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8 Years with a Tesla Model 3 (at 15k/yr, at least)

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by shrspeedblade, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. shrspeedblade

    shrspeedblade Rideshare Monkey

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    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.
     
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  2. AZAV8R

    AZAV8R Member

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    It's comforting to see how well your M3 has held up under duty cycles I can't imagine Tesla considered. Thanks for the thoughtful post!
    :cool:
     
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  3. EnrgyNDpndnce

    EnrgyNDpndnce Member

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    Nice post, thanks for sharing. My 3 is now 23 months old and I’m just shy of 90k miles. So not putting miles on quite as fast as you but as you said, much faster than the typical 15k miles per year. My experience has been very similar to yours in that the car is holding up very well. Other than 2 sets of tires and a 12V battery I really haven’t done a thing. Truly the best car I’ve ever owned.
     
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  4. El joe

    El joe Member

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    What a great write-up for those of us looking to get into a Model 3 in the near future. Great to hear about the longevity and sheer joy you get even after driving so much in your amazing car!
     
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  5. St☰v☰

    St☰v☰ Member

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    Wow, that's a lot of miles... I have had mine just about 20 months and I just turned over a whopping 10,000 miles.
     
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  6. jjrandorin

    jjrandorin Another BMW convert

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    I only have 23k ish miles, in about 21 months. Only real issue I have had is damaged tires and rims. Everything else has been pretty smooth. Service center visits have been for (besides tires and rims), things like installing the spoiler that was supposed to come with my performance model but wasnt available on purchase, and re installing different ones several times since they didnt fit.

    Nice to hear this OPs experience, which is what I am hoping to have as well. I normally put around 18k a year or so miles on my car, but covid has changed my daily commute, etc as it has for many.

    OP thanks for sharing your story. I am looking forward to putting that many miles on this car.
     
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  7. curiouscow123

    curiouscow123 Member

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    Off topic, but, did driving for Uber/Lyft with such an expensive car made financial sense in your case?
     
  8. Gasaraki

    Gasaraki Member

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    I drive for Uber sometimes. You don't get the car to drive Uber. You drive Uber because you already have the car.
     
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  9. Matsayz

    Matsayz Member

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    Good info! Any issues supercharging constantly from Tesla? I gotta imagine they probably noticed you hitting the network more than the average “Joe”
     
  10. XLR82XS

    XLR82XS D M C

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    Great write-up. Everyone reporting/inquiring about degradation/range/etc... needs to read your statement: "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"

    I believe the range fluctuation is software change related. Maybe Tesla is reducing potential battery longevity issues by tweaking. I would say ~7% is not bad.
     
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  11. jesusbowls

    jesusbowls Member

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    That is quite remarkable. At 11K miles, my 2020 Model 3 Performance has a lifetime usage of around 340wh/mi. I deal with cold winter temperatures and cruise really fast on the highway and do a full-throttle acceleration whenever possible, which probably explains the large variance.

    Case studies like yours should help keep the resale market strong for these vehicles. Doesn't matter to me because I lease (which in hindsight will probably prove to have been a bad financial proposition given the lack of option to buyout at lease-end).
     
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  12. shrspeedblade

    shrspeedblade Rideshare Monkey

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    No.

    It more came down to playing the cards life dealt me. For what it's worth, I spent nearly a decade miserable at work, and now I'm not. What that is worth will vary from individual to individual. ;)

    I will say this though, it makes more financial sense than people I see doing it who probably don't get 30 mpg. The cost effectiveness of the efficiency of an EV drivetrain and lower maintenance is quite real.

    Not a peep. Granted, I still do the bulk of my charging at home as it's easier/cheaper and am rarely supercharging on busy days.
     
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  13. jesusbowls

    jesusbowls Member

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    Agree. I have pretty much zero concern about regularly charging to 100% (at least 3 times per week). Slightly different in my case given that it's a leased car which I'll give up with no more than 50K miles on it (at which point I doubt there will be any noticeable degradation).
     
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  14. shrspeedblade

    shrspeedblade Rideshare Monkey

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    Unless you have a drive that requires every last mile, I'd say just charge to 90%.
    More than likely you won't even notice the difference, and why negatively affect it for the next person to no purpose?

    Something I forgot to add that is an example I use for the charging/long trip question that I use a lot, and I say this with utter conviction:

    There has not been a single moment in my ownership where I could not have driven to Key West from California immediately if required to.

    Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not one. Let that sink in, I drive nearly 5000 miles a month, too. Range anxiety is now an artificial fear manufactured by those with a financial or political interest to maintain the status quo.

     
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  15. jesusbowls

    jesusbowls Member

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    When charging to 100%, I regularly get down to around 50% before finding my way to a charger again. For performance reasons, I'd rather operate in the range of 50% to 100% than in the range of 40% to 90%.

    Also I try to limit my day-to-day charging to the free (to me) station at my office, which means I try to get from Friday afternoon through Monday morning on a single charge, which is why I always try to charge to 100% of Fridays. With my driving habits, I'm only getting a range of about 210 miles max, and the car just isn't much fun to drive below a 20% SoC.
     
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  16. camalaio

    camalaio Active Member

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    Something that happens frequently with early LR RWD owners is underestimating their capacity loss, since Tesla moved the goalposts with an update.

    If they're basing the 7% off of a 310mi rated range (as they probably had at delivery), that means about 288mi @ 100%. But, the reality is that calculation is now using 325mi as the top end, indicating roughly 11.4% capacity loss. And because of "number things" (insert large wand-wave), this is probably closer to 13.5% in reality.

    Which is not to say that's bad! That's right about where I'd expect a Model 3 of this mileage to be at, since they're appearing to be slightly worse than Model S/X in terms of degradation. A true only-7% loss at 120,000mi would be an extreme outlier and not relevant to base much off of. And let's keep in mind, this car had a lot of Supercharging apparently!

    I don't get the purpose of claims like this, especially in the context of otherwise a mostly happy report? It has little to do with what range anxiety actually is.

    Crossing the US is "easy" because of the Supercharger network, yes. But I don't think this is what people are mostly worried about? There are so many routes not possible with any current Tesla model, and many people that don't live within 30 minutes of a Supercharger (and even within 30 minutes, that 30 minutes may be a detour, adding something like 1h30 to your sudden trip if you need that particular charger). Interstates are mostly well covered - other routes, not so much. I want to go to the parks and the scenic routes, dangit! :)

    Sorry, that probably sounded abrasive. Not my strong point. But it really doesn't seem like the thing people are actually worried about. For a long time, Teslas have been the choice for coast-to-coast in the US (Canada only recently, and I have no idea about other countries).
     
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  17. RayK

    RayK Active Member

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    26 1/2 months and 18,226 miles of ownership, so I'm about equal in time to the OP's but nowhere near the distance. Lifetime efficiency is 230Wh/mi (LR RWD w/Aeros). Today 90% charging gets me to 275 miles; so calculated 100% range is 306 miles. Assuming that I could get 325 miles from a full charge (at only a couple of points I did), that means I've "lost" 6%. If I were to use the mileage from my window sticker which I believe was 310, then I've lost just 1.5% of the battery's capacity.

    Vast majority of those miles was in the first 14 months of ownership with normal (34 miles round trip) work commute here in Silicon Valley, numerous trips over the hill to Santa Cruz, several trips to San Francisco, and long distance trips to L.A., Yosemite and Tahoe. The last year has been minimal driving due to retirement and lately COVID; just over 5,000 miles. During those 14 months I had the ability to charge at work (mainly L2) so my electricity costs were $0.00 and the trip to L.A. was also free since I wasn't billed for the Supercharger sessions. Lately I've been using a local Supercharger and a handful of times at ChargePoint DC Fast stations and home 120VAC. The only other real costs have been two rear tires @ 13,100 miles / 13 months; unfixable puncture on one and replaced the other side just because.

    That's not to say I didn't spent money on roof and window shades, floor, trunk and frunk mats, CHAdeMO adapter, various UMC plugs, a TT30 to NEMA 14-30 adapter, a Gen2 HPWC (still in the box after 2 1/2 years; yes, if you do the math I bought it before the car), extra keycards and a fob. But those are really discretionary purchases and not something that falls under day-to-day operating costs. Huh, now that I think of it I also bought EAP and FSD after saying that I would never buy them as I wanted to drive the car and not let the computer do it.

    Overall I'm quite pleased with the 3. More so than this point in time of ownership with my 2000 BMW 323i.
     
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  18. one2many

    one2many Member

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    At 100k miles dont you need a new timing chain ?
     
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  19. Danny Brown

    Danny Brown Member

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    No, the chain is good to go for a while. He SHOULD start to worry about the timing BELT however ;)
     
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  20. one2many

    one2many Member

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    Is that the one for time travel.
     
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