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  • 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. 

    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.

  • August 02, 2021 8:52 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    This was my first event with the TOCNYS group.

    I only found out about the Crazy Acres Camping trip when I joined the Tesla Owners Northeast Facebook group two weeks before the camping trip. When I found out they had a drawing for a Dream Case, well why not sign up, go meet everyone to see if I’d like the group. 

    I joined to slack channel for #camp-trip followed the posts and began posting to it as well. While leaving for the trip upstate to the Catskill foothills I posted that traffic was heavy and got a response to my post telling me to “stop lifting it and drive”, I was thinking this was a fun group!
    Once off the freeway, traveling through small towns the view was beautiful with a nice clear sunny day. 

    Driving the backroads, you see so much more and can't miss things, like the entrance to Crazy Acres Campground, I was looking for a street, not a gravel driveway between two wagon wheels. Once we checked in at the camp office, where we were given a list of activities for the next day, we headed to our campsite where we encountered a small hiccup, someone had put a canopy over our site so we couldn’t plug in! Well the couple who did it thought it was their daughters’ site and she would be coming up the next day, her site was actually the one behind her site and not next to it, so I offered to switch sites and all was well.

    We started putting up our tent and it was really windy, while we were doing so, some owners came over and chatted with us, making us feel welcome. Later another owner pulled up to the site next to us, and we lent a hand to him and he hung out with us all night chatting, it was nice.
    The sky was so clear you could see all the stars and the Milky Way!

    Saturday morning, we decided to wake up early. The camp grounds had clean restrooms with showers, so we showered, then dressed and ate before gathering at the camp office to cruise to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It was fun passing cars and trucks going the other way seeing the look on their faces (we looked like the Tesla version of a motorcycle gang). After our arrival, we took a walk around and shopped, it was a cute little town.

    We headed back to camp to heat up our food for lunch, ate and while my husband napped in the tent, I went down to socialize with the rest of the group at the cookout. I introduced myself to a few others and was treated kindly by everyone I met.

    Stephen, the Club Manager, announced there was a drawing and to write your name on a piece of paper and put it in the hat. I was one of the lucky ones that won a sleeping pad from Sleepingo. It’s super lightweight and comfortable. Thank you Sleepingo for donating the sleeping pads for the raffle!

    Some of us decided to head over to play mini golf not far from the campsite because the campground was having a water war, to save ourselves from getting soaked. We had a blast playing and joking with each other, truly a great time. Afterwards we headed over to Brook’s BBQ for some good food and company, then back to camp.

    Saturday night was a cold one, got down past 50 degrees, and there were a lot of campers making s'mores gathered around fires. The Model X dance off was fun and other non-Tesla campers gathered around to watch, some kids yelling do it again!

    Sunday morning, we broke down camp and got everything packed up early so as to leave with the Tesla caravan heading to Howe Caverns. Everyone in the group was so fun and nice, it was a great time. The cavern was amazing and we got a group photo taken, afterwards some of us gathered at the picnic tables and ate lunch while some headed to Lily Park while the rest headed home.

    I was almost sad the weekend had come to an end. I look forward to the next gathering and meeting even more members!

    A special thank you to Carson for organizing the trip, Stephen for putting together the raffle prizes, Steve for the group picture, Dan and Yvonne for the laughs, I’ll have to remember to fold over the ruff the next time.

    Click here for the group Google Photos Album

  • July 29, 2021 8:52 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    New Software Update Released -

    Recently, a software update was released over the air to Tesla’s fleet of cars. The update contains a few major additions that owners have been asking for, the first being Disney+. Now, in the in car entertainment menu, in addition to Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch, Disney+ is now an option. Also, a car wash mode was added which will keep all windows closed and automatic wipers off. Car wash mode also has an option to keep the car in neutral to accommodate some automatic car washes. For owners who connect their car to wifi while they drive, they will be happy to hear that there is now an option to make it so the car will not automatically disconnect from wifi while driving. 

    Tesla AI Day Announced -

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced via twitter that Tesla will do an “AI Day” on August 19th. As with Tesla’s previous “day” events such as “Battery Day,” the event will likely cover all things related to Tesla’s use of AI and their self-driving software. Owners will also likely receive an update on the progress of the Full Self Driving Beta. Hopefully, Tesla will discuss how they plan to implement their new camera based driver monitoring technology. The event will be a great chance for Tesla to demonstrate the real world implementations of everything their AI team has been working on.

  • July 22, 2021 7:03 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Supercharging Network to Open to Other Automakers -

    As Tesla’s network of high-powered Superchargers has grown, there has been increased support for opening the network to other Automakers. Not only would this increase the rate of EV adoption, but it could be very lucrative for Tesla. This week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla indeed plans on opening its network to other automakers “later this year.” While this is likely good for Tesla and EVs as a whole in the long run, it could mean that Superchargers begin to become much more crowded by non-Tesla cars. This could pose a problem for Tesla, and the most simple solution would be to make charging more expensive for non-Teslas as that could help mitigate the network becoming overwhelmed.

    Tesla Will Likely Resume Bitcoin Payment -

    This week at the Bitcoin conference “The B Word,” Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will likely resume the reception of Bitcoin payments for their products. Tesla had previously offered Bitcoin payment but quickly removed it due to concerns over the sustainability of Bitcoin mining, but the company has since done research and the option has returned. Crypto mining setups can actually be positive as many of those used in China are ran through hydroelectric power, and the heat they produce can be used to heat homes.

  • July 12, 2021 11:46 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    We caught another sunny break for our monthly Niagara Frontier meetup on the second Saturday of July, 2021.

    Nine owners, six guests and one incoming member, who happened to notice us there, participated in the event that kicked off at the Cheektowaga Supercharger. It’s inspiring that our monthly attendance is up 162% over this point in 2020, and a whopping 244% over 2019.

    The theme this time was more ambitious than usual. We took turns grabbing a number out of a hat (a Plaid one, what else?), each matched to a different Frank Lloyd Wright structure in or near Buffalo. 

    That means ten—count ’em, ten—famous works that were about to serve as backdrops for our members and their Teslas in what we dubbed a Frank Photo Foray.

    That’s right, the goal was to photograph each and every one of those historic gems with a selfie or two. (Note, we were aware of but ignored Wright’s less-than-stellar reputation and just made the best of this scavenger hunt to link next-gen tech and thinking to those landmarks.)

    At 10:30 sharp, owners plugged the addresses into their in-car nav and raced off in silence. Some headed toward the Parkside neighborhood, others to the suburban town of Derby, and still others to different industrial areas within the City of Buffalo.

    One of our enthusiastic new members, Leo Peláez, even attached a 360° video cam to the solid aluminum roof of his Model S. Stay tuned for the photo album link where you can see the footage that EV zealot and friend of TOCNYS Abdur-Rahman Morgan processed and uploaded.

    During the span when our members were doing their collective photography thing, loyal Finger Lakes attendee Tony Brigandi was already inside the most renowned structure, the Darwin D. Martin house, taking advantage of a pre-booked, two-hour tour.

    Most of the historical spots turned out to be within about a dozen miles from the Supercharger, though one was about twice that (“Graycliff,” in Derby). A few of our members were lucky to get some pics of the exterior on foot, since visitors are not allowed . . . outside of paid tours.

    The same went for Wright’s “Tydol Gas Station,” built posthumously within the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. (We know, gasoline, who really cares?) But you will see the creative workarounds our members used to get a view of the thing—one with a Tesla in the foreground, no less!

    Soon enough, everyone managed to get their shots and converge on our final destination of the event: the Wright-inspired Western New York Welcome Center on Grand Island.

    Since the place is always open to visitors (even though there are no Tesla-compatible plugs on their three DCFC stations) we ended up taking over a few of their lobby area’s tables to hang out, consume Empire State originated snacks, and scheme up future meetups.

    Special thanks to Ludicrous Members Richard and Joan Clements for this month’s topic, plus all who attended—living it up with the best of what TOCNYS Niagara Frontier has to offer. 

    (DESTINATION: Western New York Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Rd, Grand Island, NY 14072)

    For those who missed out, the online photo album will have to do: https://tinyurl.com/FLWphotos

    BTW, here are the ten Wright works for anyone up for snapping their own pics for the album

    1. George F. Barton House (1903) - 118 Summit Ave, Buffalo NY 14214
    2. Darwin D. Martin House (1904) - 125 Jewett Pkwy, Buffalo NY 14214
    3. Darwin D. Martin Gardener’s Cottage (1905) - 285 Woodward Ave,  Buffalo NY 14214
    4. William R. Heath House (1905) - *PRIVATE* 76 Soldiers Pl, Buffalo NY 14222
    5. Fontana Boathouse (1905, built 2007) - 1 Rotary Row, Buffalo NY 14201
    6. Larkin Administration Building - Last Remaining Brick Pier - (1906, mainly demolished 1950) 661 Swan St, Buffalo NY 14210
    7. Walter V. Davidson House (1908) - *PRIVATE* 57 Tillinghast Pl, Buffalo, NY 14216
    8. Tydol Gas Station (1927, built 2014) - Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum [INDOORS] 263 Michigan Ave at 201 Seneca St, Buffalo NY 14203
    9. Isabel Martin “Graycliff” House (1927) - 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd, Derby NY 14047l
    10. Blue Sky Mausoleum - (1928, built 2004)
    11. Forest Lawn Cemetery, 972–990 W Delavan Ave, Buffalo NY 1420

    —By John P. Weiksnar, Niagara Frontier Regional Organizer

  • June 16, 2021 5:41 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)


    We lucked out in nearly every aspect of this monthly “second Saturday” TOCNYS Niagara Frontier Region meetup that kicked off at 10 a.m. on June 12, 2021. In total, two dozen friendly attendees were on hand.

    Another even-month event meant we met at the Buffalo (Clarence) 150kW Supercharger, already brimming with vehicles passing through the area. Just a suggestion, this station does tend to get throttled down to 60 kW or so, and you may want to hit up the 250 kW “Chargetowaga” station if you ever need speed. (Assuming everything’s up to snuff there, too!)


    Members and guests rolled in. New and old, locals and out-of-towners . . . it was a teeming cross-section of our membership, and a sign that the TOCNYS Niagara Frontier region is charged up and doing well.

    We had an expected special guest, Mark Czajka, originally from WNY but now settled in Maryland where he is active in his own regional club. Here with his locally-based mother Nancy and brother Curtis, Mark was generous in handing out a hefty stack of tongue-in-cheek posters that he designed and fabricated.

    We also welcomed a somewhat unusual variant of a vehicle. No, not quite a Ford Focus electric like our friend Abdur-Rahman Morgan has brought along in years past. A 1932 Ford, owned by Tom Ryan, guest of Ludicrous Members Richard and Joan Clements. We look forward to seeing more of his presence down the line. Tom happens to hold a Cybertruck reservation!

    Also joining us was a young couple from central NY, in town for a wedding. They were stunned to see us all at the Supercharger and made the only logical choice: to join in on the casual conversations.

    Our Finger Lakes region loyalists Tony and Fran Brigandi drove in, as did our local Model X owner / Supporter-level Member Samantha Bonano, along with two guests. And that’s just the beginning of the roster of who was there, taking in the sunshine. Special thanks to Nancy Czajka for this group photo:


    We lived up to our word and left sometime before 11, first lining up in the usual eelish caravan through the bank lot. A bonus this time was some video acquisition on the spot by a Tesla staffer who happened to be passing through town. He mentioned he would be forwarding the footage to his manager . . . a supportive gesture to serve up some inspiration to other groups, new and old, around the circuit.

    We prefer to take the back route of  the shopping center to avoid the stop-and-go outside all of the storefronts. Rumor has it that the AAA Service Center we always pass will be replacing its broken GE WattStation Level 2 EVSE with something new soon. Past that, it’s always a kick to have a used car lot right at the plaza exit we use to get onto the main thoroughfare safely, giving the patrons there a little glimpse of what could be. And mildly funny to see their reaction to an EV convoy staring back at them!

    Of course, the lead car with Yours Truly, followed by Tony & Fran, were the only two from the batch to make it through the first major intersection before the signal changed. Fair enough; we prefer to play it safe out there and maintain decent speed so that other drivers don’t get any wrong cues from us. We all made it through the short trip to the Village of Williamsville, only a couple of miles west via Main Street.


    Be aware that everyone at the Supercharger got a little speech ahead of time. It went something like, “THERE PROBABLY WON’T BE ANY PARKING!!!”

    Background: I scoped out the intended parking lot, across from the quaint little oasis we know as Glen Park, a few weeks earlier. A seasoned local looked at me oddly when I explained that we were planning on bringing in “about a dozen” cars at 11 a.m on a Saturday. . . . Apparently those mornings are so peak that you need to arrive no later than 8:30 or 9 to get a space. If you’re lucky.

    We were. I believe there was one spot left over, among the two dozen there, by the time all of us silently occupied the lot. Talk about a coup, and Plaid / Techy Key Member Udeme Ukutt happened to intercept us at a corner nearby just beforehand. Jackpot. As though someone had been orchestrating everything.

    No kidding, we chose this lot for a reason besides proximity to the park!

    Talk about attracting a great, well-rounded  group of TOCNYS members, plus a friendly new guest! (Also, we aren’t exactly sure what Udeme is doing there with his mouth, but I am writing this on his birthday so let’s assume he was prepping for cake!)

    Also notable is the new mural going up on the structure in this portion of the park. It is by local artist Ali Price, who recently unveiled some advanced work on a wall in a new Niagara Falls, NY coworking space.

    Some folks from the initial gathering had shuffled off, but others decided to take a stroll to check out the waterfall where Ellicott Creek crests the Onandaga Escarpment. We heard reports later on that our new, nearby local business destination, Overwinter Coffee, was a hit. One of our most recent members, Jessica Massey, already visited it earlier in her sleek new Model Y. Note that she also supplies OC with her custom, inventive, at times sassy enamel pins. Helpful fodder for the next time you would like to support a fellow member with her creative sideline business.

    We ended up shooting the bull so much in that parking lot that one more version of our crew hoofed it up to the same place to cool down with some coffee beverages. Notably among them, new member Leo P. and his guest Arnold—both of whom have a wild penchant for EVs and charging, and are definitely welcome to return to our monthly meetups. I want to declare right now, thanks to them and all of our other members, this was a reference meetup—if all had the vitality of this one, we’d be set for good.

    By the 1 p.m. hour it was down to just these two gents along with Plaid Member Anthony Bartolotta, Jeff Gardner, Michael Hooker and Yours Truly (who blabbed on and on about his return that morning from the monumental Tesla Plaid Delivery Event in Fremont). More thanks to Overwinter for the great, friendly service and acrobatics that a worker performed to get this shot from within their front window.

    And one more round of  thanks to all who attended, keeping these monthly meetings at the forefront of TOCNYS membership. Free or paid members, we welcome all.

    Be sure to stay tuned for info on our July 10 meeting! It stands to check in at a whole new level of novel and exciting, with a concept we haven’t tried so far: a way to put your own Tesla on the map, as it were, with a photo hunt across the Greater Buffalo area.

    Just the right stuff to get the word out about our Club, worldwide.

    -John P. Weiksnar

     Niagara Frontier Regional Organizer

    Do—I mean, TOCNYS—to the Moon!

    Complete Google Photos album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/acmWhPRNj5ghkJ4h8

  • June 15, 2021 10:24 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)


    It’s a good thing I didn’t ignore it. Because the whole thing really read “You’re Invited: Tesla Plaid Delivery Event” :-O

    The message rolled in at 10:24 p.m. on June 8, just under 48 hours away from the event in Fremont. It wasn’t until after midnight that I got around to looking at it carefully, noticing it was the real deal and not just something forwarded or spam.

    I was only about 6.9% confident I would be able to swing a cross-country trip on short notice—none of the booking sites offered a combo of flights and lodging near Fremont in time for the event on the evening of the 10th, and then home in time for the local TOCNYS monthly meetup, mid-morning on the 12th. It was not looking good at all.

    On a whim, I tried Southwest and uncovered a vacation special that combined an Oakland R/T with Hilton accommodations. Sold!


    The toughest part of accepting this (besides being at the airport in just over 24 hours—what’s not to love about 5:30 a.m. departures?) was having to knife open the box that contained my HyperChange “dad hat” from Galileo Russell’s “Initial Hat Offering.” Does that mean I wouldn’t be keeping it sealed, storing it, or converting it to an NFT? Right. Thanks to the Plaid event, I cracked that mother of all dad hats open and what do you know, it fit great.

    What truly goes through your mind the day before a Tesla event? For this guy, it was mainly the anguish of knowing I’d probably end up in an ICE Lyft ride, plus the modest thrill of getting to experience the acceleration of Plaid before most others on the planet . . . and then the amenity of being able to share the story with all sorts of owners and future owners.


    Backpack crammed, I made it to Buffalo Niagara International Airport by 4 a.m. (note to self, never count on Google for the opening time of all the coffee vendors at the airport: it’s 5, not 4!). TSA didn’t even open until 4:20, but PreCheck® would make it the quickest passage ever. A couple of easy flights later and I was touching down in California, just like the good ol’ days, pre-COVID, for events like the 2019 Global Leadership Summit for Tesla Owners Clubs.


    California trails New York State in the hygiene department. Well, at least they are still saddled with a rigorous mask mandate in effect. I got stuck in a rumbling airport shuttle van, then an overheating gas guzzler for Lyft, but knew I’d be able to swing some Tesla rides next. And I did, though first I grabbed lunch in Fremont, and met a delightful pup and his owner along the way. Fortuitous? . . . You tell me!


    I then arrived on foot at the Supercharger where Tesla Owners Silicon Valley and other clubs were supposed to be hanging out.

    No dice. There were only two Model 3s at the station. I feared that I was already too late, or had a disastrous misunderstanding. Enter Tesla ride #1: a fellow owner who also had the destination mixed up and shuttled me directly across the busy street to the real location of the pre-party.

    Sure enough, the leaders of Tesla Owners Silicon Valley were anchored among fellow members from all around the state and country—too many names to list—along with the Tesla staffer who oversees all our owners clubs worldwide, William Masterson. Be sure to check out the first three and a half minutes of this video from Tesla Owners South Florida President Rafael “TesLatino” Santoni for some accurate coverage of the gathering . . . that sported a downright bingo card of Tesla-related culture and rarities:

    • CYBERTRUCK (well, a scale model)
    • A YouTube FSD Beta tester, or three
    • The exotic brown paint option from 2013
    • Audaciously bright wraps on a pair of Model Ys
    • And, maybe there was even a Not-a-Flamethrower

    Toss in a drone for good measure, then mall security showing up to see what the crowd was all about, and you have an idea of what club life in the epicenter of Tesla ownership is like.

    Tesla ride #2 was courtesy of Joe Jefferson, the affable president and founder of Tesla Owners San Joaquin Valley (in the rare 2013 Model S, no less!). He was generous enough to drive Yours Truly and YouTube sensation Warren Redlich to yet another pre-party across the way again.

    This time it was at a Mexican restaurant where we three were joined by Twitter personalities Franks&Beans and CodingMark for an impromptu meeting of the minds. It’s a guarantee of Tesla ownership that when you spend a couple of hours with strangers, talking shop, it might as well become a podcast. We covered everything from Starbase to Starbucks (or was it Tim Hortons?) and had no trouble agreeing that the event would start late: Elon’s jet hadn’t even touched down in San Jose yet.


    The entrance had a sea of Tesla vehicles, several security points, and a queue of a couple of hundred attendees at the gate. It’s a good thing I saved the e-mail message; they needed to see the original, plus proof of vaccination that I copied and laminated the day before. Whew! Otherwise they had a rapid test station set up on the way into the South Lot event space.

    On entry you saw a quartet of Model S design iterations on display, including the original red “Alpha” I had headed up to Toronto to photograph in 2011—when it was easy to be the sole customer inside their old Front Street showroom at the time. Tonight was another story, with scores of folks starting to file in and check out the stage, the twenty-five pre-delivery Plaid Model S specimens, and the displays of their innards set up along the midway, but most still under wrap.

    Then there was the test track. The feeling of utter thrill was palpable and the lit-up “launch tunnel” kept strobing. No rides were happening yet, leaving the space and even bleacher seating open to any attendees who cared to check it out (up to the track fence, of course). Later on, they would announce which set of attendees would be admitted for rides, according to the letter stamped on your badge. Smart idea, since it helped avert most of the stampede to the track area right after the show.

    And what a show it was. The sun had just about set, the breeze had settled down a bit, and folks flocked to the “mosh pit” and all around the main stage area (part of which contained a Plaid Model S in red, with absolutely no VIP rope around it, primed for nose prints galore on the impeccable paint finish).

    Franz von Holzhausen took the stage with a rather pronounced sledgehammer in hand, and riled up the audience with a smooth, memorized script. Sure, breaking some . . . records. No doubt.


    The live drone feed of Elon behind the wheel of his Plaid Model S plastered the giant screen/backdrop, and, before we knew it, the beast/car was vaulting itself up an incline and onto the stage proper. I studied enough physics in school to realize those brakes had deployed—for a moment, we very well could have witnessed a catastrophe—but it eased to a halt right on target. Of course, Elon erupted from the cabin all boisterous, flaunting his Plaid-backed leather jacket and then proving the durability of the frameless doors by backhanding the driver’s side shut via the window glass. Who knew?

    Mic in hand, he jumped right into the presentation you’ve all seen by now: major new power, efficiency and design boosts. Essentially an engineering renaissance. They projected screen after screen of details and stats, along with some live feeds of the motor internals and game playing capabilities from only a stone’s throw behind the audio crew and camera operators. Sure, details on the “new” battery pack were sparse, and we never really did hear about a Plaid Model X (though we did see a Model X refresh on site and another parked casually among all the attendee cars in the gravel lot).

    The mood of the audience and camera crews seemed elevated at times though slightly restrained overall, probably since the crowd just wasn’t very massive. They were serving beer and wine all evening but the only Tesla Tequila apparent showed up on the console of each of the delivery vehicles. Just a hunch that they cleared out the online store inventory to swing this!

    Right on cue after Elon’s presentation, those Plaid deliveries began. All but one customer showed up and that no-show car sat there by itself at the end. Throughout the rest of the event you could sense the sheer jubilation of the new owners there, though, even through the windshields. Interior mood lighting made some of the cars resemble a T-Mobile store, while others were more subdued. YouTubers flocked around mainly non-red, non-white sedans to grab what they could for live feeds and recap videos.


    Oh, did I forget to mention, there were demo rides? . . .

    After the VIP “Group 0,” everyone there had no trouble grabbing a ride, eventually. Some got in two or three of them. The process was simple enough, letting solo attendees take the front passenger seat and get going. Staffers were not intent on cramming every car full of passengers like, well, a Southwest flight? Yeah.

    My eventual ride was one of these solo passenger specials, and though I thought my phone camera would capture a wider angle, forget it—I flunked that pop quiz, with the framing tilted down from the force of acceleration against my chest, but was still able to capture the bare minimum feeling. Which was mildly uncomfortable. Not like the weightless feeling of roller coaster as much as maybe the horizontal sternum-punch of being shot straight out of a cannon. And the force was not momentary; it throbbed against your body pretty much the whole time the car pulled. That makes sense, given the details they released on the power curve of the motors being consistent all the way up to 200 mph.

    I was too busy asking the driver about the Tri Motor Cybertruck to notice anything special about speeding through the test track’s curve (other owners mentioned something about Gs; whatever) and then, just like that, it was all over. I exited the car and commended the staffer. This truly stood out as a prime moment in being a Tesla supporter since ~2007, helping coordinate Buffalo’s first Tesla event in 2010, and picking up some stock in 2013. The sheer brilliance of engineering in Plaid is a force every other manufacturer will have to reckon with, and I have no concerns about Tesla maintaining a lead indefinitely.


    Case in point: the peak portion of the event for me was a surprise. Right after the ride, I had a chance to meet the pair of young engineers responsible for the full revamp of the Plaid dashboard HVAC implementation. Sure, as an OG Model 3 owner, I’m spoiled by the austere design ethic with the solo display in the middle. And the single strip of “vent” slotting across the width of the dash. With the new Model S, though, this duo of brainiacs devised the impossible: a way to direct all driver side air with no apparent vents at all. Instead of a slot, the designer wondered, “What if we make the surface of the display the source of the airflow?”

    That’s right, THE BINNACLE’S SCREEN BOUNCES ALL THE AIR TO THE DRIVER. This utterly elegant solution was possible thanks to the aerodynamics engineer devising two hidden apertures that achieve a similar Coandă effect to the one used across the dash of Model 3. And let me tell you, it works. The functional dash and console assembly they had on display was pumping out HVAC like there was no tomorrow.

    Brilliant. I must have spoken a good fifteen minutes with them, and especially the design engineer, who was also behind the animated airflow that Model 3 pioneered on its MCU. He asked how often I adjust it and if I had any feedback, but I broke the news to him that it is SO effective that I set it and forget it, going on four years of the best HVAC in any vehicle I have ever experienced. We had a bro-ment, as it were, realizing that I was there to connect with them and validate the devotion they put into making this a unique—no, a revolutionary design.


    “Ew, what about that darn YOKE?!” . . .

    Nope, the yoke was not as objectionable as expected. All the touch switches are capacitive, meaning they should work as capably with gloves as the touchscreen does, and the feeling was fairly natural all the way around. Coupled with the new UI on the 17" display, it seemed fairly easy to adapt to the stalkless design, with or without “autoshift from park.” Even if the “PRNDL” may be fixed vertically on the display’s left edge, the enhanced customizability of other common functions seems like a real boon to owners who prefer a specific control layout. (And, it remains to be seen if they put a redundant set of gear selection buttons along with the four-ways on the lower edge of the console's inductive phone charging setup.)

    Of course, the rear passengers also get their own display, with independent climate, plus other controls and Bluetooth capability. The front seats are now farther forward, and the rear seats are more reclined, producing more legroom. Even headroom has been upped.


    After experiencing that level of progress in the interior, one would think the evening was pretty much over with, correct?

    Okay, ready? I also met the developer responsible for “fart mode,” as he called it.

    Let me repeat, I MET THE DEVELOPER RESPONSIBLE FOR FART MODE. He was a very cordial young Indian guy.

    Plus, I spoke with a UI/UX engineer who fielded my serious concern that one of our members with a year-old Model S could not easily find or pay to extend his connectivity subscription. I explained that I had recently been on the phone for an hour, coaching a bright and accomplished (but vexed) owner through the app and website that each ended up far from intuitive in finding the solution. I said that instead of appearing under Upgrades, or anywhere in the Tesla Store, it was buried in the website under Manage. Too bad Tesla.com happened to be partially down that same day, so I offered a suggestion that they place the renewal option right on the MCU when it’s time. Her reply, “That’s a really good idea—I will bring it up to my manager.” (Try THAT with a legacy automaker.)


    As the crowd dwindled, I got a chance to chat with some new connections and a few old ones before scoring a complimentary Plaid cap (sorry, Gali) and tagboard poster. Luckily I locked in my ride to the owners’ afterparty (basically across the street, buy hey) with none other than two of those YouTube FSD stars, James Locke and Kim Paquette, along with fellow passenger @TeslaMS60. (In Tesla #3, for anyone still keeping score!)

    The rough surface parking lot with more or less randomly placed rows of vehicles made for some fun visualizations. Almost like a drive through a shipping container dock area . . . after a tsunami. We all discussed the typical fortes and limitations of the system as-is, hoping that the next release will be as much of a quantum leap as we have heard rumors about.

    The afterparty on a high floor of the hotel concentrated even more Tesla community legends into a teeny space, relatively speaking. Believe it or don’t, it would be the first decent chance to plug in my almost depleted OnePlus phone . . . even with umpteen million volts of juice going through the air via the Plaid event’s Tesla coil, and just as many Tesla vehicles (and portions of vehicles) scattered all around, my 2019 device’s USB-A requirement was dead in the water. None of the newer Tesla models have anything but USB-C, and the vintage models on display were locked up tight. No problem; I gained enough in the hotel room to “summon” my second Lyft shortly after that. Ha! “Summon.” If only!

    Meantime, getting “the call” on the room’s landline was inevitable after what seemed like forty conversations going on, strong. That was my cue to get on the road and call it a night. Or was it mid-morning, EDT?

    Who knows. It was all a blur, and the flight home a welcome respite from all the frantic but rewarding activity over the past two days.

    Wouldn’t you know, though, the guy next to me on the first leg home was a veteran, so I thanked him. He asked what my poster was from; I said the Plaid event. He then got on my case about not paying road taxes. I told him I bought the most American car made, and he could too. There were no words exchanged for the rest of the flight.

    All in all, the trip turned out to be a wild success. Dare I say . . . Plaidass.

    Who’s ready for the first Austin event?

    -John P. Weiksnar

     Niagara Frontier Regional Organizer

    So scheme. Much fortuitous. Wow.

    Complete Google Photos album: 20210610-Tesla Plaid Event, Fremont

  • June 07, 2021 10:40 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    It’s great that New York State COVID restrictions are relaxed, especially as we are entering the summer season. After over a year of Zoom meetings with smiles covered and voices muffled, it is such a relief to be almost back to normal. Regions all around the State are kicking into high gear and events are being planned to get us together to talk Tesla.

    I want to thank Stephen Pallotta, our club manager, as well as our team of Regional Organizers and Key Members. They have kept us engaged and excited about the Club, Tesla, and most importantly the mission and purpose of the club in promoting sustainable and renewable energy for transportation and to help keep New York State cleaner and greener.TOCNYS is not just a car club. We do have fun together as electric car enthusiasts, but we are way more than that. I am so proud to say that during the past year or so, in the middle of the COVID shutdown, our members stepped up and helped in many charitable causes and provided many educational opportunities. Knowledge and experience was shared about Tesla vehicles, traveling and living in EVs, and investing in companies that focus on sustainable and renewable energy, just to name a few. I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to highlight the achievements during the challenging COVID era.

    We had held a total of 103 events. 31 of them are virtual MeetUps and webinars, 15 of them were educational in nature. We hosted 8 charitable events such as food drives for a food bank, a toy drive for Toys for Tots, and meal deliveries to homebound and at-risk individuals during the thick of the COVID. We have donated face masks and face shields to front line personnel. We even helped out at Tesla Mt. Kisco with their end of quarter delivery rush! I can truly say that TOCNYS has the highest quality people in the State of New York who care about both the environment and also care about humanity. We choose to not only talk the talk, we walk the walk. I am deeply humbled and am thankful for every one of you who served.

    Another amazing feat is that during the COVID shutdown, TOCNYS still managed to grow membership from about 700 members then, to over 1,600 members today. Currently, New York State has about 26,000 Tesla vehicles on the road. Membership penetration is less than 7% and we hope to achieve 10% penetration by the end of 2022. Just like with Tesla, our strongest form of advertising is word of mouth. Let’s continue to spread the word and share your Tesla excitement with your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors and invite other Tesla owners to join the club.

    Lastly I would like to thank the Plaid, Ludicrous and Supporter level members for their financial support. Paid members constitute only about 10% of our total club membership, and we are hoping to grow the percentage higher so the club will become financially self-sustainable. If you are currently a Chill level member, please consider upgrading to a Supporter level member for $25 a year, Ludicrous level member for $50 a year, or best to become a Plaid level supporter for $100 a year. Every penny of your support goes back into the club to invest in our future generations of environmentally conscious vehicle owners and drivers, and to foster a better humanity.

    If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me.


    Patrick Ho

    TOCNYS President


  • June 04, 2021 10:09 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Model S Plaid Records New Quarter-Mile Record Time -

    Jay Leno, one of the few members of the media that Tesla engages with claims that he witnessed a prototype of the Model S Plaid record a quarter-mile time of 9.247 seconds at a speed of 152 miles per hour, a new record for a production car. Although the time is neither publicized by Tesla nor certified, Leno did mention that an official from the National Hotrod Association was there to certify the time. A quarter-mile time of less than ten seconds is ridiculous for any production car to break, let alone a seven seat sedan. The production car that comes closest to this time is the Bugatti Chiron Sport, a multi-million dollar car that was limited to 500 units produced. The Bugatti managed to accomplish a time of 9.4 seconds at 158 mph, excluding a rollout of one foot. The fact that the Tesla was not only faster, but came in at a very close speed says a lot. In the past, Teslas have been able to beat the supercars to 60 mph, but have fallen behind at higher speeds. For reference, the Porsche 918 Spyder, one of the fastest cars ever built came in at a speed of 148 mph, slower than the Model S. Although this time is not yet official, it is extremely promising that Tesla plans on maintaining the lead that they have in regards to straight-line performance.

    Tesla Looks to Spend $1 Billion a Year on Australian Battery Minerals -

    Through its chairwoman, Robyn Delholm, Tesla announced that it is looking to secure $1 billion a year in battery minerals from Australia. Most of these minerals will be in the form of lithium and nickel, two minerals key to mass battery production. Tesla already gets around 75% of their lithium from Australia, and according to Delholm:

    “Australian mining companies do have a good reputation, great expertise, professionalism and are preferred by manufacturers increasingly concerned about meeting both today’s and the future’s ESG requirements”

    It is definitely a good thing that Tesla is planning ahead as far as their mineral acquisition goes because as more companies look to make EVs, the demand will only increase.

  • May 29, 2021 10:36 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)


    Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway! The first 25 Tesla Model Y owners that respond to this offer that are also paid members of the Tesla Owners Club of NY (TOCNYS.COM) will receive free INSTALLED Paint Protection Film Kit ($125 value) for the rear doors of the Model Y. In our area this part of the vehicle gets beat up by sand, salt, and other road debris. If this area is not protected then the paint will be weathered and require to be repainted to correct the issue. We want to help some new Tesla Model Y owners out!



    Please contact Bi-County 

    Here is their contact info:

    Location:  400 E. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY 11787

    Phone:  631-360-0500

    Email:  mail@bi-countyautobody.com

    You must be a paid-member in good standing to take advantage of this offer.

    This is an AWESOME OFFER from one of our prized partners: Bi-County Auto Body of Smithtown.

    Bi-County is the largest auto body shop on Long Island and arguably the BEST auto body shop on Long Island. Their technicians are trained and equipped to do things other shops are simply incapable of. Bi-County is one of only two shops certified for aluminum work, so all you Model S and X owners with aluminum bodies take note!

    Besides fixing our pride and joy after an accident, Bi-County offers installations of after-market accessories, like auto Frunks and Trunks to tinting and wraps. Bi-County can turn your care into a showpiece and/or protect it so it looks awesome for a very long time!

    It is not every day we get an offer like this... from a shop of this caliber and stellar reputation. This is an opportunity to be JUMPED ON. Act now or be very sorry you hesitated.

    Thank you so much, Bi-County, for this level of support for our organization!!! We can't thank you enough!

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