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Tesla Model S: My first 3 days as owner - and my TMC post #1000


Charged.hk co-founder
Nov 13, 2012
Hong Kong
This is my post #1000 here on TMC *), and this also the day(s) I finally took delivery of my right hand drive Tesla Model S 85, silver metallic with pano sunroof, air suspension, tech package, textile seats, dual chargers, sensors and 19” wheels.

*) You had to look left, didn't you? Well, if it's more than 1,000 when you read this, you are too late, I don't think this will be my last post on TMC, it was at 1,000 when I posted it.

Waiting over 21 months, as I put down the 39,000 HKD deposit in the beginning of December 2012, we had to wait a while longer in Hong Kong, for the right hand model to be produced.

The first time I tried the Model S was by chance, as I hit San Francisco unexpectedly January 1st, 2013. Went into a Tesla Model S store, and despite test drives having a one week waiting period at the time, they squeezed in a test drive for me. I was NOT disappointed, now even more determined that THIS was the car. Had I had any more money at the time, I would have bought TSLA stocks, but since I didn’t, I advised a friend to change some of this Apple Stock to TSLA. The stock price was 31 at the time, later it went up to 280, in less than 2 years, about 9 TIMES the value. Well, coulda-shoulda-woulda, he didn’t do it, and I myself didn’t have the cash to spare. Duh!

First Registration Tax (FRT) exemption for electric vehicles in Hong Kong, was to expire (or be renewed), end of March, 2014, and this was going to be close for first delivery. It turned out the first Tesla Model S Signature deliveries were to be at the end of July 2014 - yet fortunately, the FRT exemption had been extended another three years, for the umpteenth time, next expiry end of March, 2017. First time was 1992 I believe, and since then, ever again being extended. In just a few months here towards the end of 2014, Tesla Motors will more than double the total amount of ALL electric vehicles in Hong Kong. After that, it will just keep exploding, interesting future ahead (will charging infrastructure keep up? Will the FRT be amended to include partial or full charge for EVs?)

Back to the future now, eh, I mean, present. Or rather, a few days ago, September 23rd, 2014.

DAY 1:

Tuesday, I finally took delivery of my Model S:


(Tesla Motors storefront in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, and my silver metallic - apparently a rare choice in Hong Kong - in the service centre, ready for delivery)

A great experience to pick it up, and the staff couldn’t help to sense what a great enthusiast I am for electric cars, Tesla Motors in particular. I got some extra gifts, and a lot of brochures upon my request, many of which I have passed on already. The one little annoying thing is that this Tesla Motors store and service centre is located by a bunch of warehouses or freight forwarders, the adjoining road being blocked by vans and trucks doing what they do best - loading and unloading in the street.

HINT: If you aim for the service centre in the back, you can avoid most of the queue. Enter from Cheung Pei Shan road, into Chai Wan Kok road. Point your GPS to “Chai Wan Kok Cooked Food Market 柴灣角熟食市場”, or “4 Chai Wan Kok road”, to avoid the Hoi Shing Road madness.

When I was there, TM just received an ice cream freezer, another reason to try and go use their supercharger - eat ice cream at the same time, while you wait.


(I can resist anything, but temptation - Oscar Wilde)

My first charging experience, in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, was a “perfect” case of being ICEd - a big, mean black Audi fossil burner had carelessly blocked the only charging spot in the entire parking area of this shopping mall


(The only EV charging spot of New Town Plaza - He cannot even be bothered to stay inside the yellow lines)

The staff was immensely helpful: 1) They let me park in front of the Audi 2) They got me an extension cable (needed another 2 meters to reach, because of this Audi) 3) They called the owner of the car over the speakers all over the shopping mall, come move your car right now! 4) They got our telephone numbers, to call us as soon as he had moved his car 4) Came with two cones after I suggested “If you mark the spot with cones, it will probably not be taken by a non-EV car in the future” 5) Put a “Notice of Unauthorized Parking” on the windscreen of the Audi


(New Town Plaza - going the extra mile is a gross understatement here)

With the range of the Model S, we didn’t really need the charge, especially not considering the charging is only 13A, that is, limited to 10A with the Mennekes adapter (3,700 HKD from Tesla Motors, I bought it right away at delivery). This is about 9 km of range pr hour of charging, the lowest you can get in Hong Kong (“typical range”, the more conservative measure). That would be two full days to fully charge a Model S 85kWh battery from 0 to 100 %. Anyway, if no-one asks for chargers, nothing will happen - so KEEP asking for chargers, even if you don’t really need it. (Just like most restaurants won’t offer vegetarian dishes, if no-one asks for them). A few hours of shopping, at least you will leave with more than you came with.

As soon as we got our lunch served, the phone rang, and I went straight down to move the car into a correct position:


(Even a 5 meter long Tesla Model S fits inside the yellow lines here)

Later that night, I wrote a comprehensive email to the New Town Plaza customer service, praising the staff for making such an effort to help us. I wanted to write this post, too, but I had just been too busy driving the car and going places, I didn't have the time.

After Sha Tin, I went to my workplace for a (voluntary) technical briefing, which turned out to be interesting. My first day driving to work, although it was a day off:


(That's me arriving at work, I love the silver and black together, cannot believe I haven't yet heard of another silver metallic Model S in HK)

After the briefing, I tried to get an AutoToll chip. I was told you could pick one up at a gas station, so I tried my luck there. Shell first, no luck, but at least I got to block a gas station pump. When a fossil fuel car blocks a charging station, it is ICEd, so the other way around must be called EVEd?

Anyway, here I am, EVing a fuel pump


("I love your sunglasses" - or maybe not. This Shell station not overly busy)

Either she really liked my prescription sunglasses, or she didn’t like I took a picture?

Anyway, the scoreboard was now:

ICE vs FOSSIL: 1 - 1

What joy it is to be at a gas station yet not having to look for the price on the pump. Anyway, they didn’t have any AutoToll at this fossil fuel pusher, later on I found one at a competing brand gas station (Esso in Ma On Shan). The line of cars at that station was a queue extending far out into the road. We could just walk past that, into the shop and buy an AutoToll. No gas station anxiety here, a thing of the past. I should have taken a picture of that queue, how many can fill their car with gas at home?

With the AutoToll in hand, we proceeded to Sai Kung, where we heard of the charging stations in the government office parking - nice, we got 32A and almost 220V, and about 30 km charging pr hour, more than three times the speed of the 13A sockets. The parking officer was misinformed: He said that there was no charging for electric cars, and that this car-park is only for government staff. Both wrong, lots of chargers, both 13A (BS1363) and type 2 (32A, the one that fits the bug standard Tesla Model S cable) - included in the price for the parking charge.


(Sai Kung Government Office parking, 32A - single phase)

This first day of owning my own Model S, I tried to be ICEd, getting even by having EVEd a gas station, charging at both 13A and 32A (two different cables). Supercharging yet to come, and ending up having driven 224 km the first day, that was enough fun for now.

My home estate doesn’t yet offer any charging at all. Despite having multiple 13A sockets, more or less straight from the mains room, they wouldn’t let me use any of them. Having pestered them since April, it’s still a “Work In Progress” project for them, on the 6th month and counting.

DAY 2:

Went to Hopewell Centre in Wan Chai (?), with 6 supercharger spots. It said the lot was full, yet there were spots available for sure. 2 supercharger spots were available, 1 blocked for maintenance, while three were already in use at the time


(Hopewell Centre - 6 supercharger bays)

Ooops, there was some kind of problem:


(Bad cable? Well, it wasn't my cable, but the cable from the supercharger)

After disconnecting and reconnecting, it worked, but then the car next to me got the same problem. He also reconnected, and got back online. While I got around 115A, he had about 220A, almost double what I had. Anyway, by the time we sat down to eat lunch at the YUU Japanese restaurant on 3/F, charging was done (to 85%) shortly after, as we were charging with over 200 km/h, despite lowered output for some reason (Tesla knows about the problem, working on a software/firmware update for these superchargers).

When we left, all the other Tesla Model S had gone also.

Later that day, we went to Ma On Shan, Sunshine City Plaza. They have 2 x 13A spots at the moment, but management staff needs to activate (call ahead on 2630 5693 before both connecting and disconnecting). Spot 229 and 230, not far away after entering this parking space. Coned off to avoid these spots being ICEd, nice job! The charging station doesn’t work until the lid is closed - and we had to try a few times, closing it firmly, before the light turned from blue to green (on the charging station). Remember to call them again, before you want to leave - otherwise the plug is blocked in place.


(Sunshine City Plaza, Ma On Shan, spot 229 and 230)

I updated these and later visits, to OpenChargeMap.org - haven’t seen these updates being approved yet, though. If it works, I am all for this kind of information sharing as a central source, PLEASE LOG IN TO OPENCHARGEMAP.ORG and update/add charging facilities. Together, we can help improve the charging infrastructure in Hong Kong. It is silly if we all have to make the same discoveries and waste time, make it easier for people to come by providing useful guidance.

DAY 3:

Went to Tesla Motors service centre to have the AutoToll installed for free - and they also did some kind of update (no, not version 6, and not navigation either, the latter to be expected in December).

As we were a bit early initially, we went for lunch at Tsuen Wan, City Walk Phase 1 shopping centre. No charging station here at all, but ok parking for the large Model S.

Onwards to Tesla Motors Service Centre, we took the back road (see earlier in this post), no delay getting in compared to taking the normal way in. The AutoToll was installed, and while they were at it, they washed the car and charged it up to “daily max” as pr my instruction (no need for 100% “range charging”) - while I killed yet another innocent Mövenpick Chocolate Ice Cream.

Shopping for a new washing machine as the old one is beyond repair, went to City Walk Phase 2 - still no charging station, but adequate parking space for Model S.


(City Walk Shopping Centre, Tsuen Wan. No chargers here, but who needs to charge with 400 km of realistic range?)

Later that night, went to Tuen Mun Plaza Phase 3 - what a fiasco, DON’T go to phase 3 parking there. It didn’t work, it’s narrow, hard to get in and out on foot (see openchargemap.org for more). Also, there is absolutely no phone signal in that area (with 3/Hutchinson actually didn't check the car). Of all three days, this location was by far the worst of all of them, in almost all accounts.


(Worst experience so far, no joy, no space and lot's of time wasted. Sino Parking, get your act together, if you want me to be a member of your "club")

Nearby is the Tuen Mun Plaza Phase 1, just a few hundred meters away from phase 3 - they have two chargers (one of them worked, thank you CLP / SINO) - again we didn’t need it but of COURSE we must charge, because we CAN. 3/F, spot 3030 and 3031, only 3031 worked (we stayed in 3030, but had to use the socket from 3031 as we could not activate 3030 (it wrongfully claimed we had NOT plugged in). Complicated system with light sensors that detect if there is a plug or not, before it allows activation. “Pay” by octopus, choose in increments of 30 minutes how much charging. We chose 2 hours, total price 0 HKD (but paid 8 HKD for parking, as we bought a washing machine and could claim some discount on the parking). The CLP system is so complicated, they couldn’t have over-engineered it any more.


(This bay is so small it is hard to stay inside the lines with a Tesla Model S, yet it doesn't seem to be a problem to stick out a little.
Notice how I litter the dashboard with two brochures while I park - front and back - so that people who walk up to the car while I am gone, can read about it)

CONCLUSION (for now):

This was my post #1000 on TMC. After all that waiting, I now finally have my own Tesla Model S, it seems surreal. Getting used to drive in Hong Kong (my first car here), is a challenge. No NAV yet, so I'm floating back and forth between Waze and Google Maps NAV. Some times the routings in either are big detours, other times they are not updated for roads blocked from construction (like in Tuen Mun at the moment). Speed limits changing suddenly from 100 to 50, for no apparent reason, and aggressive speeding laws, is a threat to road safety. Yes, the attention to speed cameras and tiny speed limit signs, is moving the focus from the road and the traffic to the hunt for where the next traffic is. And suddenly, all traffic brakes up, to honour the speed camera, then accelerating up again to a realistic speed. Being new in the traffic, I just wish I could focus where I am going, rather than having to look for speed limit signs and orange camera boxes ...

The Tesla Model S:

- I don’t need it.

- I cannot really afford it.

But …

I must have it

And what a set of wheels, I never tried anything like it. There is much more to it, but I think this was a sufficient amount of musings for a single post on TMC.

- To those that don’t have their cars yet: The waiting is worth it

- To those that still consider getting a Model S or X: Be aware that the point of no return is located at the door of the car - as soon as you enter the car for a test drive, there is no turning back, you simply must have one.

- To those who are afraid to look “green”: Forget all that, if you can’t be bothered about the environment or the prospects for future generations. Just get the car because it is the awesomest car in the world.

Feel free to click the little "sheriff star", just below and left of this line - if you like this post

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Well done - excellent post! Keep them coming and agree we need to keep the charging station info as up to date as possible.

My P85+ is being delivered on Monday ( - I'm not sure whether they have no space for their new bulk delivery into HK or else doing a bit more for me)! Six years of waiting almost over!

First track on the car's hi fi system's going to be Radar Love by Golden Earring!!!
Well done - excellent post! Keep them coming and agree we need to keep the charging station info as up to date as possible.

My P85+ is being delivered on Monday ( - I'm not sure whether they have no space for their new bulk delivery into HK or else doing a bit more for me)! Six years of waiting almost over!

First track on the car's hi fi system's going to be Radar Love by Golden Earring!!!

Six years!! Wow!!! That's a long wait! So you ordered MS with your Roadster?
Thank you for your kind words.

After two weeks and more than 1,000 km of driving, here are some more comments.

This was a few days ago, before I hit 1,000 km:

Trip Stats 982 km.JPG

I drive the speed limit + 10 km/h, which has worked so far, yet everyone passes me most of the time - until there is a camera and all hit the brakes at the same place. And I then often have to disconnect cruise control, or just tap the speed down, so I don't get too close to the ones that just passed me. On the Tuen Mun highway, where it is 70 km/h, there are lots of trucks, including the huge ones. I have tried several times, I am going 80 (or actually, 79) in the slower lanes (when available), only to be passed by a huge truck going around 100 km/h.

These cameras were intended to increase traffic safety, right? Since the speed limits are generally so low that most people drive faster anyway, and the position of the cameras are known by most (or with help from Waze and similar), it seems totally pointless to have them. An Australian colleague just told me that in Australia, speed cameras go off already at +3 km/h - not sure if it's true but I wouldn't be surprised.

As this is my first car in Hong Kong, I am getting used to both driving in the left side of the road, while also coping with the sometimes quite challenging signage (or lack of), and sudden changes with late or no notice. No signs above many turning lanes, you just have to know from previously that a particular lanes become left/right lane only. 20 meters before the traffic light there is suddenly a turning arrow painted - next to double solid lines, so too late to change lane. With the lack of onboard Nav, Waze and Google is what I have tried until now. Waze the most, and it will often show a detour where I later found out I could have gone a much shorter way. Also, when it says "keep left" it sometimes mean turn off the main road, other times, keep the left lane or even just keep on the main road (expressway), while other times, it actually means turn. Some times, three lanes on the expressway goes in three different directions, again with little or no warning. Some times it would say a (N) and (S) suffix for two options - and what if I don't know if I am going to either? Pick one, and see what happens.

Anyway, as you can see, with my driving style, I have maintained 222 Wh/km up to 982 km (357 Wh/mile) in mixed driving, while individual trips have been as low as 165 Wh/km. I think that "Since last charge" above was from Hopewell and back home, and if I remembered that correctly, it would have been 4 am Sunday morning - hence not much traffic.

Previously, when at 489 km total, I was at 230 Wh/km - maybe until I got used to the car, and I didn't need to "test it out" as much, or learning to drive it more efficiently?

Trip Stats 489 km.JPG

Am I the only one who is crazy hooked on having pole position at a red traffic light, then see all cars disappear from the rear camera when it's green? And doing the speed limit, the guy in his Nissan GT-R or Porsche had to speed to catch up, just to see what THAT was that just humiliated him that bad. Happens again and again, and yet I still manage 222 Wh/km. I think high speed (form drag), aggressive driving (braking) and stuck in traffic (low energy but almost no speed) is what affects the Wh/km most.

When I picked my car up, it took something like two hours. And they figured I was quite a fan of Tesla Motors, so when I asked for extra brochures, they gave me a whole package. Whenever I see someone walk up to the car or just look at it, I tell them about it and offer them a brochure to keep. I also keep two brochures open, and place them on the dashboard when I park (so both front and back of the brochures can be read). I have considered cutting it up and laminating it, as some is upside down when it is open. I KNOW there will be people looking at the car when it's parked, so why not offer them more information?

I find it hard to judge the left side of the car. Not only is it long and wide, but how long and wide? It is not easy. Here I backed the car all the way until the sensor says "STOP" and the license plate of the car behind me fills most of the screen from the rear camera view

Model S too long for much of HK.JPG

Yes, the Tesla Model S "sticks out", literally, as seen here. In some car parks, even with the best effort, I have to back up up to make the turns (like Tuen Mun Plaza phase 3, what a crappy place in all ways! Charger doesn't work, it's narrow and there is no 3G connection at all in the entire area where the charging spots are). In Mei Lam Estate parking, climbing to each floor has a very abrupt edge between the steep slope and the flat - so much so that I scraped the bottom of the car on this edge (DO use the HIGH setting here!). Also, the wording that says either "monthly parking only" and "hourly parking" is in Chinese only, so at least you need to be able to recognise the Chinese sign for "month" if you are foreigner.

About regen, I found that I prefer to have the normal setting in city traffic, and low on the expressway (unless it is very congested). Hence, on a typical trip, I will switch between normal/low several times. As I like to have the map and camera up, I need to close down the page with the regen, and then open it again when I needed - two or three taps, just for that. I just wish there was a way I could assign this to a button on the steering wheel. A few more buttons, or maybe even an extra pedal/switch for foot control, which should be configurable for each users preference.

Going on a downhill, it's awesome, seeing all the other cars hit the brakes, while I am just putting energy back in the battery (at around 80% efficiency). I found that on a steep mountain road, it was so easy and felt safe, to go steeply downhill as I hardly had to use the brakes. I found, so far, that I could keep the speed between 5 and 15 km/h, depending on how steep the hill is, as regen won't make the car stop entirely.

As mentioned in another thread, the Kai Talk superchargers are reserved for Tesla cars - any car can park there, as Tesla Motors only rent the actual space where the chargers are - and not the very spots aligned with each of the 4 supercharging units! This is downright silly, must have been a misunderstanding.

As for charging, I mentioned about charging elsewhere. In Hopewell Centre, at 3:30 am, I managed to get 432 km/h charging as my record so far - while I heard of up to 600 km/h should be normal, if the superchargers worked as they are supposed to

432 km-h.jpg


This is it for now, will add more later.
I went from 230 Wh/km to 222 Wh/km

Over those almost two years now, and (only) 25,000 km, it has slowly been sinking towards now where it is at 216 Wh/km

It is still almost 5 km on 1 kWh - on average. For a similar fossil fuel car, and similar driving style, it would have been about half a liter of petrol or a third of a liter of diesel. Before even burning anything, the electricity required to find, extract, transport, pump, refine, pump again, transport again, pump again ... that same amount of fuel - is more than what this car uses.

Now we just need to have an uprising of wind turbines and solar panels, so even that little bit of electricity can be totally combustion-free.