Tesla Model 3 replacing my 13 year old Honda Civic Hybrid, let's see how that goes. So far, so good!
At the start of this video this video, Roadshow's Tim Stevens proclaims:
What you're looking at is the most anticipated car of all time. With more than a half million pre-orders on the books, the Tesla Model 3 has piqued the interest of more people around the world than any car in history.
A vehicle is usually the second most expensive thing we buy in our adulthood, right behind the cost of a place to live. So making a buying decision like this isn't exactly a decision I take lightly, and in some sense this journey began 13 years ago, with the purchase of our family's first hybrid, a year after my wife got her 2005 Honda Civic EX. Yes, we've owned Honda Civics for 29 years.
This article is a work in progress, some portions may be turned into separate articles about charging, accessories, and out-of-state buying. Please come back and refresh to see frequent updates appended below, and consider subscribing to be nofified of new articles.
- Table of Contents
- Supporting true innovation
- Why not a new Honda Insight Hybrid?
- Why not any other all electric?
- Specifications comparison
- An eye toward the long road ahead
- I'm aware of the concerns
- 2018 Model 3 Pros
- 2018 Model 3 Cons
- 2018 Model 3 Considerations
- Charging at home, and on the road
- The test drive
- Instant response
- Why it's exhilarating, and it's not what you think
- Return Policy
- The Tech
- Dec 18 2018, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 updates.
- Jan 01 2019, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 updates.
- Additional Photos
What moved my family from just-in-case/someday pre-order back in August of 2017 to actual order just this past Wednesday? Safety, freeing up my beloved 2006 Hybrid to be given to one of my sons, featuring side and front airbags, good crash protection, excellent economy, and modest insurance costs for a young person with an excellent driving record.
Well, it's not quite that simple. Let's take a look back at when I really started my long journey of trying to get away from gasoline and oil...
Yes, I'm an Early Adopter. I'll admit that there was considerable allure to joining in to the growing Hybrid trend back in March of 2006, when I placed my order for my light blue/gray Honda Civic Hybrid with Tan leather seats in February of 2006. A "green" car was a bit more about the promise than the reality, back then. That was a long time ago.
I quickly fell for my little Hybrid during a test drive, and ownership went well, driving a LOT for my job commuting an hour each way every day back then. I could even use the HOV lane even when driving solo on Long Island, where many of my customers soon were. My efficient, aerodynamic, and modern good looking ride has been featured in articles right here at TinkerTry and on Twitter, and it has been far and away the best car I've ever owned, especially when measuring operational costs per year. Another big reason was that I also love the automated climate control that was only available in the Hybrid, and I’m glad I got the navigation option, allowing me steering wheel controls of my years of podcast listening.
Yes, driving a Civic Hybrid was a statement, much like the Toyota Prius, but a whole lot less goofy looking, see specs at Honda.
Yes, I drove my elementary and middle-school age sons around a LOT in this car, and it sure got the job done. No significant maintenance issues outside of normal wear items, and a Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) Battery that thankfully died right around 98,000 without stranding me, still drivable. Replacement didn't cost me anything under the 100,000 mile warranty. I've never owned a vehicle with so few issues, and yes, I did feel I had dodged a ~$2500 bullet with that fortuitous timing.
It's at 165,000 now, that's 12,692 miles per year. This hybrid sometimes obtained a remarkable 47 mpg, seen here, headed from central Connecticut straight to JFK. It's especially nice to see my sons become more interested in avoiding gasoline chugging vehicles with less of a carbon footprint, having been accustomed to compact cars all their lives. I personally can't believe how many huge sport utilities vehicles Americans drive around these days.
What were the drawback to this small car? It wasn't a particularly quiet ride, even with the continuously variable transmission. Acceleration could be quite weak when in traffic during hot weather, when the 20 horsepower electric motor isn't boosting the modest 110 horsepower gasoline engine much, if at all.
New Hondas, such as a Civic? They no longer make a Civic Hybrid.
How about the Insight? It's not all electric is the big thing, do I really want to drive such a thing for the next decade+? Civic and to some extent the Insight have a muscular youthful look that prioritizes cosmetics way above mileage. Sorry Honda, not for me, but thank you again for a great 13 years!
Even if there were an all-electric Honda that suited me, having access to a charging network would certainly be a challenge for what I need right now, a car that gets me to work, and to customers and back again, getting back home faster and far more efficiently, with a network of Superchargers to save me should I actually run low when out and about.
Same issue with the Chevy Bolt, just not enough ways to charge it quickly when you're far from home. Then again, the "Destination Charging" network of stations is growing, detailed here, but such options are still much slower than Supercharging. See also Marc Benton's Tesla Model 3 vs Chevy Bolt - An opinion from someone who owns BOTH video.
2006 Honda Civic Hybrid compared with 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor (AWD).
H: 123 lb-ft. (plus 76 lb-ft electric motor, source.
H: 90.9 cu. ft., source.
Because the combined Cargo and Passenger volume is 101.3 cu. ft., the EPA classifies the Model 3 as a Compact car, source.
T: 97.0 cu. ft., source.
Because the combined Cargo and Passenger volume is 112 cu. ft., the EPA classifies the Model 3 as a Mid-Size car, source.
H: $23,900 sticker, $37,366 total, adjusted for inflation.
As delivered with dealer installed options, taxes (exempt), and registration/title fees, $30,000, which is equivalent to $37,366 in 2018 US dollars.
T: $48,200 sticker, $52,582 total.
As delivered with factory options, taxes, and registration/title fees, $60,082. The CT Sales Tax rate is 7.75% for vehicles over $50K, accounting for $4314.42 of that $60K, ouch. But we'll be getting a $7,500 rebate on our 2018 tax return. So total family outlay for this vehicle will be $52,582.
The $3000 Connecticut rebate for Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) went away on Oct 14 2018.
The RWD shorter range $35,000 Model 3 isn't expected until mid-2019, or thereabouts, details here and even more recently here.
Effectively that's $37,366 for the Civic Hybrid with Navigation and $52,582 for the Tesla Model 3 LR AWD, which is a rise in cost of 29%.
The Tesla Model 3, the less expensive smaller one.
At first, I was a little afraid to publish this article. My thinking was along the lines of the potential backlash from my readers, purchasing what is perceived as a luxury car, who goes and talks about it online. But if you know me, you know I love to share my enthusiasm for tech. Yes, I'm blessed, I'm darn well aware of that.
I thought about the virtualization and IT enthusiasts that I follow online, who I've come to trust. If any of them had published their all electric car ownership experiences, I'd certainly have read all about it, as I'm always curious about emerging technologies. Why wouldn’t I share the thrill of getting my hands on this marvel of technology, and all the tech behind it? Teslas sure are amazing examples of always-connected IoT (Internet of Things), rather expense thing. Then again, Tesla is getting very close to the average American car price. Still, this (low-interest, financed) purchase is quite daunting, and more than a little scary.
By the way, even though they Model 3 is the smallest car in their current line-up, it's still a bit larger than the Civic, and certainly has a lot more headroom up front and in back. That glass ceiling is amazing, while managing to be strong enough to exceed roll-over safety requirements.
Yes, I know there's a lot of stories about Tesla, long term viability, how it treats its employees, and how unpredictable and volatile Elon Musk can be, especially in the second half of 2018. I also know about some quality control concerns, as with any new car. I fully realize I'm likely to encounter some services annoyances, and maybe even the door handle issues some have reported when in icy conditions. But I'm rarely parked overnight outdoors in the winter. I'm ready to put up with some issues, and the overall experience of being in this car seems so worth it, based on the test drive experience I share below. Only time will tell if it turns out to be a good investment, and since I’ve gone public, you’ll be able to follow along.
Here's the thing. I don’t currently see any serious alternatives. It's that simple. So "protesting" by buying some other a gasoline-powered car from another company isn’t going to do much good.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, with many smart folks like Allyn Malventano of PC Perspective and Marco Arment of ATP (Accidental Tech Podcast), who openly say how they love their Model 3 and Model S Teslas (respectively). That's not to say their adventures haven't been without some problems, such as Marco having to wait for months for Tesla finance to clear up his lease issues, but that’s been resolved. Marco talks about his rationale here. He still very much loves his Tesla.
FYI, Marco is also the developer/creator of Overcast app that I listen all my podcasts on, available on iOS, and I'll certainly be continuing to listen to such podcasts in my Model 3, with convenient steering wheel controls connected to my iPhone X Max via Bluetooth. Don't forget to also check out Fred Lambert's electrek podcast with the tagline "Tracking the transition from fossil fuel transportation to electric and the surrounding clean ecosystems." It's Fred whose referral link I used in haste when placing my order, but kicking myself for not giving Allyn's name instead.
- Safety, including recent report that it may be the safest car ever tested.
- Model 3 is now about 18 months into production, less early-adopter risk.
- Looks (aerodynamic).
- Efficient and relatively green, although I fully realize some fossil fuel is burned elsewhere to let me recharge, just less of it.
- Still eligible for $7,500 tax credit through Dec 31 2018.
- Dashcam ability is built-in, just add USB flash, I'll give this one a try.
- Electric cars need routine service much less often.
- Incredibly responsive acceleration that generates smiles, at least for the driver.
- Elon Musk's online behavior this year.
- Tesla's treatment of employees.
- "Production Hell".
- I live in Tesla-dealership-hostile Connecticut, which means I take delivery from Mt. Kisco NY, 79 miles away who kindly handles the CT DMV stuff for me. I'll need to get service from Tesla Milford, CT 44 miles away with loaner cars for the duration, or perhaps soon summoning a Tesla Rangers service van instead.
- I live in Wethersfield Connecticut, right between Boston and New York, with a large number of Superchargers along the way for my many business and personal travels. This makes an electric car a whole lot more viable, even in the hottest or coldest weather.
Some of the many things I'm really curious about include
- How does a new car company handle orders, specifically, my order?
- How good is the delivery experience?
- Not too many car companies announced new features any old time of year via Twitter. Sounds kind of fun. Will there be more nice surprises coming soon? Bugs? Cloud issues/outages?
It will take weeks to get an electrician to install a proper charging station or NEMA outlet in my home, given the amount of business the $7500 incentive has caused. i just used Tesla's Find an Electrician page and two days later, I already had a visit, now I’m just waiting for the free estimates.
Meanwhile, my garage has a 30 Amp TT-30 outlet (RV-style) I can use to get at some of my charging done overnight. The company that comes up a lot in discussions about whose adapter charges the fastest with TT-30 outlets is called EVSE Adapters, here's one such post:
kevin_rf | September 24, 2018
You need a special third party TT-30 adapter to charge. Your RV 30amp is 120v at 30 amps, not 240v 30 amp. The wiring is slightly different.
A few people make them.... Here is a link to one: https://www.evseadapters.com/products/tt-30-adapter-for-tesla-model-s-x-3-gen-2
btw. EVSEAdapters somewhere on the site says you will charge at something like 8 miles per hour with it.
Here's some of the EVSA Adapter “Answered Questions”:
sanjeevdhanda 3 months ago
Q: How much faster is this than using the standard 120V outlets?
sanjeevdhanda sanjeevdhanda 3 months ago
A: The TT-30 outlets can supply twice as many amps as a regular 120V outlet. So your charging speed will be twice as fast.
CCN 4 months ago
A: There are no warranty issues at all. Our adapter has the same internal circuit as Tesla's OEM adapters. Additionally, consumer law protects you when using third-party equipment - so Tesla cannot refuse to honor their warranty due to your use of this product.
Various sources seem to indicate that instead of 4 miles per hour max charge rates from regular AC outlets here in the US, this adapter should get me to 6 miles per hour of charging.
Not many folks would make such a huge purchase without a test drive. What if it's scary to drive? What if I don't find the visibility to be good for my tall torso? I had a lot of questions. Only getting into one and driving gives such answers. Out of the blue, in mid December, as a pre-order holder, I heard from Tesla that test drives were being offered in my area on December 22nd. Sign me up, just in case we do decide to change cars around in my family, that was the thinking. I went in with the idea that perhaps someday I might be buying one. Little did I know just how soon that would be.
To my surprise my wife was willing to tag along to check it out. I really had no idea she'd be on-board with actually buying one, but apparently the test-drive went well enough to consider it. A few days later came the issues with one of my son's car. It was suddenly time to get our known-good used hybrid over to one of my sons, driving it to new home town, as soon as possible. This changed everything. We were suddenly discussing not waiting for the shorter capacity $35,000 Tesla Model 3, which isn't due to arrive for at least another 6 months. These discussions were in depth, and happened over the span of several days.
Sitting behind the wheel last Saturday at the Tesla Supercharger station in West Springfield last weekend, I immediate felt very comfortable. The steering wheel is slightly smaller than most cars, just like my Civic Hybrid. The large iPad-like display was easy enough to figure out, and glancing to the side slightly for a speed check was no big deal, as I was already used to glancing at the heads-up like digital display on the Civic. And Blake, my test-drive co-pilot, was an excellent at describing all-of-the-things, and handling all questions my wife and I pummeled him with.
I learned a lot, driving around 15 miles during those exhilarating 30 minutes together. Why exhilarating? Not because I drove recklessly, I'm rather conservative, and I've gotten no speeding tickets for years.
The thrill came from that profound sense that I was suddenly fortunate enough to know first-hand what it's actually like to drive the future. And it was good.
The eye opening acceleration, only when demanded, was the most impressive thing I've felt on the road since I was 11, during a brief ride I enjoyed in a souped-up '77 Corvette. I still remember the g-force, and the ridiculous roar, and a bit of fear. None of that fear this time. Just a grin.
The solid road feel that comes from a heavier vehicle with a low center of gravity is important. For me and my family, it's ALL about arriving at my destination alive, ideally with less stress along the way. It's just risk reduction assessment, analogous to the many risk reduction projects I've done as an IT worker, along with a bit of energy use reduction too.
It doesn't hurt that occasional bursts of needed acceleration to merge into traffic is done with ease, without ANY of the usual throttle lag associated with any internal combustion engine powered vehicle.
Remember how I mentioned our family prioritizes safety? The words in this Clean Technica article should get your attention, and if you're an engineer, it's likely you'll also appreciate the videos found in this article too:
Nothing can change your life more suddenly than a car wreck, no matter who is to blame. I've been through some, and so has my wife. We were rear-ended by a drunk driver a month after our first new Honda Civic in the 1990s, with my parents onboard too. It wasn't good.
Where possible, I prefer to increase our odds, all our odds, even if it means a huge stretch to the family budget.
This may be my last vehicle. Because of my test-drive, my return window shrank from 3 days down to one. It's all spelled out in the Return Policy - Terms and Conditions.
I realize a car is just a machine, and I can't let the obvious visual appeal cloud my judgment whether this car is a good fit for my family and I. Are the seats comfortable for long rides? Is the climate control good? We'll be trying everything, and gladly we have some hours of holiday driving ahead of us anyway.
Here's a selection of the article's videos that I found to be the most compelling:
You've made it to the end of today's blog post. I still haven't told you which model and options my family chose. for those tid-bits, you'll need to wait until I actually pick up the car, which is actually happening tomorrow, December 23 2018!
Interior design, autonomous driving, and more...
There will be many more posts about my experiences with this vehicle added right to this article, so come on back and revisit! The focus will be on my experiences using and owning the car. I also have a whole-home Sense Energy Monitor, along with the Tesla app, so I should get a pretty accurate look at what recharging actually costs my family. See also this Sense discussion thread about the challenges with detecting EVs.
In a separate article, I will be covering Model 3 accessories, including a way to keep phones charging at full speed, and a way to charge both cradled phones even with the USB flash drive using up one of the two USB ports used by the Dash Cam. And finally, the ways I'll be keeping that winter muck from our shoes off the black carpet. Yes, we keep our vehicles a long time in this family, and we strive to keep up the value in our significant investments.
I sure can't wait to take my wife and my sons for a ride today, and give them their turns, of course. I'll even have a chance to give my mom and dad a ride this Christmas! We’ll be starting out from the very same big driveway behind the house where I grew up, playing for hours on end with my remote control car. Guess what it ran on? Rechargeable batteries. Sound familiar?
Family decisions made, it’s a go. Called my sales rep in Dedham MA to place my order, making a deposit of $2500 with a credit card. He placed the order with Mt Kisco location.
From my hotel room in New York City, I was able to finalize the pre-approved financing and request a check be mailed. I was also able get my VIN#, then tell USAA insurance that VIN, then upload proof of insurance. Nice to have all this legwork behind me, ready for a delivery date of Sunday, Dec 23rd.
Tesla called in the evening, giving me answers to some Connecticut-specific questions that I may publish separately. I was also assured that my vehicle would be moved from Syosset NY to Mt. Kisco in time, routinely done by truck apparently.
Tesla called this afternoon, at first I thought it was going to be bad news. The Mt. Kisco rep named Michael also had my insurer USAA on the line, to let me know that the original Tesla Model 3 in Silver with the options I wanted was still in Syosset NY, but not to worry, that they had found another VIN with just the right options. So a new insurance ID card was being uploaded into the tesla.com portal, to be sure the delivery still went smoothly.
Yes, our car would be ready for my 11am Dec 23 pick-up. USAA is also my auto-lender by the way, beating Tesla's 3.99% financing. I chose a 6 year pay-off period, and thank goodness we recently got approved to help refinance our recently graduated sons' student loans at under 4% as well. Otherwise, this car purchase would have been a no go.
Odometer 7 mi. date of manufacture Nov 2018. Yes, it's a new car!
Here's the options we chose:
- Model 3 Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive
- Midnight Silver Metallic Paint
- 18" Aero Wheels
- Premium Interior
For interior, it's black or white, I chose:
- Premium Black
We knew the $5000 Enhanced Autopilot option could be added later (for $7000, or $5500 during promotional free trial periods), but all wheel drive and the extended range features could not.
Delivery went smoothly, and everything looked good and worked well! This was definitely a good day.
One of my sons, my wife, and I arrived at 10am, and we were greeted, seated, and waited on by 10:20am. By 10:45am, we were done with the minimal paperwork signing, mostly stuff having to do with disclosures and DMV paperwork, and we were soon walked out by another saleswoman to our fully charged Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Tesla Model 3 by 10:45am. No issues with the vehicle were noticed, but the salesperson gave me her card just in case, to email her pictures of anything that might be identified later on.
As for the dealership and delivery experience, let's just say it's an expedited process, in a fairly austere environment, with only about a dozen spots for deliveries to be made from. We had about a dozen other people in the small "dealership," and it only got busier the longer we were there. I'm fine with simple facilities, and avoiding the cost of a fancy dealership is fine by me, I don't plan to spend much time there anyway.
Just one intersection away from the dealership, I found myself far below a traffic light, and just as I began to stoop forward to check on the traffic light's status, I remembered to simply look up. Love that always-on sunroof, the light was green, and I was good to go!
The 80 mile drive home went smoothly, and it was fun to have a chase vehicle, as we got accustomed to the controls. Being a solo driver for delivery wouldn't be nearly as good, with my wife kindly doing the co-piloting duties during that first mission to arrive home safely. She even noticed that the tires were ranging from 44 to 47 psi on that drive home, took note to circle back and check on those again after an overnight rest in the cold. The door label says 42 I believe, then there's this tweet about comfort.
It was mighty tempting to want to tinker with the screen more than focus on the driving task at hand, but as a team, we did very well, even during this first hour of unfamiliarity.
Pulled into the driveway for the night, joined home's WiFi, then used the app to kick off the firmware update, which took under 1/2 hr from start to finish.
Drove around 75 miles to family's houses today, including our first trip with 5 passengers. Everybody was comfortable, and headroom was more than adequate, including 2 6' tall males in the back seat. Even had a chance to give my late-twenties nephew a 2 mile turn, together.
<More details coming soon.>
This was a fun day. As my sister and her daughters were checking out the inside of my parked car, they were asking what kind of engine is it. I popped the frunk (front trunk) with the app, and had them have a look for themselves. No engine.
Later that Christmas Day, I had a chance to take my brother and parents out for a ride too, and my brother even had a brief turn behind the wheel. Future tests with my sister and 6'4' husband will need to wait for some other day. It should be interesting to hear their impressions about getting into and out of the car, seat height, and overall comfort.
My wife was the first to notice one small issue with the car, a bit of condensation on the inside of the right front fog lamp. I emailed my sales rep at Tesla and included a picture, just to have the issue documented. I'm not going to bother with a service request for this yet, I'd like a bit more time in case something else gets noticed.
<More details coming soon.>
Since charging at home isn't going fast enough to ensure a full charge before our trip to Boston on the 27th, it was time to head to the West Hartford Supercharger our first time there.
Last night, at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, I lowered the tires to 39 psi, to see if there's a noticeable difference on our big family road trips.
Odomoter 300 mi.
Drove to Cambridge MA near Boston with family today, and back again, a 222 mile journey. No issues.
Look ma, no tailpipe!
With my Mom and Dad as copilots, luck would have it that we found ourselves in traffic right behind another silver Tesla Model 3, with some really distinctive Massachusetts EV plates. Second time I've spotted our same car in the wild anywhere.
We stopped by the Tesla Dealership at Prudential Center, just so I could see how my parents did getting into and out of the Model S. They actually had more ducking to do to get under the roof curve on the Model S than the Model 3 right next to it. Strangely, this location had no Model X.
The trip all went very well. We departing at 9:30am with about 300 miles available range indicated, and arriving back home at 9:30pm with around 40 miles left, just as the low power warnings began. The temperatures stayed right around freezing temp all day, with a variety of 3 to 4 passengers total, and some use of seat heaters so my Dad could recline and snooze on the way back. That was an exercise in how smooth I could drive! Maximum speeds were about 68 mph, with most time spent between 50 to 65, with moderate city traffic those last 3 miles.
Road comfort was quite good, enjoying conversation between the back seat and front seat passengers. There is still some road noise, but it's far less than any car we've ever owned before.
Once thing we noticed is that the Tesla app on mobile shows the vehicles location and current speed. That's something to consider. Not an issue with key-card-only access.
Headed to Tesla Supercharger behind Red Robin in West Hartford, CT again early this afternoon, to top off before heading down to Union Station in New Haven, CT with 4 passengers. There, I spotted another Silver Model 3 owner in the nearby parking lot, with a big grin as they spotted me too.
Our family drive to New Haven's Union Station was at night, in heavy rain and heavy traffic. This was a first time in adverse conditions. I felt quite comfortable as the driver, and occasional Autopilot tests proved it worked well even with low visibility.
One thing we all soon noticed was that the windshield wipers set to "Auto" don't wipe fast enough, soon enough. As a workaround, I merely had to manually boost the speed occasionally, manually. There is no stalk control for this, close-at-hand on-screen controls only. This lack of proper rain detection is apparently being addressed soon, listen to the Nov 30 2018 electrek podcast at this spot, where a fix was estimated to be due by the end of December. So no biggie.
Odometer 587 mi.
Doing a lot of research on installing a Wall Connector today, with a quote pending. Leaning toward a 100 amp sub-panel installed in my garage, just in case there's another EV in my garage at some point in the (distant) future. Also looking at ways of using my Model S/X/3 Gen 2 Mobile Connector Bundle 20 foot cable, to get from where a sub-panel and 14-50 outlet(s) would go. Seems do-able, and avoids the multi-week wait for the Model S/X/3 Wall Connector.
Further investigation into charging options, including a look at 14-50 outlet(s) installed near my sub-panel. Extensive garage cleaning project, kicked off a week ago, continued.
Got to be a back seat passenger today, and found myself very impressed with the height of the rear bench seat (raised 2 inches since the first Tesla Model 3 cars were made in late 2017). Between the seat height and the full sunroof, you really have a sense of openness, with a commanding view of everything around you. Despite the black interior, the feeling is the opposite of claustrophobia.
Also had a chance to talk to fellow Tesla Model 3 Long Range owner Allyn Malventano, who advised me to not go to 100% charge routinely, along with a bunch of other wonderful electrical advise.
Odometer 609 mi. (pictured below).
My VIN# ends with 6 digits, 119XXX. These indicate how many vehicles of this Model 3 were manufactured this year. Note that our Model 3 is in the one hundred and nineteen thousands, certainly not one of the first off the line. Also, it was manufactured in Freemont CA, according to Teslarati's Here's how you decode the Tesla Model 3 VIN.
More work on my home's two car garage is coming along nicely, cleaning away 24 years of accumulated fossil-fuel-burning related stuff.
As of 10:48am, I'm still unable to order from the Tesla Store, I suspect it's some sort of payment issue. This is my 3rd day trying.
After 3 bids for the electrical work, this afternoon, I confirmed my chosen electrician that will be doing the install, and we agreed to have that work started this Thu Jan 03 2019.
Finishing up preparing the garage for the electrician's visit, weather in the upper 40s but sunny and windy, good enough to get some painting done.
Another family road trip to Boston and back is planned for later today. Yesterday, I left the car charging set to stop at 250 of 310 miles range, to help with battery longevity. I had totally forgotten doing so might mean I wouldn't have enough time to get to full before this trip, since I only see about 4 to 5 miles of additional range per hour of charging from a normal 15 amp circuit.
Having the ability to get a full charge quickly at home will be a much appreciated capability to have, glad that day is just two days away!
Despite not having time to fully charge, the trip went very well. We left with 281 miles of range, arrived back home with 38 miles of range left. The weather was terrific for enjoying a back seat view out the sunroof as one of my son's drove, and the driving experience was great. We noticed that on the Massachusetts Turnpike, recently repaved areas exhibited far less tire noise than the still-smooth but older stretches of highway. Dramatically less.
Driving back at night, we stopped at a Massachusetts Turnpike rest stop. Parked by the convenience store entrance, with my wife on the phone, a Massachusetts State Police Trooper gently knocked on her window. I rolled it down, he simply asked if our plate was temporary, and how many days were left until it expired. I explained that the temporary plate was good for 30 days from my Dec 23 2018 delivery date, and that the New York Tesla dealership told me it could take nearly 30 days to get my new Connecticut plates in the mail. That was it, it wished us a Happy New Year, and we were on our way. I'm thinking perhaps the strangeness of having my plate in a cheap plastic frame in the plate area, instead of taped to the instead of the rear window, is what caught his attention.
Odometer 824 mi.
No big trips planned for today, just more garage cleaning and household chores. Accessories shopping still underway, as well as some returns, I plan to publish details in a separate article.
Unfortunately, the electrician called, regretted he had to delay the install date to Monday Jan 07th, which is fine too of course.
Garage is now ready, with thick plywood now painted and ready for the surface mounted panels and conduit.
Luck would also have it that I'm on a podcast tonight live tonight at 9pm ET, talking about various TinkerTry tech updates, but I'm guessing we'll also be talking a bit about this car too. How very timely, given Jim Collison also have a 2006 Civic Hybrid, and was just recently talking about various EVs on his recent episode with Mike Wieger at this spot, full shownotes and subscribe buttons at Pimp Your Christmas Lights with xLights, Is Rivian a Tesla Killer and a New Monitor – HGG381.
Specifications comparison section and accessories section added to the article above.
Refined specifications sections for legibility.
Came across the spectacular videos about the 11 speakers of my premium sound system, part of my Premium Upgrade that I needed for Long Range. That explains why I came to tears when I sat alone in the car one night to really try the sound system out, and the bass started, and it was good. Very good. Check out Does Tesla Model 3 Have Best Sound System?
The sound may even be better than the Model S or Model X, watch and listen for the reasons why.
Today, my wife and I played around with the fireplace (easter egg), which gave us a good laugh. Especially once we tapped the screen, then discovered the realistic flames were now accompanied by a love song, and what seemed like warmer air coming from the vents. Nice touch!
Odometer 877 mi.
These are the biggest grins I've ever seen from this journalist originally from Engadget, but now clearly enjoying driving and writing for CNET at Roadshow. He also happens to be a long time ice racing enthusiast, from nearby Upstate New York. Who better to take the Model 3 out for a "spin"?
- Sliding around in Teslas at the company's Alaska proving ground
Jan 04 2019 by Tim Stevens at Roadshow (by CNET)
At 8 minutes 46 seconds, Tim says:
It's got more responsiveness than any other all wheel drive car on the road, really, because there's no differential that you need to worry about, clutch plates, or a viscous center diff, or anything like that that needs to adjust. Basically they can adjust as much power to the front or to the rear as they want, pretty much instantaneously. And as a bit of a differential nerd as I am, the potential here makes me pretty excited for something like ice racing, where you really need a lot of quick power shifts to be able to get the car to do what you want it to do when you want it to do it. And this is such good fun I cannot begin to tell you. [LAUGH] Now granted this isn't the kind of thing that your average Model 3 owner's going to do, but uh, it sure is good to know that you can. And again I can still feel the car doing some work to help me. It's still doing some breaking across the axles to help the car pivot. And it's still doing some work to help again make sure that I'm keeping in control and not getting too far out of the line. But again it's letting me do what I want to do, and the car is doing what I want it to do. And that is beautiful.
But at the end of the day I am incredibly impressed. If you've read like coverage of the Model 3 you I haven't always been in this car biggest fan but to be able to do a skin and even flick like that with the traction control on that's pretty special stuff. Yeah I wish I could turn everything off without having to rely on an engineer with a laptop. And yes, if you're driving these cars in the cold, you will lose some range. But if you're a Tesla owner and you put your car up for the winner, you're making a terrible mistake.
Also noticed that my Tesla Account's Vehicle page shows my Supercharging Status as "Six Months of Supercharging" due to my mention the referral code when placing my order. See also this Tesla forum thread Account finally changed to free unlimited supercharging.
Took my parents to my sister's concert, and some ergonomic issues did surface, with my Dad having a bit of a hard time getting in the back seat in this smallish car with a sloping roof line. He also struggled with the seat belt latch a bit. Getting out of the vehicle required some reminders too, with the window button often hit instead of the door open button. Not a big deal, just things to be aware of.
Odometer 933 mi.
Today, noticed that the front passenger window was down about an inch when we were about to back out of a parking spot. Not sure if it was user error, but I think this may bf the second time we've seen this. I'll keep an eye on this.
Later today, I also spotted a Tesla Model 3 Performance version in red in Rocky Hill, CT, and another Tesla Model 3 charging behind Panera Bread in Wethersfield, CT. The elated driver and fellow Connecticut resident said he took delivery just 3 weeks ago in New Jersey. He absolutely loves his Model 3. Then had to hurry off to his waiting family, but not before letting me know I could charge if I wanted to. Very considerate!
I noticed my wife had a brief struggle latching her front passenger seat belt, something about the angle, but puffy winter coats don't help. Again, not a big deal, she and I certainly quite enjoy driving around together these past 2 weeks.
Finally, as others have noticed, when driving around 40 mph with very strong cross-winds today, I noticed a bit of wind noise was apparent from the inside, mostly from the top of the windshield. This might be reduced with the RPM Tesla Model 3 Wind Noise Reduction Kit. Or it could be just that there is so little engine noise, such wind noise is more pronounced on such EVs. I won't know more until I get a chance to test later in January 2019.
Tomorrow, my electrician arrives, and I'm rearranging the cable modem and UPS below my 200 amp service panel to make space. for the generator transfer switch he's also installing.
Elliott Bell from BCL Electrical Contractors worked diligently from 9:30am to 6pm to complete all specified work, which I'll detail in an upcoming, separate article.
Turns out he knows fellow Electrician Christopher Hing from Elite Electrical Contracting, LLC, but Elliott was available to get the work done a bit earlier, here's my HomeAdvisor review of his work. Both of them are extremely well rated on HomeAdvisor.
If you're living in Connecticut in area code 860, I expect you'll be happy with either of their work, I just can't speak to Chris's work first-hand.
Later this evening, I headed out to get some quick dinner at D'Angelo with my wife, and that's when I noticed some strangeness with the Phone Key, which toggling Bluetooth or rebooting my iPhone X Max didn't fix. Used my key card instead.
I also vacuumed up, removed all floor mats, and placed these new floor mats in, no clips required. I'm much happier with these, details here.
I'm seeing the full 32 amp charge rate I expected with my Model 3's Gen 2 charger on a shiny new NEMA 14-50 outlet. This is good! Especially since I'm headed to Boston again later this week, in the cold, with some garage parking. No more worries about whether I'll get to 100% on time.
Odometer 961 mi.
Drove a bunch of errands in crummy, rainy, foggy weather, again felt nice and safe. When getting in to drive away, I was prompted to use my key card to be able to drive away, with my iPhone as key not working. I remembered this when parking at Lowe's, and noticed no horn chirp to indicate automatic locking as I walked away. So I used the app to manually lock the car when parking there since the proximity automatic lock wasn't working.
Today, I noticed that a new vehicle software update was being offered via the app,
I scheduled the upgrade for 4pm while parked and plugged in, and on WiFi. The car took care of this upgrade for me from there, uneventfully, this is good.
Here's the 2018-50 discussion on reddit, Tesla Forums, and Tesla Motors Club. It seems to be a minor release, mostly about this issue, Tesla releases software update to help unfreeze charge port. No apparent changes noticed during my driving this evening. I decided to go ahead with seeing if I could fix my phone as key issue by using Lock menu in the Model 3, removing my iPhone, then re-adding it again. All is well again.
Older son arrives home, to drive Hybrid to my other son the next day.
Installed RPM Tesla LEDs, bright, nice! Installed carbon fiber center console wrap, too about 40 minute, easy enough.
The Honda Civic Hybrid makes it to its new home in Pennsylvania.
Odometer 1,001 mi.
Drove to Boston today for a flight from Logan Airport, pushing my luck with 17 degree F temps. We’ll see how this goes!
We set out with 307 miles of range indicated (full charge), but I made the mistake of not warming the car up for a while while on the charger in my garage, given I was parked overnight on this 20°F night.
Near Boston, we parked our Model 3 in a garage that has no chargers, knowing I could Supercharge on the way home if need be.
As for the Honda Civic Hybrid, we head straight from airport to a license plate place, handing the title transfer and new plate.
02:13 pm - 144 mi of range indicated, 28°F ambient temperature, snowflake indication shows up, the cold battery warning.
This rather rapid vampire drain really caught my attention, I should have paid closer attention to my son's warning about third party apps affecting the battery charge. I logged off the Remote S app around noon today, and it seems to have reduced the drain, evident with dramatically less battery charge loss seen below.
11:17 am - 140 mi of range indicated, 24°F ambient temperature
04:24 pm - 136 mi of range indicated, 27°F ambient temperature.
09:46 pm - 136 mi of range indicated, 26°F ambient temperature, started driving home.
As we got back to our chilly Model 3, the door handles were a little crunchy, with a little ice apparently in there, but we had no issues opening the doors.
The Tesla Navigation to "Home" warned us to stop at a Supercharger, but I wanted to see what it would say if I removed the charging stop. It said to stay under 65 mph if we wanted to make it to our destination. Given the cold temperatures, this was not true, we wouldn't have made it home regardless.
We decided to stop at the Framingham, MA Supercharger for 22 minutes, from 10:18pm to 10:40pm. This moved us from 105 miles to 148 miles of range left, while physically 88 miles away on a very cold 18°F (-7.8°C) night. That means we should have arrived with 60 miles left, at least in normal weather.
We also received some low tire pressure warnings on the left rear tire showing 39 psi, and the others at 41 psi, common for outdoor parking in very cold weather. I'll probably go with 42 psi when back at home, using my garage's new tire pump, to avoid warnings in the future with this compromise between economy (47 psi) and comfort (39 psi).
Odometer 1,225 mi.
12:04 am - 19 mi of range indicated, 18°F ambient temperature, as we arrived home and plugged in.
That's just 6.1% of battery left. So in hindsight, we should have Supercharged longer, to avoid going below 10% of battery capacity, or is that 20%, discussed on Tesla Forums here.
09:07 am - 267 mi of range indicated, ~25°F ambient temperature in our garage, after charging at 32 amps overnight. It's very good to know that we can fully charge overnight right here at home, and that our investment in the install of the NEMA 14-50 outlet was worthwhile.
What else did we learn about long distance winter travel? That we're real glad we went with the Long Range model! Winter seems to incur roughly a 33% penalty on range, at least with interior heat at 68°F. Honestly, my Honda Civic Hybrid also suffered pretty poor mileage in the deep of winter too, roughly the same degradation actually.
- Extended travel at under 25°F will incur roughly 33% battery range loss.
- Each day about 20 miles of range lost with 3rd party apps running, in sub 25°F temps.
- Each day about 6 miles of range lost with 3rd party apps logged off, in sub 25°F temps.
All these lessons learned will come in handy, for when I head back to Boston's Logan Airport again Monday January 21st. Guess what temperatures are predicted that day? High of 13°F. and low of 6°F. Ouch. I might want to look into using one of Logan Airport's charging stations, signed up for ChargePoint already, just in case. Also good to know that VMware Boston's LaFayette Garage has a ChargePoint Charging Station.
My Model 3's new CT License plates arrived today, that's 22 days after taking delivery in Mt. Kisco NY, about as expected. Very nice to not have to go wait on line at the Wethersfield DMV!
Odometer 1,238 mi.
The New Owner Frequently Asked Questions site is quite useful, including:
What should I know about driving in cold weather?
Both cold weather and a 100 percent battery charge contribute to limiting the effect of regenerative braking. You can prep your Tesla for cold temperatures from your mobile app or car touchscreen. Follow these best practices for improving your car’s performance in cold weather:
- Precondition your car from your Tesla app for about one hour to heat your battery before driving, especially in near freezing temperatures.
- Charge your car while preconditioning to reduce the amount of energy loss from your battery pack.
- Turn off Range Mode to avoid limiting the power available to precondition your car, even when charging.
- In temperatures below 40° F (4° C), use washer fluid with antifreeze. Not using antifreeze can impair visibility through the windshield.
even more detail at Tesla's Preconditioning in Cold Weather article.
Tim Stevens starts this video saying:
What you're looking at is the most anticipated car of all time. With more than a half million pre-orders on the books, the Tesla Model 3 has piqued the interest of more people around the world than any car in history.
- 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range review:
The one you've been waiting for
May 30 2018 by Tim Stevens at Road Show by CNET
Clean looks, a distinctive yet practical interior layout and solid performance create what seems like a perfect package.
In this clip, you'll see some pretty bold moves that highlight just how well the traction control works, even when in slip start mode, even on a single motor / rear wheel drive Model 3. Yes, he floors it, in the snow. He also mentions ABS pulsing, which I've never noticed in my Dual Motor / All Wheel Drive Model 3, but I haven't driven in the snow yet.
- Tesla Model 3: here’s the alloy mix of the Model 3 body
Aug 22 2017 by Fred Lambert at electrek
Odometer 1,254 mi.
I've used the PlugShare (iOS and Android) and ChargePoint (IOS and Android) apps to help with planning my trip to Boston's Logan Airport this Monday, increasing the odds of finding a charging spot to park our Model 3 for 3 nights. This Monday, Martin Luther King Day, is predicted to be a very cold, not uncommon in the dead of winter here in New England.
Odometer 1,368 mi.
Car has been set to charge to 97% overnight. I'll also be moving to 100% about an an hour before we set out for the 107 mile trip to Logan Airport tommorrow, while also enabling the climate control, much like this tip on reddit, which includes a link to bemental_'s amazing Tesla Shortcut.
One of my sons found this great video, enjoy!
If you or somebody you know finds this Tesla information helpful, please consider using my referral code paul68544 when placing your order for a Tesla product, or use this URL:
It also seems that incentives are about to change after December 31 2018, details at eletrek here.
- Tesla Model 3 known good accessories
Jan 05 2019
- Experiencing the first SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from 7 miles away, the most powerful rocket to launch since Apollo 17 in 1973!
Feb 05 2018
- My hometown of Wethersfield Connecticut - settled in 1634 - nestled right between Boston and New York City
Dec 23 2015
- Sturdy ProClip USA dashboard mounts for iPhone 6/7/8 Plus or iPhone X allow one handed dock-and-go
Nov 06 2014
- Tesla extends referral program in last demand boost for the end of the year
Dec 18 2018 by Fred Lambert at electrek