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

What a great post!

I have a Mid-Range (264 mile range) RWD with 40K miles that I purchased in Feb. 2019. Pretty sure they discontinued my model a month or two after purchasing it. Mods include chrome delete, wireless charging pad & matte black wrap on center console and wood trim. I know there are fans of the wood trim but if you *don't like it you should seriously consider wrapping it in the color of your choice. Really changes the interior landscape of the car.

Zero regrets. I've had it serviced twice at Kearny Mesa Tesla in San Diego. Once was for a warranty item. I'm not really a mechanics kinda guy but I think it was bushings? Last service was simply to replace the cabin air filter. I know. Don't say it. I could have done it myself but whatever. It was refreshing to see that your service experiences have been similar to mine.

Tires. Ah yes. Tires. LOL I'm on my 3rd set of rear tires but this is *entirely due to my, shall we say, style of driving? 'Nuff said. I have settled into Continental ProContact RX / 235/40R19's. I actually prefer these to the stock Michelins. They are a bit squarer with a more aggressive tread configuration and they feel "grippier" to me. Oh yeah. They're also cheaper; $800 for 4 new tires installed.

Had to reply. Have a M3 Mid-Range bought in Feb 2019 with 40K miles. Black with black interior. Total chrome delete with black matte center console and wood trim!

Looking forward to driving this as long as I can!
 
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I only see - since last charge - trip A - trip B.
I don't see total.
Not sure you can find lifetime, however make your own as follows:
Once you get “since last charge”, scroll upwards. There are four totals, 1. Since xx:xx (latest drive).
2. Since last charge.
3 Trip A.
4. Trip B.
.... so you can reset just one for a trip.
I leave the last one alone and don’t ever reset it so it’s effectively lifetime, apart from the few miles driven before delivery.
I also changed it’s label from “Trip B” to “Lifetime, don’t reset”.
 
Last edited:
Great summary. We have had our car a year here in Oz (Australia) and love it more every day. It’s a stealthy P.
It’s by far the best car, and the best new car experience we have ever had! Even a year later I still look for excuses to go for a drive.
Elon summed it up so well years ago when he said “We don’t build slow cars” (or was it “boring cars”?)
Either way, he’s right!

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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Not sure you can find lifetime, however make your own as follows:
Once you get “since last charge”, scroll upwards. There are four totals, 1. Since xx:xx (latest drive).
2. Since last charge.
3 Trip A.
4. Trip B.
.... so you can reset just one for a trip.
I leave the last one alone and don’t ever reset it so it’s effectively lifetime, apart from the few miles driven before delivery.
I also changed it’s label from “Trip B” to “Lifetime, don’t reset”.

I did the exact same. “Lifetime don’t change”. :)
 
Why not just use the watt-hours per mile metric displayed on the screen. I’m at 251 lifetime after 90k miles. I believe that’s a bit higher than would be required to hit rated range, but I drive a lot of highway miles. I think I read somewhere that 240 wh/mile would yield rated range, but don’t quote me on that.

So I use miles per percent, because its easier to track what my range is supposed to be. I can't translate Wh/mile to range. I would really like to hear what effective range per percent battery usage people are getting with their M3 Performance, because I'm getting way below what was advertised.
 

Kat Jacks

Member
Supporting Member
Sep 26, 2020
126
96
Maine
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.
Your article is very interesting. My red TM3 is being delivered tomorrow (9/29) and I'm so excited. The delivery driver called me tonight with ETA. Your comments are reassuring. This car has a big price tag for me and I want to take really good care of it.
 
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I have a 2018 mid-range at 20k miles. What are you seeing for degradation / full charge capacity?

What a great post!

I have a Mid-Range (264 mile range) RWD with 40K miles that I purchased in Feb. 2019. Pretty sure they discontinued my model a month or two after purchasing it. Mods include chrome delete, wireless charging pad & matte black wrap on center console and wood trim. I know there are fans of the wood trim but if you *don't like it you should seriously consider wrapping it in the color of your choice. Really changes the interior landscape of the car.

Zero regrets. I've had it serviced twice at Kearny Mesa Tesla in San Diego. Once was for a warranty item. I'm not really a mechanics kinda guy but I think it was bushings? Last service was simply to replace the cabin air filter. I know. Don't say it. I could have done it myself but whatever. It was refreshing to see that your service experiences have been similar to mine.

Tires. Ah yes. Tires. LOL I'm on my 3rd set of rear tires but this is *entirely due to my, shall we say, style of driving? 'Nuff said. I have settled into Continental ProContact RX / 235/40R19's. I actually prefer these to the stock Michelins. They are a bit squarer with a more aggressive tread configuration and they feel "grippier" to me. Oh yeah. They're also cheaper; $800 for 4 new tires installed.
 
Not sure you can find lifetime, however make your own as follows:
Once you get “since last charge”, scroll upwards. There are four totals, 1. Since xx:xx (latest drive).
2. Since last charge.
3 Trip A.
4. Trip B.
.... so you can reset just one for a trip.
I leave the last one alone and don’t ever reset it so it’s effectively lifetime, apart from the few miles driven before delivery.
I also changed it’s label from “Trip B” to “Lifetime, don’t reset”.

This. Although I didn’t know you could change the label from Trip B to whatever. Going to try that out, thanks!
 
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).

No worries. At the end of your lease, you'll be poised to receive your Tesla Cybertruck (presuming you've reserved one early enough and are still going through with the purchase)
 
So I use miles per percent, because its easier to track what my range is supposed to be. I can't translate Wh/mile to range. I would really like to hear what effective range per percent battery usage people are getting with their M3 Performance, because I'm getting way below what was advertised.
So many variables. Driving around Cape Coral where everything is flat and highest speed limit in entire city is 55, I average about 340 miles per charge. Driving up to north GA mountains I hit 2 super chargers (600 mile trip) and average 280 miles per full charge going 75 the whole way (maybe faster in Atlanta as is dangerous to go slow there). Going back to FL with a tailwind (and going down in elevation over all) we got 310 miles per charge (it was a strong tailwind...and I set AP at 80 for most of that trip ).. Tire pressure 47 as pressure can affect mileage also...pretty loaded car and with wife and dog. Interestingly, tooling around the mountain roads (lots of high speed curves and very steep roads both paved and gravel) did not seem to affect mileage much at all. 95% of the trip back and forth was navigate by autopilot If that helps. Never have even tried chill mode. Actually just realized I’ve never even tried anything but sport steering .
 
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So many variables. Driving around Cape Coral where everything is flat and highest speed limit in entire city is 55, I average about 340 miles per charge. Driving up to north GA mountains I hit 2 super chargers (600 mile trip) and average 280 miles per full charge going 75 the whole way (maybe faster in Atlanta as is dangerous to go slow there). Going back to FL with a tailwind (and going down in elevation over all) we got 310 miles per charge (it was a strong tailwind...and I set AP at 80 for most of that trip ).. Tire pressure 47 as pressure can affect mileage also...pretty loaded car and with wife and dog. Interestingly, tooling around the mountain roads (lots of high speed curves and very steep roads both paved and gravel) did not seem to affect mileage much at all. 95% of the trip back and forth was navigate by autopilot If that helps. Never have even tried chill mode. Actually just realized I’ve never even tried anything but sport steering .
That's awesome... but is your car the Performance or the Long Range?
 
Nice informative write up. So I just went out to the garage and checked my lifetime figures: 283 wh/mi. on a 10/2018, Model 3, LR, AWD, FSD, HW3, closing on 60K miles.

Battery:
I just dragged the charging arrow on the iphone app and it reads 279 at 100%, (9% drop from the 310), it’s in the low 40’s in the garage 30’s outside so that maybe affecting the battery figure. I regularly charge into the 80% range. Mostly home charging off a HPWC, Supercharge on road trips.

Repairs:
Both Upper Control Arms replaced
Cabin Filters once
Seat track squeaking, mobile repair
Wiper blades, not sure they needed it but its been 2 years.
Charging Pin
Wheel alignment
Tire rotation by Tesla Mobile to see how they do it ( how do they lift the car, two jacks, 1 jack, jack stands???) all others done by me. Oh, it's one jack at lift point behind front wheel, lift entire side of car so both wheels off the ground. 129lbs torgue for lug nuts.
1 set of winter tires – used one season, haven’t put them back on yet.
1 set of all seasons.

Camping:
We do camp in it and love the simplicity of it, especially the temp staying on all night. Camp mode needs work, understand it now shuts off. I just manually set the settings and once I hit door lock in bed it turns the screen off.

Seats/Interior:
Definitely has scuffs on the plastic. Little 303 to hide it. Seats are wonderful and as you stated, very easy to keep clean, along with all the interior. Invest in good floor mats makes clean up so easy. Did have a major water spill on back seat when the drain plug on cooler was left open. Hit supercharger, went to get a drink out of cooler in backseat and realized Tesla’s came with swimming pools? Drained the seat with a couple towels and it was back to normal. I think they are actually waterproof, but I’ll not try it again. Long drives, not sure why but when you get out of car you’re not hunched over holding your back walking to the bathrooms, that is really really nice. Piano console is a fingerprint magnet.

Supercharging/Charging:
First year was free: Very very nice seeing we were on the road a lot. You don’t appreciate the free charging until you have to start paying again. Charging time has decreased significantly. You can just about hit the bathrooms and clean the windows before it’s time to go again. Fun to talk with fellow Tesla owners at Superchargers, wonderful folks. HPWC and the Schedule Departure is very cool. Walk out in morning, car is all charged and heated/cooled and ready to go. Wish they’d turn the seat heaters on under the Scheduled departure. Can’t do it from my phone app when set on schedule departure. I always have a full tank in the morning (>80%) with home charging, like having a gas pump in your garage.

TACC/Autopilot/FSD:
Love it. Glad I did purchased it when I did, EAP/FSD back then. It makes those long road trip drives soooo much easier, supervisor rather than driver. It has improved significantly from original, plus the free upgrade to HW3. I use AP on regular roads all the time. I really enjoy the system adjusting the speeds as you approach towns and other speed drops/increases. Also like the ability to glance around without worrying about running off the road on back roads or crossing the lines. Not a fan of the Phantom Braking, ughh, when will that ever get fixed. FSD with autolane change is nice on road trips plus it takes the exits, so if you had a moment of inattentiveness you don’t miss your exit. Single pedal driving is cool, except when you drive a regular car and realize the stop sign/light is approaching fast and car isn’t slowing. Stop sign/Stop light not kicking in. Oppps, wrong car. You do get spoiled.

Sentry/Alarms:
Nice piece of mind. Hope they come out with a delete all, so you don’t have to go one by one on the clips. It was fun to look at them the first time but not anymore, nothing to see here, move along… It will be nice if you could view the event (alarm triggered) on your phone.

Conclusion:
2 Years and almost 60K, on all types of roads in all types of weather. It’s been great. Best car I ever purchased, absolutely no regrets. But it works for me and my family, others may not care for it. Battery range and other battery topics it’s just noise, agh, no longer pay attention to it, non issue. Car figures it all out on road trips. Charge at campsite when camping, again no issues. Never had to experience, as one other person posted somewhere “The Tow of Shame”

Now should we get High test, mid range or low octane in the electricity to the battery. :) Out of curiosity, do gas cars have discussion boards on the gas they run, the size of their tanks, the miles they get, percent vs miles, should we fill all the way up or just half a tank of gas, miles to empty gauge not accurate. What pump should we use, does Exxon have super pumps, 5 gallons a minute…. What gas station/brand should we use? I guess it’s new technology and lots of questions and concerns. I still remember my uncles arguing over the fastest route when they’d come to visit. The old paper maps from each state pulled out on the table or floor and spirited discussions, both verbal and beverage ensued. Days gone by.

At the end of the day, it’s just another car that uses batteries and electric motors instead of gas and combustion engines, and uses a fancy computer and software, but still a car with same tires, same suspension, same every thing else, minus the motor and transmission that eventually wear out. It’s still just a car.
 
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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.
 
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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