I took ownership of my Tesla Model 3 back in November of 2021, with only 15 miles on it. As of this morning, my Tesla Model 3 has 24,047 miles on it and is running great. I figured it was time for a Recap of where I stand today.
Shortly before buying the Tesla, and the main reason for trading in my Ford F150 for a Tesla Model 3, was that I took a new job with a much longer commute. My current job is a 50 mile and 90 minute commute each way, meaning about 100 miles and 3 hours a day in the car. I tried driving it a few weeks in the F150 and while it was doable, it was exhausting. The stop and go traffic of rush hour, compared with the harrowing narrow lanes of I95, all combined for a rather white-knuckle and tiring drive. I predominantly bought the Tesla for the autonomous features, hoping it would make the drive more relaxing, and thought the Electric aspect of cost savings would be neat but not a big deal.
One year in Charging
I very shortly found the ecosystem of Tesla Monitoring tools and set some up. Currently I have:
- and Teslascope
In addition to the basics of remote lock/unlock and various other controls, these apps do a good job tracking your vehicle status and battery health. For starters, looking over my last year of mileage and charging using data from Teslascope (imported into Google Sheets for visualization), You see the following:
You can see I average 1500-2000 miles per month, and around $50 per month in electricity for charging. The small spike in June is a trip I took to Orlando and used a few SuperChargers.
Sum for that 12-month period is 21,719 miles that cost me $694.39 . Just using my F150 baseline that got about 500 miles on a $75 tank, that would cost me about $3200 in gas. The result there is a $2500 savings.
Another reason why I set these things up is to monitor my battery condition. I’ve heard various stories about “Battery degradation”. Not sure what causes it, some people claim it’s overcharging or undercharging, some people claim is about temperature, some people claim it’s simply manufacturing defects. Regardless, it’s a simple thing to monitor.
Using Nikola, at the beginning of the year it referenced my “Fully Charged Range” as 250 miles of range. Towards August and September it dropped down to 235, but I did a “BMS Recalibration” and now it’s around 240 miles of range.
Looking in Tessie (shown to the right, it gives a simple battery health map that shows me still in the green with 49.6kWh of capacity. You can see the same drop and reset with the calibration.
So all in all, I’ve lost a little bit of range but I’m still well within comfortable levels so I’m not too worried about it.
So over the last year, the car has held up surprisingly well. No rattles, no weird noises. The software has received monthly updates without too much issue, and over the last year there’s been some nice UI improvements and new features added.
All the fancy features still work (automatic windows and doors, trunk releases, power seats, etc). I haven’t had to take it in for service a single time this entire year. Still running the original tires, brake pads, and wiper blades. Only thing I’ve had to really do from a maintenance standpoint is add new Windshield Wiper Fluid.
Full Self Driving
I do pay the extra $200/month for Tesla’s Full Self Driving, and have been a part of the new FSD Beta program since the Summer. I firmly believe that FSD is going to revolutionize driving and transport, but what Tesla offers today is definately not “full self driving” and is well deserving of the “beta” label. It performs great on interstates and highways, but when driving on surface streets it’s very much a timid 15-year with a learner’s permit. It’s either too aggressive or too timid all the time.
I love it. I do miss my F150, but I absolutely love the Tesla. While there are other electric cars out on the market:
- None of the other car manufacturers have a charging network as robust or as fast as Tesla. Using a Tesla Supercharger to go from 15% to 80% in 20 minutes is just a bit awe inspiring.
- None of them have autonomous features as robust as Tesla
- None of them update their software with a Consumer Mindset, like Tesla does.
I read it somewhere that driving a Tesla is a bit like driving a Smartphone, lots of bells and whistles that constantly change every few weeks.. And it happens to be on wheels.
I still have my $100 down payment for the Ford F150 Lightning, although I didn’t get one in the previous manufacturing run. I hope my number will come up this summer in the 2023 build, and then I definitely will consider switching out. I doubt I’ll actually commit to trading in, but some competition in the field is never a bad thing.