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The Tesla Model S is on another cross country road trip. It's not being driven by a Tesla team, like last year – this time it's a long, winding tour for old friends Peter, Luba and Tina, making their way from Portland, OR, to New York. It's been a sightseeing drive – as of day six, they'd only made it to Albuquerque from Oregon and still had a couple thousand miles to cover. Thankfully, they're writing up their journey, so we can ride along with words.

The Model S was picked up by Peter three years and 273 days after his deposit was placed. Jared, the Tesla store manager in Portland, walked him through delivery of the new car, which was given the name "Sunrise" by the road trip crew. Even though Peter is an engineer who's done a lot of homework on the Model S, Jared was able to teach him a few things.

An hour after picking up Sunrise, Peter drove to the airport and picked up Tina. The initial trip plan was changed on the spot, as they decided to spend some time enjoying the sunshine of Portland, along with breaking in the new car and verifying charging stations.

On day two, heading out of Portland to San Francisco, they tested out charging networks. On a ChargePoint station in Forest Park, just south of Portland, they got an error message after swiping the card, informing them to call ChargePoint. The charging station customer service rep quickly got back to them and fixed the problem – an incorrect zip code was initially entered.

In Corvallis, OR, they pulled into a local RV park, where Peter decided to test out his custom designed electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) multi-input unit. It was his first time plugging the EVSE into a Model S, so he took it slow. He was more than pleased to see it working right away, and was able to charge at 50 amps and 240 volts.

Stopping at the Tesla factory in Fremont, CA, was almost like Charlie Bucket exploring Willie Wonka's chocolate factory for the road trip team. Far from being a car enthusiast like Peter, Tina found herself fascinated by the size, scope, organization, teamwork and technology at plant building the Model S. As a group, they were fully entranced for about 30 minutes as they witnessed the assembly line in action.

Luba joined her friends on day five of the road trip, in the Los Angeles area, where they visited a Tesla supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, for a quick charging "top off." Peter ended up having a fascinating conversation with Larry, a navy pilot who flew F14s and who'd also graduated from University of Maryland and owned a Model S. It was so fascinating, Peter didn't realize until about 40 minutes later that their Model S wasn't even charging at all. Oops! Oh, well – they've still got a lot of miles to drive, things to see and lots of chances to learn something new every day about Sunrise.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 3 Months Ago
      Rotation, you are correct, but a NEMA 14-50 is on a 50A circuit, and the car pulls 40A. The owner in this case fashioned a device which gangs (2) circuits together and charges at 80A, the max rate of the internal 20kwh charger.
        Rotation
        • 3 Months Ago
        Yeah, I saw that. But that's not 50A. Reading the article, it appears they never charged at 50A at all, they charged at lower rates and sometimes higher rates.
      Rob J
      • 3 Months Ago
      It's weird to think that Tesla could cover more than 75% of the US with superchargers for literally less than $100 million. I hope they get the funds to do so soon.
      Elliott
      • 3 Months Ago
      Nice story. Oops! so fascinating I am having a test drive with my Tesla Model S right now across Country Road Trip in an EV. 5,000+ miles Here's a link guys http://blog.microbattery.com/
      Rotation
      • 3 Months Ago
      How did they get 50A from a dryer/range outlet? You're supposed to derate 20% for continuous draw, and IIRC, the Tesla 50A adapter enforces this. Interesting about the supercharger, the ones I saw have a phone number on them saying if you have trouble charging to call this number. Sounds like they are a little finicky. Not surprising, CHAdeMO is too. The number of people caught by the CHAdeMO "forgot to squeeze the handle" gotcha is rather large it seems.
        MTN RANGER
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        He has a custom connector that uses two outlets for a combined 50A charge.
      Nick Kordich
      • 3 Months Ago
      This wasn't the first time a non-Tesla Motors team crossed the US. Signature #38 was driven from the factory to Washington DC in September of last year. That car will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Motorweek: http://teslamodelsxc.wordpress.com/ http://youtu.be/KNIXof_LioM
      Rotation
      • 3 Months Ago
      So how did this guy find out the way to make a Tesla charge at 80A? Tesla hasn't shipped their own Twincharger yet, so there's no way to reverse engineer that I don't think. Tesla's EVSE has multiple plugs (wall side, not car side) that take small adapters from another plug to their neutral plug. The adapters indicate the maximum charge rate to the EVSE somehow. So this guy somehow figured out how to tell the EVSE to open up to 80A without having a design to look at that does it? That's remarkable, it's almost hard to believe even without some inside information from Tesla. I mean, making the adapter to actually provide 80A from two 50A sockets isn't trivial either, but at least all the info you need to do it and be sure you got it right is available.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Rotation: 240V * 80A = 19.2 kW. If you get a Model S with "twin chargers" then the car can accept up to 20 kW. The J1772 adapter comes with the car. There is absolutely nothing surprising here at all. Tesla's HPWC has begun shipping, reportedly. There's no doubt a long backorder list, however. http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/wall-charger
        Jens Kr. Kirkebø
        @Rotation
        The "twin charger" is just another 10kW charger installed in the car. To charge at at rate that utilizes it, you'd need a 80A capable EVSE. Either Teslas HPWC or a 80A J1772 EVSE like the ones from Clipper Creek. Or a home built one which I think this is. You'd have to use the J1772 adapter of course. The UMC with it's different adapters is not used in this scenario. And the HPWC is definately shipping.
          Jens Kr. Kirkebø
          @Jens Kr. Kirkebø
          Several Model S owners have reported getting their HPWCs installed, so they are definately shipping. Probably still in small numbers though, and probably in reservation order. The Tesla-plug is compatible with J1772 electrically, it's only the mechanicals which differ. Tesla even ships a J1772 adapter with each car, and the adapter supports the full 80A rate that J1772 can deliver. And the Roadster HPC delivers 70A, not 50A. An adapter exists so that Model S owners can use Roadster HPCs. It costs $650 and is, for now, only sold to Model S owners that also own a Roadster.
          Rotation
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Jens Kr. Kirkebø
          I know they ship a J1772 adapter, but they also ship various NEMA adapters too and that doesn't mean that the Tesla uses a NEMA plug at its heart. So assuming the Tesla plug is a J1772 at its heart was not a jump I was willing to make.
          Rotation
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Jens Kr. Kirkebø
          Okay, I got the name wrong. I mean the HPWC hasn't shipped yet. I figured Tesla didn't use the J1772 spec for their connection, as they don't use the connector. But if they do support 80A J1772, then at least the info is out there. Here, specifically. http://code.google.com/p/open-evse/wiki/J1772Basics As far as I know the Model S HPWC is still not shipping, it wasn't shipping as of 3 weeks ago. The Roadster HPWC exists, but it's not high power as far as the Model S is concerned, it was 50A IIRC.
      Jim McL
      • 3 Months Ago
      Combining two NEMA 14-50 outlets can be easy if you pay little attention to safety, or difficult if you automatically cut off when one gets unplugged to prevent backfeed to the exposed prongs. What is weird to me is that he did not just order the dual inputs which can safely be fed by two separate EVSE at 40 amps each? Combining two outlets (with all the risks) would only make sense with the Roadster and its single input. It is permissible to pull 100% of rated current for up to 3 hours, you are required to derate to 80% after three hours by the National Electrical code. This is less of an issue in winter as the time limit is purely thermal. Jim McL
      MTN RANGER
      • 3 Months Ago
      Here's a link for a guy driving from DC to Florida: http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/trip-washington-dc-florida
      Electron
      • 3 Months Ago
      Great story. Fascinating idea that one year from now when Tesla's supercharger network is rolled out far enough people can travel coast to coast for free, since Tesla doesn't charge for this service (yet..).
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Electron
        @ Electron Yes it's certainly an incredible achievement. (Although, by ''people'', you mean Tesla owners ! )
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Months Ago
      "It was so fascinating, Peter didn't realize until about 40 minutes later that their Model S wasn't even charging at all. Oops!" I'd choose a different four-letter word than "Oops!"
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