Tag Archives: Tesla

Whats it like to own a Tesla Model S

Internet comic “The Oatmeal” has written a rather lengthy graphic about what its like to own a Tesla Model S. This is very interesting reading. Many of his points also apply to the FFE:

  • Charge the car by plugging in at home
  • The fact that its different from standard cars
  • Partial: Proximity locks (on the Tesla the door handles extend and retract when you approach, on the FFE the doors unlock when you touch them–I’m calling this a 1/2 point for the FFE LOL)
  • Another 1/2 point: “no ignition”–ok yeah you start the FFE like a car but it does have pushbutton start (yeah I know I’m reaching here)
  • No noise/very quiet drive train
  • A/C Motor (Tesla has an induction A/C motor and the FFE uses a synchronous A/C motor)
  • Don’t stop at gas stations
  • Handles well (I’m not saying the FFE handles like a Tesla but it is known to handle very well with a 50/50 weight distribution–better than the ICE Focus in some respects)
  • Another 1/2 point due to My Ford Touch (some people would say this is a -1 for My Ford Touch. I still like it and find it easy to work with)
  • Can’t install apps on either screen (but rumor has it that we may be able to use applink this year)
  • “Unlockable Achievements”! Something the FFE has (on My Ford Mobile) that the Tesla doesn’t
  • Smartphone interface
  • Full safety ratings–now the FFE didn’t break the testing machine but it crash tested even better than the ICE Focus
  • Zero fires for the FFE–at least I haven’t heard of any

Keep in mind the above is just for fun but it is interesting how many items are in common. It is likely that many of them are common with all of the BEVs and not just the FFE.

 

Quick post: I’m not dead! LOL

Yeah haven’t posted much in a while. Just got back from a spring break vacation in Manhattan. About the only EV related news there is: I noticed quite a few charge stations on the plug share map, most of the cabs are hybrids with quite a few being C-Max hybrids, and I saw exactly one Tesla Model S driving around.

 

Another Tesla road trip in progress…

This trip is NY to FL. At some point the trips wont be noteworthy as everyone will be making them (at least Model S owners).

This one is driven by a Green Car Reports driver. Its funny how, on his very first leg, he’s learned the low-temperature lesson that every EV driver has to cope with.

Update: There are two more reports on hist progress: Here and here.

After reading these reports a couple of statements stood out to me:

As I drive, I keep careful track of how the range display compares with the actual miles driven.

and

Once consumption settles down, I do my now-standard comparison of rated mileage decay vs real mileage traveled, and find it’s right at 20 percent.

His mental calculation of “rated mileage decay” and “real mileage traveled” is right on my dashboard in my Focus Electric! Its called status. It is the difference between the range to empty at the beginning of the trip and the current calculated range to empty (I discuss it more in this posting). Do we have a feature on our Focus Electrics that is missing from a Tesla Model S…it would seem so.

A Tesla first…

Big news today in the Tesla world: A first ever cross country trip using only Tesla Superchargers was completed this weekend by a father daughter team.

You can read up on their adventures in the Tesla Motors forums here.

The story is very interesting and very well planned: Some of the Superchargers were not even available yet when they started the journey! Very brave souls indeed.

If you look at the Supercharger map currently the only way to go from NY to LA is via a circuitous northern route via Chicago, South Dakota, down through Colorado and Arizona–a very long drive to say the least but through some of the most scenic areas of the country. Many on that forum are proclaiming this as a historic moment like the first trip from NY to Paris by plane, etc. I don’t think I would go that far..it is historic as far as EVs are concerned though.

Kudos to John and his daughter for having the time, courage and energy to try it.

Hopefully soon there will be other long range EVs that will be able to easily accomplish the same feat (I might add affordable to that as well).

Looks like some media is picking it up:

Green Car Reports

Daily Kos

Inside EVs

Update: Now Elon Musk will be taking the trip as well.

Update 2: The story is now on Tesla’s website.

Long trip planning, the Tesla way…or is it the EV way?

I found this article quite interesting for a few reasons (take some time to go read it…I’ll wait):

  • The current lack of Tesla Super Chargers on the east coast forces the driver to plan a bit more–like having a Focus Electric, or a Leaf (or any other <100 mile range BEV)
  • The driver comes to the conclusion at the end that is better to be more efficient than to rush (determining that driving slower and using less electricity actually saves time in the long run)
  • His reported “burn rate” for electricity is really not much higher than the FFE “burns” (300+ Wh/mile in the cold with the heater running, ~270 Wh/mile in milder conditions without heat from the article).

The ability to quick charge the Tesla does make for a much nicer experience when taking a long drive. In the above article he gets 190+ miles for 45 minutes of charge–short enough that a simple stop for dinner fills it up. I certainly hope that the next generation of EVs (FFE included) has a provision for fast charging (the J1772 Combo Plug option is already available on the Chevy Spark, and Ford has pledged to support it on future BEV and PHEV vehicles).

 

The “Guess O Meter”

Every EV has one, heck even many ICE cars have one: The “Guess O Meter” (in ICE cars it is called “Distance to Empty” which, unlike EVs, tends to be pretty accurate). I initially heard about the term “Guess O Meter” (GOM) by some Nissan Leaf drivers before I even owned my Focus Electric. The number of miles left in the battery would vary wildly in their cars even, in some cases, within the duration of a single drive!

In short the meter is supposed to give you an accurate representation of how many miles you can go with the charge left in the battery (likewise the ICE version “Distance to Empty” (DTE) is how many miles you can go with the gas left in the tank). On an ICE vehicle the DTE reading is pretty accurate and doesn’t fluctuate much–and rarely, if ever, increases. Not so on an EV. Here is an experiment: Take your EV out on the highway for a few miles and watch the GOM drop precipitously; next, on the same trip, drive slowly around some residential streets for a few minutes and watch the GOM climb and climb.

An extreme case of this: My coworker took his FFE down the Woodward Dream Cruise this past summer where he had to drive it under 10 mph for quite a few miles. His GOM rose and rose and rose topping 200 miles at one point!

Now Green Car Reports has just posted this article about a long range drive with a Tesla Model S and I found this quote rather informative:

I don’t have a lot of faith in the Model S range meter. Its number is a projection based on rule-of-thumb efficiency assumptions, battery temperature, and a safety fudge factor.  (New York Times reporter Jonathan Broder famously fell victim to wildly fluctuating range numbers.) I call it the guess-o-meter.

Well look at that! Even the much praised Tesla Model S’s range meter is as wild as my FFE’s!

From my experience the GOM seems to place too much stock in the most recent driving performance and ignores the longer term average. I would suspect that it would be far more accurate if it simply used the rolling average of the power consumption over the past week or two (instead of appearing to only use the past 20 minutes or so!). Using a longer term rolling average would also make it a bit more stable and not change so drastically (I think this is what gets most people: Drive for a few miles and all of the sudden you are up or down 20 miles).