Fastrak Connection

Fastrak Transponder

Fastrak Transponder

In California, we have an electronic system for paying bridge tolls called Fastrak.  When you sign up you get a little device that traditionally people install on their windshield near their rear view mirror.

I typically drive on the bridges once or twice a month and have never mounted the transponder on any of my cars.  I typically have pulled it out of the center counsel and thrown it on my dashboard to hear the “click” when the system connects to the transponder.  This method has worked fine for all of my cars including the Tesla Roadster.

Interestingly though, this method has not worked with my Model S.  I have tried three different transponders, one of which is brand new, along with four different locations in my Model S to no avail.  I tried the classic location of on the dash several times and never heard the tell tale click.  I also tried three other locations: once holding it at the top of the windshield near the rear view mirror, once in the frunk near the nose cone, and once I had someone hold it up out of the open panoramic roof.  None of these methods worked.  I still suspect I may have an ungrounded wire somewhere in my car.  I knew the connections failed because I did not hear the click but also by looking at the Fastrak record online.

I asked Tesla about this and they said that their windshields have a UV laminate that makes Fastrak difficult to use.  But this does not explain the results of my last two experiments.  Fastrak does offer an external mount transponder for the front license plate as shown in the picture below.

Fortunately for the bridges, they take a photo of your license plate and connect your account in this manner.  This situation will not work for the toll roads however because there are no cameras.

License Plate Transponder

License Plate Transponder


California Paperwork

Outside of the normal sales paperwork, electric cars have additional paperwork in California.  The federal tax credit is part of the annual tax program, but Californians can get $2,500 from the state very quickly along with access to the carpool lane.

The Center for Sustainable Energy in California, requires four documents in order to issue a check.  The application form, proof of vehicle registration, a copy of the sales or lease contract with full itemization, and a copy of a California utility or cable bill within the last three months.

The center currently has plenty of funds.  I found them to be very friendly and helpful.  They quickly processed my information and issued a check in a reasonable amount of time.

With the carpool stickers on an EV, you can drive in the carpool lanes with only one person.  With a new car, you need to wait till you get your license plates, which in California takes less than two weeks.  The process to get the stickers is simply to fill out a form, and send in a $8 check.  I have my stickers but I am avoiding putting them on until I will be driving on at least a somewhat routine basis where they could be useful.

Right now, the white carpool stickers will expire in Jan 2015, but they will likely be extended to a further date.

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

“Zero E” expired

logo copy

New Temporary License “Plate”

The Tesla marketing team has replaced the Zero Emissions license plate on delivery.  Spotted on a new Model S in San Carlos.

Sorry the iphone picture quality is so bad.  Underneath the wording Tesla is the web site address.

I think the marketing department made the right choice.  Although as an environmentalist, the Zero Emissions slogan had a large appeal to me, the car can stand up against ICE cars.  And getting the Tesla name out there is a good idea.

Zero Emissions

Original Zero Emissions License “Plate”

I also noticed that there is an actual license plate frame on the new car.  Mine did not come with an actual frame, although I have always tended to take them off the car.  I generally don’t see the point of advertising a particular dealership.  And I like the car to not have the fussy frame.

Maybe the Zero Emissions plates will someday be a collectible.



Delivery Information

Delivery Details

Delivery Details

I recently got an email to clarify information for my delivery.  The request asks for the following information.

Registration :  This section includes a double check of the address, names of the persons on the registration, and whether this car is for business or personal use.

Delivery:  The choice whether you want the car delivered to a particular address or you want a factory tour.  I want a factory tour!  You can also pick up the car at a local service center.  This page also lists your delivery window.

Charging:  This page deals with setting up your outlets and whether you would like Solar City to call you.  I already have a high power connector for the Roadster, and simply need an adaptor, which is not listed on this page.  I have already had solar for six years.

Trade In:  This page asks whether you would like to trade in a vehicle.  I have decided to sell my Roadster through another venue that I will explain in a later post.

Financing:  Tesla has arrangements with several national banks to finance the vehicle.  I will pay cash.

License Plate:  The car is built without a front license plate bracket.  The factory will install one for you if you choose, or you can add one at a service center later.  The front license plate does drill holes into the bumper, and has a very slight aerodynamic impact.