8 YEARS WITH A TESLA MODEL 3 OK, so actually it’s only been 27 months and 120,158 miles, but since most sane people drive about 15,000 miles a year, I hope to give some perspective on the years/miles ahead if they own a Model 3 or some insights if they are curious about owning one. To be honest, it’s very easy to forget what the “old normal” was like as one gets used to the “new normal”. For example, I’m old enough to easily remember a world where cell phones were nonexistent or at least a bulky luxury; and now, I at least have to sit there and think about it for a bit to remember what life was like was out them. I remember just over a month after bringing the “Dauntless” home driving by a gas station and thinking to myself, “Wow, I didn’t realize gas was up over four bucks a gallon again!” Then I grinned, both inwardly and outwardly. I was utterly removed from the price of gas. It’s a good feeling. It is very easy for even those of us who drive one (a lot!) that ten years ago this car would have been called an impossibility by most in multiple ways. Let me put it this way: if a someone ten years ago said they were going to come out with a car that had eye opening acceleration, got 130 miles per gallon, an incredibly low center of gravity and polar moment of inertia for superb handling, practically zero maintenance, sleek styling not designed to deter buyers, a roomy interior with lots of cargo space, the ability to drive itself in monotonous driving situations, a user friendly infotainment system, and the company would send someone every night to fill you up again with the lowest emissions fuel possible with current technology they would be (and have been) labeled a nutcase. But if it existed, you’d buy it. You’d be crazy not to. But that’s my new reality...my new...normal. So how did I get so many miles built up so quickly? I was already driving a lot, but early in the summer of 2019 my current job ended and I faced the decision to look for something else or just keep driving in the Wine Country of Northern California full time. I decided on the latter, I was really enjoying driving the car every day and it was a welcome detox after leaving a less than desirable work environment. So most of my trips, both pickup and dropoff, are far longer than the average rideshare driver including a lot of airport runs. That means that the norm for my car has been an above average number of what would be called “severe use” miles: stop and go, poor pavement, no pavement at all, tearing up twisty back roads, San Francisco hills, etc. are all a daily occurrence. Sprinkle in a couple of long road trips and voila’ you’re at 120k! My lifetime energy consumption is 236 wh/mi. Slightly better than the factory rating. My car is a a 2018 RWD Model 3 LR with the 18 inch wheels. I had the aero covers on for the first year and a half then took them off and have seen no drop in efficiency. I’m actually surprised my numbers are that good considering the amount of *ahem* spirited driving I engage in. I see my max battery capacity fluctuate far more due to Tesla making software tweaks on updates than actual degradation, but I’m going to say it’s probably in the 7% range at 120k, with a boatload of supercharging over that last two years. Most of that I actually saw in the second 60k as I was supercharging and going up to 90% a lot more. The most important thing I can’t stress enough on these things is this: it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. I drive by my grandpa’s old mantra of, “It costs as much to keep the top half full as the bottom half!” but in EV terms. With about 300 miles of range it’s absurdly easy (and better in multiple ways!) not to flirt with the lower end of the battery pack. I’ve had a lot of days I drove over 500 miles and have never been below 10%, and I’m clearly an outlier for driving miles. On road trips my biggest problem is still I usually can’t go eat as fast as the car charges. And if you can, my advice would be to watch videos, play games, or surf the web in the car. You know, those things you call leisure activities when you do them at home. So how does the car look/how has it held up? The interior is certainly the best of any car I’ve owned at 120k miles. I absolutely love Tesla’s synthetic leather now and I’m a sports car guy who usually has preferred cloth. It’s pretty grippy (important for back country hooning), still shows almost no wear, and is incredibly easy to clean. I have thousands of Uber/Lyft trips with the car and have easily had over 10,000 people in and out of it. Not to mention the daily disinfecting I do now which I was worried about how it would affect the material but hasn’t seemed to at all! Some of the hard plastic surfaces have some scuffing now but it’s not easily visible after using a good interior cleaner. I have Tasmanian all weather floor mats now which work great and I can save the OEM ones for better weather. A weak spot is the lower leading edge of the back doors can get abraded pretty easily. You don’t see it with the door closed, but it’s clearly noticeable with them open. I’m embarrassed to say that even though this is the priciest car I’ve ever owned- due to the pressures of life its paint has gotten the least affection! I hand wash it probably every two weeks with a wash and wax soap and hand dry it. That’s about it. I’ve only hand waxed it twice, which is low for me, but it has held up quite well. Tesla’s paint quality issues in my opinion are, like so many other things with the company people with suspect motives like to nit pick, completely overblown. What’s broken? A suspension bushing got noisy at 55k (warranty), glove box popped open occasionally (warranty), seat belt sensor replaced (warranty), and more recently ANOTHER rear belt sensor grr ($150) and my charging door was sometimes obstinate and got replaced ($175). I can only speak to my own experiences, but the Tesla mobile service Rangers and Tesla San Rafael service center has been fantastic. I’m on my third set of tires that I get at a local Costco and the brake pads will probably last 500k. The car has not been perfect, merely superb. Overall, the car is so close to being what it was when I drove it home those 27 months ago that I don’t really think about it that much. Mostly, it’s better. Autopilot is clearly improved. I can’t tell if it is truly faster or has more range but I’m still happy as a clam with both! I scoffed when I first heard about Caraoke and then had to eat a big helping of crow once I got it! There are so many factors that for me are so superb: acceleration and efficiency, low maintenance EV drivetrain, autopilot, handling and practicality- that any one of them would be reason for me to own the car. The fact that it is all in one package can for me after 120,000 miles be summarized in one phrase: simply superior technology. If you want a referral code for 1000 miles of free supercharging, I’ll say what I do to my passengers, “Use a friend or family members’.” But if you’ve found this article helpful and need one, please use mine posted in my personal details.