Friday/ a trip to Ellensburg

It was time for the Will-o-Watt Wagon (my car’s name on the Tesla app) to get out of the city and take the long road for a trip to Ellensburg today.

I used my car’s standard Autopilot functions extensively for the first time, on today’s drive. Standard Autopilot means letting the car steer, accelerate, and brake within its lane. It was a good learning experience —and definitely a little hair-raising at times, such as trusting the car to stay in the lane on a curve in the road, with vehicles in the lanes next to you, and oncoming traffic as well.

The primary skill to master with standard Autopilot is to allow the car to steer itself, while still having one’s hands on the wheel. If the driver holds the wheel too firmly, the car interprets it as an override, and cancels the Autopilot steering. If, on the other hand, the car cannot detect that the driver is holding the wheel, it issues a message— a series of messages, actually, ending with an alarm and a screen with red hands on the wheel that says ‘Autosteer Unavailable For The Rest Of This Drive’.
I managed to avoid ending up in that dog box and state! Success! 

P.S. News broke today that Tesla has officially launched its Full Self-Driving subscription package for $199 per month. Full Self-Driving is really ‘Almost Full Self-Driving’, since the driver really still needs to hold the wheel. However, it is a really big step up from standard Autopilot, in that the car will stop, start and navigate by itself. So it will stop at intersections and traffic lights, wait for traffic or the green light, and go by itself, and turn on the turn signal for turns and lane changes where needed.

Bryan, Gary and I are ready to go. I punched in the destination address (Bryan’s dad’s in Ellensburg) and up pops the navigation map with the superchargers highlighted in red. It’s only 110 miles to Ellensburg, so we did not need to stop to charge the car on the way there. The screen says there is 248 miles on the battery, and that there will still be 28% of charge left by the time we arrive at our destination.
Here’s the rest stop at Snoqualmie Pass (elev. 2,726 ft) off of I-90. The low clouds we had in the city are really low here! Those slopes in the background, on the left, are the ski slopes of The Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort, and would be covered in snow come winter time.
Stepping into The Tav in Ellensburg for lunch. A ‘down-home watering hole offering American pub grub, tap brews, simple cocktails, pool & pinball’, says the restaurant’s online description.
Frontier Tavern with its Wild West style lettering and red-white-and-blues is right next door to The Tav.
Downtown Ellensburg is full of charming old red brick buildings. This one on West 3rd Avenue is dated 1889 and down below is the Brix Wine Bar & Restaurant.
So now we’re on our way back, and we took State Route 10 into Cle Elum where a Tesla supercharger was located, to add miles to my car’s battery. The charging screen shows that the charger is working at 137 kW, and adding miles at a rate of 625 mi/hr. So it can add more than a 100 miles of range with just 10 minutes of charging (wow). We stayed for 15 minutes and that was more than enough to get us back to Seattle.
I had to pose for a classic Tesla charger picture at the Cle Elum supercharger, of course. There are 8 charging stations. That first charger (on the left in the picture) is positioned so that a car that is towing something, can just pull straight into the bay, instead of backing into the bay the way I had to.
Making our way back over the mountain pass. This is the animal crossing over I-90 that was completed in 2018.

Saturday/ navigating Capitol Hill’s streets at 2 a.m.

Tesla’s highly anticipated beta* version 9 of its Full Self-Driving software is out. This is the version of the software that is called Tesla Vision (camera) only; so it is not using the radar sensor’s input. (I don’t have FSD. I opted out of the FSD functions when I bought my car).

*A version of a piece of software that is made available for testing, typically by a limited number of users outside the company that is developing it, before its general release.

Gali @Gfilche on Twitter took his Model Y for a test drive through the streets on Capitol Hill here in Seattle at 2 a.m. this morning. Here are a few screen shots of a video (on YouTube channel HyperChange) that he posted shortly thereafter.

I know this intersection at East John St & Broadway well. It is always very busy, and even at this time of night there are some cars & pedestrians. The Tesla is about to turn left, and it waited for pedestrians to cross & for the oncoming traffic to turn. Then the light turned yellow, and it was not clear if the Tesla was going to stop or go. The driver intervened and pushed the brake.
[Still from video on HyperChange channel on YouTube, posted on Jul 10]
A closer look at the new look of the FSD Beta v9 interface. The edges of the road are marked in red, the median in yellow and the path of the car in blue. This is the black background for the night view; the day view would be white.
[Still from video on HyperChange channel on YouTube, posted on Jul 10]
It’s 2 a.m. in the morning, and drunk pedestrians are running across the street at this intersection, against the red stop light. The car has the green, but detected them, and slowed down; sped up again when the street was clear.
[Still from video on HyperChange channel on YouTube, posted on Jul 10]
Here are the monorail pillars that divide the two lanes on 5th Ave. This made for a scary moment: the beta version of the software seemed to NOT DETECT the pillars; they were not shown as obstacles in the interface the way they should have been. The car turned on the turn signal to initiate a lane change, at which point the driver intervened and overruled the car. So yes, looks like there are still a few SERIOUS flaws that have to be ironed out in the software.
[Still from video on HyperChange channel on YouTube, posted on Jul 10]

Monday/ what? no dishwashers?

My dishwasher is 19 years old and kaput.
I thought I could just waltz into the Albert Lee appliance store today, and order a new dishwasher.
I was wrong.
There is a widespread home appliance shortage in stores: wall ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers.

I want a machine from German manufacturer Miele. ‘You can pay in full to get a place in line’, said the saleslady, ‘but be prepared to wait 4 to 6 months’.
At home I checked Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy. No dice. Looks like I might just have to wash my dishes by hand for a while.

Tuesday/ at the Tesla Service Center

I took my car to the Tesla Service Center this morning for two very minor repairs. A new owner gets 24 hours after delivery to report any defects, and then these are repaired free of charge. (In my case a tail light cover had a slight chip on the corner, and the trim on one door was slightly misaligned).

This car-carrying trailer full of red and white Model 3s (all with the 19’’ Sport wheels), was parked at the curb, by the Tesla Service Center at 2200 6th Ave South in SoDo (south of downtown). It must have made the trip to Seattle from the Tesla plant in Fremont, California (the only US plant where Model 3s are made).
My loaner car was a Midnight Silver Metallic Model 3. A key fob (shaped like a Tesla car) came with my loaner car. I don’t have one for my car; my iPhone is my key fob. Not all smartphones work equally well as a key fob for the car, and so for some car owners, the Tesla key fob solves that problem (cost: $175).
So the key fob gets me into the loaner car. Then there is also a PIN to enter on the touchscreen, to start driving. (I can set up a PIN for my own car as an extra layer of security if I wanted to, as well).

Thursday/ supercharging the supercar

Here’s the Tesla supercharger station at the Northgate Mall off of Interstate 5.
It’s super-easy to supercharge the car. The hardest part for me is to back it nicely into the charging bay in one go. (It’s a new experience for me to use a car with a rear camera view for back-in parking, but I am learning quickly).

Park the car, plug it in. No credit card, no PIN, no thumb print or retina scan :), no nothing— the charger knows it’s your car, and how you will pay. Relax or go grab a coffee, and monitor to see when it’s done.

The supercharger station on top of the Northgate Mall parking garage has 16 charging bays, each rated at 250 kW.
The status of the charging is shown inside the car (and on one’s phone). That charging rate of 79 kW or 361 mi/hr is 10 times the charging rate that I can get out of my 240 V outlet in my garage at home! The battery is never really charged to 100% (the white stripe on the car’s battery on the diagram shows when the charging will stop; that’s a preference & setting chosen by the driver). Maybe right before a long trip, one can try to charge closer to 100% at home. The charging rate slows down dramatically as the battery approach full capacity. While on a long trip, a battery charged to even just 70% or so, is usually more than enough to get one to the next supercharger. If you hog the charging bay with your car fully charged and ‘abandoned’, as you are take your sweet time at a nearby restaurant, you will be charged for occupying the bay.
Here’s my car getting its first overnight/ everyday charge at home.
It shows a charging rate of 29 mi/ hr, drawing 32 A of current at 238 V.
Picture from Thursday morning. Plug it in when it’s in the garage; plug it out when leaving. (The charging stops automatically when it’s done. The car will not let you drive away with the charging cord still attached). 

Wednesday/ I have my electric car

Well, the wait for my Tesla Model 3 (Long Range AWD) car was over on Wednesday.
A Tesla delivery person showed up with my car at my house shortly after 10.30 am. I signed some papers and handed over a check. We linked up my phone with the car, and that was it, for the delivery.

As for getting behind the steering wheel, completing the setup of the car on the touchscreen, and starting to drive it: I am very fortunate to have friends that have been Tesla owners for awhile, and that have provided me with invaluable pointers and ‘tech support’ from the day I had put in my order nine weeks ago. It would have been a very steep learning curve, with many stumbles, without them.

The 15-in. touchscreen shows the car’s position in traffic, its speed and a navigation map with (optional) driving directions. The screen is also the interface for entertainment and a host of other controls for the car.
There is a standard turn-signal stalk & a gear selector stalk (R N D P) by the steering wheel, and buttons on the wheel for volume control & the sideview mirrors.

Modern cars are all high-tech, but Teslas are still several notches above that. The software that controls the car’s interface and functions will be updated from time to time through my home wi-fi network. The car has no key: your phone is the key. ‘The car knows you want to drive when you get in’, as Elon Musk likes to say. On long trips, the navigation map will work out which chargers to go to, and will indicate how many open chargers are available at nearby locations.

My car came standard with some Autopilot’ functions – which I can choose to engage at any time. I opted out of getting the ‘Full Self-Driving’ functionality. (‘Autopilot’ is an advanced driver assistance system: automated steering within a clearly marked lane, and matching the car’s speed with that of surrounding traffic. ‘Full Self-Driving’ is automated driving functionality that actively guides the car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including lane changes, navigating interchanges, automatically engaging the turn signal and taking the correct exit).

The picked the greenhouse at Volunteer Park as the backdrop for my ‘here’s my new car’ picture. It’s brand spanking new, un-scuffed and spotless only this one time, right?
A peek inside the car. The dashboard is very clean — shockingly clean, I thought, during my test drive back in April — and devoid of control buttons and dials. The table below has some of the car’s features.

I love the high-tech, but at the end of the day I am just thrilled to have a car that drives on electricity. No more fill-ups at the gas station for me.  I hope that in the not-too-distant-future, all the cars in the world can become electric.

Body

 

 

The body is mostly steel, with some aluminum. The 2021 Model 3 replaced the chrome door handles, side mirror trim, window trim, and camera covers with a black finish. It has a double-paned windshield, a powered trunk, and a new center console. Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection. Curb weight is 4,072 lb (1,847 kg).
Motors Two electric motors (‘dual-motor all-wheel drive’).
Front motor: Alternating Current (AC) Induction.
Rear motor: Alternating Current (AC) Permanent Magnet.
Transmission Automatic, one-speed fixed gear, 9:1 ratio.
Battery 82 kW-h capacity. Rated range of 353 miles (568 km).
Wheels Aluminum, aerodynamic covers. Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system; regenerative braking to extend battery power.
Controls inside LCD touchscreen in landscape orientation that combines the instrument cluster and infotainment. Heating and air-conditioning cooling efficiency increased by heat pump with octovalve.

 

Friday/ waiting for my VIN

Another week, and still no call from the Tesla dealership (saying ‘your Tesla is ready for pickup’).
I still don’t have my vehicle identification number (VIN), though, so I did not really expect a call this week.
The VIN is needed to finalize/ update one’s auto insurance policy, prior to taking delivery of the car.

A Tesla bot or a Tesla person did send me an e-mail today, saying ‘We are working to get you behind the wheel of your Tesla as soon as possible‘.

Here’s how to decode a Tesla VIN. 5YJ means Tesla made the car; I think Position (‘Digit’) 4 will be M; not sure of 5; 6 will be D for “Type 2 manual seatbelts (FR, SR*3), PODS.”; 7 will be E for Electric, not sure of 8 & 9; 10 will be M for 2021, as prescribed by the NHSTA; 11 will be F for Fremont; last come the 6 digits for a unique serial number. (This means any one plant will never produce more than 999,999 vehicles in any one model year, which seems a reasonable assumption!).
[Information from Charles Benoit online at Electrek]

Monday/ BMW’s i3: still in production

Here’s a new BMW i3 that I found this morning, on the way to the Safeway grocery store. (I tagged along for a little test drive of one in 2014).

I see more Tesla Model 3 cars here in the city than I do BMW i3 ones. Or could it be that I have eyes for Teslas only?  That’s definitely possible.

I went to the BMW website and mocked up an order for a BMW i3, and the car actually comes to a few thousand more ($44,450 MSRP as built) than Tesla’s Model 3 Standard Range Plus (cheapest Model 3).
This for a compact car with a 153 mi range vs 263 mi for the Tesla & 42 kWh battery vs. 54 kWh. The BMW might be more suitable for navigating the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets of old European cities, though.

This is a 2021 BMW i3 (color: ‘Capparis White’). There is also a BMW i3s (for sport; increased power, handling, slightly different look). BMW still make both of these with gasoline engine ‘range extenders’ as well. These BMWs are all made in Leipzig, Germany. The first ones rolled off the production line there in Sept. 2013.

Monday/ the lost wallet

Apple announced today that iOS 15 will enable the iPhone wallet to store ID cards and driver’s licenses (and maybe vaccination records?).
That’s good news for people like me and Willie Geist of NBC. (See below. He lost his wallet today).

It’s great that Willie Geist got his wallet back. The worst ‘lost wallet’ event that had happened to me, occurred in Aug. 2011, when mine was stolen out of my backpack in The Landmark mall in Hong Kong. An accomplice distracted me on an escalator, while the thief stole my wallet. My wallet should not have been in my backpack, of course! They must have watched me withdraw cash from an ATM, and saw exactly where I had put the wallet away. So $400 of cash gone, driver’s license and credit cards. In the hour or so it took me to get back to the hotel and call American Express, the thieves had spent $2,600 at the Louis Vuitton store. (AmEx credited the money back onto my card, dollar for dollar, and apologized for my distress).

Sunday/ the ‘gas station’ of the future

Here’s a little Chevy Bolt from Oregon getting charged at an Electrify America charging station here on East Madison Street on Capitol Hill.

It’s early days for building out the charging network. There are 612 of these EA stations across the country with 125 more coming online soon. (There are 168,000 gas stations in the United States).

These charging stations are for out-of-town or out-of-state travelers. In general, it’s much, much more expensive (up to 3x, 4x more) to charge one’s car at these stations, instead of at home.
On top of that, we have the cheapest electricity in the country here in Washington State at 8.53¢/ kWh (source: electricitylocal.com). At this station, the charging cost is $0.43/ kWh, or $0.31/ kWh plus a $4 monthly fee.
Tesla cars can be charged here, but Tesla has its own charging station network (cost is about $0.28/ kWh).

P.S. I see that Associated Press reports there are roughly 42,000 public charging stations in the United States, but only about 5,000 are considered direct-current fast chargers. The Biden administration is looking at incentives to encourage companies and governments to build 500,000 charging stations nationwide by 2030.

The Electrify America charging station at 1300 East Madison St here on Capitol Hill. The station offers two charging protocols: CHAdeMO which is a DC fast-charging protocol for Japanese vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiEV, and CCS (Combined Charging System) chargers which is also a DC fast-charging protocol, but for European and American cars. The “combined” term in the CCS name designates its capability to incorporate the Level 2 (J1772™ standard) plug and DC fast-charging connector into the same larger plug.

Friday/ making it, just in time?

This Sunday, it will be 7 weeks since I had placed the order for my car.
The delivery timeframe is 7 to 10 weeks, so I hope it will not be long now.

Hopefully, everything is running smoothly on the Tesla assembly line in Fremont, California, without a major backlog of computer chips or other parts.
I am sure they use just-in-time manufacturing, also known as the Toyota Production System (TPS). Toyota pioneered and adopted the system in the 1970s. Its success relies on steady production, high-quality workmanship, no machine breakdowns, and reliable suppliers, though.

It takes about 4 days from raw materials (such as coiled aluminum plate for the body panels) to a fully assembled car.

Giant robots on the factory floor in Fremont, assembling the aluminum panels to make the outer shell of Tesla Model S cars. Robots are extremely good at precision and repetitive tasks. Even so, some 10,000 humans work alongside them. Believe it or not, humans are still more intelligent than robots, and can do some tasks better, or offer suggestions for increasing efficiencies. [Still from YouTube video by WIRED magazine].
After the shells had been painted, the car is assembled from the inside out, into the shell. Each car has its own cart that moves on a magnetic track for the assembly. This makes the ‘assembly line’ very flexible and nimble, and easy to switch from one Tesla model to another, with very little set-up time. [Still from a YouTube video by WIRED magazine].

Saturday/ déjà vu, with the blue?

There was a BMW i8 parked on 15th Avenue today.
I might have caught a glimpse of this particular one before, when it was still all blue.

P.S. I was in the passenger seat of a Tesla Model Y as I took these drive-by pictures. 🙂

It’s hard to say what model year this $150,000 BMW i8 coupé is exactly, but it’s an older car. The protonic blue paint was available from 2014 to 2016. Looks like the owner had it wrapped in matt black, and also put on the striking blue wheels (but a blue that does not quite match the protonic blue). The car is a plug-in hybrid. It can be run on gasoline (rear-wheel drive) or electricity from its battery (front-wheel drive), or both. 

 

Friday/ a walk along Pine Street

Four weeks had gone by, and this morning it was again time for my little rental car to go back to Hertz, on 8th Avenue in downtown Seattle.
The pictures are from my walk back, along Pine Street, and up to Capitol Hill.

The construction of the Washington State Convention Center expansion can probably pick up its pace, now that the weather is better. Hopefully most of the workers have been vaccinated. The Paramount Theater bill board says ‘May you rest in power -George Floyd- May 25th 2020’.
Today in ‘Model 3 spotting’: a matt black one. The matt black is not paint, but an after-market film wrapped onto the car (cost: about $5,000). This car has chrome trim on the door handles & windows. (Looks like the owner put some black on the door handles). The 2021 Model 3’s have ‘chrome delete’ trim (black trim, no chrome).
The stainless steel cladding on the convention center extension’s east side is coming along. Hopefully, its shine will not be tarnished by the Pacific Northwest weather.
There is new artwork on the Sugar Hill bar’s wall on East Pine Street: a Black Lives Matter organizer’s check list, of sorts. (Cute little doggie at the corner of the building).
The Porter apartment building at 1630 Boylston Avenue was built in 1917. Its style is called ‘Vernacular’: architecture characterized by the use of local materials & knowledge, usually without the supervision of architects (source: Wikipedia). The brick building has an open center bay and terra cotta lintels on the main windows.
The oak trees by Seattle Central College on Broadway have their new leaves. On the left, across the street, is 1812 Broadway, a new 7-story, 133-unit apartment building.
A streetcar on the First Hill line, at the end-of-the-line stop called Broadway & Denny. These are Czech-made, model name Inekon121-Trio. This car has a battery, for ‘off-wire’ operation (a section of the First Hill line has no overhead electrical cables). 

Tuesday/ no radar for my car

We are continuing the transition to Tesla Vision, our camera-based Autopilot system. Beginning with deliveries in May 2021, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for the North American market will no longer be equipped with radar. Instead, these will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot, Full-Self Driving and certain active safety features. 
– Posted on Tesla.com


My Model 3 will come without forward-facing radar sensors, and will instead rely only on the input from the car’s eight cameras, for its autopilot, full-self driving and safety features.

It seems to me that this approach simplifies the input that Tesla’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) software has to process. Maybe the radar does not add anything significant, to what is already collected by the cameras. (Or worse: the radar and a camera provides conflicting input to the AI software).

I would think that under conditions with poor visibility, though: fog, or a rainstorm or a snowstorm, radar could be a great help. (If one cannot see, it’s time to pull over and stop driving, of course).

Thu 5/27: Consumer Reports pulled its “Top Pick” status for Tesla’s Model 3 and Y vehicles built after April 27, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to remove the vehicles’ “Top Safety Pick Plus” designation.

The U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is no longer giving the Models 3 and Y check marks on its website for having forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and emergency brake support. – reported by Tom Krisher from Associated Press.

A still from a little clip of machine vision footage posted by Tesla in 2020. That time stamp number (top left) has an impossible 6 significant decimal digits, so down to a millionth of a second. That is surely for future use. Stop signs and red traffic lights are picked up very early, and then a stop line (the red line marked 18) is drawn on the road.

Thursday/ Ford’s electric pickup truck

Ford is signaling that it thinks mass-market buyers are ready to trade their V-6 and V-8 engines for electric motors, and I think they are absolutely right.
– Eric Tingwell, Car And Driver, May 20 2021


Yesterday, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the electric incarnation of their popular F-150 pickup truck*, the 2022 F-150 Lightning.

*What the iPhone is to Apple, the F-150 is to Ford. They sell 900,000 F-150 pick-up trucks every year.

The new, all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning performance pickup truck was unveiled at a livestream event at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, on Wednesday. [Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]
The F-150 Lightning can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
Ford says the battery can be used as a power source to power a house for up to three days, or say, to power electric tools at a work site. The standard-range battery is expected to be good for 230 miles on a full charge, and the extended-range battery for 300 miles. The base model will start at a very reasonable $40k or so, making it one of the least expensive full-size pickups on the market: gas or electric.

How many F-150 owners, or aspiring owners, will go for the F-150 Lightning? Time will tell. I hope they will sell lots and lots of Lightning.

I did not know there had been a Ford F-150 Lightning in the 90’s: a sportier version of the F-150. This is a 1993 Ford F-150 Lightning [Aaron Kiley, Car and Driver Magazine]

Tuesday/ pipeline trouble

HOUSTON — Panicked drivers scrambled to fuel their vehicles across the Southeast on Tuesday, leaving thousands of stations without gasoline as a vital fuel pipeline remained largely shut down after a ransomware attack.

The disruption to the Colonial Pipeline, which stretches 5,500 miles from Texas to New Jersey, also left airlines vulnerable, with several saying they would send jet fuel to the region by air to ensure that service would not be disrupted.
-Clifford Krauss, Niraj Chokshi and David E. Sanger writing in the New York Times about panic buying of gasoline in the Southeast


If you are in the market for a new car, buy one that runs on electricity.

Friday/ charging, with 240 V

Here’s the 240-volt adapter for charging my Tesla’s car battery. (I had to buy it separately; it does not come with the car. Now all I need is the actual car with its battery, right?).

I will need a new electrical outlet, connected to a 240 V circuit, in my garage, similar to the one that I have in my basement for the clothes dryer. The standard 120 V outlet will actually do the job, charging the car. It will just charge a lot slower, up to 8 miles (of battery range) per hour vs. about 30 miles per hour for the 240 V outlet.

Think of electricity current (electrons) as water in a pipe, and voltage as the pressure that is applied to push the water through the pipeline. High voltage pushes more electric charge per second through the charging cable, and gets the battery charged quicker.

Just for fun, here’s a table with examples of electricity flow, current and voltage.
One ampere of current is one coulomb of charge moving past a given point per second. One coulomb is exactly 1/(1.602176634×10−19) elementary* charges.

*the charge on an electron

Electricity FlowCurrentVoltage
Current across human cell membranea few µA70 mV
iPhone consuming battery power0.1- 0.5 A3.7 V
LED light bulb (12W)0.1 A120 V
Incandescent light bulb (60W) 0.5 A120 V
Electric eel, delivering a shock1 A600 V
Household clothes dryer11 A240 V
Tesla car battery, charging12- 48 A 240 V
Long-distance power transmission line700 A350 kV
Lightning bolt (run for cover)30 kA300 MV

Sunday/ a Model 3 test drive

Patience is a virtue.
– Origin unknown, possibly Cato the Elder in the 3rd or 4th century, or from the The Canterbury Tales, written during the 14th century.


Back from my test drive around Lake Union, at the Tesla dealership on Westlake Avenue.

Here’s a sneak preview of the electric car that I took for a test drive today.

I actually put an order in for one as well.

It’s a 2021 Tesla Model 3.
I picked the the long-range model (average of 353 mi on a full charge), with all-wheel drive, deep blue metallic color, standard 18’’ aerodynamic wheels, all-black interior — and steered clear of the ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ option (that’s an extra $10,000).

I am going to have to be patient, though.
The delivery date is 7 to 11 weeks out.

Hey, three years ago the wait was 12 months.

Saturday/ electric car, circa 1973

It’s official: my Toyota Camry is going to be written off, and not be repaired.
I’ve told everyone I know for four years that my next car is an electric car, or no car at all*.

*Use Uber and the train or bus here in the city.

Since we’re still in a pandemic, and it would be so much more convenient to have a car, I am about to pull the trigger and put in my order for an electric car. (It’s from a company that is named after the last name of Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist Nikola Tesla).

Seattle City Light Superintendent Gordon Vickery with prototype electric car, 1973.
The vehicle was a modified Gremlin powered by 24 rechargeable six-volt batteries. It could run for approximately 50 miles at highway speeds before needing to be recharged. [Item 181150, City Light Photographic Negatives (Record Series 1204-01), Seattle Municipal Archives].

Monday morning/ it’s free

‘The effort to move the giant ship was assisted by forces more powerful than any machine rushed to the scene: the moon and the tides’
– the New York Times


Word came on Monday morning that the Ever Given had been freed.  It was towed to the Great Bitter Lake for a final inspection. The last thing authorities would want to happen, is for the ship to break down on the way to Port Said at the northern end of the Canal.

What a sight: the Ever Given in the middle of the Canal, getting towed to the Great Bitter Lake.
[Still from a video by Associated Press, posted on the online New York Times]