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  • September 17, 2021 4:13 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    ‘Tesla Glass’ Unveiled - 

    Tesla recently released a youtube video introducing the “secret to a quiet cabin,” their new proprietary glass. Tesla hired former Apple material engineer Mike Pilliod back in 2016 to begin working on projects such as this one. The new glass will be far more UV resistant from all angles, and will be dual-paned with a layer of insulation in between. Supposedly, the new glass will help improve cabin noise and give these electric cars a truly silent driving experience. 


    Model Y Impresses in ‘Moose Test’ -

    The “Moose Test” is an evasive driving test that many new cars are put through to determine how well they turn as well as how responsive they are. Due to the low center of gravity of the Model Y, there is not as much body roll when cornering as some would expect from a vehicle of its size. The testers claimed that the Model Y was one of the best cars they had tested, all likely due to the handling and acceleration. Also, while SUV’s normally do not do very well on the test, the Model Y was up there with the best sedans.

  • September 16, 2021 10:15 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Hero Photo: Jeff Gardner

    Twenty years to the day of the 9/11 tragedy, our monthly meetup brought out respectful optimism—through attendees, EVs, and generous food donations to FeedMore WNY.


    The site (sight?) was unrivaled. It took six months of planning but we finally landed a meetup right where Nikola Tesla’s multiphase power gets generated today: overlooking the Lower Niagara River at the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project.


    Photo: John P. Weiksnar

    Technically we were set up outside its Power Vista, the free visitors center that deserves destination status itself for all TOCNYS members at one point or another.



    Photo: Leo Peláez

    Put together a few dozen Teslas with a handful of other EVs, all throughout the event, and you have probably the largest gathering of EVs ever in Niagara County!



    Photo: Jeff Gardner


    Then couple that with owners from all across NY State—several with family members in tow—plus public citizens there for the show, and the combo was unbeatable.



    Photo: Paul Pasquarello

    Wait, the weather was unbeatable.

    Okay, it was all unbeatable. We’ll let a few pictures speak for themselves.



    Photo: John P. Weiksnar


    Photo: Paul Pasquarello



    Photo: Leo Peláez



    Photo: Paul Pasquarello


    Photo: John P. Weiksnar

    Also stay tuned for future Niagara Frontier meetups. Prior to our usual Second Saturday of the Month meetup in October, be sure to drop in at the Buffalo National Drive Electric Week EV Rodeo downtown on September 25.

    Special thanks to all NYPA staff, especially Manager of Community Affairs, Teresa Martinez, and Supervisor of Photographic Operations, Paul Pasquarello. Paul kindly contributed to our photo album which has plenty more to view. Please post any of your own additional event pics there!


    By John P. Weiksnar, Niagara Frontier regional organizer

  • September 10, 2021 10:19 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    25k Tesla Hatchback Rumors -

    There have been rumors for a while, backed up by Tesla itself, that the automaker will eventually produce a small, cheap hatchback. This is crucial because while the Model 3 can be affordable for some, it is still a relatively expensive vehicle and considered a luxury car. Making a more affordable car would be great for Tesla’s financials and the brand image. Despite the Model 3 and Model Y, many still think that the cheapest Tesla costs upwards of $50,000. There have also been rumors that Tesla will release this car as their first entirely autonomous car, with no steering wheel, but regulators will likely not allow that for quite some time.

    Laser Windshield Wiper Patent Approved -

    A couple years ago, Tesla submitted a patent for a complex laser system to be used in place of windshield wipers, presumably for the Roadster. This week, the patent was approved, likely meaning that we may see this technology come to fruition at some point. It is very cool that despite being the largest EV automaker, Tesla continues to innovate on all fronts. Windshield wipers can become an issue with aerodynamics, often resulting in unwanted drag. Using lasers as a replacement would definitely be cool, but it is unsure whether or not we will see this implemented in the near future.

  • September 09, 2021 12:06 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    “One modest, thousand-mile experiment rustled up key issues that have concerned EV charging advocates in NY State for years.”

    It started when this Twitter post informally appeared and almost went under the radar . . . or Tesla Vision, these days:

    MKBHD

    This showed up just two days after the most ambitious TOCNYS event of the season, Tesla Henrietta: Official Grand Opening. Tweeted first thing on a Monday, no less.

    Retweets soon started to pique interest and spill some of the road trip’s details.

    It would be a Model S Plaid with 349 miles of range versus a Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 Edition with 305 miles of range. Both EVs would be competing against an Audi Q5 fossil car (the control) with 462 miles of range.

    Image

    Photo @MKBHD

    Team Tesla:

    Marques Brownlee @MKBHD

    Hayato Huseman @hayatohuseman


    Team Mach-E:

    Brandon Havard @BrandonJHavard

    David ImeI @DurvidImel


    Team Gasolina:

    Andrew Manganelli @AndyManganelli

    Adam Lukas @AdamLukas17

    Tim McMahon @timmcmahonn


    Their starting point would be a Wawa gas station with Superchargers and Electrify America charging, just outside of NYC in New Jersey. First checkpoint: Lake Placid, with the Olympic sign serving as the photo to grab.

    That would be followed by our own TOCNYS Niagara Frontier region’s inspiration, Niagara Falls. The photo assignment there would be none other than the Nikola Tesla statue on Goat Island.

    Rounding out the Empire State, they would visit the clock tower on the Cornell University campus. Through Pennsylvania, they would hit Scranton (home to the TV series The Office). Completing the competition would be a return to the Tri-State home base.

    It was posted that “This [journey] will take 2 days and be very (kinda) scientific and very fun.”

    Photo @MKBHD

    Just a second.

    Let’s rewind and make sure we all grasp who Marques Brownlee, creator of “MKBHD,” is.

    A 2015 alumnus of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Brownlee earned its Young Alumni Achievement Award for making a substantial impact on the tech media scene. Imagine billions of YouTube views, millions of Twitter followers, and instant recognition of his trademark reviews covering the latest and greatest devices.

    Wait, did I mention that he is also the one who interviewed “possibly the busiest man alive” (Elon Musk) within the Fremont factory?

    Photo @MKBHD

    All true. In 2018, when Model 3 was making or breaking Tesla’s future, Brownlee sat down and effected this YouTube milestone that lives on, even hinting at the still-TBA $25,000 Tesla.

    Back to the present. Remember, it’s Monday morning, August 30, with the Tweet about the road trip still relatively fresh. Yours Truly decides to reach out and inform the team that TOCNYS members would be prone to help, whenever the trip happens.

    The event link in the p.s. was to our upcoming Niagara Falls meetup on the second Saturday of September. What if the trip and meetup overlapped?! Not even remotely knowing the date of the MKBHD “experiment,” it was worth a shot.

    Wrong!

    It would become clear, hours later, that they had already started the trip.

    That’s right. All three vehicles were well on their way around the Empire State—counterclockwise, as this earlier photo tweeted from the Plaid reveals—en route to Albany/Montreal.

    Great. Without a formal website or other real-time map, knowing when they would hit the Tesla statue proved elusive at best. For me, being about half an hour from The Falls, even trickier.

    MKBHD was Tweeting only here and there. The rest of the crew had been posting a trickle of other details via their account, @TheStudio. You could say it was less than prophetic to foist this, though:

    Why? Because it turned out that the Mach-E was immobile by noon.

    This tweet says it all:

    Maybe no one predicted the scope of what was about to happen. One modest, thousand-mile experiment rustled up key issues that have concerned EV charging advocates in NY State for years. (Shout-out to WNYer Abdur-Rahman Morgan, a champion of the EV charging cause, once going as far as offering officials his own non-Tesla BEV to attempt cross-state charging.)

    It should be no surprise, then, that this rustling sparked a Twitter storm for the record books.

    Right away, @pluginsites lashed out at @NYPAenergy with “What is going on with your promise to #EV drivers that they will be able to charge when crossing New York?” . . . plus hitting right where it counts by dredging up this not-even-one-year-old claim:

    The strategy seemed to work.

    NYPA’s Twitter account soon apologized for the technical problem with the remote station at Schroon Lake, adding that charging there would be free until they resolved the remaining issues.

    TOCNYS friend @mdvolt chimed in by questioning whether a Mach-E had ever charged there, if other vehicles were able to use the charging station’s same CCS plug, and if a software update might be needed for the station.

    But wait, there’s more.

    You know something is up when NYPA Lead Engineer John Markowitz even steps into the thread to offer help via direct message.

    Meantime, @pluginsites added that the Schroon Lake charging station was working two weeks ago for their own vehicle, cementing the impact of today’s fiasco with the quip “This lack of dependability is catastrophic for #EV adoption.”

    That, ladies and gentlemen, highlights how vital the MKBHD/TheStudio challenge is today.

    They embarked on the trip specifically without planning for charging or gas—a legit, real-world attempt. Yet, the not-a-Tesla EV is already borked before reaching the first landmark.

    How did the Mach-E team resolve the out-of-order charging station issue?

    Correct, navigate in the opposite direction since the sole charging option was yonder.

    If there is any consolation in all of this, the marooned team did report that the estimated remaining range of the Mach-E tends to be more accurate than the Plaid’s. Well, if anything, the ’Stang underestimates.

    Brownlee knows there is typically a hidden reserve of juice below the Tesla zero-miles-remaining mark. Only getting to that point seems to happen less predictably than in the Ford. Go figure.

    Anyway, by now it is late afternoon and it still isn’t clear what time the TOCNYS Niagara Frontier welcome should happen at a.) a Supercharger, b.) Niagara Falls, or c.) all of the above. The clues from the MKBHD tweets are barely clues; the ETA is looking more like a total guess.

    Then, this rolls in:

    Doing the math, with the Plaid’s range and the distance to Goat Island from that Supercharger, some back-of-the-napkin scribbles placed their arrival just shy of 8 p.m. . . . then again, it is a Plaid!

    At Goat Island, I plugged into a ChargePoint at 7:46 p.m., turned around, and BOOM— there they are, rolling in on cue. Like a scene out of a movie. I went and IDed myself as the TOCNYS Niagara Frontier regional organizer; they smiled, parked, and we had a brief chance to chat.

    Photo @jpw1116

    With the Audi already there (and the Mach-E around three hours behind), I gave them directions to the peak spot for nabbing some remaining light photos of the Horseshoe Falls.

    We all met up at the Nikola Tesla statue, as seen in the hero photo, then took in the thrill of both the American and Luna Falls at the brink. Imagine this chance to visit in optimal late-summer weather.

    Photo @hayatohuseman

    The group wrapped up this Goat Island visit stepping under the arch that was preserved from the original Edward Dean Adams Station Power Plant of the 1890s—the same portal Tesla himself most definitely walked through when it was intact upriver at Port Day.

    What do you know, TOCNYS Niagara Frontier Operations Intern James VanSchoonhoven had arrived straight from work at Bocce Club Pizza with a box of it in hand. A kind Buffalo gesture for a starving crew.

    Photo @TeslaPlaid

    One friendly tourist recognized Brownlee and crew. The only real interloper was a skunk taking a stroll right behind the Teslas. Our cue to say farewell!

    On day two, we learned that all three teams stayed the night at Niagara. Everyone kept to the plan and did not charge overnight at any hotel. Unconventional for typical EV trips? Sure, but the pact was to plug in or fuel up only while en route, on par with the control vehicle that requires ye olde gas stations.

    Full details on both legs of the trip will appear in a future @TheStudio video, but we do know that around noon, the Plaid had charged up in Cheektowaga and was bound for Cornell. They arrived there by 2:45 p.m. (with Mach-E ahead of them, though they all started out together) and then into Scranton by 4:25 p.m.

    In contrast, the Mach-E was 42 miles past Scranton and charging for the final stretch at 5:54 p.m.—it turns out that this team began favoring Electrify America stations which provided the most bang for the buck (even if the Ford app didn’t always suggest them).

    TeamTesla made it back to the starting point by 7:14 p.m., with the Mach-E—on average 1.5 hours behind—made it there a respectable nineteen minutes later. Had all the Mach-E stations been functional EA ones, there is a much better chance the two EVs would have been in sync.

    What were some of their takeaways?

    • Three charging stops per day, none over 46 minutes
    • The Mach-E’s UI tended to be confusing compared to the Plaid’s
    • There are too many charging companies
    • There are too many broken chargers
    • Single-plug charging stations are unacceptable

    Talk about a productive experiment! Until their final video is ready, check out this Waveform podcast for their take.

    UPDATE: View the initial results video “Driving 1000 Miles in 3 Cars: Gas vs Electric!” https://youtu.be/vXzuFprlyrw


    — By John P. Weiksnar, TOCNYS Niagara Frontier Regional Organizer

  • September 04, 2021 8:13 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Cybertruck Delayed to Late 2022 -

    After already being delayed once before, the Tesla Cybertruck has been delayed once again, this time to late 2022. The date of when the Cybertruck will finally enter production is dependent on the new Tesla Gigafactory Texas, and how soon Model Y production can begin there. Tesla has previously stated that after the Model Y production lines in Austin are fully operational, they will shift their focus more to the Cybertruck. It is expected that Model Y will enter production in Texas around the end of this year, which could indicate that the Cybertruck deliveries will start later than late 2022. A good indication of when the Cybertruck will enter production is when the configurator goes live on Tesla’s website. Once a Cybertruck can be fully customized online, it will be nearing production.

    Roadster Delayed to Late 2023 -

    After being originally planned for production in 2020, the Roadster has been delayed a couple times. The first delay came when the Roadster was delayed two years from 2020 to 2022. Now, into 2021, the Roadster has been delayed once more, this time to 2022. Tesla has had a very logistically difficult year due to the global semiconductor shortage, limiting how many cars they can produce each day. It is also likely that Tesla wants to firm up the production of its more mass market vehicles before spending too much time on the Roadster, which truthfully, will not sell nearly as many cars as any other of Tesla’s fleet.

  • August 18, 2021 2:10 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    In the words of our loyal Niagara Frontier owner Tony Brigandi, who happens to hail from the Finger Lakes region, our August meetup was “A TEN.”

    No, no one was running in slo-mo on a beach, but it was another freak-of-nature sunny day in the middle of a rainy stretch. Somehow our second-Saturday 10 a.m. outdoor meetups are hitting it out of the park this season.


    Speaking of ‘park,’ our members and guests wasted no time exiting their cars to socialize. With folks there from as far away as Mt. Morris, we occupied the Buffalo (Clarence) Supercharger and nearby spots like it was nobody’s business.After half an hour, we did something else our members prize about our meetups: we formed a Tesla procession to take us straight to our destination, the historic Village of Lancaster.


    Imagine exactly ten Teslas vying for the last of the parking spaces on quaint old West Main Street . . . only most of it is brand-new. Yes, they're restoring the business center of the village via a "Complete Streets" revamp of what was most recently a dead "urban renewal" parking lot.


    .                                                      

    So what that our timing was off? That hefty crane was blocking off the new part of the street, busy getting the last few girders up on what will be a mixed-use business/residence. We honed our parking skills (or Autopark) and got ready to patronize some locally owned and operated businesses.


    So what that our timing was off again? Our main destination still had its closed sign up. Great. It turns out we were about a minute early, and soon enough the owner of Long Weekend Bake Shop and Cafe let us stampede into this 100% plant-based oasis.
    The rest of the meetup, al fresco on sidewalk seating? Pretty much a blur. Our members and guests yakked it up, refreshments in hand, to the extent that it inspired Tony to call it a ten.

    We scoped out some future meetups (see notes at end), said a few good-byes, and whoever was left kept living up the village vibe, either testing out each other's Teslas or talking it up in front of other local establishments. 



    If you’re inspired, feel free to copy this meetup format—decadent baked goods or not, it’s something else to “take over” a small village and bring owners together there.



    Oh, and we even threw in a bonus hike while charging up in a nearby park. . . .



    View and upload images from the event here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cU7yJyvARQTw1mfk7
    By John P. Weiksnar, Niagara Frontier regional organizer

    Please join us again soon (all meetups subject to change, so please register when you can):

    And especially at our most anticipated regular meetup of the year:

  • August 15, 2021 8:33 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    We’ve all heard of the typical “how-to,” that’s great and all... but let's try something new, something improved, something that will make you scratch your head a few times and hopefully save you a little pain. This blog will attempt to explain the way how to… sorry… how not to… replace the air filter in your Tesla Model 3, and remove that disgusting funk that not even a N95 can do anything about. To start things off, let’s review a short list of helpful hints & tips that I wish I knew before I started the project of a lifetime:

    Slightly helpful hints & tips:

    • To start, realize that you should have bought yourself a nice little piggy bank and labelled “Car Funds.” You will put roughly 15% of your income into that, most of it will go to new tires. Once you have enough saved up, go into your Tesla app and set up an appointment to have your cabin air filters replaced by a professional.

    • Factors that play into lifetime of cabin air filter: frequency of using the HVAC system, quality of air where you live, if you leave you car parked outside or inside, and personal sensitivity to particulates. 

    • How you will know when to change it: every time you change your engine oil is a decent metric, oh sorry, um... about once a year. 

    • Go to Youtube and type in “How to change air filter in Model 3.” Then watch as many videos on the topic until you completely zone out and realize you probably got yourself into something you shouldn’t have, that was about three videos for me.

    • Find a place in the shade, or a garage, or any location where your shirt may not be drenched in sweat by the time you have all your tools arranged.

    • Get a thick pad of sorts for your knees, especially if you attempt this project on a hot summer day. You can use your floor mats, oh yeah… remove the floor mat on the side where the filters are so that you can actually take off the panels.

    • Wear a long sleeve shirt. I literally somehow got rug burn and am in pain the day after as I’m writing this… how on Earth did I get rug burn (face palm)

    • Don’t have big Italian fingers that make it impossible to complete the most difficult part of this whole project, removing that evil screw from the plate that blocks the filters (seriously if you get this far in the project, this is where you will realize you done messed up attempting it)

    Alright, that’s enough nonsense, let’s get going here.
    Make sure that you have done your research on how to complete this project from start to finish (reading this blog does not constitute as research). For me, one of the best ways I learn is by watching or doing, but since I didn’t want to totally destroy the car, I watched a few videos first. There are many great videos out there on the topic, but as we know, Gen Z/Millennials have about a 15 second attention span, so I lucked out and found this one which was only about 6 minutes long.

    We know the right tools can help make all the difference, and thankfully with the filters I bought on Amazon (hey… somebody has to help Jeff Who get to space), they actually came with all the tools I needed! For just 30 bucks, you get the two HEPA filters (with activated carbon), 1 * T20 Hex Screwdriver, 1 * Buckle Crowbar (the little plastic trim remover/clip remover, and the fairly useful Installation Instruction pamphlet (which is much more functional and time efficient than reading this blog). Ok, so at this point there’s only one more thing you will need to spend your hard earned dollars on, evaporator cleaner. As mentioned this blog is more of a  “how (not) to,” so let me tell you what you should buy… not what I bought. I decided to take the more frugal route and purchased Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner, which honestly is an amazing product and I’m very happy with it, but yeah… get one with a hose, preferably Lubegard 96030 Kool-It Evaporator and Heater Foam Cleaner. Ok, that’s everything, taddaaa, let’s get this project going now!

    The part you actually came here for:

    • Remove the floor mat, as mentioned before this works as a half-decent knee pad for your knees that think they’re 30 years older than they are (don’t get me started on my back pain…….)

    • Use the trim removal tool (Buckle Crowbar) to remove the carpeted trim on the center console. I highly recommend starting from the back, once you have pulled it away a little, you’re really better off just using your hands and pulling the trim now. You oddly don’t want to do this too slowly, not because you have better things to do with your time, but because there’s a greater chance of breaking the clips if you pull it away too slowly. 

    • Congratulations, you successfully removed the trim, you’re halfway there (haha just kidding, not even close). This next part is fairly simple, see those little clips on the ceiling of the footwell, remove all 4 (put them somewhere safe, there aren’t many things to lose, but if you’re like me, you’ll still find a way). You don’t need to be on your back for this, but when you’re done and doing this part in reverse, I found it to be helpful.

    • Now go ahead and remove the panel slowly. Not too slowly, but be aware that there is a speaker and light that are part of this panel. You’ll want to remove clips that hold these parts on. Of course I was only able to unclip the wire for the light… so I had to push the panel up into the back of the footwell to give myself a little more space. 

    • Alright this is the worst part. Prepare yourself: mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and whatever other “allys” exist, trust me, you’re going to need them all for this part. If you can do this successfully without as being dramatic as me, you may want to consider becoming a heart surgeon. If you can do this part of the project, you will instantly be qualified to be a practicing medical professional (this is just a joke, you will still need to go to med school for 15 years and take out a student loan that you’ll finish paying off when you’re 85 years old). Take the T20 Hex Screwdriver that was included in the air filter set, reach way back into the footwell on the left, and attempt what should be reserved as a training course for Navy SEALs. Once you get the screw out, place it somewhere safe, then pull back the cover that blocks the filter. Oh, one more helpful hint, carefully pull the orange cable away, there’s a clip or two holding it down. This will just make everything a little easier as far as removing the air filter plate.

    • We’re almost done, seriously, I’m not being a punk this time. Alright, pull out the old filters and place them outside the car, you may want to check and see if they can be recycled. Take the bottle of evaporator cleaner, attach the hose, then spray inside the area where the filters were. The purpose of this cleaner is to rid your HVAC system of that utterly disturbing smell, don’t skip out on this part of the project! From a few videos I’ve watched, you should allow the foam to fill up the entire cavity, this may require the whole bottle. Try to move around the hose once it’s in the cavity, starting at the bottom and working upwards. Let the foam sit for about 15 minutes, then blast the AC on high for about 15 minutes. Make sure to replace the cap while the AC is running, you don’t have to put the screw back in, just make sure it’s on there snuggly. You’ll most likely see a stream of water forming under your car, no worries, this is totally normal, Teslas tend to get very excited when their owners take on DIY projects. 

    • Ok, we just about finished here! Put the new filters in, making sure that they are facing the right direction for the air flow. If you bought the ones that I did, this means the side with the little beads will face towards you. Also ensure that the little string is on the top right so that you can easily remove them next time you take on this project (if you’re brave enough to try it again).

    • That’s it, you’re done, you are a DIY hero!!! Go ahead and put all the panels and clips back where they belong, get whatever bandaids you need for yourself, then a nice beverage and pat yourself on the back. 

    If you made it to the end, you deserve a medal! Sadly our budget isn’t quite there yet, but I almost always have TOCNYS stickers with me. Just let me know you read this blog, and I’ll make sure to give you one, as well as my condolences for taking up so much of your time.

  • August 13, 2021 9:37 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    HEPA Filter Standard on Model Y -

    Beginning with the Model S, Tesla has been committed to safety in every car that they make. Tesla already has achieved this with the top four safest vehicles ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To take it one step further, Tesla’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode” is now standard on all Model Y cars. The feature is not only helpful for the incredibly rare instance of bioweapon attacks, but also for just sitting in traffic, and especially on the west coast where smoke from wildfires can cover the landscape. Tesla proved the effectiveness of it’s filters in a 2016 showcase of how the system was able to remove an extreme level of toxic particles from the cabin, and keep out others in just two minutes. The HEPA filters that Tesla uses are ten times larger than the standard car air filter, and the Model 3 unfortunately does not have enough room for one, so the feature will be restricted to the Model S, X, and Y.


    Model 3 Standard Range Plus Orders Pushed to 2022 -

    As of now, all new orders of the Standard Range Plus trim of the Model 3 will be delayed until 2022. There are a few possibilities as to why: First, Tesla wants to have a very strong showing in their third quarter and annual earnings, and their profit margins are larger on the more expensive trims. Also, as it stands right now on Tesla’s online configurator, the more expensive the trim selected for the Model 3, the closer the expected delivery date is. Second, as with most automakers at the moment, Tesla is experiencing a global semiconductor shortage that has proven to be a bottleneck in production, so they may as well make more money on the limited cars that they can secure semiconductors for. Third, the demand for the Standard Range Plus trim may just be so great that Tesla already has orders for their entire expected production for the rest of the year, so delivery dates are far out.

  • August 06, 2021 11:23 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    FDNY Will Be Better Prepared for Battery Fires -

    Recently, Volvo USA donated one of their hybrid XC40 Recharge cars to the New York Fire Department in order for them to practice post-accident safety with battery powered vehicles. There are many different risks associated with extracting a passenger from an electric car as well as putting out fires in electric vehicles. The main risk is the fact that there is extremely high voltage current running through wires in the car, and damaging one of those wires could cause major issues. As more and more electric cars begin to populate the streets, it is increasingly important for first responders to understand the different protocols and potential hazards associated with electric vehicles rather than gas cars. 


    Tesla to Supply Energy Ecosystem to Florida Housing Development -

    As the third new housing development that will be built in conjunction with Tesla Energy, the upcoming Panther National community in Palm Beach, Florida will be almost entirely powered by Tesla products. All of the homes constructed within the community will be equipped with Tesla solar, Powerwalls, and wall connectors to aim for a completely energy independent housing community. It is very encouraging to see that new housing developments will be employing Tesla’s incredible solar and energy storage technology, especially in a state like Florida where the sun is shining for an average of 237 days a year.

  • August 04, 2021 6:35 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    With the installation of the Tesla Solar Panels and Powerwalls complete, the process of powering up the system could begin. This involved inspections, tests, and utility company installations before Tesla Energy could allow us to turn on the system.

    The previous blog described the inspection process and the town's approval of the installation. There was one final inspection that occurred and a system test by Tesla. The final inspection and electrical approval checked from the Tesla Entrance Gateway to the entrance service and meter. This met all of the requirements and final approval was given and conveyed to the utility company. 


    In addition to the final electrical inspection, Tesla had to perform a system commissioning and test. The Tesla installation team leader and a Tesla electrician arrived to perform a system commissioning. The first task was to do a system software update. Once updated, the team connected the system to the home network and tested the software gateway. They next ensured the solar panels were connected to the network and could communicate status and failures.
    Now it was time to test whether the solar panels and Powerwalls would work properly. First, was to turn on the solar panels by turning the switch on the inverter.

    [Inverter switch] Then, the Tesla Gateway was opened and the main breaker switch controlling power flow from the power grid was turned off. There was hardly any perceptible change. We saw a quick blink of the lights in the basement, but no one could see any lights on the first floor change. The only thing observable was the TV in the family room turned off and had to be turned on again with the remote.

     

    [Inside of gateway]

    Next, the main breaker was turned on. The system does not immediately restore power from the grid as it could be a temporary situation. Rather, the gateway waits for five minutes of uninterrupted grid power before switching back to normal operation. This time there was no perceptible fluctuations. 

    Once the testing was completed and the system was considered commissioned, the inverter was turned off. The team had completed their work and was going to submit a report so that the utility company could take the next steps. 

    It was at this time that we encountered problems. The next step was to replace the existing electric meter with a digital networked meter. We waited a few weeks with no action, so we contacted the utility company to find out why nothing had happened. They referred us to the utility's engineer. He checked out the work order and found no need for engineering work and indicated the team would be out to replace the meter.

    Weeks went by with no action, so a complaint was filed with the Public Service Commission. The utility responded promptly and said they had not received the Final Commissioning Test Report from Tesla. Many calls were made to Tesla with reassurances from them that we were a "high priority and on the expedited list." I then contacted our lawyer and the Tesla installation team leader. Our lawyer wrote to Tesla Energy as directed in the contract. We contacted the Tesla team leader also and he was surprised that the system was still not active. He said he would contact his manager and ensure the paperwork was sent by Tesla to the utility. 

    I have no way of knowing which tactic worked, but within a week the utility company was out replacing the old meter with a new digital meter. They were then to notify Tesla of the changeover.

    [New digital entrance meter] I kept checking my Tesla account and within a few days the account showed that it was time for me to turn on our system! With a great deal of excitement, I checked the Tesla website to be sure I had everything ready, then went to the basement and flipped on the inverter. The solar panels came on and the Powerwalls began charging.

    [Inverter switch on] By the next day, the Powerwalls were charged and we were able to see the solar panels providing power to the house, to the Powerwalls, and even to the grid!

     

    [Screenshot of power to house]

    [Screenshot of power to grid] 

    The week beginning July 22, 2021 was a mix of rainy and sunny days. Nonetheless, over that one week period, our house, with the usual usage including air conditioning, averaged 64.7% self-powered (solar panels plus Powerwalls).

    [Screenshot of daily usage]

     The excitement of a system using the sun to power our house and to have plenty of power in case the electric grid goes off is just phenomenal. We feel like we're on the cusp of a major revolution in energy generation and usage. 

    LESSONS LEARNED
    1. Review the contract closely. Consider consulting an attorney about the contract, especially the arbitration option. 
    2. Be on location with the survey electrician and the installation team to answer any questions and make final decisions. 
    3. Be sure to have the installation team leader's contact information. 
    4. Make contact with your utility company and stay in contact. 
    5. If your electric meter has to be replaced, contact Tesla frequently. If you don't get a satisfactory response, contact the Tesla installation team leader. 
    6. Check your Tesla account often, even daily, for the latest information. 
    7. Don't rely on Tesla to contact you by phone or email, despite what they may say. The information will, however, appear on your account page if there's a change.

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