Las Vegas
National Drive Electric Day

September 8, 2018

Mark D Larsen

Made in the Shade
(Click to enlarge)

Every year I look forward to participating in the National Drive Electric Week. This year’s EV’ent was my 8th, having previously attended in 2012 (Vegas), 2013 (Vegas), 2014 (SLC) and 2014 (Vegas), 2015 (Vegas), 2016 (Ivins), and 2017 (Vegas).

I drove our former Nissan LEAF to the previous EV’ents in Las Vegas above, but this time I was able to do so with our Tesla Model 3. It made all the difference in the world! For the first time I was able to drive there and back on the same day, without having to charge multiple times en route or stay overnight. Fantastic!

The gathering this year was the largest I have seen to date: we barely fit in the designated area in the Springs Preserve parking terrace! The event page says that 43 plug-in vehicles had registered, but I got the definite impression that many more than that number showed up spontaneously. Below are some photos and movies for your enjoyment:

NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.

The day was dawning when I left home, with 7,688 miles on the odometer.

I had to chuckle at how quick and easy it was to arrive in Las Vegas without having to plug in anywhere en route.

I had driven 126.2 miles to reach the Springs Preserve, with an average energy efficiency of 247 Wh/mi (= 4.05 miles-per-kWh). Not bad for freeway speeds!

I had arrived early and plugged into one of the free ChargePoint EVSEs.

Here is a clip showing the 30A EVSE’s rate of charge: certainly adequate, but nonetheless slower than the 40A HPWC in my garage.

Here is the “frunk punk” that I set up in my Model 3 for a laugh.

I then helped the Las Vegas volunteers set up tables and chair for all the displays, handouts, and swag. The location couldn’t be better, thanks to the Spring Preserve’s solar canopy over the parking lot.

I had a chance to check out for the first time a new 2018 Nissan LEAF.

Here is the interior of that LEAF. I hate to say it, but after driving my Model 3 for more than 4 months, all those buttons, switches, dials, and louvers strike me as... cluttered!

An older LEAF, practically identical to the one I had, parked next to the new one, highlighting their differences.

A long line of Teslas arrived en masse, and there was one blue Model 3 with a matte wrap that was a real head turner.

Apparently the Las Vegas Tesla Club had met at a nearby mall to form a caravan to the EV’ent. I didn’t count them, but I would imagine that they constituted at least two-thirds of the vehicles there.

Shortly thereafter, an amazing electric conversion pulled in. You’ve got to hand it to the engineering and mechanical skills of such EV fans.

Here’s a panorama clip of the EVs at the far end of the parking lot.

After the electric conversion was parked, we could peek under the hood.

Apparently a lot of the components are from a wrecked Nissan LEAF.

These Tesla owners have lined up for... S3X.

A Tesla Roadster also showed up.

This was the first time I had seen a Model 3 white interior up close, which was in the blue matte model.

Here I am with the City Captain, Stan Hanel, who has been the chief organizer of these EV’ents ever since I attended my first one back in 2012.

Once the crowd began to disperse, and vehicles started leaving, I decided to also head home. After cresting the summit of the Beaver Dam mountains, I was pleased to see that the smoke from the wildfires during the last several weeks had finally dissipated enough to clearly see the Kayenta cliffs behind our home.

Oddly enough, despite climbing in elevation, the return trip turned out slightly more energy efficient: 242 Wh/mi (= 4.13 miles-per-kWh). Perhaps a tailwind had helped? At any rate, as you can see, it looks like I now have only 61 miles to go before Correcaminos crosses the 8K threshold.

This was, by far, the most enjoyable NDEW I have attended, not only because of the size and variety, but also because it was so much easier for me to participate, thanks to now driving a bona fide roadtrip capable EV. The members of the Las Vegas Tesla Club were most gracious to invite me to join them for a group photo, even though I was from out-of-state:

I now look forward to seeing reports from all the other NDEW celebrations as they take place over the coming week.