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Westerndh's Model S pick up & Elon's 400 mile single charge challenge

Discussion in 'Model S' started by westerndh, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. westerndh

    westerndh Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    I've seen so many wonderful posts & video's (thanks Cinergi), I thought I'd post pics of 36 hours of getting to know my Model S Signature this weekend which included an attempt at Elon's 400 mile single charge challenge.

    Of course delivery day started a long time ago with this simple reminder of what I had committed to.
    Every day, while waiting for Model S to arrive, I've admired this model (thank you Tesla) and the sheer beauty of this automobile and what it means for our future:
    the dream.JPG

    Then in May, Elon tweeted his 400 mile single charge challenge, uh oh, I love a good challenge:
    Elon challenge.png

    After a couple of dud routes and a little help from those smarter than me, I settled on a 400 mile out & back circuit from Folsom to just shy of Harris Ranch, with a 40 mile cushion, just in case I messed up:

    With master plan in place, I set off to Fremont to pick up my Model S.
    photo 1.JPG

    The delivery specialists were amazing. Tim Chung picked me up from San Jose airport - sorry to keep you waiting Tim, I was admiring the pearl white Model S from above!
    photo 2.JPG

    When I finally reached Tim, he was in full swing explaining to an interested passer by what Model S was. I felt awful interrupting him, but I had a date with my own Model S, so off we went to the factory and this is the reception area:
    photo 4.JPG

    And here's my Model S #347 ready to go:
    photo 3.JPG

    We toured the factory (no pics allowed) and I witnessed at least 10 Model S in the framing / welding area moving along nicely. We just watched the line move - from bare parts to a completed car body.

    Tim commented this was the fastest he'd seen the line moving and it was amazing to watch. I think we all could have spent all day watching.

    Some things I observed from memory of the tour:

    1. How cool it was to watch workers cycle or use a manual scooter to get around. The place was just humming along
    2. How spotless everything was
    3. The obsession with quality - I saw Joost training up a bunch of additional QC inspectors (Elon no longer inspects every car, though he will randomly inspect when he's there)
    4. The performance boards - tracking every vehicle body and exactly where they're at in production and who's working where
    5. Timing clocks on many of the stations, benchmarking their production process
    6. How many Model S vehicles were either completed or near completion. I'm sure I saw some production bodies - a gorgeous looking blue. It's possible it could have been a marketing car
    7. The majority of cars were Signature Red's
    8. The seats being made - incredible to see so many seats in one place
    9. The guys working the consoles / steering columns....amazing to see behind the dash
    10. The sheer number of parts that go into Model S - and to think it's a fraction compared to an ICE
    11. How happy everyone was - no matter what their job. Tesla's culture speaks volumes.

    I do remember seeing a number of VIN numbers, the ones I remember were 720 / 930 / 441. Also either 165 or 168 was ready for delivery (Sig Red / grey 21"). There were so many more, but I can't remember them, sorry.

    In addition to Tim, I have to also thank Tim, Peter, Peter and Raza and everyone at Tesla for making this such a great experience - thank you so much.

    Now some of my Model S pics:




    So I set off to Folsom, stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, Folsom - right opposite Tesla's Supercharger station, which I used twice -regular in the evening (30 minutes to charge), then topped up to extended range in the morning:

    The solar charger was for my iPhone. I was determined not to draw too much power from Model S during my 400 mile challenge.

    7 miles into the challenge - I may just be able to achieve this!

    30 miles into the challenge - I still may be able to achieve this, I'm at 404 miles projected range - cool!

    But one thing I'd not taken into enough consideration - pesky stop signs on rural country roads. Even coasting through slowly, still costs precious energy

    40 miles & 2 hours into the challenge, I realize there's no hope. I asked Cinergi if he had any suggestions - how about 19" wheels he said!! yep, good question!

    I knew from the outset the odds were very much against me, so I actually realized I wasn't disappointed, in fact I was thrilled to find myself able to take the time to learn more about Model S energy usage at different speeds. I gradually increased my speed, running 15 - 20 mile segments at 35mph / 45mph / 55mph / 65mph and finally 75mpg.

    This also allowed me to take the time to not only learn how Model S interacts with me, but also admire the beauty and thrill of this car from a drivers perspective:


    Even when taking a pee break:

    Love my Lacewood, time to open up the Pano roof while listening to Slacker. ELO couldn't have sounded any better on this gorgeous day:

    Passing the time productively while Supercharging for free at Harris Ranch:

    Ok, so my name is Derek....I just couldn't resist a small detour down Derrick Avenue, beautiful highway 33 toward Taft:

    Well it's beautiful and deserted for many miles, then you finally reach the oil fields. I love the silhouette of Model S.
    Amazingly, the Derrick was not operating when I stopped, after about 10 minutes, it whirred into life and did it's thing for about 10 minutes and then stopped. Model S shined a light on the future:

    A brief pit stop at Lebec, with 6 charge stations. This is right next to Chipotle - awesome rice bowl and a great choice for a more sustainable fast food experience.

    36 hours and 627 miles later I was back home in LA. So while I didn't accomplish Elon's challenge, I realize just how much this remarkable car has given me.

    The following morning, I saw a ton of dirt had accumulated, time for a simple hand wash which was totally therapeutic:

    Still cannot believe how beautiful this car is, a real conversation starter:




    Many people in the neighborhood came by to take a look. I learned a neighbor a few doors down has one on order.
    Before long I was providing and promising a few test drives and I'm sure 2 people on my street will end up buying Model S.

    I know this is only the beginning. In such a short time, I have found Model S to be everything Tesla promised it to be and then some.
    This has been by far the best car buying experience ever.

    So my wait is finally over. Thank you to everyone on the forum for providing such great insights. I feel proud and honored to help spread the word.

  2. Bound466

    Bound466 Member

    Dec 31, 2011
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Congrats Westerndh!! She's quite a beauty. I bet you and me aren't the only ones that have our "model" Model S somewhere prominent in the living room, den, or study. It is a great reminder of what will be to come.

    Do you think you'll give the 400 mile challenge another try? Maybe pick a route that has an overall average elevation decrease.
  3. Lyon

    Lyon 2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D

    Dec 26, 2011
    Eugene, Oregon
    What a great post! I love all the pictures, the story and, above all, the aspirational tone. I thing, that if we put our minds to it, we can move to sustainable transportation and leave this world better than we found it!
  4. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r S85 2012-2018, X90 since 2016, 3 since 2018

    Aug 20, 2011
    San Jose, CA
    Really nice write-up. Thank you for taking the time.
  5. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Beaverton, OR
    Beautiful. Great story, awesome photos. Never get tired of these. The car is so gorgeous.
  6. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

    Apr 20, 2012
    Rocklin, CA
    Love the story. Very nice!

    You might need to wait till spring to try the next 400 mile challenge, maybe start at a ski resort in May?
  7. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

    Oct 12, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Love the photos, and enjoyed the write-up! :)


    (Seems the 400 mile challenge requires using advanced methodology... ;) )
  8. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

    Apr 3, 2009

    Ditto! A good read all around. How far DID you get on a single charge?
  9. GSP

    GSP Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    I suggest a route with 40 mph or lower speed limits. A city route can work well if you work to time the green lights. The original Ford Fusion Hybrid did 1400+ miles on one tank with a professional driver on a Washington DC city route.

    Great write up and pics. Nice to see that not getting the 400 miles on the first try was not a dissapiontment at all when you take delivery of such a wonderful car.

  10. YoungStranger

    YoungStranger Member

    Feb 10, 2012
    Telford UK
    Fantastic write up and great pics. Thanks for sharing - I've passed this thread onto an impressed friend.

    I gradually increased my speed, running 15 - 20 mile segments at 35mph / 45mph / 55mph / 65mph and finally 75mpg.

    I am sure the Model S can do better than this though! :tongue:
  11. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    Glad you had fun, and happy to help! Can't wait to hear how you feel about the car in a week :wink:
  12. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Oct 7, 2011
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Thanks for your story -- a great way to start my morning. Superb photo at dusk with the oil derricks; perhaps you could post these at original resolution in a Flickr (or whatever) album?
  13. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

    Feb 7, 2011
  14. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    May 6, 2011
    Corvallis, OR
    I have an electric bike with LiFePo battery. It held its greatest charge after about 50 charges. I know Tesla uses a different chemistry and may not respond the same but if it does you might have best luck with the 400 mi challenge at that point. Good luck.
  15. westerndh

    westerndh Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Yes I would love to. My route plan had a total elevation gain and loss of 1,000 feet, Harris Ranch is close to some pretty steep grades, so I was avoiding that. For sure I'd borrow some 19" wheels and find a route that really allowed a constant slow speed. I would not attempt this on a freeway!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Way more advanced than my brain Norbert!! Hope all well with you.... I'm very pleased to report that my model S behaves just as 'nicely' as our Sunset Red tester a few months ago!

    - - - Updated - - -

    If I had kept up the challenge, while I would love to say I would have achieved 380 miles, I think 350 - 360 is more realistic. I was surprised how much concentration is needed to stay on top of what the car is doing at low speed.
  16. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    Love that photo in the oil field. Nice work. Great attempt at the challenge too.
  17. westerndh

    westerndh Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    40 mph is too fast for this challenge.
    I found I achieved lowest consumption at 25mph. 30 - 35mph was about 5% more consumption.... I'd love to say I was king of anticipating stop signs, but I found different towns use different settings for their signals, making it quite tricky to anticipate - particularly when you're traveling so slowly.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Nicely put!
  18. strider

    strider Active Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    NE Oklahoma
    I still think middle of the night run down 101 from the Bay Area to LA would work. Set the cruise on 45 bring lots of Red Bull. You have the Rabobanks in case you won't make it and no stop and go.
  19. DavidM

    DavidM P2624, Delivered

    Aug 18, 2011
    Excellent story! Congrats. Enjoy.
  20. SoCalGuy

    SoCalGuy Active Member

    Apr 22, 2012
    So Cal & New York, NY
    Great photos and story! Where in LA are you?

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