Tesla Model S - Junk in the Trunk?

The Amazing Trunks of the Model S

The cargo space of the Model S is more than that of any mass-production electric automobile that came before. 31.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 58.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The latter number is more than that of the Dodge Grand Caravan, Nissan Quest, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, and the Toyota Sienna.

The design is both spacious and practical, and for daily trips I usually put small items in the front trunk ("frunk").

As I used the Model S, it became an amusing hobby to take a picture of what it can carry. The idea that an all-electric car could be used to carry "lotsa stuff" prompts a mental double-take, or at least until our culture is used to that idea.

Blue Tesla Model S

Sometimes it is filled to the brim. Sometimes it carries what it carries leaving a chasm leftover. It all depends on what is needed.

So here's a little picture log of what I've carried in my Model S.

Carried in a Model S

OC-SF Road Trip May 2013
Our first long-distance road trip was taking our family of four from Orange County to the San Francisco east bay for Memorial Day weekend. We did fill much of the space, but even so we easily had room for another suitcase and more. trunk  frunk
These kids are cousins, and we all thought it was funny to let them hop and tumble in the trunk like it was a little playground.

Yes, of course, we did not drive around like this... geez.

Antique Cash Register
Hey, we found it! It's the engine in the Tesla Model S! So that's where it's been hiding. Seems kinda rusty though, so rusty it should be making a clickty-clack sound.

I had to take the in-laws' 1910's-era 70-pound brass antique genuine all-mechanical fully-operational National Cash Register to the consignment store today. This was a heavy monstrosity that nevertheless had character. Its height just barely fit in the frunk without padding. The operators of the store were quite amused.

But I felt I had to take a picture. The intersection of such old tech sitting in such high tech is something rarely seen.

Jogging Stroller
Daddy took his little 2-year-old Girl for the Huntington Beach July 4th 5k stroller run today. This isn't just any stroller. It's a full-sized running stroller built for speed. It is bulky and awkward. It does not fold.

Because the stroller's wheel-wheel width was too great for the hatchback, the wheels were removed, as designed. With only one child in the car, one rear seat is flipped down to accomodate the height of the stroller. With that, all the parts fit, plus all the blankets and doodads to entertain the Girl.

Trunk Garden
With our family of four in tow, we bought a dozen potted plants, a few up to 5 feet in height, a big bag of soil, and other gardening accessories today. With the rear seats up and the trunk's lower well exposed, we fit this entire temporary garden, along with a folding stroller, all in the back of this electric car.

Three Cats
We have three cats. We were about to leave on a one-week vacation. These cats therefore must be boarded for proper care.

In my previous (gas) car, three cats in their carriers could not fit in the trunk, so they sat on the passenger seats.

Model S. Rear seats up. Lay down some towels. Cats in carriers. All fit in the trunk. Hooray they all fit, with all passenger seats available and plenty of space left over!

The cats are not pleased.

What would happen if I went 0-60 in 4.2 seconds?

One-week Lake Arrowhead Vacation
Our family of four is using the Model S to take us up to Lake Arrowhead for a one-week vacation. This is the longest trip yet using this electric car. We have a lot to fit, including two full-sized suitcases, a few duffel bags, backpacks, several small bags, toys, four folding chairs, a bike helmet, and a BOB stroller that is good for maneuverability and terrain but doesn't fold well. frunk trunk

No way could my previous (gas) car take us and all our stuff. Today, everything fits!

It's not the biggest HDTV that could fit in the car, but it's the biggest (with a quarter inch to spare) that could fit in the cabinet where we will use it. Carrying this new HDTV home from Costco, the Model S with the rear seats down has room to spare. No way could I do that in my previous gas car. Flat Screen HDTV in Tesla trunk
12 bags of cedar chips, 2 cubic feet each + 40-pound bag of water softener KCl
We have some landscaping that annually needs new ground cover. With a tarp liner, drive the Tesla to Lowe's, buy 12 bags of cedar chips, load the trunk with seats up, add a water softener KCl bag, and here we are. Allow the fact they don't stack well and that "contents may settle", these 12 bags should be about 24 cubic feet, just shy of the official trunk cargo capacity: 26.3 cubic feet. Looks like confirmation, both of the statistic and the utility, without even flipping down the seats. It's as if I have an electric pickup truck. cedar chips in Tesla trunk
Two kids in rear-facing seats
Circumstances changed since purchasing the car such that a 5 adult + 2 child carrying capacity is useful when joining extended family and parking spots are limited. So I asked Tesla Motors to have rear-facing seats installed. The kids enjoyed the scenery, backwards, while eating popcorn. The savings over renting and fueling a gas SUV for these trips easily justifies the retrofit. Plus it's cool. Kids seated in Tesla trunk
27" flatscreen monitor in the frunk
A new 27" Samsung LCD monitor in the box, a box of K-cups, a case of Izze drinks, a package of King's Hawaiian bread, and more, all in the front trunk. This Costco run didn't need the big back trunk. 27-inch monitor in the front trunk
Violin in the frunk
On Sundays I serve as violin soloist for the Contemporary Choir at Saint Bonaventure Church. Beyond the traditional styles, our repertoire includes folk, celtic, gospel, bluegrass, country, and jazz, spiced with improvisation.

Each morning I go I load my violin in its case with a backpack full of accompaniment sheet music in the front trunk. On many occasions church-goers have a double-take when I pull out my case from the front. It fits in the front part of the frunk, ahead of the cargo net, with room left over.

Art and high-tech, together.

Violin in the front trunk
Scouting for Food from the rear-facing seats
Our local Cub Scout Pack collects food from surrounding neighborhoods to help feed others in need. The Girl Scouts join in too. These Scouts go door to door to ask for donations, but to get them from the Pack's headquarters to the neighborhoods, we fit two adult Den leaders and four scouts, plus their gear, in this Tesla. Two wanted to ride with a view out the back! Scouting for food in the Tesla trunk
A Costco Christmas in the trunk
It's a very Costco Christmas. Shopping before the big Christmas rush, both for ourselves and for an upcoming party, we bought enough to add lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas. The quantity required two big Costco shopping carts, yet it all fit into one Tesla back trunk:

24 juice boxes, 12 bottles of wine (in a brown box), several cases of beverages, variety pack of gift tags, 4 potted Poinsettias, a 4 TB external hard drive, two sets of pajamas, Rapunzel and Maximus toys, vodka, margarita mix, a deep-dish pizza, and a dish of macaroni and cheese.

And it fit with the seats flipped up.

And the front trunk is still empty, so we could've bought more!

Costco Trunk Christmas
OC Food Bank Donation in the frunk
When we throw the Christmas party, we invite our guests to donate non-perishable food that we later take to the OC Food Bank. We filled the frunk all the way to the back. My kids helped unload the food, all 105 pounds of it! frunk food OC Food Bank frunk food
Two-night Cub Scout Campout
I took my son to join his Den on a Cub Scout two-night campout at Firestone Scout Reservation a camping and activity site for all levels of scouting run by the Boy Scouts of America. This canyon is so isolated there was no cell-phone coverage.

Making the stay enjoyable takes a lot of planning and a lot of stuff! We had to "Be Prepared". The camp site was an unpaved field of dead wild grass with red-ant colonies and nighttime visits by coyotes. So I took everything I thought we needed, and what the Den needed, in this all-electric car:

Tesla Front Trunk Cub Scout Campout   Tesla Back Trunk Cub Scout Campout
A 60,000-BTU 14" two-burner portable camping stove with legs, a five-gallon propane tank, two 12" cast-iron skillets, a 24" cast-iron grilling accessory, a stove lighter, two coolers full of ice keeping bacon, fresh-cut fruit, eggs, burger patties, sliced cheese, condiments and other food cold, a large box full of disposable cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, towels, four rolls of toilet paper, four large trash bags, and an oven mitt, over 110 bottles of water, a box of cookout utensils, a four-person tent with a ground cloth and rain fly, two sleeping bags, two self-inflating sleeping pads, two pillows, a soccer ball, a nerf activity ball, two pairs of hiking shoes, running shoes, two hats, other clothing for two days, a duffel bag, bug repellent, sunblock, a barometer/thermometer weather station, two backpacks, two headlamps, portable lantern, a portable alcove for shade, four portable chairs, and a seven-foot-long folding table.

Did I miss anything?

Do we get the point yet?

Tesla Cub Scout Campfire   Tesla Firestone Scout Reservation

Dean E. Dauger holds a Ph. D. in physics from UCLA, where his group created the first Mac cluster in 1998. Dr. Dauger is the award-winning author in multiple American Institute of Physics' Software Contests and co-authored the original, award-winning Kai's Power Tools image-processing package for Adobe Photoshop. After founding his company, Dauger Research, Inc., its debut product, Pooch, derived from Dr. Dauger's experience using clusters for his physics research, was soon awarded as "most innovative" by IEEE Cluster and continues to revolutionize parallel computing and clusters worldwide with its patented technology.

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