Red Rocket Report, Day Two

This post has about 2-4 entries worth of material, but in the interest of getting it out there, here we go.

My first view of The Red Rocket

My first view of The Red Rocket

The Car

Yesterday was a busy day, so didn't have much time to write. the car was delivered in a covered truck that had Narita tags. With some clever tricks, that truck can hold two Model Ss. There might be some video of me doing silly things like jumping up and down, but I can't be sure. I got the short review on some functions of the car, then I had to go back to work. 


After work, I came home, put on my coat, and hopped in the car. I turned off all the heat and lights in the car and turned on the garage lights. I wanted to conserve power because the wall connector is still waiting on the power company to do their part of the job (that's scheduled for next week). Last night I set my phone up through Bluetooth and the iOS app for the car, uploaded the contacts and calendar info, named the car, played with the sound system using Internet radio through TunedIn, and generally went through all I could before I got hungry and went to dinner (tonkatsu ramen and gyoza, if you're playing the home game). The car came with 450 rated km of charge (it looked to be around 92%). By the time this morning came, it was down to 423. The cold weather does take its toll on power. 

Fremont to Kumamoto in 20 km!

Fremont to Kumamoto in 20 km!

I was very impressed with the delivery. They got my car to me without driving it much at all—20km, door to door! TuneIn's Internet radio was a bit hit and miss. I wanted to start with LA's The Sound 100.3 because Mark Thompson (check out his Mark and Lynda podcast) of Mark and Brian fame has announced he's returning to terrestrial radio next year, but it wouldn't load up. The wife got 91X working today on our drive, so all was good.

The Drive

I don't get to really enjoy my car yet. I want to get it protected first, so today we drove to Oita city where there is a detailer who uses the coating I wanted to coat the paint (sorry, Tesla, I just don't want to spend hours taking off bugs, dirt, and other debris from my car). Anyway, the trip is about 230 km each way, so it was a good test of the car's range and charging abilities. I also got to show my wife a few of the car's power abilities; the ride around the block in Tokyo just didn't do it for either of us.

About half way to Oita lies Yamada service area (SA) on the Japanese highway system run by NEXCO. It is one of four SAs that offer a CHAdeMO charger in Kyushu. Another one is across the highway going the other way, and the other two are in southern Kumamoto at the Miyahara SAs (handy if you are heading to Hitoyoshi or Kagoshima on the Kyushu highway. For the past four months I have been worrying about getting a charge away from home. My Model S, and all Model Ss sold in Japan, came with a CHAdeMO adapter.

This all took less than 30 seconds once I had the adapter out of the box and plastic wrap it came in: I took the CHAdeMO connector out of its holder, attached the Tesla CHAdeMO adapter, pulled the handle to lock the adapter on, plugged it all into the car, and hit the start button. Sorry, I had only two hands to do all this, so no photos yet.

Does that door size seem smaller than Model Ss from the past?

I'm a bit worried about how to handle the bulk of this set up. The cable itself is holding much of the weight, but I still wonder how much stress is being put on the car's charging port.

Here's a PARTIAL view of the parking lot and solar panel array at Yamada SA. Even though it was a cloudy day, I'm fairly sure the energy used to charge our car was provided from the sun's rays today (I have 4kW of panels at home—about one of those groups of panels you can see.)

Many ask, so what do you do while you wait to charge? You use the restroom, stretch your legs, get something to drink, or even have lunch! While the Red Rocket was sucking up some power, we went to the SA restaurant. My lunch (the one at the top of the photo) was the best meal I have ever had at one of these restaurants, by far. My favorite meat is chicken, so I had the karaage (fried chicken) lunch. The chicken was perfect, some of the best I have ever had. The cabbage was fresh and crisp, the rice was not overcooked, the miso soup tasty, and the tofu firm and full of flavor. I was honestly surprised.

Many ask (did I just write that again?!), how do you know when your car is finished? Well, you use the Tesla Model S app to keep track. Above is the output during today's charge (and lunch). Those in the know are going to be blown away that the power is so high. A good CHAdeMO charger is usually around 50A; this one was cranking at 110A. While it's not at the level of a SuperCharger, it is getting there. I slipped out of lunch at 28 minutes into the charge to see if anyone was waiting, saw no one, and restarted the charger (CHAdeMO's stop after 30 minutes because that's a max charge on most native CHAdeMO-cars). Lunch was done in another 15 minutes, so I unplugged and moved the car. That stop at Yamada SA could not have gone any better.

The Detailer

I'm really not a fan of waxing and using rubbing compound on cars. I live in an environment that can be a bit harsh on things (and people) outside. Japan has extreme temperatures at times; cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. Winter can bring out salt on the roads for snow, and summer brings out the bugs that are so hard to get off of car paint. I wanted to put some kind of coating/sealant on the paint of my new car. Today's trip was to take the Red Rocket to Oita to have the paint coated with Ceramic Pro 9H, the coating that was recommended to me. The folks at Hutech are the ones doing the work. They will also coat the chrome, glass and wheels for me. The car above is the loaner we got to drive home in. It was a lot of fun to drive, but I was sad to leave my new car so soon.

As I wind up this post, the above shot shows how different weather can be, just a few kms. away. We had sunny weather when we left Kumamoto, some rain in Saga and Fukuoka, and snow in the mountains of Oita. There was a lot more snow coming down when we came home. Be careful out there!