Tesla Report #5

Tesla on charger in Florida
On a charging station in Florida

The third and longest trip with the Tesla Model S was successful. During the 1,000 mile trip, I was able to learn the details of how much energy the car uses and, as a result, became better at planning for charging stops. The Tesla does the planning for you, but at times you may want to skip a recommended charger and go for the next one instead. The onboard app shows you exactly what is happening, and with more experience, you can take more risk. The energy to travel one mile is equal to three 100-watt light bulbs turned on for an hour. Looking at this in another way, the car gets 3.3 miles per kilowatt hour. The battery capacity is 90 kw, meaning the range is 270 miles. All of these numbers are averages, and the actual numbers depend on how fast you accelerate, how fast you drive, how much headwind you may have, and how much energy you are using for heating or air conditioning. I will report in future posts about the incredible sound system and other goodies in the Tesla. In summary, the car follows the principles of Net Attitude.

The first unexpected incident with the Tesla occurred yesterday. I stopped at a store after a 35 mile drive. I got back in the car and drove about a mile to another store. When I got back in the car for the next leg of my errands, the beautiful 17″ screen was dark. A message on the console said to put my foot on the brake after the message disappeared. I did so and was able to drive to the next stop, but the large display was still dark, the a/c was not working, and other features were silent. I called Tesla technical support (they are outstanding). The woman I spoke to said she noticed my car had gone to sleep. Interesting that just by knowing my name she could see the status of my car. She gave me immediate comfort and assurance to not worry, everything would be fine in seconds. She said my situation┬ácan happen on occasion depending on driving patterns, how long the car is idle, and other factors. She asked me to put my foot on the brake and press the two thumbwheels on either side of the steering wheel, and hold them in until a large Tesla icon appeared on the display. This eerily reminded me of control-alt-delete, which I have not used for years. Sure enough, the system rebooted and everything returned to normal. My immediate thought was what would she have recommended to a person with one arm.