Tesla opens up its patents to everyone to use

As a Computer Engineer who loves to program in open source languages and use open source software, this news from Tesla sounds terrific!  They are in effect open sourcing the technology they are using to make the Tesla EVs.  Here is the link to the press release: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you

That means that other people can build upon their technology base, just like programmers can build apps for Android on your cellphone or tablet.  We are truly entering a new stage in the new information revolution!  Moving from the industrial/factory model to an emerging open source/creative model.  If you want to find out more about open source, it is a fascinating concept that has altered the world of computer technology for a long time – now moving into EVs.

We will have to wait and see what the other EV companies do – or maybe it will be up to a new crowd to take EVs to a new level.  In any effect, it is exciting!

 

Advocating for more public charging stations

One of the things that has happened to me since owning and driving our two EVs is something I call ‘charging station awareness’.   It is sort of like  the concept of situational awareness, but focused on a whole new physical reality.  Although I can and do charge at home, I quickly realized that to get everything I can out of these cars I needed to start thinking about the ‘next’ charging station.

I quickly joined Chargepoint, which is the company (here in Florida at least) that seems to install most of the chargers.  It is pretty easy to start using chargepoint.com, as well as another website called plugshare.coNorth America on PlugShare - EV Charging Station Mapm, to plan any ev trip.  I have phone apps installed on my android smartphone that access this info as well.   You can even use Google Map to find chargers.  I have attached a summary, wide-angle view of the Tampa Bay area chargepoint map as an example.

Now I find I get a ‘high’ when I am able to spot an EV Level-2 charging stations!   It is almost like playing geo-caching in way.   The reward is a a charged car with more range – often free. In fact, so far in my area I have not ever paid anything for charging (other than possibly a parking fee that everyone else pays too).  I know that there are charging stations that charge a fee, but whatever a reasonable fee would be, it is still cheaper than buying gas.

However, I really started writing this post to start showing what I also do – advocate for more charging stations!     I live in a small city of 26,000 people immediately adjacent to Tampa and also the University of South Florida main campus (with 40,000 students).  Our particular town has no public EV charging, and I wrote some emails to the City of Temple Terrace, who are now looking at putting some in.  We actually had 2 EV festivals in our town over the past two years, so we should be a front-runner.  They seem very receptive, and i think it just took some citizens asking for the ball to start rolling,.

Places I drive to that do not have EV charging, I will often make the suggestion verbally.  Sometimes I followup with emails.  I think people just haven’t heard of this new phenomenon, so being friendly and expressing enthusiasm seem to be effective strategies at this point.

BG-logoWe just got some year-long passes to Busch Gardens in Tampa, and I started a series of emails to try to find out the status of EV charging at  the Tampa park.  Busch Gardens attracts people from all over the country and is owned by the same company that owns Sea World and other large theme parks. Here is a the current stream of messages – as a historical record of sorts.

After hunting around their website I found a customer service email:

To: BGA Guest Information, bga.guestinformation@seaworld.com

Hi. My wife and both drive electric vehicles and plan on going to Busch gardens in Tampa. Are there EV charging places there?

We plan on blogging about our summer experiences with our EVs on our website leaf volt man woman.com.
Thanks,
Jamie Robe


The reply…

From: BGA Guest Information
(3 days later)

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for contacting SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

You may charge your electric vehicle at any of our first aid stations. Please grab a park map during your entry as it lists the locations of all of the stations.

Thank you again for contacting SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Best regards,

Tabarie
Guest Correspondence
Busch Gardens Tampa

 

 


 

They obviously thought I was asking about the electric people-scooters or a wheel chair.   I seriously thought of asking them how to drive my Leaf or Volt into the actual park LOL, but instead have kept it serious.

To: BGA Guest Information, bga.guestinformation@seaworld.com
Hi. Thank you, but I think you must think I meant some sort of scooter. I am talking about our car- an electric car. Do you have EV charging stations (such as chargepoint.com types or others), OR do you have 110v outlets in the parking lot available. Usually, these days public places and companies are providing EV charging spots in their parking lots.

If you need further information to clarify, please feel free to email me or call my cell at ———-.
Thanks,
Jamie


They replied with an accurate and short reply:

 

From: BGA Guest Information
(again…3 days later)
Hi Jamie,

Thank you for contacting SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

At this time, we do not have any charging stations for electric cars.

Thank you again for contacting SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Best regards,

Tabarie
Guest Correspondence
Busch Gardens Tampa

 


So I am asking to escalate to management – I would be happy to talk or meet with them about it.  I have not charged at the Disney EV chargers, but I have heard they are getting big into EVs. Here is the link.

To: BGA Guest Information, bga.guestinformation@seaworld.com
Hi Tabarie,
Thank you for the reply. That is too bad that there are no charging stations. They are not costly and given the huge increase in the number of these types of cars, it would seem like a smart move for Busch Gardens/Sea World to make arrangements for Electric Vehicles – I know Disney has them now: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/01/electric-vehicle-charging-stations-now-available-at-disneyland-resort/

I would like this issue to be forwarded up to park management, if that is possible. Can you please forward these messages to management for me or can you provide me with email or phone contact info?
Thanks,
Jamie Robe

 


UPDATE – just got a reply again a few hours later:

From: BGA Guest Information

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for your reply.

I have forwarded this information to our senior leadership team.

Ideas like this may require corporate review. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Best regards,

Tabarie
Guest Correspondence
Busch Gardens Tampa


 

I will to update this post with a complete correspondence, when I hear back.     My whole point here is not to trash Busch Gardens at all – just to demonstrate a (hopefully) successful advocacy for EV charging stations.   By the way, if you are not familiar with parking at these types of parks – it costs $17 to just park your car at Busch Gardens, so they definitely can afford to pay $500 for a charging station or having a couple 110v outlets installed.  I am hoping the just including the charging into the cost of the parking pass, instead of hitting us up for a whopping 25 cents per hour or something.