Tag Archives: tesla

Did Elon Musk own a go-kart?

I’ve wanted to drive ever since my dad let me sit on his lap behind the wheel of his 1952 Edsel. The automobile was our passport to get out of the city and discover new lands. Growing up in a relatively small town, the routine sites and sounds got to be rather boring, even for a kid. Owning a car meant you could escape your normal surroundings and explore. Even Chevrolet hired Dinah Shore to sing their jingle, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” I don’t know about Elon Musk, but my first ride was a go-kart.

1952 Edsel

My dad built the first hybrid

When I was 5 years of age, my dad bought me a push pedal car. It was a great little car, even though my little legs gave out trying to pedal it through the grass in our small yard. I guess my dad saw me struggling to pedal it and got to thinking.

He had an old self propelled reel style lawn mower that he was tired of sharpening the blades on. The motor on it still worked. What if I could make a go-kart out of the self propelled mower and the pedal cart. My dad didn’t own a lot of tools but he did own a hack saw and bailing wire. With those two things in hand, he sawed the pedal cart in half where the rear wheels were. He then sawed the handles of the self propelled mower off. Taking the two parts, he wired them together to make my first go kart.

Reel lawnmower

Skip ahead 10 years

Skipping ahead 10 years to my teenage years, being able to legally drive a car was still a few years away, not that this kept me from driving! Somehow, I had to find a way to be able to drive. I needed something that I could drive legally. What I needed was a real go-kart. My dad still had that old engine from the reel lawn mower that he had converted into a motorized scooter. All I needed was a go-kart frame. My job at the chicken farm didn’t pay much. At $1 per hour, all I could afford was $25 for an old dilapidated go-kart frame. The right front wheel didn’t touch the ground due to someone running the go-kart into a tree which had bent the frame. The front tire was about 1 inch off the ground, but it was a beauty to me, even painted baby blue.

go-kart frame

Frankenstein #2

As if tying a pedal cart and a lawnmower wasn’t bad enough, my dad was able to attach the old mower engine to the back of the go-kart and somehow rigged it up so that I had a real gas pedal and brakes. To me, this wasn’t a Frankenstein, this was a car worthy of the Indy 500. By then, we had moved to the country with gravel roads and a field next to our new home. I sped up and down the gravel roads and in a big loop in the field to head back down the road in front of our house. We lived in a sleepy town, so there really wasn’t any traffic. Everything was great until word got out that Gill owned a go-kart.

A free attraction

A number of the neighbor kids came over and asked if they could ride my go-kart. Hesitantly I let them ride it a few times, but gasoline wasn’t free and this was MY go-kart. After a couple of days, I put that to a stop telling them to go build their own go-kart. My dad got word that I had closed up shop, not allowing other kids to ride it and I was told that I must share and let them have turns.

There, stood a line 4 to 5 kids deep with me maintaining this free attraction and having to give driving instructions to the kids. It wasn’t long before I was out of gas. I told the kids, “Hey, you supply the gas and you can ride.” Amazingly, they all left and none of them returned with gas cans. I guess as long as the ride was free, they didn’t mind riding.

The need for speed

After a couple of weeks, it seemed that my go-kart had gotten slower and slower. In all actuality, it was going the same speed. I was just ready for more speed. Noticing that there was this wire near the carburetor that if I pulled it, the engine revved up like crazy. I wondered why it didn’t sound like that when I use the gas pedal. I found a way to take the throttle cable and attach it to this wire and then to my gas pedal. Now, I was able to increase my speed by almost 33%.

I was zooming up and down the road. This was great! Why didn’t the manufacturer of the motor done that originally? What I didn’t realize was that this was the engine governor. It kept the engine at a normal rpm while the engine was under load. To me, it was free power, to the manufacturer, it was a way to keep the engine from blowing up when not under load.

Broken connecting rod

Back to the drawing board

Now that my engine was an anchor, I was back to the drawing board. I had a go-kart frame that was engineless. I needed to be able to save up enough money to buy another engine, but making only $1 per hour, I couldn’t afford a new engine.

By now I was in high school, still with no drivers license. There was a kid who was a senior that raced go-karts. I found out his name and went and located him during lunch one school day. I explained my dilemma. I’m thinking that he felt sorry for me. He was from a family of mechanics and racing was their middle name. He said that he had a used 2 stroke racing engine that he could part with for $20. I was exuberant. After a couple of weeks, I could afford that. I promised to buy the motor as soon as I could earn the money for it. After a few weeks of working, the day arrived that the transaction would occur. He delivered the engine to my house explaining that a 2 stroke motor required oil to be mixed with the gasoline as well as other tips.

Clinton go-kart engine

Getting hooked up

My dad was busy with his barbershop quartet singing and didn’t have the time to help me with my go-kart any longer. He told me that this time, it was up to me to get the engine hooked up to the frame. This was when I realized that I would need actual tools. A hammer, screwdriver and a pair of pliers wasn’t going to cut it.

I bought my first set of wrenches and ratchets on sale for $10 and felt like a real mechanic. My dad had a power drill which was needed to drill new holes in the go-kart frame to be able to mount the engine to the rear frame. This I was able to do as well as attach the chain to the sprocket. What I couldn’t figure out was how to connect the throttle control to the gas pedal. Knowing the shortest distance between 2 points was a straight line, a piece of wire from an old picture frame did the trick. I was ready to roll!

Let’s wake up the neighbors

It was Saturday morning. My go-kart was ready. All I needed was 2 cycle oil to mix with the gasoline in the gas can. My buddy had given me a partial bottle of 2 cycle oil when he sold me the motor. I carefully added the correct amount as he had informed me. Pouring that mixture into the small gas tank on the 2 stroke motor and I was just about finished. I pushed the go-kart to the top of the driveway, took the pull rope and gave it a tug. Nothing happened. I gave it a little gas and pulled again. Suddenly the 2 stroke motor sprung to life. It made this loud raspy rat-a-tat sound like a chain saw. I didn’t realize that chain saws also used 2 stroke motors, I just knew that chain saws were loud.

chain saw

I positioned myself in the metal seat of the go-kart, using an old cushion for a little padding on the metal seat frame. Carefully, I pulled the wire that I had connected to the 2 stroke motor throttle control and the rear wheel of the go-kart spun like crazy. Gravel was spinning high into the air behind the go-kart. I finally pulled it just a wee bit to get it to finally grab the gravel road and head down the lane.

I had only pulled the wire a little bit and I was going faster than the old lawn mower engine at it’s top ungoverned speed. What would happen if I pulled it all the way? With one hand I held the steering wheel, with the other hand I pulled the wire. The go-kart took off. The wind was blowing against my face. Water was starting to stream from the corners of my eyes due to the speed of the go-kart. Three wheels were on the ground with the 4th wheel touching only when I would head around corners. I was in go-kart heaven.

Part of the chain gang

Due to my limited amount of tools and how I had attached the motor to the go-kart, whenever I hit a big pump, the chain would pop off. This would leave the engine revving wildly high with the go-kart slowing to a stop. I limped the go-kart back home to realize that the L bracket that the engine was mounted on wasn’t really strong enough and that this was going to be a regular problem. What was needed was a thick gauge bracket, a welder and more tools than I had. I figured out how to reattach the chain and settled to just live with the chain popping off on every ride.

go-kart sprocket

I was the talk of the neighborhood, but not in a good way. It seems that my early morning weekend drives around the neighborhood was too loud for the neighbors. They complained to my parents that it was bad enough to have to listen to the wind of a chain saw when neighbors would use their chain saw to fell a tree, but to listen to one running up and down the street day in and day out was enough to drive them crazy. The complaint department told me that my go-kart was grounded and my days of running unfettered through the neighborhood was over. I put the go-kart under the front porch where it sat for months and months.

During this time, I had turned 16 and acquired my drivers license. One of my first jobs working at a gas station, I had my eyes on a Chevy Belair Station Wagon which an older fellow employee owned. He saw the stars in my eyes and it didn’t take much for him to convince me to purchase it from him. That was a quick $300 he pocketed.

All good things must come to an end

By now, I had a car, a girlfriend and a job that paid $3.25 per hour. It was time to grow up. After several years, I found someone to take the old go-kart off my hands. He had a son that was around 14 and he wanted to go through this rite of passage as I did. I think I sold it for $25.

I will always remember my old baby blue go-kart. From riding in my dad’s Edsel, riding in a pedal cart/mower hybrid all the way up to my current ride, a Tesla. Hmm, I wonder if Elon Musk ever had a go-kart? For me, the go-kart holds fond memories of learning how to drive the way that most kids do not. I learned a lot of lessons along the way, the most important…….buy a quiet muffler!

Tesla Model 3

Stop! Don’t start your day yet!

Please, don’t start your day yet.

Stop right there. You are getting ready to put your life on auto-pilot. Your life is not a Tesla. Don’t start your day until you have finished it.
Red Tesla model S - auto pilot

Autopilot is only for planes and some cars

You do not need auto-pilot for your life. You only get one shot at this. If someone said, “Here, I have deposited $1 million dollars into your bank account. The only stipulation is that you must be purposeful as to what you spend it on.” Would you then go and spend it on whatever hit your fancy at the moment until you had nothing left in your account? No, of course, you wouldn’t, but why do we do this with something that is worth much more than money, our lives. Learn to start your day on the right foot.

Every day is a do-over

Yep, every day is a do-over. We have the opportunity to right the mistakes of the previous day. We don’t have to treat life as if we were shampooing our hair. Rinse and repeat.  When you wake up in the morning, there are of course specific routines that we perform that are good and necessary for all of us, but after these routines have been performed, now it is time to figure out how you want today to be different than yesterday. In this age of texts, emails, voice mails, Skype, Hangouts and the plethora of other means of communication, we have to turn off, shut off, disable those things that demand our attention. Many of these things are merely digital reminders. They aren’t even human! If this day that you have been given, and by the way, each day is a gift, is worth living, then give yourself the best chance to make it better than yesterday.

Each day is like a ski jump

For me, each day is akin to a ski jump. Once you leave the gate, it’s all downhill. Gravity takes over, and there is no stopping.
sitting at the top of the ski jump

I don’t know about you, but it is almost impossible to stop that quick gliding down the slope. Once you start your day, it seems as if gravity takes over.  I liken it to standing at the gate, without your helmet, maybe one ski isn’t fastened in the bindings properly, you left your goggles at home, and then it begins. It’s too late. Your day has already started and at this rate, it’s not going to go well. You have to prepare before you make that long ascent to the top of the ski jump. At home, you would double check to make sure that you have all of your equipment, your skis are waxed to the condition of the slope, you have had ample protein and hydrated your body so that you are ready to go. Also, spending time in prayer or meditation will settle your mind. If I was going to go down a ski jump, all I would do is pray “Oh God, why did I agree to do this!”

Finish your day before you start it

Yep, you heard it right, finish your day before you start it. Know what you want to have accomplished before the end of the day. Know what is going to make the most significant difference in your life today and for others. Make that a priority. Carve out the time required for this. Don’t let anything short-circuit your plan. It’s not enough to think about it.
cartoon character holding oversized pencil with a task list. Start your day right with a to-do list.I find that writing things down solidifies them in my mind. Doing this at home NOT at work is the only way to clear your mind from the distractions. The nonspoken demands that just being in the atmosphere of work tend to kill that quiet space. Once you are at work, you have started that slide down the ski slope.

You will find that this works

I challenge you to try this for one week. If this does not work, then you can unsubscribe to my blog. For those of you that are not subscribers, if it does work, then subscribe.  I have found that this method does work. It is VERY powerful if you will do this in quiet before you begin your day. The goal is to stand at the top of the slope, confident that you are prepared, then let the wind blow through your hair as you glide to the best day of your life!

ski jumper flying in the air

My Amazing Tesla Model 3 Delivery Experience

My Tesla Model 3 delivery experience was fantastic, and I will tell you why. I haven’t purchased a new vehicle in almost 20 years. Most of the time, you haggle with a car salesman over price, then after much arm twisting to try and get you to go with the extended warranty, undercoating and expensive sealers, you finally get your car; not with Tesla.

Model 3 tesla

Step by step sequence of Tesla Model 3 delivery

When you get a phone call letting you know that your Tesla Model 3 is ready for pickup, you are given an appointment so that they can get your car ready for presentation as well as have all of the paperwork and one of the team members available to explain the working of the car to you.

They stagger delivery times so that they can:

  • Get you to sign the paperwork
  • Go over the registration details
  • Walk you through the basic operation of your car
  • Answer any questions
  • Let you drive away with your new car

When you go to the Glen Allen Service Center in Virginia, you will see that their lot is full of Model 3’s, ready to be prepped and delivered. I hear that there are even the dual motor versions ready for delivery because a young lady stopped me and told me that hers was ready for pickup next week with the dual motors.

Step by step delivery experience

First, I entered the Tesla Glen Allen VA service center and told the gentleman sitting in the service area that I was here to pick up my Tesla Model 3. He told me to have a seat and he would let the delivery team know that I was there. Another couple was there from Chesapeake VA who was getting ready to have their appointment. That was it, not a long line of people waiting to pick up their car.

I got up and walked around the showroom looking at the Model S and the Model X while I was waiting to be called back. I think I waited around 10-15 minutes before I was called back.

“Mr. Trotman, would you follow me please?” said the guy who was handling my delivery. I walked into a separate room and there sat two beautiful Model 3’s on their own carpet. It was plugged in with a full charge. On the counter behind the car was a small placard with my name on it as well as the delivery paperwork. I walked around the car admiring this vehicle that I had only seen in a picture. It was sort of like a blind date or dating online. She was beautiful, even if I had only seen a “head shot” of her!

Signing the paperwork was very simple as all of the choices for options had been completed online a month earlier as well as the loan application, my insurance and title papers. I think the paperwork took a total of 5 minutes.

How do I operate this contraption?

interior shot of Tesla Model 3

Next, a young lady introduced me to my car and let me walk around it for a little bit admiring it. After a few moments of checking out the curves of the car and seeing it up close for the first time, she had me sit in the drivers seat and started to explain the center display console. For a newbie Tesla owner, there was a lot to absorb, but she took her time and explained it all, answering my questions when needed. She stated that corporate had wanted these deliveries to take 5 minutes, but there was no way she expected new Tesla owners to live with that, feeling short changed on all of the information that they wanted to know.  I think this part alone took about 30 minutes as I needed to know how to operate the car, charge it, what it would and would not do, getting my phone synced to the car as well as explaining the app on my phone.

Next, she said “Congratulations!” and opened the overhead door to let me drive out into the gas guzzling world. We told her that we wanted to drive it around the residential neighborhood behind the service center first before venturing out on the interstate. She gave us directions on where was a good place to take it for it’s virgin drive.

We drove around the neighborhood getting out so that both my wife and I could drive it. After feeling comfortable with the basic operation of the car, I hit the pedal and floored it. The car jumped immediately into action with absolutely no sound at all, only the sound of the tires against the pavement. We were thrust back into our seats and both looked at each other with wide eyes and big grins. This was going to be a FUN car to drive! That was my Tesla Model 3 delivery experience. I hope that yours is just as fun as ours was.

 

Tesla model 3 delivery

https://www.tesla.com/model3

https://www.tesla.com/findus/location/service/richmondglenallen

https://www.facebook.com/gill.trotman.7

Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X Sounds!

Have you ever heard a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X?

This is just an idea for Elon Musk and his Tesla team, but I digress. After 11 months, Tesla finally delivered my Model 3. This is the understudy to the Model S, but it is quick, even with the standard motor. It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. This is the same speed as 1995 Chevrolet Corvette LT1. Not bad for a base Model 3.  Being this is my first electric car, I found myself going faster than I should have due to no engine sound.

Tesla Model 3

As I was accelerating with no audible sound at all,  I got this idea. Flipping through the 15″ dashboard screen noticing ALL of the controls and settings that are accessed through the screen, I said to myself, “Why not download all of the coolest car engine sounds there are out there, synchronize it with the accelerator pedal and send it through the speaker system?” You would be able to pick your engine sound and volume of course and as you accelerate, you get that familiar sound of the engine, and not just any engine, a Ferrari,  Dodge Hemi or any other engine! Can you imagine the first ride of a passenger? You simply turn it on before you leave the parking lot and they think you have some massive engine under the hood. After a few miles, you simply dial down the volume to 0 and they look over at you like, “Hey your engine just died.” All you say is, “Gotcha! This is a Tesla dude!”

Rent a Tesla

tesla plugged

Yesterday, I bought a few domain names that maybe I will use someday.

  • dailyteslarentals.com
  • rentanelectric.com
  • rentanelectricauto.com
  • rentateslafirst.com
  • teslaautorentals.com

If I can spare the time and borrow enough cash, I would start a small electric auto rental company. The slogan would be ‘Try one before you buy one!’  
I have never owned a 100% electric car. How do I know that I would like it? If I had the opportunity, I would rent one and try it out for a week, just long enough for the battery to die leaving me stranded. Ok, maybe not let the battery die all the way, but how much of a pain is it to realize you can’t just put a couple of gallons in the tank and drive another 50 miles? Will an electric car lesser than the Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode be zippy enough for me? Since an electric car is new for most of us, do I really want to be stuck owning a car that I might hate? Taking the car out for a spin while that dealer’s salesman is sitting shotgun is enough of a pain when you buy a gas powered vehicle, but there is just no way that a 20 minute drive is going to let you know if owning an electric car is right for you!
dealership-test-driveYou need to take it out on the open road, in the city, bumper to bumper traffic and let’s not forget recharging. How much will it cost to get a charging outlet installed at your home? How much will it add to the purchase price of the car? When it comes to owning an electric car on a day to day basis, you can try and find a friend that has an electric car and ask them, but everyone is different. Just like everyone needs a different kind of vehicle to suit their needs, will an electric vehicle suit your needs?

As the years pass, I’m sure there will be electric powered pickup trucks, vans, SUVs, motorcycles and minivans, but right now, your choices are rather limited. This makes renting an electric vehicle for a week almost required, sort of like pet adoption. As every pet has it’s own personality, so do cars. Why do we have so many different makes and models? It’s because we are so unique when it comes to buying a vehicle. It’s an extension of our personality, almost like the clothes you wear.

If I bought a used Tesla, would you rent it from me for a week or a few days? I’m talking the

Tesla Model S
tesla s

This is the expensive one. I can’t afford a new one, but a used one would work to rent to people for $150/day. I know that is a lot of money per day, but this car is the ultimate electric vehicle. Your friends could drool for the day as well. I promise to leave the ‘RentAnElectric’ license plate frame off of it.
Now that the Tesla Model 3 has arrived, and yes mine arrived last week, you could rent the Model 3 for say $100/day. This is affordable and a great driving experience! It has all of the great features of the Tesla line at an affordable price. This would give you a chance to test out the acceleration, charging requirements, the quiet instead of a motor and transmission whining in your ear.
Model 3 tesla
Many people say that they have a hard time getting used to the quiet. Do you need engine noise or will you love the quiet of nothing but the road noise? How do you know unless you try it?

When I brought home my new Model 3 Tesla, my neighbor who is a pure engine guy, was not impressed until he rode in my Model 3. When I floored it, his eyes got big and he said, “Wow, I never realized these things had so much torque!” Then he got intrigued with the center screen and all of the options that were available. So much for only wanting to drive a gas powered car!

Either way, I think it’s a good alternative to Hertz, Alamo or a host of other auto rental companies where an electric car is not normally an option and surely not guarantee even if they do have one.  Who is in this with me? I take Visa, MC, Discover and American Express!