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Monday, February 13, 2017

Moving Grandpa in a Tesla Model X

Grants Pass, Oregon
We traveled from Portland Oregon to Grants Pass in our Tesla Model X to help my wife's grandfather move into an assisted living facility.

Grandpa spent most of his career as a parts manager for a GM dealership. He knows cars. At 94 he still has his wits about him and can tell you stories about how things have changed over the decades.

He had never seen a Tesla before.

Tesla Model X

He was impressed with the Tesla Model X. Our conversation went something like this:

  Him: How far can it go?
  Me: 257 miles on a charge.
  H: I didn't know they could go that far yet.
  H: How much can it haul?
  M: Five thousand pounds. It has a trailer hitch that we'll use for our camper this summer.
      It has so much torque, it won't even slow us down. And there is plenty of room
      for gear in the back and it has a front trunk too.
  H: How much does it cost to charge up?
  M: When we charge up at home, it's about the same as $1 per gallon gas. For trips
      like this one, it's free* on Tesla's charging network. You have one of their free
      Superchargers right here in Grants Pass.
  H: Free? Well, you can't beat that!
  H: I remember when gas was a dollar a gallon. Heck, I remember when it was seventeen cents.

* I know it is not free, it's included in the price of the car, but at 94, he is not in the car market and it was a nuance that I didn't think was relevant in this context.

We were there to help him move, so on the last day of our visit, we started the move. Our Model X has the 6-seat configuration. I folded the 3rd row down and moved one of the second-row seats forward. This left seating for 3. We filled up the frunk and the cargo area with his stuff. My father-in-law had a truck for the dresser and table. We were loaded.

We decided to have grandpa ride with me. At 94 years old, he's no spring chicken. He uses a walker and is prone to falling. I hopped in the car and lowered the air suspension. This would make it easier for him to step in. Then I opened the falcon wing door. He was again impressed. "Are we going to fly there?" he quipped.

He approached the car and grabbed the b-pillar for stability and we moved his walker. This allowed him to step into the car and sit in the second row. My father-in-law commented on how much easier that was than getting him into the truck had been on the previous day.

We went out to lunch. When we arrived, before opening the door, I raised the air suspension, to help get him out of the car. This was like a lift-seat helping him get his weight above his feet. I opened the falcon wing door and with him still seated, we turned him so that he was pointed out of the car. With the door up and out of the way, this was easy. We brought his walker and from his high sidesaddle position, he was easily able to stand and take the helm of his walker.

We went in and had a nice lunch.

We were not in an ADA parking spot and when we were leaving we found that another car had parked next to us. Sitting him on the other side of the vehicle was not an option since it was filled with moving boxes.

Granpa said, "You're going to have to move the car to get that [falcon wing] door open." There was plenty of room for him to fit, even with the walker, between the cars so I was sure the door had plenty of room. I clicked on the key fob and the falcon wing worked its double-hinged engineering magic and opened wide without even coming close to the other car. "What will they think of next?" he exclaimed.

We did the same simple suspension lower and raise load and unload procedure as we left lunch and when arriving at his new home. We unloaded and finished the move in job. My wife and mother-in-law arranged the furniture and knick knacks. Soon we had him moved into his new home.

Later that evening, we said our goodbyes and began our journey back north.

If you'd like to read about our drive to and from Grants Pass, you can read part 1 of the Supercharger adventure trek story here.