Tuesday 6 January 2015

Auto & Event: Tesla Rally Hong Kong 2014 & Shark Conservation

Participants of Tesla Rally HK 2014, photo taken outside Marriott Sky City
Image from TMC HK
This year with the arrival of Model S in Hong Kong, Tesla Motors Club Hong Kong initiated a rally on the 14th December. Families and friends gathered together to promote this latest car model as well as the importance of eco-driving. As a prelude to the upcoming documentary "Racing Extinction" on the 24th January 2015, we showed our support by donating some money raised in this event to the Hong Kong Shark Foundation (HKSF).

Image from Leilani Munter's Facebook
And here is an extract from the rally organisers' letter:

This year, the proceeds will go to the Hong Kong Shark Foundation (hksharkfoundation.org). As many as 73 million sharks are harvested each year for their fins, and more than half of these fins are traded in or through Hong Kong.

Leilani M√ľnter (carbonfreegirl.com) is a biology graduate who eventually became the unusual combination of a race car driver and environmental activist. She was involved in the Cove documentary, and drives for the upcoming Racing Extinction documentary movie.

Here is what she has to say:

"I was thrilled to hear that my fellow Tesla owners in Hong Kong are raising awareness about the terrible practice of shark finning. As a long time scuba diver, I have encountered many sharks in the wild and they are incredibly beautiful creatures. They have roamed the deep unchanged for hundreds of millions of years since before the dinosaurs.
The balance of the ocean ecosystem depends on animals from the smallest microbe to the top predator and humans have already killed off 90% of the shark population, largely due to shark fin soup. Humans depend on the health of the ocean, if the oceans die, we die. This horrible practice must end, for their sake - and for ours."

The fact that the organisers managed to get Leilani to say a few words to support us really gave us the morale boost for the rally and the fighting for a greener better world.

Image from markwj
The rally's route has a distance of 153km with an estimated 2 hr 55 mins of driving. A Google Map version has been linked here. The following drone video shows the gathering at the Kai Tai Cruise Terminal and at the Science Park. (My car is the second last near the end of the video.)

All Tesla EVs except mine began at the Kai Tai Cruise Terminal in Kowloon where took photos and videos. Then mine joined in after the group of 14 EVs crossed the Eastern Harbour Tunnel to Hong Kong side, then we headed towards Cyberport all together. The fact that I did not start together with the group was because I lived near the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, it would be a waste of money if I had to cross the tunnel twice just to get back to where I started.

Gathering near Cyberport Superchargers
Image from Locky's English Playground
Because the charging at my car park tripped at 2am the night before, I would need a quick supercharge at Cyberport just to be safe. The entrance to the supercharger car park was horrifically littered with dozens of fist-size pebbles (it must be some sort of vandalism!), and because of the cars behind me, I had to drive over them. Subsequent cracking sounds were terrifying and when nervousness set in, I drove too close to the right side of the curb at the car park entrance and scratched my rim on the front wheel!!! And it just had to be this day after I had failed to search for my rim protector the entire day before (and recovered it after the rim was scratched the next day). So much for my first official charge at a supercharger EVER!! And because of the charging, I missed the chance to have a good chat with the rest of the owners. I did get my No. 14 car stickers though. Since No.13 has left, my car is the last in the queue.

Here's a music video I made using raw videos taken by fellow owner Core (with thanks).

I had about 10 mins of supercharging and got the battery filled up to roughly 275km of range, and then quickly headed back to the group and drove towards Hong Kong International Airport. The drive was awesome, but many highways got me both excited and nervous. For one thing, I have always driven with wife and baby inside the car, going mostly tight city roads means that I had hardly driven passed 70kmph. Although we were going rather slowly for the purpose of keeping in one line and in sequence, being the last of the queue means that if I got lost or going too slowly, there would be a hard time chasing the rest and I had to drive even faster, which could be pretty dangerous for me.

Heading towards Marriott Sky City
Image from Locky's English Playground

There were indeed one scary incidence in which I was cut off from the group by a taxi, and because there was enough space between the Model S in front and the taxi, I decided to overtake the taxi again. I cut out on my right, but the car behind was too fast and too close without my noticing, I heard the first honk of complaint from the car behind. Then I accelerated and cut left before the taxi back to the queue and then there was the second honk, this time from the taxi, as I was probably too close once again. But that wasn't it, the taxi driver thought I was doing it on purpose instead of being inexperience in driving fast, decided to take revenge and dangerously overtook me in a similar fashion as I did. I had to brake pretty hard when he did that. However, soon enough he realised that the rest of the Model Ss in front of him are going way too slowly for his liking, he left for the fast lane and I was back with the group again. I bet the driver realised that he had intervened our rally once he switched to a faster lane and it was stupid to take revenge on a car with women and baby just to get into a slow-moving lane.

Intra-rally communication was carried out using Zello, but I had no idea that my Zello wasn't even working from the start. I found this strange because no one was using the app throughout the journey but somehow the rest of the group seems to know when the video taking was going to happen (Can't believe Core was driving with his legs only while his hands were holding the camera!!). It was only on Tsingma bridge that I asked my sister to check out what was wrong with the app by Whatsapping her boyfriend who was in another Model S in front, and finally got connected with the group. The above is another music video I made using raw videos taken by fellow owner Core (with thanks).

Getting parked for photos
Image from Locky's English Playground

Coolly parked outside Marriott Sky City
Image from Locky's English Playground
Being able to reach airport intact was a real blessing for me with all those car chases and without communications with the group and thus knowledge of the exact route. Lunch was most needed at that time.

Someone is having fun
Image from Locky's English Playground
Buffet at Marriott was great, but the people were even greater.

More someones
Image from Locky's English Playground
Chatting with the rest was so much fun and friendship just seemed to have formed immediately.

Some babies need game time
Image from Locky's English Playground
The babies would agree with me too.

He's faster on bare feet
Image from Locky's English Playground
After their meal, they just couldn't sit on their high chairs any more.

Babies chit chat
Image from Locky's English Playground
They had to socialise...

Beads can be fun for baby Muse
Image from Locky's English Playground
...and played with everything they find fun.

Organizer Mark(left) with wife and daughter (centre) and Mike from Liberty
Photo by Vincent
After lunch, there was a lucky draw and everyone got a small gift, some more photo-taking of each one of us holding signs and plush toys of sharks, and then we left for Science Park .

We Love Sharks!!! Particularly my baby
Image from Vincent
I let my sister drive this part and I became her co-driver. We were told explicitly that we had to stick to the left before the toll but both of us weren't sure how left was left, since all other cars have autotoll tag, our car was the only one that had to look for a cash toll, ended up we couldn't switch lanes to rejoin the rest after the toll and we had to drive to Science Park on our own.

Car Exhibition?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Lucky that we still managed to reach the same place, though we were the last to get there as we got lost once more, that allowed us to see the scene of a scary car crash that the group was telling us to be careful of.

A Red Roadster led the entire rally
Image from Locky's English Playground
The fact that suddenly so many Teslas appeared made people think that this is a car show.

L1TELOG Owner Core is better than most sales on the Tesla Motors HK team
Image from Vincent
Most of them were definitely attracted by the passion of our fellow owner Core, here demonstrating the hugeness of the frunk himself, while the rest started digging their fingers into the tiny gaps of door handles wondering why they failed. After 15 minutes of stay, we left the completely Model S-amazed weekend families at Science Park and headed to our final stop of the day, Clear Water Bay Golf and Country Club. Here is the last music video I made:

Nicely parked outside Clear Water Bay Golf and Country Club
Image from Locky's English Playground
Sunset on Teslas
Image from Vincent
The sun was setting beautifully on these gorgeous eco-friendly cars while hunger was also setting in, so it was time for tea.

Most energy efficient drivers of the rally
Image from Vincent
There was another prize presentation then for the most energy efficient drivers. Although I drove a lighter 60kWh battery car, my slow-driving tendency made me the least energy efficient driver of the day, so no prize for me.

Final shot of the day
Image from Vincent
When the rally drew to a close, everyone still felt awesome and promised to join the rally again next year! Meaningful and educational, and that is HK$4,133.75 worth of donation to the Hong Kong Shark Foundation.

We did it for the sharks and our future generations, what have you done for the world lately?

PS: For more photos, please visit TMC_HK_Pic's photostream .

Hong Kong Shark Foundation Official Website

Racing Extinction

Tesla Motors Club Hong Kong 2014 Rally +YouTube

Tesla Rally Hong Kong 2014


Leilani Munter @ Twitter

Rally route @ Google Map

Tesla Motors Club Hong Kong 2014 Rally @ YouTube

Tesla Rally HK 2014 @Locky's Google Plus

Tesla Rally Hong Kong 2014 Cyperport Stop @ YouTube

Tesla Rally Hong Kong 2014 Science Park & Clear Water Bay Golf and Country Club @ YouTube

TMC_HK_Pic's photostream 

It's On: Oil Versus Electric @ Huffington Post

Liberty International