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Impressions of an Electric Car Driver (@ 1 yr)

April 21, 2019

The year sure has gone by quickly!  Yet here we are, one year of all-electric driving, both near and far.  Time to reflect anew!

The basics:

RWD long range version.  10,800 miles driven, with an average watt hours per mile of 210.  Maintenance has been zero except for a tire rotation.  Home base is in the SF Bay area.  Two long trips taken thus far (one to Reno, one to LA), with another upcoming.  And for reference sake, my previous car was a VW GTI VR6, which I liked a lot and drove for many years.

The super short answer:

I love it!

More detailed answer, starting with… Driving experience:

It’s great.  All I wrote about in my previous post still applies, the car is an absolute joy to drive and I still get noticeably jubilant while driving.  The sweet, smooth, powerful, and deliciously controllable electric drivetrain coupled with the car’s low centre of gravity make for a wonderful and potentially spirited driving experience.  And the precision, especially at slow speeds, makes both gnarly traffic and parking lot parkour a breeze.

I also very much enjoy the car’s quietness, gliding along residential roads or in lots without a constant wheeze in the background.  And while it was odd at first, I’ve come to appreciate the silence at stoplights.

Comfort wise, the car is a win as well.  At the end of both long trips I’ve felt much less stiff than I’m used to, a bonus due (I’m guessing) to the lack of constant engine vibration.  All around the car just feels good.

Range experience:

There is a shift in thinking that’s needed regarding electric cars.  I’ve had more than a few conversations with people that veered off into interesting directions until the new paradigm of “fueling” was understood:  the traditional notion of “fueling up” is only applicable, or a concern, on very long trips.  On a daily level, there is no such thing as “stopping for fuel.”  When I go to work, I plug in.  When I get home, I can plug in.  When I go to a store, often I can plug in.  What this means is that, without taking any more time out of my day or requiring that I drive to a specific location, my car is always at the ready.  At the daily recommended charge level for battery longevity I have around 270 miles of charge at my disposal.  I can, essentially, start each day “fully fueled”, and 270 miles can get me me pretty far out and back for a day trip.

So when it comes to the idea of “Range Anxiety”, I have none.  And this is with almost exclusively charging only while at work, sharing the charge port with two others.  I’ve only charged at home about 4 times (and even then using slow 120v charging).  The only time I even need to give serious thought to range is on those very long trips, and for that the onboard navigation/planner makes it simple.  Type in a destination, and it will tell me when, where, and for how long to stop at a supercharger.  Charging does take more time than gassing up at a traditional fuel station, but if you’re stopping for food anyway the time delta is not all that big.  And with the new superchargers set to roll out with double the charging speed that delta will decrease even further.

Ownership experience:

One of the nifty and still weird/need to get used to things about the car is the over the air updates.  Get in the car, get a notification, start the update, and ta-dah!  My car just got better.  In many ways, too:  added features (Free integrated dashcam!  Sentry mode!  Dog mode!  Atari games!), general UI improvements (I admit, I was weirdly overjoyed when I could set things to Celsius and 24h time), and, most crazily, in performance.  Extra power, extra regenerative braking, traffic awareness, and blind spot detection are all things I’ve gotten after an update.  An extra little dollop of range is even promised in an upcoming update.  That’s really cool!

Service appointments are practically zero, as there’s no maintenance on the car (the manual literally has only three service items on the schedule, which besides tire rotation is on a 2 year and 4 year timeframe) and when you do need one there is an easy online scheduling system.  Depending on the nature of the service Tesla will try to bring a mobile truck out to you.  This all adds up to super amounts of convenience, with less times I need to go out of my way to do a thing (gas, maintenance, etc) to keep the car running.  Overall the car is just cleaner and easier to own and operate.  And less expensive as well.  With the maintenance almost non-existent and the energy costs per mile lower, the car needs very little ongoing investment.

Right now the few times I’ve done home charging I’ve been on 120v power, but I’m getting a 240v outlet installed in the coming weeks.  That’ll be nice for two reasons, firstly for the quicker charging (24 miles every hour vs the 4 on 120v), and two, due to the higher voltage it’s more efficient, using less watt hours of energy per mile gained.

One niggle I do hope gets fixed in an update sometime is playback from a USB stick.  Right now it’s pretty hit or miss (without any pattern I’ve discerned) whether playback will resume upon re-entering the car.  Which is a bummer enough for music albums but would be really a pain for audiobooks or the like.  Fingers crossed.

Conclusion:

One year in, I’m still very much loving this car, and can’t see myself ever going back to owning an ICE unless the situation truly dictates it.  I’m sure I’ll still need to drive an ICE from time to time, either because I’ve rented a truck for hauling or a car for some super-long-fast or special kind of trip.  But I’ll probably be pining for mine the whole time.

Great car, and looking forward to many, many, many years of joyous driving with it.

Any questions or wonderings?  Feel free to ask away below.

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It’s begun

April 18, 2019

Well well well, what have we here

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Wonder Wednesday

April 17, 2019

Following the great news that most of the stained glass has survived, some views of Notre Dame de Paris’ wondrous and amazing stained glass…

(I so love stained glass.  It is one of my architectural ‘fetishes’…)

Photos by Wikimedia Commons and Deb Nystrom

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Philosophy Tuesday

April 16, 2019

When being present to your Calculating Self, versus that of your Authentic Self, it is important to know and remember one thing:  The calculating self does not care about your happiness.

Not one bit.  It only cares about survival.  Not whether you like it.  Or are happy.  Or fulfilled.  Or energized.   Or empowered.  Doesn’t care.  It only cares about continuation of one thing: its own.  It will fight tooth and nail to stay intact, to keep its world views and patterns unchanged.

It has survived this situation once, why would it do something different?  Just do the same thing again, and you will make it out the other side.  Your experience of life suck?  Your authentic self doesn’t like it?  It doesn’t care!  This is the sure thing.  It knows that you will survive.  So it pushes you to do it again.

Thrive in life?  Feh, it doesn’t care.  Just survive.  Trapped in a rut you don’t want?  Doesn’t care, just survive.  Do things that are unproductive?  Doesn’t care, just do same thing again, it knows the outcome, you will survive.  Want to walk down sunnier roads?  NOPE!  Going to resist, that’s dangerous territory.  Stay the course, you will survive.

The calculating self is great for, well, calculating things.  It can warn us and aid us and oh yes, help us survive.  But it’s one-dimensional.  It doesn’t have a care for the wholistic being we are.  And there are times where it’s directions will not help us get what or where we want.

The more we are present, the more in tune we become with our Central/Authentic selves, and the more we cease to cede complete control to our Calculating selves, the more we gain freedom to walk the paths of our own choosing, paths towards countless new possibilities for both us and all those around us.

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Architecture Monday

April 15, 2019

Notre Dame de Paris is burning.  I wish that was just a misquoted line from Disney’s version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, but it is not.  The famed cathedral caught fire today and much of it has burned.  The first looks inside are not promising; the stone remains, but many of the vaults have collapsed, many of the artworks and relics within have burned, the spire and roof are gone, and the wonderful stained-glass windows have mostly vanished (happy update: all three of the ginormous rose windows survived)(happy update 2: most of the stained glass has survived!).

Notre Dame in Paris was not the tallest (that would be Beauvais), nor the most carved (that would be Reims), nor the most luminous (that would be the Sainte Chapelle) nor the largest or most complete (that would both be Cologne).  All that meant nothing, however.  It was beloved, the world’s most famous cathedral, long residing at the heart of a vast, powerful, and magnificent city.  I had the fortune to visit the cathedral several times, including christmas eve, sitting in the pews with the architecture bathed in candle light, the windows lightly aglow, and the air filled with choir and pipe organs.  It was glorious.

Churches and cathedrals are often some of our first encounters with monumental architecture, spaces explicitly designed to (and given the opportunity to) evoke something within us just by being there.  The gothic tradition sought to do this through light, dissolving the solidity of the outer walls as much as possible to permit the largest windows possible.  Height was of equal importance, naves stretching heavenward, columns and ribbing arcing upwards to pointed arches and the iconic vaults.  Building technology was stretched to the limits, and new ideas like flying buttresses sprang forth to fulfil on the vision, while themselves being shaped and turned into iconic beauties of their own.  And then there was the art – carvings, statues, ornament, gargoyles, rose windows, stained glass, tile labyrinths, and the mighty pipe organ filling the whole of the church with its resonant sound, a music with no source that washes over you.  Step through the door and you feel it.

This is not the first time a cathedral has suffered a calamity (WW1&2 did a pretty good number on many of them), nor the first time Paris’ cathedral has found itself in dire straits.  The whole reason Victor Hugo wrote his most famous novel was as a call to arms to save the cathedral.  Entire chapters are devoted to the cathedral and architecture throughout Paris, and even a philosophical treatise on the nature of architecture itself (titled “This will kill that.”)  Hugo recognized the beauty of architecture, how it resonates within us.  And he was successful, with the novel causing a groundswell of newfound enthusiasm for the cathedral that it was restored.  Before today, the cathedral was once again in need of serious repair, and work had just begun (which may well turn out to be the cause, unfortunately, a construction accident).

But this tragedy has, like Hugo’s novel, focused attention on the cathedral once more.  Like the damages of WW2, or the never-ending construction of the Sagrada Familia, things will be rebuilt, repaired, and brought back into form.  Architecture is very much a part of people’s soul.  When it’s around day in and day out, it can be easy to take for granted, and we may not notice just how much it is a part of our soul, but it is.  And the soul can heal.

Below are some photos of my first trips to visit the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral in all their 35mm film ‘glory’.  They focus on the areas that were most affected by the fire today.  For some interior 360 shots, try here or here.

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You land (rolls dice) all three cores!

April 11, 2019

Another Space X amazement/appreciation post today for their wicked commercial Falcon Heavy launch and, even more wickedly, landing of all 3 (!) first-stage booster cores for reuse. (!!!) A 1000% successful day for them.

(Re)watch the glory here:

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Wonder Wednesday

April 10, 2019

The amazing poppy bloom here in California!

Source from dailyoverview.