Replacing Xeon headlight bulb on Tesla Model S (2013)

Headlight bulb replacement

On my Tesla Model S (September 2013) the left headlight bulb failed and it had to be replaced. As I like to do such things myself I started to figure out how to do so.

On YouTube I found a great video to do so (you’ll find it below), but I didn’t know which bulbs I needed to order.

I called Tesla and they told me my European Model S from 2013 uses Osram Xenon D8S 25W bulbs. I searched for a local dealer and ordered them. The total was EUR 150,00 for two bulbs.

Order two

You should always replace both bulbs at the same time. As both bulbs have been on for the same amount of time they usually fail within a reasonable time from each other.

Replacing them

It took me about 90 minutes to replace the bulbs. You need to remove the front wheel to access the bulbs. I also had to replace my summer for winter tires, so I could do two jobs at once.


I can try to explain everything, but there is a great video on YouTube about this:

4 years of Tesla Model S ownership

4 years

Last year I wrote a blogpost about 3 years of Model S ownership. Well, it’s a year later, so it’s time to write a post about 4 years of ownership 🙂

Do I still like my Model S? Best car I’ve ever owned!

The numbers

Some numbers about last year:

  • Last year my Model S had driven 141.466km, and another year later the counter is at 187.058km. A total of 45.592km in one year.
  • My average energy consumption still hovers somewhere around 200Wh/km.
  • A full charge (100%) yields 380km and a 90% charge 341km.


The Model S is still my only car and I still take roadtrips with it. This year I took a few roadtrips:

  • 1.400km roadtrip to the UK and back (SuperChargers at the channel tunnel, yay!)
  • 3.500km to Milan/Rome for a summer vacation.
  • 2.000km roadtrip to Munich for Oktoberfest.


A few pictures how my Model S still looks like after 4 years. Personally I can’t find any real signs of wear on the exterior nor interior.

Using a Destination Charger in Tuscany, Italy

Tesla charging stations (22kW) at our new office

Break-in in Rome

While parked in Rome people broke in to the car and stole clothing. And punctured the rear wheels…

Accident in Milan

On the way back from Rome a small truck changed lane and hit us. Nobody got hurt, just some damage to the car.


After 4 years my Model S is still doing just fine! No wear and tear, no severe battery degradation or major failures. The car just works!

I’ll probably keep this Model S until it turns 5 next year and buy a new one. Will I buy a Tesla again? Yes, no doubt!

3 years of Model S ownership

September 26th 2013

On 26-09-2013 the day had finally arrived: Delivery of my Tesla Model S!

In the morning my Delivery Specialist send me this picture asking me if I was ready (with a smiley behind it 😉 ).

Tesla Model S 2013

It was 3 years since I ordered my Model S, so I couldn’t wait to pick it up! (In the back you see the Blue Model S of my colleague)


These are the options I chose for my Model S:

  • 85kWh non-performance (RWD)
  • Pearl White
  • All Glass Panoramic Roof
  • Base 19″ wheels
  • Black Nappa Leather Interior
  • Piano Black Décor
  • Tech Package
  • Sound Studio Package
  • Active Air Suspension
  • Lighting Package
  • Parking Sensors
  • Twin Chargers (22kW)

Price: EUR 97.890,00 (Including all taxes)

Afterwards I swapped the 19″ base wheels for the 19″ Cyclone Grey. These wheels are no longer available.

SuperCharger Germany

September 2016

Fast forward 3 years and 141.466km: I’m still super happy with my Model S. Best car ever, hands down.

The 100.000km mark was hit at November 14th 2015 as I was almost home. Literally, I was just 200m away from my house. So I could stop I take a good picture.

100.000km on Model S

Now, 3 years later it is well over 141.000km and will probably hit 150.000km somewhere in October.

Tesla Model S 141k km

Tesla Model S driveway

The roadtrips I did in these 3 years were all over Europe:

  • 3x: Octoberfest in München (DE): 2.000km
  • 3x: To Prague (CZ): 2.2000km
  • 3x: To Berlin (DE): 2.000km
  • 2x: Northern Norway above the Arctic circle: 6.000km
  • 2x: Summer roadtrip to Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland: 3.500km
  • 1x: To Swansea in Wales (UK): 1.500km

Each of these trips were with either friends or my girlfriend. Awesome trips, each of them. All powered by the ever expanding SuperCharger network.

Over the Air software updates

Due to the over the Air software updates the car only got better and better in these 3 years. A few things (but not all of them) which were added:

  • Trip Planner using SuperChargers
  • Spotify integration (awesome!)
  • New UI
  • Calender sync
  • Slightly improved efficieny

All for free and while my car was parked at home. My other cars never got better over time, they always got worse.


In three years I’ve driven my car to a lot of places in Europe (see below). From the cold in Norway to the heat of Italy.

Did I have some issues? Yes, but to be clear: I was never stranded! It did not malfunction in such a way that it was disabled.

So what did I experience?

  • Humming drivetrain. It was replaced 3 times under warranty
  • Main contactor failure in battery. Reboot of car worked and contactor was replaced.
  • Fogging rear lights
  • Slave charger failure. Causing reduced charging speed with AC charging
  • Window washer pump failure.

Again, none of these issues left me stranded along the road. They were also all fixed under warranty except for the window washer pump. That was EUR 100 in total.


In total my S went for service 3 times. I figured once every year would be enough. I paid two invoices of EUR 700,00 each. The other ones were discounted from the referral credit I have at Tesla.

Including the washer fluid pump my total expenses on service and maintenance were EUR 800,00. Not bad I would say!

Energy Consumption

About 70% of my charging is done at home, the rest at SuperChargers and other (public) chargers.

There is a kWh meter in front of my charging station at home and I’ve used about 20.000kWh. Judging from my 70% ‘charge at home’ assumption my total energy usage in 3 years was roughly 28.000kWh.

28.000kWh / 141.000km = 198Wh/km, which is about what I see in my general consumption in the car.


As I wrote above I undertook multiple Roadtrips in the three years, but the best trips I did were the trips to Wales, Norway and to Slovenia. I wrote blogs about two of them:

I didn’t write a blogpost about my roadtrip through Europe in June 2015, but you can see the route below (Prague, Austria, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Netherlands).

I tried to draw the routes I’ve driven on a Google Maps overview.

Routes Tesla Model S


In the threee years I still think my trips to the Arctic are the highlights for me. However, there were more highlights, so I gathered a bunch of pictures I took and added them below in a random order.

Route 74 between Norway and Sweden:

Route 74 in Norway

Stuck on the arctic circle in Norway:

Model S stuck Arctic Circle

On the Lofoten Islands in Norway:

Car under snow from back

Model S next to house Lofoten

Octoberfest in München: (I’m the green blouse)

Octoberfest in München.

Charging at Fastned using 50kW CHAdeMO.

Charging at Fastned

In the Belgian Ardennes:

In the Belgian Ardennes

On a train in Austria going towards Bad Gastein:

On train in Austria

At the Slovenian <> Italian border:

Slovenian Border


After owning a Audi A3 2.0TDI (2007), Toyota Auris Hybrid (2011) and BMW M5 E39 (1999) I can saw that Model S is the best car I’ve ever owned. I love driving it and still enjoy every KM. (Except when stuck in traffic….). Even without Autopilot it is still an amazing car!

People still come up to me to ask things about the car and are really interested.

As I said. Best car ever. Period. I will never by a car which burns fossil fuel again.

My deposit for Model 3 was made at the day they opened. Waiting!

From Middelburg to Trondheim

To Hirtshals

Last Saturday we left at 08:00 from Middelburg for the 1.100km drive to Hirtshals, Denmark. From there we would take the ferry to Larvik, Norway on Sunday morning.

It took us 14 hours to reach Hirtshals. Traffic was bad, very bad starting at Hamburg towards the border. Roadworks and border controls made it stop and go over almost 100km!

A short night followed since our ferry left at 08:00.

Lier South SuperCharger

After arriving in Larvik our first SuperCharger in Norway was Lier South, 100km from Larvik.

It was busy! After we parked all 8 stalls are occupied. Other Model S had to wait in the queue.

Lier South SuperCharger

A queue is bad, but it also shows that the infrastructure is used! It’s not a charger which is rarely used. From what I understood it was also a vacation period, so that might have caused the spike in traffic.


After charging in Lier we headed to Lillehammer. We would stay the night there and charge again.

Fortum CHAdeMO

While heading to Lillehammer I stopped at a CHAdeMO from Fortum to see if I could charge there. The people from Fortum told me that I could use my Dutch phone and send a SMS to active it.

Well, that didn’t work. I borrowed a RFID tag from somebody else as a backup. On the Lofoten Islands I will need to use a Fortum charger, so I wanted to know if it worked. Lesson learned. It doesn’t.

Fortum CHAdeMO charger

Busy times at Lillehammer

On the E6 to Lillehammer we already spotted a lot of Model S coming from Lillehammer, so I expected the SuperCharger to be crowded.

It was! 9 of the 10 stalls we busy, so we parked at the last stall available.

As we were charging we saw more Model S arrive. We still had 100km left in the battery and we would leave the next morning. We vacated the stall and to decided to charge the next morning for the 155km drive to Dombas and Trondheim.

We checked in at the hotel and went for a dinner in Lillehammer.

SuperCharging with a cold battery

The next morning the car had been in -8C for the night. When I switched to ‘Drive’ a warning indicated that regenerative braking had been disabled. This was due to the battery being cold.

SuperCharging didn’t go very fast. When I just started it would charge with 17kW and slowly climbed to roughly 30kW before we had enough to leave for Dombas.

This was a similar experience as last year at the Krokom SuperCharger in -22C.

The picture below shows that we were charging with 24kW where under normal conditions it should have been about 80kW.

Slow Lillehammer SuperCharger

To Trondheim

From Lillehammer we drove to the Dombas SuperCharger. After a charge and lunch there we headed down to Klett (near Trondheim).

Nothing really special on this part of the trip. The temperature was about -5C and the (road) conditions were good.

To the Lofoten

Our destination is a house we rented through Airbnb on the Lofoten Islands.

From Trondheim we are taking the Hurtigruten ferry to Stamsund on the Lofoten. This will take 2 days.

From Stamsund to the house it is just 21km. Time to relax!

Energy Consumption

The tripmeter shows 1861km and a total usage of 391kWh. That’s 210Wh/km. Not bad at all!

Middelburg to Wales and back

I play paintball as a sport/hobby and this weekend there is a event in Wales which I’m going to attend.

As a Model S owner I obviously wanted to go there with my Tesla Model S, but it’s a 800km single-trip, so I needed to charge somewhere. After some searching I found the Ecotricity network in the UK. A network with 50kW chargers along most of the main Motorways in the UK.

The ecotricity chargers have a 50kW CHAdeMO connector (DC) and a 43kW Type 2 (AC) connector. Since Tesla hasn’t released their CHAdeMO adapter yet I’ll have to charge using the AC connector. The onboard chargers of the Model S are capable of 3x32A (22kW), but they are temporarily limited to 3x26A (18kW). So we could have charged with 50kW instead of 18kW if we had the adapter already.

This morning I left my home in Middelburg and headed to the Calais (France) for the ferry crossing to the UK.

At Calais Port

The first stop was at Calais. No charging facilities there. Thus far we (driving with a friend of mine) had driven 217km with a total usage of 47.3kWh. That comes down to 217Wh/km. It was quite windy and cold (5C) this morning, so that explains the higher usage. We continuesly drove with a speed of 100km/h.

After the ferry to Dover it was time to go to the first charger. The initial idea was to go to a charger along the M20, but over the last few weeks the Ecotricity website said it was online, offline, online, offline. At the moment it’s marked as offline, so we went to a charger along the M2 instead.

From Dover it was just 60km to the charger. We still had 136km of range left, so without any problems we drove to the charger.

Charger at M2

There we are, charging at the Ecotricity charger! Worked just fine. Hit the buttons, swipe the card, choose AC and plug it in!

We are now happily charging at 26A@238V:


As you can see, the chargers goes up to 62A, but it’s the Model S which is limited to 26A right now.

The next charging station is underneath a Windmill near Reading. Just 160km from here. So a bit more charging and we are on our way!

Towards the Windmill
After a charge it was time to head to the Green Business Park in Reading for a charge underneath a windmill.

The charging station wasn’t hard to find, simply look for the windmill. There was a Nissean Leaf already charging, but the station has two outlets, so we could plug in and charge.


At the windmill there is a nice park with some information signs about the windmill:

Information Windmill Reading

2MW is a huge amount of power, should be enough to give me a full charge 🙂

We stayed here for about 30 minutes. Besides the park there isn’t that much to do at the windmill, so we left towards the next services area to get dinner and a longer charge.

At the next service area we still had 160km or range left.

We’re taking a defensive strategy this trip, we don’t want to run low on power, so we do multiple shorter charges instead of 2 long ones. You never know what happens during the trip!


The voltage is 247V. So with 3x26A we are looking at a 19.2kW charge! The more kiloWatts that go into the car, the shorter the charge is.

Made it to Wales
A day late I’m writing to be able to tell you I made it to Wales! We charged 73km before our destination to 200km of range so we got at the location with enough charge.

We weren’t sure if we could charge at the Bluestone Park Wales, but they allowed us to plug into a 13A socket which was enough to fully charge the car in 15 hours. We are full again and can begin our trip back to the Netherlands on Monday.

In total we drove 740km with an average of 199Wh/km, so we used 148kWh of energy to get here.

Heading back to Dover
On Sunday evening we left Wales to drive 140km to our first Ecotricity charger to get something to eat and a short charge.

The paintball event was finished around 16:00, so we left Wales around 17:00.

After some “diner” at the Burger King we headed down the M4 for a overnight stay in the Travelodge motel in Chieveley which also has a Ecotricity charger.

We fully charged the car and had a good night of sleep. Got up again at 07:00 and at 08:00 we were on our way again to our last charger before the ferry at Dover.

After this it’s just 280km to our home, so no more need for charging.

Last stretch home
From the last charging station at the M2 it was another 290km to get home. We charged the battery to about 320km before leaving for the ferry.

In Calais it was quite windy, so our energy consumption went up pretty steep. In the end we reached Middelburg with just 17km left in the battery.

Trip log
I kept a full log of the trip and energy consumption which is available here.

In total we used 302kWh for almost 1500km.

The Ecotricity network
One word: Awesome!

I seriously love it that they are solving the chicken-egg problem by simply putting those chargers out there now. The charging is for free right now, but I would have paid if required.

If this network keeps expanding and Tesla delivers the CHAdeMO adapter it will only get better! My next visit to the UK will probably be fully electric again thanks to Ecotricity!

In the end this is what my Model S shows on his charging map:

Charging map Model S UK

10.000 elektrische kilometers! Hoe is de stand?

Tesla Model S 10k km

English version: I have my Tesla Model S for about 3 months now and in that time I’ve driven 10.000 kilometer with it.

This post is to describe how the ride has been and the amount of CO2 emissions I’ve saved.

Short version: A awesome car and I’ve save a lot of CO2!

The rest of this post will be in Dutch.

Inmiddels staan er na bijna 3 maanden al weer 10.000 kilometers op  de teller van mijn Tesla Model S.

Wat kan ik over de auto zeggen? Simpelweg fantastisch! Het 3-fase laden maakt de Model S een zeer goed bruikbare auto voor dagelijks vervoer, eigenlijk gewoon geweldig.

Nog elke keer dat ik in stap ben ik er ontzettend blij mee. Het is gewoon een compleet nieuwe manier van rijden. De 0 naar 100 in slechts 5 seconde blijft geweldig, maar ook de rust tijdens het rijden is prachtig.

Ik kan eindeloos gaan schrijven over hoe blij ik met deze auto ben, hoe veel opbergruimte er in zit, maar ik wil vooral even het puntje uitstoot aan tippen.

Naast de Model S heb ik nog een Toyota Auris Hybride (2011) en de 10.000km die ik elektrisch gereden heb zijn niet gereden met de Toyota.

Wat is nu het verschil geweest?

Het gemiddelde verbruik van mijn Model S over de afgelopen 10.000km is volgens de boordcomputer 230Wh/km, maar ik moet om het verhaal eerlijk te houden ook het verlies tijdens het laden mee nemen. Dat verlies is 15 ~ 20%, maar om de Model S in het nadeel te plaatsen pak ik 20%.

Daarmee kom ik uit op 276Wh per gereden kilometer. Op één kWh uit het stopcontact kan ik dus zo’n 3.62km rijden.

Uiteraard meet ik thuis ook mijn kWh verbruik van de auto, maar ik heb ook publiek geladen en vanuit diverse stopcontacten. Ik moet dus gewoon de kilometerstand vermenigvuldigen met 276Wh per kilometer.

Voor 10.000km had ik dus 2760kWh nodig.

De cijfers wisselen, maar bij de productie (inclusief transport) van een kilowatt-uur in Nederland komt er zo’n 400 gram CO2 vrij. Dit wisselt per aanbieder. Ik heb thuis enkel groene stroom, maar om dan 0 gram CO2 op te schrijven vind ik niet eerlijk.

2762kWh * 400 gram CO2 = 1.104.800 gram CO2

Per gereden kilometer kom ik dus uit op 110 gram CO2 per kilometer met een Model S.

WAUW! DAT IS VEEL! Dat zullen veel mensen nu denken. Maar is dat zo?

Volgens het boekje van mijn Toyota Auris stoot deze 89 gram CO2 per kilometer uit, echter verteld de site dat het in de realiteit 138 gram is.

Het verbruik wat daar staat komt aardig overeen met wat ik met mijn tankpas zie.

Per kilometer is de Model S dus al 20 gram CO2 schoner dan een Toyota Auris Hybride. Een Model S van 2100kg vs een Auris van 1365kg, niet te vergeten dat je eigenlijk een BMW 5-serie moet pakken als goede tegenhanger, maar dat ter zijde.

Om dit verhaal echter eerlijk te houden moeten we ook mee nemen hoe veel CO2 er vrij komt bij de productie van een liter benzine. Die benzine komt immers ook niet zo maar in de tank van de auto.

De daadwerkelijke cijfers zijn behoorlijk lastig te vinden, maar ik heb cijfers van eveneens 400 gram CO2 per liter benzine gehoord.

Op een liter benzine rijd de Auris realistisch gezien 17 kilometer, dan kom je dus uit op 23 gram CO2 extra per kilometer.

De Auris stijgt daarmee van 138 gram naar 161 gram CO2 per kilometer.

De snelle conclusie: Inclusief productie van de kWh’s “stoot” de Model S 110 gram CO2 per kilometer uit en een Toyota Auris Hybride 161 gram CO2.

Auto CO2/km CO2 voor 10.000km
Toyota Auris Hybride 161 gram * 1.610 kg
Tesla Model S 110 gram ** 1.110 kg

* Werkelijke uitstoot en productie benzine
** Uitstoot op basis van energieverbruik en Nederlandse energiemix

Ik ga niet beginnen over dingen als: “Met groene stroom had ik 0 gram CO2 uitgestoten”, want daarmee vind ik dat ik niet serieus over kom. Ookal rijd je dus gewoon op de Nederlandse energiemix dan is een Model S een heel stuk schoner dan een Toyota Auris Hybride. Een auto van een compleet andere klasse.

De Model S is verder ook geen super zuinige elektrische auto. Een Renault ZOE, Nissan Leaf of Tesla Roadster zitten allemaal onder de 200Wh/km en zijn dus een stuk zuiniger.

Elektrisch rijden is dus wel degelijk schoner dan een hybride!

How I built my 3-phase Open EVSE

Ever since I posted on my blog that I built my own Open EVSE for my future Tesla Model S I’m getting a lot of e-mails from people asking how I build it.

A couple of notes to everybody who wants to build one:

I’m using a Open EVSE board with a modified firmware
I modified the firmware so that with the Advanced Power Supply it will switch to level 2 charging when it senses 230V on L1.

The source code can be found on my Github account.

I also have two compiled versions (with LCD support) available (both from 01-09-2012):

You can program the EVSE using ‘avrdude’ and the right programmer.

The relais I’m using is a 40A 4p
I’m using a Hager ESL440S relais.

This relais has 4 poles and works on 12V AC or DC.

There is a second relais which switches on my main relais
The main relais (Hager ESL440S) works on 12V DC, but pulls about 1000mA to switch on.

That is a bit to much for the Open EVSE board, so I had to buy a 12V DC transformer and a second smaller relais. When Open EVSE board switches on the small relais, it switches on the main relais by using the external 12V transformer.

If you go to page 8 of the PDF I wrote you can see these components.

In the casing where the Open EVSE board is you can see the small relais on the left.

The external 12V DC power supply is in the distribution panel on the right and is on the left of the main relais. You can see the green and red LED on it.

I limited my EVSE to 30A
I limited the pilot signal to 30A. 32A would stress some fuses in the distribution panel in my house, since that 32A relais also provides power to the TL-lights in my shed. So I turned the EVSE down to 30A instead of 32A. Technically I could use 32A, but 30A was a safe bet in this case.

1-phase of 3-phase doesn’t matter
The EVSE itself doesn’t know anything about 1-phase or 3-phase. When a car connects and talks to the EVSE it requests power, when all the criteria match the EVSE turns on the relais.

The car then senses 3-phases and will use them if the charger supports it. The EVSE has nothing to do with that.

To conclude:

  • Read the PDF I wrote.
  • For the EVSE 3-phase or 1-phase doesn’t matter. It just switches on a relais.
  • Read the Open EVSE website about J1772, programming, etc, etc

The Model S will support 3-phase charging!

I’ve wrote a letter to Tesla, wrote a blogpost about it and discussed it on the Tesla Motors Club forum and it seems it has paid off!

Tesla Motors just announced that the Model S will support 3-phase charging in Europe!

On Twitter they tweeted:

Tesla’s Model S in Europe will be capable of three phase charging.

That is great news for all future Model S owners in Europe!

Now it’s back again to waiting for the Model S to be parked at my house.

3-phase and CHAdeMO charging for the Model S?

The biggest issue with Electric Vehicles (EV’s) is charging. How do I charge my car within a reasonable time frame? Charging within 1 hour is possible, but you need a lot of power to do so. That is not available on all locations and requires special chargers.

Almost two years ago I made a reservation for a Tesla Model S, the car which I think is the best EV to come to the market.

In the summer of 2011 I was invited to a ‘reservation holder only event‘ at the Tesla factory in Fremont California. I went there and saw the Model S for the first time: Wow…. I was blown away, what a beauty.

EV’s however are new and not everything is technically the way you want it to be.

What is 3-phase charging and why would you want it?

Timely charging is the biggest issue with EV’s. With 3-phase charging you could charge your EV 3 times faster, since Europe has a 3-phase power grid.

I live in Europe (The Netherlands) and  unlike the USA were are limited to ~32A per phase. In the USA you can get a 100 Amp installation in your house. Amps and Volts is all that counts when you want to charge an EV.

With a 100 Amp connection in the USA, you get 20kW of power. (100A * 208V =~ 20kW). The biggest battery of a Model S is 85kWh (Kilowatt hour). 85 kWh / 20kW = 4.25 hour of charging (not taking any losses into account).

Like mentioned, in Europe we have a 3-phase power grid and we are limited to 32A per phase in residential areas (Rules are complex!). 32A at 230V = 7.3kW.

The 85kWh battery of a Model S would take almost 12 hours (85 / 7.3) to charge.

Here comes the 3-phase power into play. We can get 3 times 32A in our hose at 400 Volts. (See the Wikipedia page). This calculation is a bit more complex: 400 * 32 * SQ(3) =~ 20kW. We also get 20kW of power in our residential areas, but it’s delivered to us spread out over 3-phases instead of one.

The bottom-line is: Without 3-phase charging it will take three times longer to charge a Model S in Europe then in the USA. That’s why I want 3-phase charging for the Model S.

When I made my reservation the Tesla website stated that the Model S could charge from 110V, 220V and 480V. From that moment I assumed the Model S would support 3-phase charging, but then I went to the event at the factory in Fremont.



This picture shows the new charging connector of the Model S. Tesla designed a new connector which could handle AC (low to medium (20kW)) power and DC (high >50kW)) power over the same pin layout. This results in a very sleek connector. A great connector if you look at it from a designers perspective.

The connector is however lacking a 2nd and 3rd connector for 3-phase charging. This connector design only has:

  • A ground (bottom middle)
  • A proximity and pilot connection (bottom left and right)
  • A Phase connection (top left or right)
  • A neutral connection (top left or right)

In order to support 3-phase power the connector should have two more ‘big’ connectors.

I asked a Tesla employee if the Model S could charge from 3-phases and he said “No, it won’t” I felt really disappointed. I had been waiting on the Model S for such a long time already (18 months), living with the assumption (since the website stated 480V charging) that it would support 3-phase charging.



The employee told me that Tesla focused on Quick/Fast/Super-charging a Model S with high power DC (500V, ~200A, 90kW, 45 min) instead of the slower charging. The Model S would also be able to travel such long distances that you could do almost all your driving without charging. I argued he was wrong, but it was quite busy at the event, so I didn’t get into a in-depth discussion with him.

Although the event at the Tesla factory was great, the news about the lack of 3-phase charging gave a real bad taste.

In the car back to the hotel I started brainstorming with my colleague (the Roadster owner) about how we could convince Tesla otherwise. As a Roadster owner in Europe he’s also quite disappointed about the Roadsters limitation to 7kW (32A @ 230V) charging (8 hours) in Europe. He however accepted it since the Roadster is a car for pioneers, early adopters or tech freaks, however you want to call them.

If you by a base Model S you get one on-board 10kW AC charger, but if you pay $1500,00 you get a second 10kW charger which runs parallel with the first charger, giving you 20kW AC charging.

Wait a minute? 20kW AC charging? That is exactly what we want in Europe! In the US the chargers run parallel on 1-phase, as Europeans we want the 20kW spread out over 3-phases. So what is the point? Tesla clearly sees that 20kW AC charging is useful in the US, why not in Europe?

To get back to the brainstorming: We came up with the idea to write a letter to Tesla and start collection signatures from people who agreed with me. So I did, I wrote a letter to Tesla together with 39 hand written signatures.

On the right two pictures of how this looked.

On November 4th 2011 I sent this package to the Tesla HQ in Palo Alto, CA, USA and I started waiting…


After a month of waiting for just a “Thank you for your letter” I also sent the letter to the Tesla EU HQ in London and posted a Tweet. That is when I got a “Thank you” from Tesla, but nothing conclusive. I never expected Tesla to reply within a month with a answer that they would or wouldn’t support 3-phase charging.

I completely understand that such decisions might have a big impact and involve a lot of people, so these kind of things take time.

However, is implementing 3-phase support that hard? I think it’s not. The biggest obstacle I think is the connector (see above) that Tesla designed. It’s missing the necessary connections for L2 (2nd phase) and L3 (3rd phase), so they would have to redesign that connector. They could also add a second charging port on the car and support the IEC 62192-2-2 connector natively without any adapters?


3-phase charging would drastically improve the usage of the Model S. On a 3x16A (10kW) connection you could charge a Model S with it’s 85kWh battery in about 8 hours. A Nissan Leaf also charges in 8 hours, but a full charge of a Leaf gets you 160km, a full Model S takes you up to 480km.

A 3x32A connection (20kW) could charge a Model S in a bit over 4 hours.

I made a graph to display the various charging times for a Model S and a Roadster. You get the picture why 3-phase charging is really needed for the Model S!


Without 3-phase charging you wouldn’t even be able to charge your Model S overnight! How are you supposed to charge the Model S if you get back home later in the evening and want to leave the next morning? A full charge could take over 24 hours!

Most (bigger) hotels in Europe also have a 3-phase connection available somewhere in the parking lot, if not, it is trivial to get such a connection installed. With just a single-phase socket you can’t charge your Model S overnight (see the chart above).

That is why I emphasized this to Tesla: “European’s don’t want 3-phase charging, they need 3-phase charging!”

The faster you can charge your EV, the better. It makes the car more practical, simple as that.

The final decision is at Tesla, but I think that supporting 3-phase charging is trivial and vital for Tesla if they want to be successful in Europe. In my letter to Tesla I showed them how many 3-phase charging stations are available in Europe. The current estimate is that over 2.500 (~1300 in Holland alone!) of these charging stations are installed in Northern Europe and they are being installed on a daily basis. (Amsterdam is installing at least one every week).

We just saw the release of the Pricing & Options of the US Model S, so I’m not expecting a answer from Tesla really soon. I however have good hope that Tesla will implement 3-phase charging for the Model S. My hope is that they will reveal it at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.



Something else which has been bothering me is the DC (fast-charging) charging Tesla will be using for the Model S. They say it will be DC charging at 500V and can top up your Model S in 45 minutes. They call it “Supercharging”.

Around the world (especially in Europe and Japan) fast-chargers are being installed which are compliant to the CHAdeMO protocol.

CHAdeMO is a fast-charge protocol which delivers up to 50kW of power. If we take a look again at the calculations above: 85kWh / 50kW = 1.7 hours for a full charge.

The Nissan Leaf is one of the first cars to support CHAdeMO fast-charging. A CHAdeMO station can recharge the 24kWh battery of a Leaf in 30 minutes.

Yes, the 50kW a CHAdeMO charger delivers is 60% of the 90kW Tesla is intending to use, but still, 50kW is better then nothing.

Tesla claims that they will be installing their “Super chargers” throughout the US and even Europe, concrete plans are however lacking.

The CHAdeMO chargers are being rolled out today. Nissan recently said that they will donate 400 chargers in Europe. 400 chargers!? That is great! If the Model S could take advantage of these chargers you could travel even further.

CHAdeMO seems to be winning in Europe and Japan as it comes to fast-charging. I’m not sure about the US, but it seems it’s getting traction there as well. In 2012 there will be hundreds or more then a thousand of these chargers throughout Europe. It would be a shame if the Model S can’t charge there.

BP (British Petroleum) has started installing CHAdeMO chargers at their stations along highways in the Netherlands, but incentives like those are being initiated all over Europe. In 2011 the Norwegian energy company Ishasvkraft announced that they will be installing CHAdeMO chargers throughout Norway. Lysi Energy is doing the same in Norway.

On the Tesla Motors Club forum I recently started a thread on CHAdeMO charging for the Model S. We can be almost a 100% sure that the Model S won’t natively support CHAdeMO charging, but there is always the possibility of an adapter. Tesla did not reveal any plans for such an adapter, but there is hope.


My message to Tesla is that they should make the Model S the best EV on the planet and crush all competition. I’m blown away by the Model S and can’t wait to receive mine. It would however be a shame if the car would be limiting me by not letting me take advantage of the available power provided by 3-phase and CHAdeMO charging stations.

The specifications of the Model S are great, no doubt about that. Just make sure that I as a driver can take full advantage of all the charging possibilities which are available. That would make me (and I think a lot with me) a very, very, very happy customer!



So, I went to the Tesla Model S beta event

Somewhere in August I got a invitation of Tesla to come over to the factory in Fremont California and see the Model S in person.

As a reservation holder of a Model S I simply could not refuse that invitation! Lucky me I still had some business to do in California and I had a paintball tournament there, a bit of travelling through the USA and I could attend the event, yay!

I did not know what to expect, but I expected something big. Tesla is not investing in any form of promotion of their Model S, but they seem to solely rely on the product promoting itself and using modern techniques like Facebook and Twitter. I saw myself as a ‘messiah’ (Ok, that is dramatized!) for Tesla, they would rely on us to overload the world with Tweets and messages with Facebook. Tempting and convincing other people to also make a reservation for the Model S.

My colleague (The Roadster owner) and I stayed in San Francisco to check out the area but also to be close to Fremont!

Driving towards the factory we did not know what to expect. How big is the factory? How many Model S’es will there be? How long wil the test drive be? (I knew that I would not be driving myself).

Arriving at the factory is impressive, it’s HUGE! The first thing you see is the big T-E-S-L-A sign on the outer wall.

The Tesla factory in Fremont

We parked the car and walked to the entry, have to say, that was the longest walk ever over a parking lot!

Once inside the first thing we saw was a clay model of the Model S, one half brown, the other one silver.

A clay model of the Model S

Seeing that model shows you how big the S is. At first Tesla said it would be the size of a BMW 5-series, well, it’s more like a 7-series!

Further down in the factory there was the ‘exploded body’ of the Model S and a chassis with battery and drive-train in it. This gave a good impression of the storage capacity the S has, but also how small the drivetrain actually is. I’ve seen it on multiple pictures, but seeing in for real is something different. A real piece of modern engineering!

Me at the exploded Model S
The Model S chassis

Standing at the chassis I turned around and saw the final assembly, a smooth white factory hall with all these red machines, really in Tesla style!

Final assembly of the Model S

From there one we walked over to the tour check-in, here we got a 90 minute tour around the still work in progress factory. Stamping, painting, plastic moulding and more, really cool to see the birth place of your future piece of modern engineering!

I was so impressed that I sometimes forgot to take pictures! But there are many pictures of this great event floating around on the internet, for example the Picasa album of Ben Goodwin.

Being done with the factory tour it was time for the speech of Elon Musk! He came driving on stage in the red Model S with a total of 8 persons + luggage in it! Have to say, one person was hidden in the “frunk” and in the back jumpseats were two kids!

Elon seemed to be a bit overwhelmed about the presence of so much (about 2.000) future Model S owners. He gave a quick demonstration of the Model S and gave a short talk, which both seemed to be completely improvised and not studied. I liked that, no standard talk, but something that came to mind the moment he was on stage! He even forgot the announcement of the Model S sport! George Blankenship had to call everybody back to get the announcement out. 4.5 sec from 0 – 96 km/h, wauw!

After Elon’s talk it was time to head outside to the area where the rides were being given. We had a slot between 22:00 and 22:30, but it was barely 21:00 at that time, so we had some time to grab a bit, drink a beer and just watch the three S’es driving around. I preferred the white one and that was exactly the on I got my ride in!

Two beers and some chats later it was time for our test drive! I called shotgun on the front seat, but one of the two persons in front of me was Elon’s son, so no need for that. But another car pulled up early, so I eventually got into the middle backseat of the white one. No problem! More than enough space and a great view on the interior and that MASSIVE 17″ central touch screen!

The ride itself was short, to short for me, but I get why. They had only 3 cars and 2.000 attendees to satisfy. I’d like to see it different, but I understand the how and why.

We did a short slalom and a acceleration demonstration on the straight. With 5 persons in the car it didn’t take long to reach 73mph before we had to slow down. No, it’s not as fast as a Roadster, but definitely faster than any other sedan I’ve ever driving! (Which are quite a few descent cars).

After the test-ride we exited the area through a tent where a demo of the central screens functions was being displayed and we saw the new charging connector and “UMC” for the Model S.

Tesla choose to design a new connector which was able to handle both 20kW AC charging as well as 90kW DC charging over the same pins. As a European I asked about the 3-phase support for the Model S and I got a disappointing answer, it’s not present.. I had a (and really good!) discussion with some Tesla employees about this matter. Well, it seemed we disagreed on that. So I started a petition to convince Tesla otherwise.

My final conclusion about the Model S? Full of gadgets, smooth and gorgeous! For me this is how automotive transportation should be. I’ve been hating the in-car systems for the last few years. They always to lacked features and we waaaaaaay behind on what is possible. I’ve driving Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Toyota, but all their systems seemed like they were build in 2000! The Model S however is cutting edge!

I didn’t have the time to play with the system, but from Elon’s demonstration and the other things I saw that night it proofed to me that the Model S will not only be a EV, but it will be my new mobile office! More than enough space, the world at your fingers through the 3G (maybe 4G) connectivity of the car and all that in a luxurious and spacious vehicle.

Of course, there still is work to do for Tesla. But hey, the vehicles were called “betas” for a reason. I work in IT and know what the words “Alpha” and “Beta” mean. As soon as they start using “RC” we can start judging on the finished touches!

The event itself was well prepared and organized. More than enough snack (good ones!) and drinks available and enough Tesla staff to bother will the dozens of questions I had.

I can’t wait any more! I feel like a little kid who wishes at the end of his birthday that he can sleep for a year, so it’s his birthday again the next day 😉

I don’t want to sound like a fanboy (but I guess I do…), but Tesla is really showing some awesome work here. The Model S is simply more than a car, it’s a experience.

For some more pictures of the event check out the already mentioned Picasa album of Ben Goodwin or check out the Tesla Motors Club forum. The last one contains much, much, much more information gathered at the event, as well more pictures and videos of the event.