A rare visit to a gas station
Can we predict the future of gas stations? Will they exist in 100 years? What will happen with all the extra real estate on street corners? Will some be converted to electric car charging stations?
I’m retesting the Vampire Drain on my Tesla with firmware 5.8, so I am forced to drive my ICE around town for a couple of weeks. I didn’t realize how much I do not really care for gas stations as I had not been to one in four months. And how positively lovely it is to fill up your car at home.
For me gas stations are not particularly convenient. When I found one on my journey today I actually forgot which side the tank was on my ICE! We are experiencing quite a cold spell here (50 degrees Fahrenheit in California), and it was really quite cold standing outside pumping the gas. And the pump was broken and could not be left in the latch on position, so I had to nurse the gas into the car. Afterwards my hands had that distinct smell of gasoline.
I also forgot how busy gas stations can be with too many cars wrestling for a position at the pumps. They also have lots of advertisements for various products and unappealing restrooms.
With the Tesla there are still two uses for a gas station: air and window cleaning supplies. The closest gas station to me will kindly fill up my tires. Their air pump is not in a public access area, so an employee actually does the filling. This particular business is one of the nicest I know. I also have a standup bicycle pump I could use but it would take a while to fill four car tires. A bottle of window cleaner, a squeegee and a towel solve the window cleaning issue.
Filling up at home is so much more convenient. A small but lovely luxury and I think the true wave of the future.
Can You Smell the Fumes?
I had forgotten to add this information to my earlier post about my review of the P85+ loaner. Partially as the problem was so minor, but also the problem was so strange.
Twice when driving the loaner, the windshield wipers turned on ever so slightly, and quickly turned off. The blades rose about 5″ up and then retired back to its resting position. In both cases, I did not turn on the wipers and in one case I had a witness. Since it is summer here in California and we had a very dry winter, I actually think I have only used the windshield wipers on my Model S only twice. I actually could not tell you where the controls are before I wrote this post.
In both these mysterious cases, I know I did not accidentally hit the lever as my hands and arms were in front of the steering wheel. These odd occurrences only happened in the loaner in the four days I drove it, never in my own Model S.
In order to write this post, I decided to take a photo of the windshield wiper system. To my surprise there are two asymetrical windshield wipers, one large windshield wiper, and a smaller one on the passenger side shown in the photo below. It sure has been dry here as I did not even know I had two windshield wipers. I also experimented with the mechanism for turning on the windshield wiper and found it to be quite difficult to turn on accidentally as it requires a turn of a knob at the end of the windshield wiper control, not an accidental brush of the entire stick.
Smaller Windshield Wiper Blade
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
I was shocked driving up my road today. It has been raining and I went for a hike. Didn’t want to get the new car dirty with rain spots or mud on the floor….so I was in my boring Toyota Highlander, which is good for the outdoor adventurer.
A neighbor on my same street already has a Model S! I have never met him before or seen his car. He has a blue model S 85kW, 19″ wheels for two months now. He said he waited 2 1/2 years. I told him I waited only a few weeks, but that I had a Roadster too. I think I waited 3 1/2 years for the Roadster.
He said he had a crack on his windshield that did not appear right away. I said the service guys has been fabulous with my Roadster and it really wont be a problem.