Tesla’s “non-automotive” announcement tonight.

So, the day is here. April 30, 2015.

In about three hours, Tesla’s event starts, which means the announcement will probably be about 30 minutes to an hour later.

I am assisting a couple of my favorite EV and Tesla places with coverage of the event via Twitter.

I am joining a group tweet with folks from teslarati.com via the hashtag (at the time of the planning of) #TeslaEnergy (though that might change.)

I will also be representing the good folks of Transport Evolved at the event via the hashtag #TEatTesla.

It seems that energy storage is on a lot of minds. So, who else is in this space? Well. I did cover the Green Charge Networks folks in my article on the Shore Hotel for TransportEvolved.com. So, they have an interesting model regarding demand management.

Additionally, the remnants of what had been the Coda Automotive has reformed to be Coda Energy. I have yet to study what Coda Energy does, but it really does look like there is something there. After all, this is the first month that my home is on the 2015 TOU-D-A rate on Southern California Edison. Our previous tariff of TOU-D-T-EV or something like that, used to define the PEAK hours for electricity between 10am-6pm M-F which lent itself to being optimized for Solar Photovoltaic rates. This change in tariff now defines the peak hours as between 2pm-8pm M-F. Considering that most times of the year, the hours between 6pm-8pm are in darkness, this nearly guarantees that the Utility company will be able to charge me for some peak usage, while netting out the energy that I produce at an Off Peak rate.

I’ll have to see what the effect is at a later post.

Either way, if you have access to Twitter, you might want to just follow me there.

Prelude to an EVent. April 30, 2015. Tesla’s non-automotive product announcement.

It’s been widely reported that the Tesla Motors event on Thursday evening will be about stationary battery storage and what Tesla has been doing with Solar City and Walmart on these fronts.

Still, as I previously wrote regarding Elon’s “anti” Avengers scheduling of the announcement, I am interested in attending the event at Tesla’s Hawthorne Design Center. Well, I got the invite, so I’ve made the necessary schedule changes.

We’re attending the Tesla Event at 8pm Pacific Daylight Time/11pm Eastern Daylight Time/4am BST/3am UTC.

I will be live tweeting this event via my twitter account, so go ahead and follow me there. Haven’t decided whether to play around in Periscope or Meerkat, but that’s a possibility. It all depends on signal availability.

So, what about the Avengers? We decided to catch a showing after the Tesla event. Probably, the next day. Looks like the rEVolution won out over superheroes.

If you’re interested in other battery storage solutions, in the meantime, take a look at an article that I wrote for TransportEvolved.com that was published over this past weekend. The article covered an event that I attended last week that demonstrated the installation of a commercial battery system to enable Level 3 charging site sponsors to offer the service with less operational costs by shaping demand charges.

Why is Elon Musk against the Avengers?

Iron Man may be a part of the Avengers, but Elon Musk’s latest actions show that he may be anti-Avengers.

The latest Avengers movie, the Age of Ultron, is set for a May 1st US opening. So, at first glance it would seem that there is no overlap between the Tesla Motors upcoming (April 30th) battery storage announcement and the Avengers movie.

However, the May 1st release date for the Age of Ultron is a bit of a misnomer. Many movie theaters are actually releasing the movie in the United States on the 30th of April at 7:00 PM local time. What this means is that the upcoming Tesla event will be clashing with the Avengers release. As a person that is interested in both events, the choice should be simple, right?

Well… Not really. I’d like to be one of the first in the US to see the movie, but that Tesla event is mighty tempting to go to.

After all, Tesla knows how to throw a party. As is evidenced by the D Launch and the Battery Swap events.  At first, it was going to be an easy decision…  We were going to SKIP both events as it is a rather significant birthday for nephew #2…  But, as the younger generation is apt to do, he decided to celebrate his significant birthday with his brother and their friends.  So, the family event was postponed, and now we find ourselves with having to make the choice between two equally good choices.

It’s not that we’ve gotten an invitation to the event on the 30th either.  But, we expect an invitation to the event.  And should it arrive, I would like to go.  However, I would also like to go to the Avengers Age of Ultron first showing, should we be uninvited to the event on the 30th.

As is often quoted by my nephews, “it’s a First World Problem.”

Hand Washing a Tesla Model S

So, one of the things that I was asked on Twitter was to do a Periscope with the Model S. It’s a little difficult because the only device that I have space for the videos is an iPad. Well, that’s pretty bulky and hard to shoot the Periscope (or Meerkat) while I drive the Model S. So, earlier today, I was inspired to wash the Model S when I was following the folks at Teslaroadtrip.org do their 2015 “Reach the Beach” edition. So, I figured, why not just do two things at the same time.

So, how do I wash a car in drought conditions. Well. I learned from my detailer Moe Mistry at Glistening Perfection. Granted, this is what I heard and internalized and hope that I remembered his instructions properly. Moe’s methods are very precise and excellent. What I did today is what I would call my “in a rush” method, so it works, but not the most detailed one that I could have done.

Before I start washing the car I hook up my CR Spotless system DIC-20 to the hose and a low power pressure washer to the CR Spotless. The CR Spotless is great because it doesn’t let water spots form on the car. The pressure washer is great because it lets me use only the water I need to complete the job.  When I’m not using it, water stops flowing.

Step 1 is Cleaning the Tires and Wheels

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 2 is Washing the Body Panels and Glass on the car

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 3 is Drying the Body Panels on the car

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 4 is Drying the Glass and Center touchscreen – Step 4

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 5 is Applying the Silica Spray Sealant

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

Step 6 Mission Accomplished! Woohoo clean car!

If you can’t view the embedded video, click here.

So, hope you enjoyed these stored Periscope videos, not sure if I’ll do more, but you can always follow me on Twitter @dennis_p. I use the same handle on Periscope and Meerkat App as well. [Because of some iOS challenges for some and feedback, decided to move the hosting of the videos from Flickr to YouTube.]

In migrating the videos to Youtube, gained a few more things.

Click here for the six videos in a playlist.

Or here are all six videos in an embedded playlist

Oh yeah… Thanks for the reminder…

Two Roadster posts in a row… Must be some sort of record…

Well, I got the following in the mail the other day…

Thanks for the oil change reminder, Just Tires...  The @TeslaMotors Roadster doesn't need one #EV #EVBenefits

I guess having work done at non-Tesla locations subject one to some really interesting car offers.

A few months back, we found a nail in the Roadster’s tire. The tread was still good, and the leak was slow, so we had the tire patched at Just Tires.

This was an interesting repair because, the Roadster did not have a standard location to jack the car up to get the tire removed, so Just Tires refused to do the work… Initially.

So, I called the nearest Tesla Service Center (which was less than 2 miles from the Just Tires) and requested them to remove the tire, instead of doing it at their location, Tesla sent a Ranger to the Just Tires parking lot and removed the tire, waited for the repair to be done, and re-mounted the tire back on the Roadster. That’s the sort of service that’s somewhat screwy, but above and beyond. Tesla refuses to patch the tires, but understand that customers may opt to do this anyway (within reason) and the service center staff are reasonable enough to adjust and have workarounds that they help with.

Needless to say, I was happy with the work from Tesla.

Just Tires did a great job with the patch. They also patched the Model S a few months ago when I got a similar road debris issue with the Model S.

I think that Just Tires does have to figure out how to make their CRM system understand the needs of electric vehicle drivers may not be the same as internal combustion engine drivers.

A day with the Tesla Roadster… 16,061 Miles

Got to take the Roadster out for a “spin” this past week and it hit 16,000 miles in the process…

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it at 16,000, so I remembered at 16,009 miles… But that’s kinda boring.


So, I thought, 16,016 miles would be a good shot…


Well… That’s nice, but not quite “memorable” enough for me. I figure a palindrome would be better…

So, let me present… 16,061 miles…


Now… What have we learned in the nearly 14,000 miles that we’ve owned the Roadster. Well. It’s squeeky. Especially with the hardtop on.

I spent part of my day stopping by the Tesla Motors Hawthorne Design Center (also known as the site of the original Tesla Los Angeles Supercharger.) It’s now pretty empty, looks like more people stop off at Culver City or Redondo Beach now that those two are open. I stopped off at the Design Center because they have a bank of eight Model S HPWCs for folks that don’t need to supercharge.

I thought the start of charge looked promising (started around 205V and 61A) the rate with which the Roadster with the CAN SR charged fluctuated between 205-208V and 44A. That’s not much faster than using a 40A UMC at 240V at home. Still, I wanted to see the behavior, so I stuck around for a little while to recover some miles and hung out with a few Model S at the center.

Hanging with some Model S at @TeslaMotors Hawthorne Design Center using CAN S-R to charge our Roadster!

Here’s a Panoramic of the eight HPWCs with Model S charging at the occupied ones, with the exception of HPWC 6 which I was charging at:

Panoramic of using the CAN SR at @TeslaMotors Hawthorne Design Center. Charging a Roadster off Model S HPWC

The HPWCs were all well labeled, and I only tested one of them, so, I don’t know whether the others will provide the full 80A to a Model S or 70A to a Roadster with the CAN SR. I posted my statistics on teslamotorsclub.com and Henry Sharp (hcsharp) advised that perhaps the PEM was overheating. I was driving for a while before the stop, so that could have affected it. I know that the adapter and car work at 70A because I’ve had it tested at the Service Center on a Model S HPWC and I’ve seen it at that speed on OVMS.  So, I’ll have to try charging it with a cooler PEM in the future.

It would seem that what looks like premature battery degradation on the Roadster can be rehabilitated. Since then, we’ve been closer to a CAC closer to 149 and full standard daily ranges closer to 177-179 miles. One of the things that we’ve done since July of last year has been to leave the car unplugged until it really needed to charge. In general, in a protected garage, the vampire losses on the Roadster are minimal, especially compared with the Model S. So, what does this mean? The battery on the Roadster seems to perform better when you let the charge drop low (but not too low.) We’ve been advised to let the car drop to 40 miles or slightly less at least once a week. We do this closer to lower than 60 miles of range rather than 40. It’s just how the math works with the car’s usage patterns. For the record, the Service Center did a range charge the last time I had it in and that looked to reach 226 miles in Range Mode. So, that’s increased as well.

Another thing that we learned in the approximately 14,000 miles that we’ve owned the Roadster, is that the squeaks can be taken care of, at least for a while. There is some sort of lubricant that the center applies to the hardtop to take care of these squeaks.

The car’s not so squeaky with the soft-top, but we like to use the hardtop, so squeaks it is.


Apparently, before installing the hardtop, apply some of the substance above to the parts of the roof and car that touch each other and it lessens the squeaks. And it works great. For a while. However, a Roadster is not the comfortable car that the Model S is. It’s a driver’s car, and the adrenaline that comes with driving it is really part of the “fun.”

Appreciating the past and hopeful for the future of EVs.

This past weekend, my wife and I joined our fellow members of the Orange County Tesla Club on a visit to the Nethercutt Museum and Collection in Sylmar (Los Angeles), CA. [SIDE NOTE: For those not from Southern California, the city of Los Angeles is the largest city in Los Angeles County and within the city there are distinct neighborhoods that have their own identities, but are part of the city of Los Angeles. Hollywood is an example of such a neighborhood, as is Sylmar. West Hollywood, on the other hand, is its own city. As is Long Beach, where the Formula E race will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2015. (which is why I wrote Sylmar with (Los Angeles) in parentheses, that’s my own editorial on it, and not convention.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.]

The Nethercutt family are the founders and heirs to the Merle Norman cosmetic company and have built an impressive collection of automobiles and other “mechanical art”. The OC Tesla Club has been itching to have longer drives for our group outings and this venture into Los Angeles (City and County) was just one such drive.

So, the day was meant to appreciate the company of fellow Tesla enthusiasts and appreciate the Nethercutt Museum and Collection. As with most automobile museums, I was prepared to view beautiful and restored relics of the past… ICE cars.

Well, I was in for a surprise and a treat. (The benefits of not really paying attention to the marketing brochures and online information about what was in store for me at the Museum and Collection. The only thing that stuck to my head from the materials was the restored locomotive and Private Train Car in the back, and that was pretty much it.)




As was pointed out by some of my fellow OC Tesla Club members, as impressive as the car collection is, the automated music collection was even more impressive. Unfortunately they didn’t allow us to record the audio or video of the event, but here are a few photos from that

This piano entertained us while we strolled the car collection:


and the piece de resistance was this automated/programmable pipe organ that came from a movie theater (for silent films) from Denver



You can see the rest of the visit in my flickr album.

But what does the Nethercutt have to do with EVs? Well…

I love to play “EV Spotting” and in the guided tour portion of our visit (at the Collection this time, and not at the self-guided museum section) in the ground level of the visit were TWO EVs!

Front view


Back view


Most EV junkies would recognize the more modern EV as the pre-cursor to this generation of EVs and focus of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (and the movement which spawned Plug in America, the 1997 GM EV1. The other one is older and not as well known. The 1914 Rauch & Lang Model B4 Electric Brougham.

Both vehicles were shown with their respective chargers connected to the vehicle in the Collection.

Rauch & Lang





Charger information





1997 GM EV1










One of the things that I noticed and would like to draw our attention to is the price of the GM EV1 at the time it was being leased out. Interesting that the price of the GM EV1 was $43,995 and the average car price in the US at the time was $14,000. That means that the EV1 is about 3.14 times the price of the average car.

So, the average car price in 2012 is around $31,000 and the Model S average is around $100,000, that means that the Model S is about 3.22 times the price of the average car. However, considering what you get in a Model S vs. an EV1. However, as was pointed out to me by David Peilow in my post at Speakev.com, “Just shows the jump with the Leaf or Volt in terms of value for money. I wonder how much of that is a reduction in the design price vs benefits of economies of scale, though.”

David’s point is made even clearer when one looks to see what the 2012 Nissan Leaf sold for in 2012. It started at $35,200 before the Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 for the purchase of a battery electric vehicle. So, that’s 1.13 times the amount of the average car without the application of the Federal Tax Credit. If the purchaser in 2012 was eligible for the whole credit, it also means that the Nissan Leaf at that point is 0.89 of the average car price. Food for thought.

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt had a MSRP starting at $39,145 when purchased new. I don’t remember whether it was eligible for the whole $7,500 Federal Credit, but let’s assume that it was. So, looking at the same ratios again. The Volt was 1.26 times the average car before the credit and 1.02 times the average car after the tax credit.

I used 2012 as my figure to compare as it was the easiest recent year for me to find the average car price for. Assuming mild inflation in the averages, it’s even more dramatic to see the drop in MSRP for the 2015 model years of the same two cars that I used for my example. The 2015 Nissan Leaf can now be purchased around $29,010 and the 2015 Chevrolet Volt starts at $34,185 before the tax credit.

It’s interesting that when one looks to the past, it really makes one appreciate what the future holds for us.