated by a Subway and Starbucks.  So, we unplugged and headed North.

IMG_1678.JPG

Moments later, this white Model X took the spot behind us.

IMG_1679.JPG

So, we headed to Buttonwillow, one exit North of the Bakersfield Supercharger.  (approximately 3 miles, I believe.) As I previously mentioned, this stop had a lot more to do with the collocated Starbucks than anything else (that and getting the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points. We were joined by a Signature Red Model X with some interesting rims.  Getting our Starbucks order completed took longer than the recommended supercharging stop for our next stop at Harris Ranch.

IMG_20170601_122948

On the drive along the I-5, we’re reminded that as long as the grid has a connection, we’re sure to find a way to recharge any EV.

IMG_4513

It’s just great that Tesla provides the supercharger network to do it in a quicker way than most other EVs.

IMG_4522

We continued on to Harris Ranch, an Oasis on I-5 for its great steaks, but also for its industry leadership in supporting clean fueling. From its original Roadster charging station to its Hydrogen station. (note the Hyd sign on the exit.)  The only thing missing is standard J1772, CHAdeMO or CCS at this stop (I’m not sure if CNG is available here as well, I don’t normally check for that.)

IMG_4518

This site has expanded again for the third time and is now up to 20 supercharger stalls.  It originally had six charger stalls, then 13 charger stalls, and now 20 supercharger stalls.  The last two are reserved to be used last for handicap access.  I made a mistake on this stop and charged there.  I read the sign for the one I was using when we LEFT Harris Ranch, so I was charging at one of those two chargers that were reserved to be used last on this trip.  To be fair, the last one was the extra-wide that is common for handicap access.

IMG_1680.JPG

We’ve been spotting a ton of Tesla vehicles on car carriers on this trip, and we finally caught one on film.  Luckily, the #EVBingo folks said that we can count EVs on car carriers that are NOT found in a dealership or Tesla Gallery.

IMG_4524

It seems that most of the Teslas on the transporters on this day are predominantly Model X.

IMG_4535

Though the better half caught this one carrier with a lot of S on it.

Before making the turn-off for Gilroy, we pass 77,000 miles.

IMG_4525

Now, the navigation didn’t require us to stop anywhere else, but it’s common practice for us to supercharge to near maximum at Gilroy so that we’re not so reliant on supercharging or destination charging while visiting hotels in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area. So, the warning below was for our destination for the evening.

IMG_4526

However, instead of going to Gilroy directly, we noticed that there is a new, to us, Supercharger at Gustline that was about a six mile detour from our route.  So, we decided to go ahead and get the points for the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) contest.

IMG_1685.JPG

IMG_1687.JPG

IMG_1689.JPG

Have to be careful of the dip in the charging stalls.  So, if one has air suspension, remember to use it before backing into the stalls.

This is the view from our charging stall.

IMG_4527

We didn’t really need to stop, and after a few minutes of photo taking and documentation and obtaining TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points, we headed to Gilroy.

The drive to Gilroy we’re greeted with a welcome sight. The reservoir that has looked rather parched in the past few years and previous trips looks like it’s almost at capacity.

IMG_4534

Even the little duck pond that we’ve passed has water in it again.

IMG_4537

The Gilroy supercharger location is another of the original locations in the Supercharger network.

We noticed that this was yet another location that had been expanded for a third time or so.  Originally, when we picked up our Model S in 2013, this location had six stalls.  It’s expanded to twelve last year and now to sixteen stalls.  (Not to mention the CHAdeMO  and CCS stations at this location as well.)

IMG_1691.JPG

We decided to check out the newest four stalls and charged at one of them.

Spotted another EV (Golf Cart, which unfortunately has mixed consideration for #EVBingo).

IMG_1694.JPG

Did spot a JdeMO powered 2nd Gen RAV4EV pull up to the CHAdeMO/CCS station at Gilroy.

IMG_1696.JPG

Spoke with the owner for a few minutes before heading onward to the conference.  The JdeMO from QuickChargePower is a device that adds CHAdeMO DC Fast Charge capability originally for the 2nd Gen RAV 4 and now the Roadster.

We figured that this location was a good one to delineate as “in-between Metro Area spotting” so, quickly tallied our #EVBingo points

in Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/1 in Between Metro Areas On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 26 8 34 1 34
Chevy Volt 8 8 1 8
BMW i3 0 3 0
Tesla Model X 12 16 28 5 140
Mercedes Benz B250e 0 15 0
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 9 9 1 9
Fiat 500e 1 1 7 7
Kia Soul EV 0 15 0
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 0 3 0
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 0 15 0
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 1 1 30 30
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 1 1 0 0
Totals 263

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 181.5 points.  Or 938 total points without the handicap or 469 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive, so far.  We headed from Gilroy to the Fremont Marriott and for more metro-area #EVBingo, in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour traffic.  And another Tesla filled Car carrier on the other side of the freeway.

IMG_4539

It wasn’t just Teslas in this part of the drive.  There seemed to be an inordinate number of LEAFs in traffic with us. It was not uncommon on this part of the drive to catch a few LEAFs at the same time. It was like a flashback to 2012 or 2013 when it seems that every other EV was a LEAF.

IMG_4540

Here’s an interesting shot that my better half and co-pilot captured with the former Solar City location sporting Tesla signage and one of many LEAFs that we spotted for #EVBingo in the Silicon Valley area.

IMG_4542

Before heading down to the Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference Thursday Reception, we do a quick #EVBingo tally.

Silicon Valley
Total – 6/1 Silicon Valley On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 7 6 13 1 13
Chevy Volt 22 22 1 22
BMW i3 2 2 3 6
Tesla Model X 2 6 8 5 40
Mercedes Benz B250e 4 4 15 60
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 35 35 1 35
Fiat 500e 2 2 7 14
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 1 1 8 8
Toyota Prius PlugIn 7 7 3 21
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 5 5 15 75
Chevy Spark 1 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 2 2 15 30
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 0 30 0
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 0 0 0
Totals 409

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 204.5 points for Silicon Valley.  Interesting to spot a lot more LEAF and Volt than S and X this close to the Fremont Factory.  Still didn’t spot any Model 3 on this drive.

And adding all the legs of this one day, gives us the totals for this Thursday.

Day Total
Total – 6/1 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 102 1 102
Chevy Volt 73 1 73
BMW i3 18 3 54
Tesla Model X 50 5 250
Mercedes Benz B250e 7 15 105
Ford Fusion PlugIn 3 2 6
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 55 1 55
Fiat 500e 9 7 63
Kia Soul EV 2 15 30
Volkswagen E-Golf 3 8 24
Toyota Prius PlugIn 13 3 39
Sonata 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 13 15 195
Chevy Spark 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 4 15 60
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 3 30 90
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 12 12
Golf Cart 1 0 0
Totals 1347

Or 1347 total points without the handicap or 673.5 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive.

I’m not even sure if that counts the points for the Teslas that we can spot from outside our window from our room today.

IMG_1697.JPG

I know it didn’t include the ones across the freeway at Tesla’s Factory from the Marriott’s Executive Lounge.

IMG_20170601_174330

IMG_20170601_174336

Either way, we headed to our evening reception with fellow Tesla Owners Club leaders.  Aside from folks from all over North America, we had friends fly all the way in from Europe and Australia to join us in this first formal event.  Those that followed us on last year’s Long Way Round trip to the Gigafactory would remember the lunch that we had with fellow clubs before the event.

The evening reception was casual and provided the attendees with the time to “get to know” each other again.

IMG_1702.JPG

Zeb (pictured on the right) had done this trip on the furthest drive for the group, having driven cross-country from North Carolina and documented it on Google Plus.

IMG_1698.JPG

Our Belgian friends, who would later capture some great Model 3 shots on this trip at the reception were all wearing their club polos.

IMG_1704.JPG

And here I am speaking with some of the Europeans again.

IMG_1706.JPG

Before turning in for the night, went back up to the Executive Lounge to get a nice shot of the Tesla Factory across the street.

IMG_1722.JPG

June 2, Conference at Tesla Fremont Factory

Day 2 of the Conference starts off with a bunch of us that drove to the conference providing Zero emission transport from the hotel to the Tesla Factory. Tesla provided the clubs with a room and the time with quite a few employees and executives to spend the day with us as we brainstormed how to make the Tesla Owners Club Program a bigger success.

At the hotel driveway, before we took off… Here’s the panoramic I took after a few of the cars took off…

IMG_1723.JPG

Here are four shots of the driveway before those cars took off.

IMG_4544

IMG_4545

IMG_4546

IMG_4547

A hotel driveway full of Teslas mean that either I’m in Heaven, in California, Norway, or Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport… One of those four things is accurate.

Our event with Tesla was occurring during the same time as the Model 3 VIP Event/Factory Tour for folks from the Referral program, so I’m not sure whether they had us park for our event or the other one, but we parked by the supercharger/delivery center at the Fremont Factory.

We headed through security into the training room set aside for the TOC Leadership were meeting.

IMG_1731.JPG

IMG_1732.JPG

We were asked some ice breaker questions.

IMG_1733.JPG

and waited for the start.

IMG_1734.JPG

It was a long, productive day and we got a break in the middle to do an updated factory tour.

We saw 100,000 Model 3s produced and ready to go…

…JUST KIDDING…

…We saw the production line and the factory itself seems to be “more full” than I’ve ever seen it before. This was the third time that I’ve visited the factory and it seems like they’re now fully utilizing the building.

But we had NDAs and couldn’t take any pictures whatsoever.

It wasn’t all serious work. In between sessions, the tables were provided some pipe cleaners and folks got creative with what was provided for them.

IMG_0802.JPG

Here was a rendering of a Model 3 supercharging.

IMG_0803.JPG

Either a Rocket Ship to Mars or La Tour Eiffel from Stephen Pace as well as some chocolate covered macadamia nuts from the Hawaii Club.

IMG_0804.JPG

And the better half was not immune from the pipe cleaner fun…

IMG_0805.JPG

Doing a Tesla logo and the notebook that we used at the conference.

Here are the selection of pipe cleaner fun that the folks put together.

IMG_1765.JPG

Aside from the goodies that Tesla fed us with, our friends from Hawaii brought some chocolate macadamia nuts that were in bite size packages on our tables, the Belgians brought Godiva.

IMG_4571

After a long day of brainstorming and working with our Tesla hosts, we had some dinner and drinks at the Factory.

IMG_1769.JPG

IMG_4578

IMG_1770.JPG

IMG_1771.JPG

and some special Tesla cookies for dessert.

IMG_1767.JPG

IMG_1774.JPG

We had some further interesting happenings that I won’t be sharing with you here… But, let’s just say that I got a good idea of the differences in size between the Model 3 and Model S.

And then we were back at the Marriott. When we got back to the hotel, we found out that Robert R and our friends from Belgium were busy taking pictures of the Model 3, both in the wild and on the Test Track near the Factory.

This was what they first spotted that first evening of #Model3 spotting.

They were also by the Tesla track beside the factory and had a few shots on their Twitter page as well.

Had a good time with some late night discussions at the hotel lobby with fellow club leaders, but decided to turn in.

June 3, Club de-brief, hanging at the Computer History Museum, and Model 3 Spotting

The next morning, we had a half day session left for the conference. But before the start of the conference, I thought to see if I can clean the windshield on the car.

Want to spot Teslas from the hotel window? Our S is parked beside the traffic cones on the bottom right corner of the picture.

IMG_1775.JPG

Here are some of the Teslas that I could spot from above.

IMG_1776.JPG

IMG_1777.JPG

IMG_1778.JPG

IMG_1779.JPG

Lot of other folks did this drive in their Model X. Zeb from North Carolina had already headed back at this time. I was trying to find his car to show the guy with the farthest drive from this group.

And our friends from Belgium were up to their tricks again…

But eventually, we all met back for our clubs debrief and we had a productive session amongst the Tesla Clubs.

IMG_1781.JPG

IMG_4589

IMG_4590

It was good to get a grasp of what other clubs are up to, what sort of response they get and strategies on how to work within the community and with Tesla. We strengthened our bonds and said goodbye to old friends and new. With the full expectation to spot some of these folks on Tuesday for the Tesla Annual Meeting, which is Phase 3 of our trip.

Besides, we were provided with the last gift from the event planning committee.

IMG_1780.JPG

The chocolate was enclosed in this puzzle box adorned with all four Tesla vehicles produced or about to be produced, so that was cool.

The rest of Saturday, the 3rd was hanging out with Trevor Page of Model3OwnersClub. We were in contact with each other because he was flying in for the Referral Program VIP Tour and Q&A Session that was held during the same weekend as the TOC event. We were trying to find a time to hang and I volunteered to take him to the airport, so we hung out for a while before his flight.

He hasn’t visited the area before and I didn’t know what traffic in the area was like, so figured to take him to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The museum is a short drive, even in traffic, from San Jose Airport. Additionally, the museum is the same location as the Tesla Annual Meeting and figured that he would enjoy that.

We’ve been in the building last year for the Annual Meeting, but never really visited the museum.

Needless to say, it was a blast.

We saw some really old computers.

IMG_1234.JPG

IMG_1788.JPG

Here’s Trev taking a photo.

IMG_1789.JPG

And a lot of very important historical computers. Like this Enigma Machine.

IMG_1793.JPG

Or this really old memory tube that was 2560 bits of RAM.

IMG_1795.JPG

Trev in front of some old military computer installation.

IMG_1802.JPG

A couple of old Cray computers.

IMG_1814.JPG

IMG_1816.JPG

IMG_1817.JPG

Of course, video games…

IMG_1824.JPG

IMG_1823.JPG

They even had some kids playing PONG.

IMG_0822.JPG

and finally an old Apple 1.

IMG_1255.JPG

Before we took Trev to the airport for his flight, we take a picture in front of the Google/Waymo Pod Car.

IMG_1845.JPG

He had a little fun with his Twitter followers with this car…

After dropping Trev off at the airport, we decided to charge up at the supercharger at the Tesla Factory. Though our hotel is a host to in the destination charger program, one of the L2 was broken, and it was easy enough to catch a charge there. Besides, I had to get another drink of the Tesla Blend drip coffee that Tesla was serving us during our conference the other day.

IMG_20170603_164349

I was trying to do some lazy Model 3 spotting at the factory.

And actually caught the Alpha being loaded back in the truck.

IMG_1846.JPG

Except, I was asked not to take any further pictures. It’s cool, but I’ve been way up-close to that car already. It’s the same one that was at the Tesla Solar Roof and PowerWall2 Announcement from a few months back, and I have a ton of better pictures of that.

After being emboldened by our spotting of the Alpha car… I figured to take the long way back to the hotel, and drive close to the track that our Belgian friends spotted the Silver and Red cars being speed tested. And sure enough, we spot two of them.

IMG_4595

IMG_4597

IMG_4600

There are definitely better pictures, but these are the ones that I spotted. We even captured their drives on video… Have to zoom in though! 😉

Either way, we had some fun on #EVBingo with that…

So, the first phase of our three phase trip was complete and we had a night to recover before our drive down to Morro Bay for the ActiveE West Coast North-South Reunion 4. (or WxNS4 as they’ve abbreviated it.) Click here for the next phase on this trip.

If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

Clean Fuel Rebate for Southern California Edison Follow Up Communications and Waiting for the Rebate…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new rebate available to Southern California Edison customers that drive a Plug-In vehicle.  I had thought that the program was limited to BEVs, but apparently it is also available to Plug-In Hybrids as well.

To give some update regarding the status of the three applications that we’ve done in our family I would like to provide the following status.

SCE Clean Fuel Email Confirm

Our Roadster application was accepted and confirmed as received on May 22, 2017 at 4:09 PM. Our Model S application was accepted and confirmed on May 22, 2017 at 4:26 PM.

However, the Model S rebate was approved on June 5, 2017 at 3:28 PM (as can be seen on the screenshot above.) Even though the Roadster rebate application was completed about 17 minutes earlier than the Model S application, the rebate was approved about 20 hours later on June 6, 2017 at 11:16 AM.

Additionally, my mother’s Leaf was approved on June 7 at 5:55 PM and her application was about a day after our two applications. Her application is numbered between 1100 and 1200.

So, hope that helps others figure out when they should get the email confirming their rebate request.

(Click here for the initial instructions for the rebate.)

Solar Panels and Inverters, Our First Solar Repair Experience.

In 2012, shortly after moving to electric with our BMW Active E, it became apparent to us that installing a solar array on our roof was going to be beneficial for us to lower the cost of our transportation fuel as well as our consumption of energy at home.  Producing our own fuel coupled with net metering and time of use would provide us with efficiency that would provide for a rather quick payback.

As I understand it, Net Metering allows utility customers with the ability to export the power generated by their devices (in our case, our solar panels) to the utility at the retail rate of energy as a credit against our overall consumption.  Time of Use is a program that provides differing pricing for electricity depending on the time of day and week that energy is consumed by a utility customer.  When we first started on this program, our peak times for energy mapped perfectly with the hours of sunlight.  That is to say, the peak energy times were from Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.  This meant that during the the times that we were not at home, our solar panels would produce enough credit to be offset during our primary usage, which is after 6pm and before 10am (in SCE territory, since we installed our panels, this peak time has changed and shifted to 2pm to 8pm).  Under our original assumptions, and armed with a single EV that was capable of an 80-100 mile range, we figured our break-even for this project to be in the approximately six to seven years.  As many long-time readers have found out, it was soon after getting into our BMW Active E that we dedicated ourselves to a primarily EV existence that we went from one EV to three EVs and back down to two EVs.  With the amount of driving that both my wife and I did, this break-even point was reached sometime last year (around the three and a half to four year mark.)

When we first bid out our homes’ solar PV, we shopped it around and ended up with Solar City.  As I’ve documented before, because there was a snag in the age of our roof, we had the opportunity to re-open this to others and ended up with Real Goods Solar (RGS Energy).  We documented all this in some articles on this blog.  I did a follow up that covered the installation.  Because of how things worked out for us, we opted to pre-pay our power purchase agreement with Real Goods Solar for the 20 years of service that we signed up for, if we do this again now, we would buy the system instead, but I didn’t want to have to worry about maintenance and the like.

Which brings us to the subject of inverters.  As I understand it, the inverter is the device that converts the Direct Current (DC) produced by our solar panels into AC (Alternating Current) energy that our appliances and other domestic household devices uses. Every solar company that I spoke to during the bid process basically said that the main thing that would break in a solar installation is the inverter.   Under original solar installation designs, solar installations would have ONE or TWO inverters that connect the whole system to the home and electrical grid. This means that if the inverter failed, the energy produced by the solar panels would not be converted to AC power and be effectively out of service for the whole system until it gets repaired.  We picked Real Goods Solar primarily for financial reasons.  However, at the time, they pitched an interesting system using micro-inverters.  Instead of one (or a primary and backup) inverter situation for the house, each solar panel has its own inverter that converts the energy produced by each panel to AC.  This configuration spread the risk of outage from the whole system to just a single panel at a time.  Being a systems guy and understanding single points of failure versus minimizing this, I appreciated the pitch, but money savings really drove the decision.

One of the technical benefits we got from having the micro-inverter solution is we are able to see the production of our solar system down to the panel level.

So, on a normal day, we can see the panel production on either the website on a browser:

IMG_1671.JPG

Or on the mobile app.

IMG_1670.PNG

A few months ago, we experienced our first repair under this program.  On the weeks prior to failure, I started receiving alerts regarding AC voltage being out of range and on March 8, I noticed that one of the panels had a hard failure.

This is a screenshot of the email that I received to show the errors in one of the micro-inverters that started to occur.

Enphase Alert Screenshot

It looked minor at first, but as you can see in the graphic of our system, one of the panels is grey.  And this is a good indication of the failure AND the location of the failure in our system.

IMG_1276

I reported this to Real Goods Energy and received a trouble ticket on March 9th. They remotely diagnosed the problem and required me to contact the owners of the system.  Since I am on a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), I don’t actually own the system on my roof, I effectively buy power from those that do at a predetermined rate when I signed my contract.  Traditional PPA purchasers do this on a monthly basis that have riders that increase the cost per kWh over the years, but we decided to prepay the entire contract at the time that we finalized our deal and therefore fixed our cost per kWh soon after the installation was complete.  Therefore, technically, we don’t own the system on top of our roof.  The owner to the system provided approval and we waited for the repair to be completed.

It took about a month for the full repair to be completed and I estimate that we lost about 40kWh of production from having one panel out that entire month.  To put this into perspective, the whole system produces 40kWh on a Summer day, so even though the panels were missing one of the 28 panels on the roof from producing, my outage was only equivalent to one day’s outage with a more traditional set up.

So, what does a micro-inverter look like?  Well.  Here are a few photos.

Here is the broken one getting put back in the box.

IMG_1284

Here it is on the roof.

Untitled

And here it is installed and in-place.

SZEY9820

In writing this article, I was looking for pictures of larger inverters and came across this picture of a commercial solar installation from Brightergy.com.

Solar Inverters at Cross Midwest’s solar-power installation

The picture is from an article “How Solar Inverters Work” from February 6, 2013 on the brightergy website. It also covers inverters.

Here is the picture of a more common inverter from Wikipedia’s article on Solar Inverters.

Solar Inverter from Wikipedia
Solar Inverter from Wikipedia

Why would I not want to use micro-inverters. In moderate climate, like California, it works great. However, someone in Arizona has mentioned to me that it is too hot in their climate. I don’t know if this is true, but it has been reported by one person to me.

Consider going solar, use our referral code here.   If you wish to have a longer discussion, I have access to other installers as well.  Send me a tweet and we can get that process started interactively.

New limited time clean fuel rebate for Southern California Edison customers

I was made aware of a program offered yesterday for new, existing owners of electric vehicles in Southern California Edison territories.  This is an interesting rebate in that participating vehicles need not be purchased new.  A particular vehicle and household can use the rebate once, but up to two more subsequent owners of that same EV are also eligible.  (If the owner that applied for the rebate re-sells the car, the buyer, can apply for another rebate in the SCE territory for up to two more subsequent owners.)  This applicability for used and currently owned vehicles is fundamentally different than the original California state program which was limited to brand new EVs only.  Furthermore, providing for future resale to other SCE utility customers, shows a commitment to the future for this program.

So, what exactly does this rebate offer.  In a nutshell, $450 a car (as of the writing of this article on May 23, 2017.)  Considering that the program is for SCE customers, it means that your address and utility matters for this. This whole process should take most people less than fifteen minutes to complete, assuming they have ready access to the documents on hand and that their car registration is scanned or photographed for the evidence requested by the Center for Sustainable Energy (who I assume are the same administrators for this program.)

Where to start, well, the SCE “special” website that is gathering all applications for this website is https://www.scecleanfuel.com/.  Understanding that you may have some additional questions, here are the FAQshttps://www.scecleanfuel.com/faqs.

So, what do you need to prepare for filing.

In my case, I had to create a login for scecleanfuel.com (this is different than your regular service account) and is a rather straight forward process that took longer to read all the disclosures than actually click and accept the terms.

Second, I had to find and obtain my service number (which is readily available on the PDF bill (or paper bill)) from SCE.  Without the bill, it’s available on sce.com if you have a registered account on THAT system.

Example:

Find your Service Number Here

Next, you fill out the online form on scecleanfuel.com.

Here are the screens to fill out, in reality, it’s one long one.

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-01

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-02

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-03

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-04

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-05

In total after clicking submit, the next page (which I forgot to get a screenshot of) will require you to upload a scan of your registration. Luckily, I typically scan my registration for my records, so this is good.

Once you upload your registration, your application should show the status of the application and you wait.

Here is a screenshot of the page for our application for our two EVs.

SCE 2017-EV-Rebate-06

We filed yesterday afternoon (May 22, 2017) and our applications were already in the mid-hundreds. About 22 hours later, my mom (assisted by my sister) filed hers and her application was in the one thousand applications… I’m not sure how many applications will be accepted for this, but I always feel that these are almost always first come, first serve, so get your paperwork ready and apply.

If we sell an EV and there are still funds in the program, subsequent purchasers (up to two more times) of an EV that is placed in service at SCE territory may be eligible for this rebate again. The amounts may change in subsequent years, but it’s a nice little benefit for being a customer of Southern California Edison.

On the confirmation email for this program:

Once we receive a copy of your permanent vehicle registration we will review your application for completeness and accuracy. This process may take up to 30 calendar days. Delays beyond normal processing times may occur. If your application is approved, we typically issue rebate checks within 90 days of application approval date. All status updates are communicated through your email. As we cannot guarantee our emails will not be blocked by your email server, we highly recommend periodically visiting scecleanfuel.com/login to check the status of your application.

So, now, we wait.

Update on the wait… Applications Approved (a few weeks later)

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.

Untitled

IMG_20160728_134203

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.