Saturday, April 14, 2018

More Model 3 Tesla

Well 1200+ miles - how is Circe the Tesla Model Three doing?

First let me admit to cognitive bias as this little witch has enchanted me.  I mean her higher functions like autopilot are a long way from perfect. Still in general my EV grin is back on where it was when I first tried electric so long ago.


1. Pickup and handling. So good it's wasted on a 59 year old. I really love the way this car goes and slows (regen). You seen it on youtube so no reason to rehash. Wonderful driving down the winding mountain.

2. Fit and finish appear great. Two middle aged someone's going over the car at the Frederick EV show announced the couldn't find any defects - they seemed surprised. I wasn't - I've been hearing all the shills on social media and the wide majority of those who have cars tell them the much vaunted defects are few and far between.

3. Cockpit. I wish I could make everything so clean and Zen. Plenty of center cockpit storage for scissors, small first aid kit, old multi-tool, tire gauge, change, mints, small amazon fire pad, paper & pens, extra charge cords, two charged phone spots that you can see or hide. That is before the locked glove box. Closed the only thing you see are cupholders. Map pockets for the back of the seats that I can put EV flyers in.

4. Frunk - small but exactly fits my old very small airline roller (legal in all measuring boxes) which is my overnight kit and the portable Tesla UMC 2 charger kit.

5. Trunk - plenty of storage and a hidden well for holding water spray bottle. Small side storage perfect for wheel patch kit.

6. Range - Aero wheels are fine by me. Last night I started with 95% charge to 295 miles range estimate onscreen. Drove a loop down past DC and back up the mountain to home. Range estimate at 105 left and a total 207 miles driven. Watts per mile estimated on the trip meter at 215.  Very good especially driving 65 to 75 for a lot of the trip. That's only one example but if accurate this car might be incredible. Maybe I had favorable winds that moved to help on the return trip? We'll know more with 3 people and luggage on the great Boston road trip next week.

7.  Quiet and Loud.  Great soundsystem. Wow. When you turn it off - great quiet.

Cons - Will come back and update - off to dinner.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Motivations Two, A look six years on.

Quick summary for the impatient.

I own Tesla stock. I'm long. I've revealed this before but I want to emphasize why I think Tesla is good along with sustainability technology I use everyday. You can too and make money long term. I'm not a financial advisor. 

First my slightly dull car history. 

Back in the late eighties and early nineties I began to be aware of issues with the hydrocarbon based energy economy. Today that might be under the bigger heading of sustainability. I went out of my way to buy a 1989 Honda CRX HF. Gas sipper 50 mph two seater great for commuting. The other idea that I might save myself a little cash on gas.

I soon was married and needing something for four - two boys had been born. At first we had a normal but good mileage Camry. In 2003 Honda came out with one of their early hybrids the Honda Civic Hybrid - HCH. I received an added federal incentive to offset the additional cost - a $2000 dollar rebate for the early HCHs. Here I could make back some of the added cost by saving fuel and the rebate. Fortunately early HCH models had decent batteries if not plug in. However it did eat catalytic converters near annually after six years which turned me off for good towards gas in general.

Climate change was also slowly becoming apparent both working at the National Weather Service and from my hobby of diving which I had done for over 20 years since 1982. What to do - the GM EV1s had been crushed so an all electric just didn't exist. Then the Tesla roadster proved $110,000 (or more) could buy an electric - but still slightly above my means.   

Motivations had now jelled.

Lower my carbon emissions while still driving - I didn't want to give up commuting. Lead in a small group with the hope the bleeding edge sustainability products will improve, cheapen, and become commonplace planet wide. Leave at least a path to survive climate change if that can be done for my grown sons and their kids. Electrify with solar and wind to provide clean cheap fuel for home and car.

So step one when Nissan made a first electric vehicle I bought it in Dec 2011 and commuted with it.
Next I helped one my sons interested in commuting electric in a two seater Think City.

Make a little money along the way. Maybe.

What! Give us back hippie Dave! Look I am not a financial advisor. Still I'm smart enough to have a saved for retirement. I may want to go green but I also hope for a comfortable retirement.  In addition to more mundane investments I have a self directed Roth for extra mad money in retirement. Indexed stuff on autopilot. Until one day I decided Tesla had The Right Stuff. This to me has been proven with their move to acquire solar install business and produce more types of vehicles for commercial and family use. If you are looking for the next Amazon some might say too late - the money's been made at Tesla. I'm long (means I bought it to hold) and I bought it at about 210 and recently a few a 253.  I have become comfortable with the Tesla stock price roller coaster. Tesla has a green mission and so do I. Furthermore ( as all stock, even index funds have risk ) I'm comfortable with this level of risk and half of my Roth I moved to Tesla stock. A fellow blogger recently wrote why he's long Tesla despite it's high valuation. It's a big article but I promise it's worth your time if you are pondering considering Tesla as a long term investment. 

Motivations again and Actions. 

On the off chance someone is reading my Electric journey, I wanted this to make my latest motives clear. It's only fair.  My friend in oil pushes oil despite having children. He's purposefully blind to a very bad possible future for them. He's not evil at heart but carbon emissions being his bread and butter he can't let himself believe in the science predicting a very bad future.

My investment in Tesla means I have to scrutinize my motives to make sure they still make sense. Musk at Tesla has been about sustainability and he follows through. How about my actions - are they making sense with my motives?

I've followed through with Tesla Energy's solar and powerwall system. A small system given my limited exposure in PA but working nicely. The price had fallen steeply and as usual I was able to defray some of the costs by paying less taxes in the form of a federal credit.

From a third party Constellation I source my grid home electric for a penny more per Kwh from wind sources.

( I need to take a picture of a wind farm - maybe on a road trip! )

The Leaf which served for six years but had long term battery issues is now replaced in my driveway with a Tesla Model 3, Circe. 

Finally I'm invested in Tesla as well. I'm invested and a customer thrice over.

Now if I can just get recycling down.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Tricks with the iPod touch & Circe the Tesla Model 3

I'm cheap. I know you can't tell that from the TM3 (Tesla Model 3) but indeed it is so. Now I think maybe I should back pedal and say thrifty.  I'll spend for quality as Circe attests. One pet peeve is monthly bills. My phones speak to that - for years a flip phone until I found the unlocked Fire phone from Amazon on deep sale - $110. Combined with T-Mobile 30 dollar ($35 with tax) monthly service I was happy for a while. Amazon had their version of an android store with a fair number of apps.  At first I could sideload google play for more apps but that stopped functioning after an update and I didn't really worry about it. Cheap phone with a basic set of apps I was happy.

Then the Tesla Solar Roof was installed - I needed the Tesla app - no go with Firedroid. Looking for a cheap answer I picked a low cost 5th gen ipod 32gb for about $120. This worked great with my Mac laptop and indeed loaded the IOS Tesla app to watch my Tesla Solar and configure how the Tesla Powerwall was utilized. Happy Camper no new monthly bills.

Firedroid not happy with Tesla App

One thing I could not find out online was whether the Tesla Model 3 'phone key' function could work with the iPod touch? The iPod touch gave me access to the Tesla App but for some reason the showroom delivery didn't have Circe linked to the app. I used the showroom wifi to get net access but no luck. This turned out to just be a delay. In the meantime I simply used the magic Tesla keycards. I also set up Bluetooth pairing - giving me iPod music in addition to the Circe's Slacker streaming tunes.

My car appeared in my app later that afternoon at home. The iPod was on the home wifi and indeed could unlock the car from inside the house up house net and down 3g into the car. I now entered the car and enabled 'phone key' with the card and ipod together in the car. Driving the car a half mile I stopped far from wifi and tested the now netless iPod touch - works perfectly as a Tesla key over bluetooth.

Sadly this nice iPod Touch is probably just going to be a backup key. Why?

Of course it's not a phone service for the car. So I went and connected the Firedroid via bluetooth. Import contacts - fail. Media - fail. Hmmm. I really need to use a hands free phone - my neighboring state of Maryland tickets and I don't really like being the guy holding a cell phone driving anyways. Commiserating with a friend he looks at me and say why not an iPhone? I say cost of phone and cost of service. He looks at me like he's talking to an impaired senior. He may have a point.

Dave is dumb about phones.

In a few minutes we find a scratch/dent unlocked iPhone 6S for about $240 w/tax. It arrives in a couple days, looks in ok shape, and I move the sim card. ( I didn't know this was this simple or could be done with Android to Apple.)  For $35 a month I only get an hour of talk but I use my free Google home phone for most talking. I also have 5GB high speed data with unlimited throttled. Plenty for me - I use home computers more than the phone. Most of the time I prefer interacting with others to sticking my nose in a phone. Old guy symptoms grin.

New refurbie 6S and iPod 5 - both excellent Circe TM3 keys.

In addition to more connected, it's better for Waze.  The onboard gyros also work with stellar night sky display programs much nicer. The iPod Touch is still at use playing music and is a backup key.  If there is a question I'll check it out but otherwise it's done it's job with the car. Neither iPhone nor iPod seems to work with Carplay. Not an issue as of now for me. Below Circe at home with the Think.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter weekend with the Tesla Model 3 - Circe

I've begun the process of getting all the recalls done on the Roller Skate (Yaris '09). The Model 3 will be my car for the foreseeable future. With 600 miles over the weekend through Tuesday in the rain the car has completely won me over. I'm not a car guy - I came to electric cars because we've got to get this tech up and running before we fry our grandkids in oil. I have a little experience. I've driven a Mercedes convertible back in the day ( thanks Mitch ) and sat in the German luxury of Porsche and BMW but this Tesla has a Zen simplicity that fits me to a tee. In the rain very sure footed - in new all weather Michelins.  The electronic traction control just doesn't  slip. I'm told the rear wheel can get loose during regenerative braking but I have yet to see it. Smooth and with a calmingly simple interior. With superchargers essentially unlimited range on top of the base 500 kilometers (310 miles). Very nice sound system that streams whatever it is told.

I think I'll call her Circe, a deep blue nymph that is temptation on wheels. She was an enchantress that if I remember Odysseus managed to survive. Hopefully that's good luck.

I promise to get some more pictures as soon as I stop driving.

So it's time to sell the backup gas car. I've never been one to shy away from driving an econobox when the range was beyond the Leaf which was true many times. However it is wearying to drive in bad conditions and hopefully it can still serve someone as I'm sure I'll get very little for it.

Turns out the ipod touch with bluetooth runs the Tesla app as a key just fine. So the phone key is a go. As long as it's within bluetooth range or if it can touch a wifi hotspot it remote controls the cars doors, trunks, glovebox, horn, lights, charging, and climate control. Still I'm shifting to an iPhone to put it all together in one.

No defects I can see yet, just hope the honeymoon lasts a while.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Tesla Model 3 Arrives

Two years ago to the day I put my deposit done sight unseen on a new Tesla car, the Model 3.

So far it's been all positive. I'm sure the future will find nit picks but at the moment it's all sweet. The Owing Mills MD Tesla place arranged an amazing delivery experience. To my eye I've never seen a more beautiful vehicle inside and out. Today I plan to do some driving so this post will be short.

My cousin and I picking up Circe

Thursday, March 15, 2018

After two years - The Tesla Model 3

Well electrics for me have looked like this:

The top red Th!nk City belongs to another owner in St Louis. He parked it next to the Tesla electric semi truck for contrast. My red Think City (rear view) is really just being held and gently driven in the hope I can return it to my college age son someday. He needed a longer range cheap gas car sadly. In the meantime with me it does a few short trips a week around Blue Ridge Summit, PA. It's only got 12.5K miles so its more fun than transport.

Or like this:

This is my 2012 Leaf SL with 56K miles bought Dec 2011 for a mere (gulp) $39K. As my trade in for the Tesla Model 3 it's worth a paltry $3800. It was my commuter car to my government job right up to retirement. With it's loss of range it's really only good as a town car today - about 45 miles is it's max. Still it was super reliable and only needed tires and 12 volt battery replacement. Saved a heck of a lot on gas and was always fun to drive.

So according to my Tesla rep my Model 3 will be ready for pick up near Baltimore on March 28th if the creek don't rise. This is almost 2 years exactly from the date of reservation, where I stood in line  sight unseen on March 31, 2016 and plunked down a grand to reserve one. Mine is blue for a change of color. Gotta pick a name.

Well I'll have real pictures soon enough. I'm glad I finally have some new electric news of my own. This one is big battery with 310 mile range, enhanced autopilot, and full self driving when Elon gets that figured out. I'm not gonna list the price but suffice it to say it's way above the base of $36K.

Charged off my solar power system at home + grid wind power contract on rain days I'm finally driving on sunshine and hot air. Grin.

More to come....

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The End of the Year 2017

Well it's been an interesting year - New Year's Eve is always a time to examine the year.  Awaiting the Tesla Model 3 has been a theme for 2017. Luckily an enterprising soul You You Xue drove across the USA to show us the Model 3 we wait on:

Well I can tell you a big chubby arthritic guy it's a stretch getting and out. But - once in it's very comfortable with plenty of room and very adjustable. The screen is very well mounted and a beautifully clear image. The UI touch is responsive and overall I was very cheered by this short introduction. Love the clean interior.

I've been trying keep the Leaf running but it is getting tough - the 12 volt is dying and the fluids are lighting up the maintenance lights. Time is getting short for that rascal. The Think is back online but again a bit limited in range - better than the Leaf though.  I still enjoy the looks the Think gets - the Model 3 will be recognized much less.

Well about 10 people were out at the Laurel MD supercharger to check out the Model 3. We also saw another Model 3 owner - the first in MD who happened by for a Supercharger top off charge. He also graciously chatted with future owners about all the things he likes in his car as well.

One thing I realize watching the excited faithful checking out these cars is Tesla has an opportunity like no other here. People are waiting and if he can build them - they will come. Whatever you are wishing for this New Year's Eve for the coming year - I hope you find it along with health and happiness.