Friday, August 5, 2016

Tesla Superchargers- Long distance travel in Tesla Model S- Part 2

We did another 1200 miles trip over last weekend in Tesla so I have some more experiences to share with you about Tesla Model S and Tesla Superchargers.

If you have not yet read the first part of this series, please read it here first. Long Distance Travelling in Tesla with Tesla Superchargers. It lists many of the lessons I had learned during my first trip.

Luckily, we won in the lottery for Tesla Gigafactory grand opening on the Friday of the last weekend of July 2016! My wife, Arian and I decided to take Tesla on this trip. Arian and I were excited for touring supposedly the largest factory or any man made structure in the world! (Unfortunately only 14% of the structure is ready so it is not yet the largest factory/structure in the world! It is not a #Gigafactory yet but will be in few more years!) I wanted to take Tesla for two reasons. Just two days before the trip, my other son Miraj and I had come back from a 2000 miles trip to various national parks in Utah in our Honda Pilot. (Curious to see photos of the trip? Click here: ) It was a bit tiring journey particularly when we were driving back home! That is why I was inclined to use Tesla for a more comfortable trip. Another reason was that we were going to visit Tesla's factory so why not drive in a Tesla!

After the first long distance trip in Tesla during the last weekend of June 2016, we were well prepared this time. Also, we knew what we were getting into. Our expectations were more realistic this time.
The distance to Gigafactory in Reno from Simi Valley was around 490 miles!

We had our first charge at

INYOKERN SUPERCHARGERInyokern Market 1353 Brown Road Inyokern, CA 93527. 

We encountered one of the same issues we had during our first trip. First charger we tried started off well but then power dropped! So we changed to another supercharger and we were able to get above 120 plus Amps.

Then we stopped at Mammoth Lakes for second charge. We were running late so we didn't charge fully. We intended to charge at the next superchargers at


Our stopping at Gardnerville could have been a story of misery as there was power outage! Luckily, at Mamoth, I had charged some extra which could help me reach Reno with 15 miles left. However I heard from a fellow Tesla owner, whom we kept meeting during our trip, that when he reached Topaz Lodge, Gardnerville supercharger, there was an owner of a red Tesla who did not have enough charge to reach Reno!! Not sure what happened to him! I hope he didn't have to stay there waiting for the power to restore!! I THANKED GOD AS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN US STUCK THERE had we not charged some extra at Mammoth Lakes!! So one more lesson, which could be very painful when you are travelling with a family: Superchargers depend on power/electricity and any place could have power outages or technical issues!

After fun trip of Gigafactory, next morning, we decided to go visit Lake Tahoe. We stopped by at Superchargers in Reno! Well, TeslaConnect group had a meet at Superchargers itself! Guess what? So many Teslas there and the supercharger was pack! I had to yell at the group. I had to request loudly to all Tesla owners who had their cars charging. I requested them to charge there for no more than 100 miles! There was a line and we had to wait almost an hour! Some Tesla owner told us that some other Tesla owners, who were staying at Atlantis hotel which is next to the Superchargers, left their Tesla for charging overnight at these superchargers! This created quite a headache for others who were there to charge their cars in the morning!
This reinforced the lessons that I had learned earlier: Not all Tesla owners are reasonable human beings and you need to be ready to wait if you want to use Tesla superchargers. 

I need to be honest on my side. I have mentioned only bad side of driving long distance in Tesla cars. Let me write about the green side of driving in a Tesla:

  1. Driving and riding in a Tesla is much more comfortable than most other cars.
  2. It is really GREEN to drive long distance in a Tesla! You do not need fossil fuels and you do not cause any carbon emissions. We drove green all those 1200 miles.
  3. It is free!! Supercharges are free!!! Driving 1200 miles in Honda Pilot would have cost us 48 gallons of gas! At around $3, it would be $144!!! We saved all that money.
  4. Stopping every 100-150 miles for charging is a refreshing break. You get a chance to relax. 
  5. Last but not least. You get a chance to meet fellow Tesla owners when you stop at a Supercharger. Most of them are fun to talk with. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lessons learned: Long distance driving in an EV- Tesla Model S. The grass is not really green in an EV.

Last weekend, we decided to take Tesla on a trip to San Jose. We started from Simi Valley. The destination was Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose where my nephew had a wedding reception.

So far, we had driven Tesla maximum for 200 miles and it was working out fine. The grass was green and we were happy. This time we needed to drive 370 miles one way! We needed to worry about our drive!
I had two alternatives. I could take the most popular, LA to San Francisco route on Freeway 5 or I take scenic Route 101. Both routes have almost same miles for us. 101 is probably 10 miles longer. However, before we bought Tesla, most of the time, we chose to drove on 101 for our trips to northern California.

Freeway 5 has first charge at 122 miles from our home and then next one was at 77 miles. Normally I charge my Tesla up to 215 miles but this time, I intended to charge it to max possible. Not sure what was the max but I set it to 235 miles. Anyway, the first supercharger at 122 miles was too soon and the second supercharger  at Coaling would be at 199 miles which would a sort of risk if we ran out. So the choice was to charge car at Buttonwillow supercharger. Then we had 188 miles to drive before we could charge at Gilroy. This also seemed a kind of risky. We were not ready to make 3 stops during our trip- at each supercharger on the way. On the other hand, on 101 freeway, the supercharger at Atascadero, 174 miles away, made perfect sense. Then Gilroy was 138 miles! This was within our comfort zone. Also, we knew 5 had more traffic. That meant that the superchargers were more likely to be busier. If possible, we intended to avoid waiting at any supercharger. From this perspective too, it made sense to drive on 101 instead of 5 freeway!

Freeway 5
Home  to
20673 Tracy Ave

Buttonwillow, CA 93206
122 miles

24557 W Dorris Ave

Coalinga, CA 93210
77 miles (3 hours)

Gilroy Premium Outlets
Gilroy, CA 95020
111 miles (1:40 hours)

Dolce Hayes Mansion

200 Edenvale Avenue, San Jose, CA 95136
24 miles

6701 Amador Plaza Road
Dublin, CA 94568
40 miles

On 101 freeway

6950 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422
174 miles (3 hours)

Gilroy Premium Outlets
Gilroy, CA 95020
138 miles (2 hours)

Dolce Hayes Mansion

200 Edenvale Avenue, San Jose, CA 95136
24 miles

However when we started, Tesla kept insisting that we charge our car at Solvang supercharger. However that was a bit too close so we ignored Tesla's advice and kept driving. We had started with charge for 235 miles. After we had drove our car for 174 miles and reached Astacadero , we still had 36 miles of charge left! How accurate was Tesla's mileage estimate? Not perfect but it would work. However to get this much mileage I drove with cruise control set to around 65-70 miles! It seemed slow to both of my sons, and my wife, but my goal was to be safe and to avoid getting stuck somewhere. When we started charging our Tesla, it was around 1 pm. It was time for lunch so we looked for a place to eat in Atascadero. We found Sylvestor's Burgers ( We loved food there. Delicious burgers! It was a bonus for stopping by at this town. In an hour or so, we had our car charged to 210 miles. Our next goal was the Gilroy supercharger. 210 miles charge and 138 miles to drive. This time, I had my son drive the car. Like any kid in early 20s, he started flying Tesla! He drove with the speed of around 80-85 miles with occasional bursts that reached mph in 100 plus! We covered these 138 miles much quicker but we used almost 200 miles worth charge! So first lesson was that the miles range you see on your Tesla depends on several factors. If you are driving uphill, with many stops or changes in speed, or you are driving at or anove 75mph, you may not get what the Tesla dashboard shows in your car!
We had another stop of an hour at Gilroy. Wastage of time! I had no mood to make a stop as we were only 24 miles from our destination. However we needed to charge our car. We needed full charge as there were no superchargers or free chargers around Dolce Hayes Mansion. While car was charging, we roamed around the mall. Bought certain things that we really didn't need! Even though the superchargers were free to use, it was too expensive to spend one hour. So total 2 hours of charging on the way. Most other relatives who started around same time from LA region had reached the Dolce Hayes Mansion faster then us. They were probably in slower cars but they reached the destination earlier than us. So another lesson: Tesla is a fast car but it would not take you to your destination faster than any other regular car! 
At the Dolce Hayes mansion, they have a regular charging port- 110V with 9A! This was the first time, I was charging at a regular 110V regular outlet. After I connected, I found that the car was charging around 3 miles per hour! That is slower than my speed when I walk! Lesson learned: if you have an EV like Tesla, you can't think of charging on regular power outlets. You need faster charging options. At one point during our stay in San Jose, we didn't need car for 20 plus hours so we left it there for charging. We got around 60 miles with this 20 some hours of charging!!

On Sunday, we were coming back from San Ramon after visiting a family. We started around 3pm, Car had 130 miles left. We decided to follow what Tesla had to tell us. It made us stop at supercharger at DUBLIN - AMADOR PLAZA SERVICE PLUS
All charging spots were taken!! We had to wait! After 20-30 some minutes of wait, we got a supercharger port! We charged for around 45-50 minutes! Tesla app notified us that we had enough charge to resume our journey. One more lesson learned: you may have to wait at superchargers! There may be wait when you are in dire need of charge! This can remind you of lines of cars for gas during oil crisis of 1980s! Anyway, once we started driving, it told us to drive on Freeway 5! After 20 minutes of drive on a sort of uphill road towards Livermore, Tesla started telling us to go back to Dublin supercharger! We didn't have enough charge!!  One more lesson: Tesla is not as smart as many of us think ;) We followed what it was telling us! However, I had to ignore the advice of driving back to the same supercharger where it had few minutes ago told me that my car was charged enough! It was quite annoying but we didn't want to go back and stuck in the loop. Simple math in my head showed that we could reach the next supercharger. I reduced my speed from 75 mph to 68 mph. I didn't notice, but Tesla resumed directions to our home. However it told us to go to Fresno, CA supercharger by taking CA 99 freeway! The Colinga supercharger seemed a few miles further away on Freeway 5. I was really tempted to drive on 5. I was puzzled why Tesla didn't want me to drive on 5 though that was a shorter route for me! I thought maybe that supercharger was not working or there could be a super long line with excessive wait time! We couldn't take the risk as if we could not charge there, the next supercharger was 122 miles away! The route 99 was 24 miles longer than route 5! We had no option so we continued on highway 99. At the Fresno supercharger, there were only 2 cars charging. 8 slots were open! We put our car for charging. I made sure it was charging at 330 V with 200 plus Amps! We decided to eat at Pieology pizza place. We spent around an hour hoping that we had enough charge! However when we reached our car, it was charging only at 60 amps. When I was expecting 200 miles worth of charge, we had only 135 miles done! So frustrating! We decided to change spot! Car started charging at 200 amps! Not sure what was the problem there. Considering it as a one off issue, we ignored it. Now, we had another 45 minutes of wait before we could resume our trip! We killed time at Target store nearby. We were tired! I am still not sure why the super charging station dropped the charge speed suddenly? Is it some programming at Tesla's end to slow down frequent chargers? After we had 215 miles worth of charge, we started driving around 8 pm! Our next destination was the superchargers at  TEJON RANCH SUPERCHARGER Petro Shopping Center 5602 Dennis McCarthy Dr Lebec, CA 93243 
As we had enough charge in between, I had my son drive Tesla his way. He drove generally at 85mph. I am sure he enjoyed driving. When we reached at Tejon Ranch, it was all packed. Luckily, one Tesla left within few minutes so we put our car for charging. We went to nearby Yogurtland. We loved Yogurtland in early days when it was around 25 cents per ounce. Here it was $0.47 per ounce! Not worth it!! Our time pass costed $14 and around 40 minutes! When we come back to car, same problem. The car was charging only at 85 Amps. We didn't have enough charge. I disconnected and reconnected but it would not charge above 65 Amps! My son gave me a weird look because he didn't like my disconnecting and connecting again. I knew it was stupid but that was the only thing I could do to solve the problem and have car charge faster! Luckily, one port next to our charging port became available. We moved our car there. It started charging with 180Amps plus!! Not sure what was the problem behind superchargers not charging at fast speed, but it happened twice! So one more lesson learned: Don't assume all superchargers act like superchargers! They are moody and sometimes harass you so watch the charging on your Tesla app like you are dealing with a moody teenager! This particular issue costed us almost 1.5 hours more during our trip!
Anyway, we made fun of Tesla on our way back. We were in a super fast car but most of our relatives had reached home before we did. When we reached home, it was almost midnight!
So many things learned about EV cars and long distance driving, Tesla and its superchargers in one weekend. Though this is not related to our trip but I want to mention one more lesson about Tesla superchargers! There are some owners who take the free charging benefit to ridiculous extent. It is weird when someone spends more than $80k on a car but walks an extra mile to save a buck or two! There are some people who are obsessed with saving money, and some Tesla owners are no exception. They seem to use supercharger as their home charger! One day, I drove around 100 miles to Corona, CA and then was driving back from Corona to Simi Valley. I had little charge left so Tesla wisely took me to Burbank supercharger. Only one spot was open at around 9 pm. In most cars, next to my car were people in PJs and night dresses, surfing on the phones or taking a nap! I was there around half an hour but I was the last one to join them and also the first one to leave!! I assumed they all wanted to charge the car to full capacity! I don't think superchargers are for free charging; they are for the convenience for owners who are driving long distance and need some charge to reach their destination, or reach home in time! One more lesson reinforced: not all man are created equal: not all Tesla owners are reasonable human beings! There are Tesla owners who do not understand the motive behind company's free superchargers correctly ;)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tesla M3 (Model 3) mania reminds me of Tulip mania!

On my way to work today, I stopped by at Tesla Showroom at around 10 AM to book one Model 3 car. The booking are opening today and I want to be in the front of the delivery queue. Being a Model S owner, I do get a priority. I am a trader. I am a Gujju (Gujarati people from Gujarat state of India who are generally business minded). I wouldn't miss a chance to book it. It is a matter of putting down only $1,000!
At 10AM when the store was opening, there were 500 plus people in line! So I decided to skip and drive straight to work! This showroom is within 1.5 miles from my work and it does not cost much to drive there in an EV like Tesla MS so I went there around 12:45pm. Still 100 plus people. I decided to wait. Waited around 1 hour and 15 minutes. While I was in the line waiting, this Tesla craze seemed parallel to Tulip mania of 16th century.

  1. There have never been any lines to book new models of any car in the USA in my memory.
  2. M3 is coming out late 2017. Tesla employees are in front of the queue. Then comes current owners of Model S like myself. Public comes later. No one has seen the car yet. It is to be launched tonight. It has to be a mania to book such a car.
  3. Tesla company will run out of good announcements after today's launch. They will have to swallow bitter pills going forward. Would they allow use of super chargers to mass market model M3 owners too? Would they be able to provide the support and expand the super charging infrastructure? They would have to announce some tough decisions.
  4. Tesla customer service and company image is top notch. With a mass market, economy model, they can not continue it profitably with same degree of service.
  5. Model 3 will be a loss-loss for the company IMO. If it is too good, it can cannibalize sales of very profitable Model S and Model X. This can hurt the bottom line of Income statement though top line may grow. If Model 3 launch is below expectations, it is an obvious loss looking a the euphoric rush for booking today.  
  6. Tesla stock TSLA is at $233 today! A $30B valuation. Contrast that with Honda Motor company- HMC which is valued at $49B. HMC sold cars worth $111B last year and Tesla only $4B!!
  7. Looking at the super response to model 3, I am sure Apple, Google executives would consider an Electric Vehicle project more seriously. Any announcement for a new player in EV market can be trouble for Tesla.
  8. Many people do not realize this but Tesla Model 3 will run out of federal and state tax and rebates for most M3 buyers. These benefits which total up to $10K depending on the state you live in, are limited to 200000 units per manufacturer. Tesla almost there to reach that limit.
  9. M3 is supposed to be available in late 2017. Chevy Bolt promises similar performance and range in identical price range and is going to be available much sooner. They are likely to have tax benefits longer than for Model 3 owners.
  10. When I was entering my info to book a Model 3 at Tesla showroom 2 hours ago, Tesla employee asked me if I wanted to book 2 cars! With a pause for less than 10 seconds, I said, yes! Why not? I have never decided that fast for even a $10 purchase in my life before ;) I think I represent the perfect evidence for maniac behavior with regards to Tesla Model 3 :) 
I am not against Tesla company or Tesla cars. They are the best out there. I love my Model 3. All I am trying to say that, if you trade Tesla stocks or follow Tesla company, I think the best day in Tesla motors' history from 2003 upto 2020 is TODAY. Unless the Short Squeeze takes place in TSLA stocks, I is good time to say a good bye for next few years! I am going to watch TSLA very carefully tomorrow. Oh, I am excited to watch the Model 3 launch by Elon Musk this evening! A $35K Tesla would be really good for people like you and I ;) Who cares if it is not good for TSLA stock, right?  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tesla Model S as a Birthday Surprise For Arian on 9th Birthday

Project #TSLA4Tesla successfully resulted in a purchase of Tesla Model S for Arian on December 1, 2015. It was ordered in the first week of October 2015 when the balance was around $75k in the project #TSLA4Tesla. After considering tax rebate of $7500 by Federal Government and $2500 cash rebated by California state, this was enough to purchase one Tesla Electric car. (On the delivery day, the profit stood above $90k in TSLA stock trading). It was a bit difficult, psychologically, to send over $80,000 for a car. I never thought I would spend this much money to buy a car. However this was a deal with Arian so my hesitation was my problem LOL. I took some deep breaths and EFTed last payment of approx 80k from my bank account a few days before the scheduled delivery.

At the time of placing order, I wanted this car to be delivered on Arian's birthday which was on December 1st. The delivery agent from Tesla, Van Nuys, CA service station, Sophea Ing made it possible. Tesla is known for its excellent customer service. It fell a bit short though IMO LOL. I had asked Sophea to see if Tesla can add something like a Tesla cap or a sweatshirt for Arian so he can proudly show off his Tesla. Probably Arian is one of the leading Tesla fans among kids his age. That few bucks of generosity by Tesla would have proved to be the BEST MARKETING DOLLARS ever spent in terms of ROI. Arian would have proudly talked about how Tesla is a great car to his friends and whoever he met.  This could push them a bit towards becoming future customers of Tesla or some EV. Well, one who can pay for Tesla car can sure spend a few bucks. However I wanted to tell Arian that Tesla company gave that cap or sweatshirt to its special fan on his 9th birthday. I had asked Tesla Delivery Specialist the same but all she could get was a coffee mug and an umbrella for a customer in California where a chance of using an umbrella is as rare as winning a jackpot in some lottery LOL.

Arian didn't know his car was coming. A few days before his birthday, I was driving him to school. We were talking about Beats headphones. He was pursuing me to buy one for him. During our talk, at one point, I told him that for the money of one Tesla car, one can buy around 500 good headphones. I asked him what he would choose. He immediately said, "No, Tesla is the best". He wanted some video games too so (at the hint of another Tesla owner on MyTesla forums), I asked Arian if he still wanted a Tesla or would he like me to buy all video game systems in the world with all video games available. His answer was same, "Still, a Tesla". Doesn't this prove he is still a big fan of Tesla as much he was when I made this deal #TSLA4Tesla in the beginning of 2014?

On his birthday, I left my car at the local Walgreens parking lot and a friend gave me a ride to work. I took delivery of the car, drove it back to Simi Valley. I parked and left Tesla in the same parking lot in the evening. I drove home in my Honda Accord. As this was his birthday, we were going to local CPK as he wanted to celebrate his birthday there. He is a Pizza lover too ;) I asked my nephew Nihar Patel, 19, to drive us all to CPK. At that point, in privacy, I told Nihar about the Tesla. Nihar got excited and was surprised too. He also didn't know that I was purchasing a Tesla. Arian's mom didn't know it either. Only my older son, Miraj who is a UCSD student, knew it. He was unfortunately in San Diego preparing for his finals. Nihar was the third person in the family to know about this car. I asked Nihar to take some quick video and some photos to capture the moment when Arian met his dream car. When we were driving, I told everyone in the car that I needed to pick up some photos from Walgreens. I had Nihar park next to our Tesla. As Arian spotted this brand new Tesla in the next parking spot, he was excited as always to see a Tesla. This was probably the closest he was to a Tesla. (Same was true for me when I went to test drive a Tesla on the day of ordering. I had touched a Tesla first time that day!). As we come out of the car, and when Arian sees his car, well, feel those moments yourself. Nihar is not a great camera person lol (I myself try to take better photos but that is a different story) but he did capture the moment very well. Here is the video.

With Arian finally in his Tesla, this project #TSLA4Tesla, #Tradingwithapurpose concludes successfully. If you are curious to see all trades made in Tesla stock, click on this link.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sold to open 4 calls of TSLA_112015C225 at $2.50 on 11/19/2015

I would like to keep some Short positions at this price level so sold these options that are expiring tomorrow.

> TD Ameritrade, Inc. Courtesy Fill Notification
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Account number ending with: 3391
> Account owner: JAYESH PATEL
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> For your order to sell to open 4 calls of TSLA_112015C225 at 2.50 limit, good for today:
> You sold to open 4 call of TSLA_112015C225 at $2.50 on 11/19/2015.
> This is a notification of a partial fill.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Please refer to order number 12012732536 when inquiring about this order.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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