A 22,000 km road trip

James and his Timmy's coffee after crossing into Canada
James and his Timmy’s coffee after crossing into Canada

James Locke, the President of the Vancouver Island Tesla Owners’ group freely admits, “I’m a little nuts.” When it comes to road trips in their Teslas, both James and his wife Lisa are the champions! Where most of us would do 400-600 kilometres a day, they often double or triple that distance on their road trips.

James recently reported in after completing the first segment of an epic road trip as he arrived in Calgary, Alberta from Charlottesville, Virginia – taking a mere 3.5 days. After taking delivery of a new Tesla Model 3 in Calgary, you will see by the map that he is just getting started on what he expects will be a 37-day road trip around North America and into Canada’s north during October, covering some 22,000 kilometres!

Map of 22,000km road trip
Map of 22,000km road trip

His report is below:

As many of you noticed I just drove 4,637km from Charlottesville, VA to Calgary, AB in 3.5 days. This is the first leg of what will be, by far, my biggest road trip to date.

On Tuesday I pickup our Tesla Model 3, once I get winter tires installed and 3m Paint protection installed I am completing a road trip totalling approximately 18,608km from Calgary, and I’m doing it all in the month of October.

On Thursday September 27th, if all goes as planned this week, I leave Calgary to go back to Charlottesville, I’m home with my family for 7 days and on Sunday October 7 I drive 4 days to Fremont, CA for a Tesla Owners Club leadership summit. I am in California until Oct 13 when I drive back with friends (who are joining me in California) to Victoria, BC for a couple of nights. Oct 16th or 17th I drive to Calgary and from there I will possibly drive our Model 3 to Hay River, NWT for 10 days or so of work. This will depend on weather conditions to the North.

On approximately October 28th or 29th I leave Hay River and drive all the way back to Charlottesville, VA to finish the road trip that will exceed 22,000km in ~37 days.

I’m doing this 100% electric and I’m doing this to show just how much you can do with an EV and not worry about a thing. I will have to have zero maintenance done, I will not spend anything on power and I will probably get home and be happy to do more driving.

Tesla AutoPilot 2018.10.4 – a big advance

Today James Locke received update 2018.10.4 on their Model S 100D AP2 vehicle and he feels Tesla’s AutoPilot 2 has advanced significantly. His daughter shot a five minute video of the new update handling Sooke Road westbound here in the Victoria region.

James is excited to report that for the first time AP2 did really well on this difficult-to-navigate road. It handled sharp turns and two hills with no issues. He reports that AP2 has never completed the entire route unassisted before, however it just did with this latest update!

Videos below show additional road tests of the hew AP2 release, and have both the road ahead and the AP2 graphics on the instrument panel. These give videos give you an idea of how smooth and confident Autopilot is now on a complicated BC road on Vancouver Island.

Demo 5 is by far the most impressive in terms of complex turns with hills, however they all show areas that previously confused both AP1 & AP2.

Tesla Owners Social in Victoria

Tesla Vancouver hosted a two-day test drive event at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria on the November 4-5, 2017 weekend. The test drive roster was fully-booked and lots of interested people were kicking tires! Hopefully they sold many prospective electric vehicle owners on the benefits of the Model S and Model X!

As part of that event, on Sunday morning Tesla hosted a social for current Tesla owners. It was great to meet new owners as well as familiar faces. As an added bonus, we met the person behind a newly-created position – Road Ranger for Vancouver Island. We will soon have our very own technician to service our Teslas, and he will likely be based in Victoria starting next Spring. He will be dispatched through Tesla Vancouver Service to start, but plans include having his own Service Coordinator!

Thanks go to Tesla Vancouver for including owners on Vancouver Island in this event.

Harmless Home being constructed

Tesla owners from Victoria recently learned about Arno Keinonen’s new Harmless Home being constructed using hemp and lime blocks. The home is perched on a rocky hill overlooking the beautiful Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains. Ten Teslas convoyed from the Royal Bay Bakery, arriving to clear skies and a warm sunny day at Arno’s new home, located near East Sooke Park.

Arno already has solar power in his current home, and charges his Tesla using the Sun’s energy most of the time. This new home will use many more solar panels and have battery storage as well. The home is designed to do the least harm to the environment that is possible, given some limitations imposed by building codes and availability of suitable materials.

Features of the home:

  • integrated greenhouse where food will be grown
  • waste water treatment plant that will emit “clean” water
  • use both rainwater catchments and a well with storage tanks and filters for potable water
  • passive and active heating and cooling
  • take advantage of the huge insulating rating of the hemp/lime blocks
  • minimizing off-gassing with careful choice of materials and finishes
  • generate and store electricity, but still connect to the BC Hydro grid using net metering

Harmless Home video by TeslaXCanada – used with permission


New Supercharger in Nanaimo!

Our members report that an 8-stall Tesla Supercharger in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island is now on-line and available! Jim Hindson and Bob Saunders report it is located at Woodgrove Centre just north of Nanaimo, and is right next to Chapters (which has a Starbucks), and close to Walmart, Save On Foods, and other services. This Supercharger is now active on Tesla’s in-vehicle navigation.

This is a great move for both Tesla owners who live on Vancouver Island and visitors! Now Teslas from the mainland or Victoria can easily reach Long Beach, Tofino, Ucluelet, and northern Vancouver Island without having to wait for a Level 2 recharge mid-trip.

Access to the Supercharger in Woodgrove is easy. There are two intersections serving Woodgrove Centre from both the Island Highway and Highway 19 – Nanaimo Parkway, but the Mary Ellen Drive turn-off is the one to take for easy access to the Supercharger. After recharging, you can head north or south on Vancouver Island.

  • Heading north on Highway 19 and departing BC Ferries Duke Point terminal – Nanaimo Parkway – turn right onto Mary Ellen Drive and right again by Save On Foods into the parking lot.
  • Heading south on Highway 19 – Nanaimo Parkway – after passing Nanoose, veer right on the major exit to the Island Highway and BC Ferries, then turn right onto Mary Ellen Drive and then left just past Save On Foods into the parking lot. If you miss the exit, take the next left turn lane at Aulds Road and double back through Woodgrove Centre.
  • Departing BC Ferries at Departure Bay -Island Highway – Follow the signs for northern Vancouver Island, veering right after leaving the terminal. Turn left onto Mary Ellen Drive and left again just past Save On Foods into the parking lot.
Nanaimo Supercharger access map
Nanaimo Supercharger access map

DriveElectric in Victoria

The DriveElectric Victoria event held Sunday, September 18, 2016 as part of National Drive Electric Week each year, was moderately successful in terms of “messages delivered”, with about 120 guests wandering around asking questions throughout the day. It was a huge success on the volunteer side, with 18 vehicles representing nearly all automakers: Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Tesla Model S, Smart EV, BMW i3, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and a Toyota RAV4 EV.

A big thank you to all the EV owners (and a few non-owners) who came out and volunteered their time to help educate people. Thanks also to Charlotte & crew from Emotive who manned the registration tent and provided information on the bigger picture of EVs and related infrastructure in BC. Huge thanks to Jawl Properties for providing the venue.

Some highlights

  • Relaxed, positive, friendly atmosphere, multiple guests commented on how informative the event was — in fact a few people stated that they were now convinced their next car would absolutely be an EV.
  • Two families came out specifically because they are in the market now for an EV and felt the event was extremely timely.
  • Multiple guests commented on how much information they received in a non-intimidating way, what they termed was a “truthful environment” and appreciation being able to talk to actual owners.
  • Weather was much better than last year!!

Some things to pay attention to in future

  • As a last-minute venue, the parking lot was great but since the address was difficult to see, some guests mentioned they had trouble figuring out exactly where to go. Really large signs near/at the entrance to the venue may help people find the location and perhaps even drag a few in from off the street; many guests mentioned they didn’t see the existing signs. It’s a difficult problem.
  • 10am to 4pm seemed to be quite a long day for the volunteers, and we didn’t really get very many people before noon. Perhaps a more concentrated time would work better such as noon-4pm.

Does anyone have any comments or vignettes to share beyond those above? Please share both highlights, and things that could be done better in the Comments below.

If you have photos, please send them to our Webmaster.

Hope to see everyone at next year’s event, and even sooner at all the other events and efforts we collectively support.

Jeremey Janzen, Organizer

Tesla Roadshow 2016 in Victoria

Tesla staged one of their Roadshows at a Destination Charger location at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people looking at the three Model X and Model S demonstrators Vancouver Tesla brought over for the occasion. The test drive roster was full for Sunday, but there are still some available for Monday before the event is wrapped up.
Tesla Roadshow Victoria 2016
At the Roadshow event inside, it was announced that Vancouver Island will soon have a Tesla Supercharger located just north of Nanaimo on the Central Island. This is great news for Tesla owners, since Long Beach on the west coast of the Island, Mount Washington ski resort, and the Northern Island communities will now be within easy reach from residents living on the Southern Island, as well as visitors to Vancouver Island arriving by BC Ferries through the two ferry terminals near Nanaimo.

Thanks go to the Tesla Vancouver staff who coordinated this event. It’s always great to connect with you!

TeslaXCanada send-off from Victoria

Silke & Rolf in front of their Model X and trailer at Mile Zero
Silke & Rolf in front of their Model X and trailer at Mile Zero

Rolf, Silke and friends met at Mile Zero in Victoria, British Columbia on June 11th to give a suitable send-0ff to our favourite Tesla owners as they start their venture across Canada in their Tesla Model X electric vehicle towing a Safari trailer. Their dog Kye is along for the inevitable adventures they will encounter as they drive across this great country of ours in the summer months.

Their route will take them through many of the provinces of Canada: their home province of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces. The major milestone has to be the “other” Mile Zero in Newfoundland!

Their website: Send-Off with Electric Car Convoy

Victoria Day Parade 2016

The Victoria EV Club had a good selection of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Victoria Day Parade here in Victoria, BC, Canada. Rolf and Silke debuted their Safari all-electric trailer which they will be using to camp their way across Canada, starting in a few days. Other EVs in the contingent included the Kia Soul EV, the Smart EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S, and the BMW i3.

Ed from Seattle was persuaded to bring his Tesla Model X to tow the trailer through the parade. He dressed up as a chauffeur and the lovely Queen Victoria agreed to ride in the back while the falcon wing doors were open for much of the route!

Great fun was had by all. The EVs were a hit with the crowd as they silently rolled by.

More photos on Tesla X Canada