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How I Recovered Half of my Battery's Lost Capacity

SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,174
5,603
Houston, TX
Like many others, I have been concerned with loss of 100% indicated battery range on one of my Model 3s. My P3D (build date 9/13/2018, delivery date 10/8/2018) had gotten down to 270.3 miles at 100% charge on January 20, 2020, at about 30,700 miles, which is a loss of 40.8 miles since the car was new.

I posted about going to the service center to talk with them about battery degradation, which I did on March 9, 2020. It was a great service appointment and the techs at the Houston Westchase service center paid attention to my concerns and promised to follow up with a call from the lead virtual tech team technician. I detailed this service visit in the following post:

Reduced Range - Tesla Issued a Service Bulletin for possible fix

While that service visit was great, the real meat of addressing the problem came when I spoke to the virtual tech team lead. He told me some great things about the Model 3 battery and BMS. With the knowledge of what he told me, I formulated a plan to address it myself.

So here is the deal on the Model 3 battery and why many of us might be seeing this capacity degradation.

The BMS system is not only responsible for charging and monitoring of the battery, but computing the estimated range. The way it does this is to correlate the battery's terminal voltage (and the terminal voltage of each group of parallel cells) to the capacity. The BMS tries to constantly refine and calibrate that relationship between terminal voltage and capacity to display the remaining miles.

For the BMS to execute a calibration computation, it needs data. The primary data it needs to to this is what is called the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) of the battery and each parallel group of cells. The BMS takes these OCV readings whenever it can, and when it has enough of them, it runs a calibration computation. This lets the BMS now estimate capacity vs the battery voltage. If the BMS goes for a long time without running calibration computations, then the BMS's estimate of the battery's capacity can drift away from the battery's actual capacity. The BMS is conservative in its estimates so that people will not run out of battery before the indicator reads 0 miles, so the drift is almost always in the direction of estimated capacity < actual capacity.

So, when does the BMS take OCV readings? To take a set of OCV readings, the main HV contactor must be open, and the voltages inside the pack for every group of parallel cells must stabilize. How long does that take? Well, interestingly enough, the Model 3 takes a lot longer for the voltages to stabilize than the Model S or X. The reason is because of the battery construction. All Tesla batteries have a resistor in parallel with every parallel group of cells. The purpose of these resistors is for pack balancing. When charging to 100%, these resistors allow the low cells in the parallel group to charge more than the high cells in the group, bringing all the cells closer together in terms of their state of charge. However, the drawback to these resistors is that they are the primary cause of vampire drain.

Because Tesla wanted the Model 3 battery to be the most efficient it could be, Tesla decided to decrease the vampire drain as much as possible. One step they took to accomplish this was to increase the value of all of these resistors so that the vampire drain is minimized. The resistors in the Model 3 packs are apparently around 10x the value of the ones in the Model S/X packs. So what does this do to the BMS? Well, it makes the BMS wait a lot longer to take OCV readings, because the voltages take 10x longer to stabilize. Apparently, the voltages can stabilize enough to take OCV readings in the S/X packs within 15-20 minutes, but the Model 3 can take 3+ hours.

This means that the S/X BMS can run the calibration computations a lot easier and lot more often than the Model 3. 15-20 minutes with the contactor open is enough to get a set of OCV readings. This can happen while you're out shopping or at work, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings while the battery is at various states of charge, both high and low. This is great data for the BMS, and lets it run a good calibration fairly often.

On the Model 3, this doesn't happen. With frequent small trips, no OCV readings ever get taken because the voltage doesn't stabilize before you drive the car again. Also, many of us continuously run Sentry mode whenever we're not at home, and Sentry mode keeps the contactor engaged, thus no OCV readings can be taken no matter how long you wait. For many Model 3's, the only time OCV readings get taken is at home after a battery charge is completed, as that is the only time the car gets to open the contactor and sleep. Finally, 3 hours later, OCV readings get taken.

But that means that the OCV readings are ALWAYS at your battery charge level. If you always charge to 80%, then the only data the BMS is repeatedly collecting is 80% OCV readings. This isn't enough data to make the calibration computation accurate. So even though the readings are getting taken, and the calibration computation is being periodically run, the accuracy of the BMS never improves, and the estimated capacity vs. actual capacity continues to drift apart.

So, knowing all of this, here's what I did:

1. I made it a habit to make sure that the BMS got to take OCV readings whenever possible. I turned off Sentry mode at work so that OCV readings could be taken there. I made sure that TeslaFi was set to allow the car to sleep, because if it isn't asleep, OCV readings can't get taken.

2. I quit charging every day. Round-trip to work and back for me is about 20% of the battery's capacity, and I used to normally charge to 90%. I changed my standard charge to 80%, and then I began charging the car at night only every 3 days. So day 1 gets OCV readings at 80% (after the charge is complete), day 2 at about 60% (after 1 work trip), and day 3 at about 40% (2 work trips). I arrive back home from work with about 20% charge on that last day, and if the next day isn't Saturday, then I charge. If the next day is Saturday (I normally don't go anywhere far on Saturday), then I delay the charge for a 4th day, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings at 20%. So now my BMS is getting data from various states of charge throughout the range of the battery.

3. I periodically (once a month or so) charge to 95%, then let the car sleep for 6 hours, getting OCV readings at 95%. Don't do this at 100%, as it's not good for the battery to sit with 100% charge.

4. If I'm going to take a long drive i.e. road trip, then I charge to 100% to balance the battery, then drive. I also try to time it so that I get back home with around 10% charge, and if I can do that, then I don't charge at that time. Instead, let the car sleep 6 hours so it gets OCV readings at 10%.

These steps allowed the BMS to get many OCV readings that span the entire state of charge of the battery. This gets it good data to run an accurate calibration computation.

So what's the results?

20200827Battery100PctRange.png


On 1/20/2020 at 30,700 miles, I was down to 270 miles full range, which is 40.8 miles lost (15.1 %). The first good, accurate recalibration occurred 4/16/2020 at 35,600 miles and brought the full range up to 286 miles. Then another one occurred on 8/23/2020 at 41,400 miles and brought the range up to 290 miles, now only a 20 mile loss (6.9 %).

Note that to get just two accurate calibration computations by the BMS took 7 months and 11,000 miles.

So, to summarize:

1. This issue is primarily an indication/estimation problem, not real battery capacity loss.
2. Constant Sentry mode use contributes to this problem, because the car never sleeps, so no OCV readings get taken.
3. Long voltage stabilization times in the Model 3 prevent OCV readings from getting taken frequently, contributing to BMS estimation drift.
4. Constantly charging every day means that those OCV readings that do get taken are always at the same charge level, which makes the BMS calibration inaccurate.
5. Multiple accurate calibration cycles may need to happen before the BMS accuracy improves.
6. It takes a long time (a lot of OCV readings) to cause the BMS to run a calibration computation, and therefore the procedure can take months.

I would love if someone else can perform this procedure and confirm that it works for you, especially if your Model 3 is one that has a lot of apparent degradation. It will take months, but I think we can prove that this procedure will work.
 

toshman

Member
Jul 19, 2020
95
60
Guelph, Canada
Wow. This is a brilliant post. Makes me think about my upcoming 2020 M3 SR+. I have a 5km commute to work one way. So 10km daily if not running errands etc. Of course I will find excuses to go get milk 50kms away lol.

But seriously I need to think about your post and maybe do the same. Due to COVID I will probably work 3 to 4 days in the office. I’m thinking about charging on Wednesday and Saturday or even on Sunday only and ride out the week if I’m not going anywhere else.

Again, great post and thanks for taking the time and effort to do this.
 

Bubbatech

Member
Nov 2, 2019
97
152
Alabama
Your logic is good and the data support it. I was thinking along similar lines and stopped charging my battery every day although I keep it plugged in. Part of the reason is I get free charging at work, so I have generally been charging from 60-90% on Fridays and Mondays. I have never run the car below 50%, so if data below that level is required by the bms, then I would have to go much lower.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: jpm777

stonelance

Member
Jul 26, 2018
299
183
Seattle
I think a good chunk of this info has been posted before, but it is always worth spreading the info considering it goes against Tesla's own charging recommendations. Multiple people (myself included) confirmed having better range estimates after they stopped charging daily.
 

Bubbatech

Member
Nov 2, 2019
97
152
Alabama
I don’t think this has been posted before. The OP discusses a different approach that relies on measuring unloaded voltage versus some variant of SOC, and its based on credible sounding discussions with the company. Other discussions have been much more speculative or focused on brick balancing. Also, the OP addresses bms distance estimates, not battery health and specifically states that they are not the same.
 

SilverSp33d3r

No Longer Silver
May 23, 2018
529
373
LA
Like many others, I have been concerned with loss of 100% indicated battery range on one of my Model 3s. My P3D (build date 9/13/2018, delivery date 10/8/2018) had gotten down to 270.3 miles at 100% charge on January 20, 2020, at about 30,700 miles, which is a loss of 40.8 miles since the car was new.

I posted about going to the service center to talk with them about battery degradation, which I did on March 9, 2020. It was a great service appointment and the techs at the Houston Westchase service center paid attention to my concerns and promised to follow up with a call from the lead virtual tech team technician. I detailed this service visit in the following post:

Reduced Range - Tesla Issued a Service Bulletin for possible fix

While that service visit was great, the real meat of addressing the problem came when I spoke to the virtual tech team lead. He told me some great things about the Model 3 battery and BMS. With the knowledge of what he told me, I formulated a plan to address it myself.

So here is the deal on the Model 3 battery and why many of us might be seeing this capacity degradation.

The BMS system is not only responsible for charging and monitoring of the battery, but computing the estimated range. The way it does this is to correlate the battery's terminal voltage (and the terminal voltage of each group of parallel cells) to the capacity. The BMS tries to constantly refine and calibrate that relationship between terminal voltage and capacity to display the remaining miles.

For the BMS to execute a calibration computation, it needs data. The primary data it needs to to this is what is called the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) of the battery and each parallel group of cells. The BMS takes these OCV readings whenever it can, and when it has enough of them, it runs a calibration computation. This lets the BMS now estimate capacity vs the battery voltage. If the BMS goes for a long time without running calibration computations, then the BMS's estimate of the battery's capacity can drift away from the battery's actual capacity. The BMS is conservative in its estimates so that people will not run out of battery before the indicator reads 0 miles, so the drift is almost always in the direction of estimated capacity < actual capacity.

So, when does the BMS take OCV readings? To take a set of OCV readings, the main HV contactor must be open, and the voltages inside the pack for every group of parallel cells must stabilize. How long does that take? Well, interestingly enough, the Model 3 takes a lot longer for the voltages to stabilize than the Model S or X. The reason is because of the battery construction. All Tesla batteries have a resistor in parallel with every parallel group of cells. The purpose of these resistors is for pack balancing. When charging to 100%, these resistors allow the low cells in the parallel group to charge more than the high cells in the group, bringing all the cells closer together in terms of their state of charge. However, the drawback to these resistors is that they are the primary cause of vampire drain.

Because Tesla wanted the Model 3 battery to be the most efficient it could be, Tesla decided to decrease the vampire drain as much as possible. One step they took to accomplish this was to increase the value of all of these resistors so that the vampire drain is minimized. The resistors in the Model 3 packs are apparently around 10x the value of the ones in the Model S/X packs. So what does this do to the BMS? Well, it makes the BMS wait a lot longer to take OCV readings, because the voltages take 10x longer to stabilize. Apparently, the voltages can stabilize enough to take OCV readings in the S/X packs within 15-20 minutes, but the Model 3 can take 3+ hours.

This means that the S/X BMS can run the calibration computations a lot easier and lot more often than the Model 3. 15-20 minutes with the contactor open is enough to get a set of OCV readings. This can happen while you're out shopping or at work, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings while the battery is at various states of charge, both high and low. This is great data for the BMS, and lets it run a good calibration fairly often.

On the Model 3, this doesn't happen. With frequent small trips, no OCV readings ever get taken because the voltage doesn't stabilize before you drive the car again. Also, many of us continuously run Sentry mode whenever we're not at home, and Sentry mode keeps the contactor engaged, thus no OCV readings can be taken no matter how long you wait. For many Model 3's, the only time OCV readings get taken is at home after a battery charge is completed, as that is the only time the car gets to open the contactor and sleep. Finally, 3 hours later, OCV readings get taken.

But that means that the OCV readings are ALWAYS at your battery charge level. If you always charge to 80%, then the only data the BMS is repeatedly collecting is 80% OCV readings. This isn't enough data to make the calibration computation accurate. So even though the readings are getting taken, and the calibration computation is being periodically run, the accuracy of the BMS never improves, and the estimated capacity vs. actual capacity continues to drift apart.

So, knowing all of this, here's what I did:

1. I made it a habit to make sure that the BMS got to take OCV readings whenever possible. I turned off Sentry mode at work so that OCV readings could be taken there. I made sure that TeslaFi was set to allow the car to sleep, because if it isn't asleep, OCV readings can't get taken.

2. I quit charging every day. Round-trip to work and back for me is about 20% of the battery's capacity, and I used to normally charge to 90%. I changed my standard charge to 80%, and then I began charging the car at night only every 3 days. So day 1 gets OCV readings at 80% (after the charge is complete), day 2 at about 60% (after 1 work trip), and day 3 at about 40% (2 work trips). I arrive back home from work with about 20% charge on that last day, and if the next day isn't Saturday, then I charge. If the next day is Saturday (I normally don't go anywhere far on Saturday), then I delay the charge for a 4th day, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings at 20%. So now my BMS is getting data from various states of charge throughout the range of the battery.

3. I periodically (once a month or so) charge to 95%, then let the car sleep for 6 hours, getting OCV readings at 95%. Don't do this at 100%, as it's not good for the battery to sit with 100% charge.

4. If I'm going to take a long drive i.e. road trip, then I charge to 100% to balance the battery, then drive. I also try to time it so that I get back home with around 10% charge, and if I can do that, then I don't charge at that time. Instead, let the car sleep 6 hours so it gets OCV readings at 10%.

These steps allowed the BMS to get many OCV readings that span the entire state of charge of the battery. This gets it good data to run an accurate calibration computation.

So what's the results?

20200827Battery100PctRange.png


On 1/20/2020 at 30,700 miles, I was down to 270 miles full range, which is 40.8 miles lost (15.1 %). The first good, accurate recalibration occurred 4/16/2020 at 35,600 miles and brought the full range up to 286 miles. Then another one occurred on 8/23/2020 at 41,400 miles and brought the range up to 290 miles, now only a 20 mile loss (6.9 %).

Note that to get just two accurate calibration computations by the BMS took 7 months and 11,000 miles.

So, to summarize:

1. This issue is primarily an indication/estimation problem, not real battery capacity loss.
2. Constant Sentry mode use contributes to this problem, because the car never sleeps, so no OCV readings get taken.
3. Long voltage stabilization times in the Model 3 prevent OCV readings from getting taken frequently, contributing to BMS estimation drift.
4. Constantly charging every day means that those OCV readings that do get taken are always at the same charge level, which makes the BMS calibration inaccurate.
5. Multiple accurate calibration cycles may need to happen before the BMS accuracy improves.
6. It takes a long time (a lot of OCV readings) to cause the BMS to run a calibration computation, and therefore the procedure can take months.

I would love if someone else can perform this procedure and confirm that it works for you, especially if your Model 3 is one that has a lot of apparent degradation. It will take months, but I think we can prove that this procedure will work.

Thank you for the write - up!
This approach is exactly what my local service center has recommended to repair my SR+. It has been down to 214 at full charge but I too was treating my car the same as you. (12,000 miles though).
 

Electric700

Active Member
May 21, 2013
1,697
361
Florida, United States
...
4. If I'm going to take a long drive i.e. road trip, then I charge to 100% to balance the battery, then drive. I also try to time it so that I get back home with around 10% charge, and if I can do that, then I don't charge at that time. Instead, let the car sleep 6 hours so it gets OCV readings at 10%...

Tesla told me recently that you don't need to charge to 100% to balance the battery for the Model S. This probably applies to the Model 3, X, and Y too. Balancing is done anytime you charge. They also said they haven't seen any cars at the service center with unbalanced batteries. Just charge to 80% normally or 90%+ if needed (e.g. for a trip) and go! This makes a lot of sense since they want to make it easier for everyone.
 

G26okie

2020 P3D-
Nov 15, 2019
160
108
South Florida
Tesla told me recently that you don't need to charge to 100% to balance the battery for the Model S. This probably applies to the Model 3, X, and Y too. Balancing is done anytime you charge. They also said they haven't seen any cars at the service center with unbalanced batteries. Just charge to 80% normally or 90%+ if needed (e.g. for a trip) and go! This makes a lot of sense since they want to make it easier for everyone.

I've seen the service manual excerpt for the model 3 posted a few times. The BMS starts balancing at voltage above 4.0
 

Battpower

Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2019
1,964
1,940
Uk
Like many others, I have been concerned with loss of 100% indicated battery range on one of my Model 3s. My P3D (build date 9/13/2018, delivery date 10/8/2018) had gotten down to 270.3 miles at 100% charge on January 20, 2020, at about 30,700 miles, which is a loss of 40.8 miles since the car was new.

I posted about going to the service center to talk with them about battery degradation, which I did on March 9, 2020. It was a great service appointment and the techs at the Houston Westchase service center paid attention to my concerns and promised to follow up with a call from the lead virtual tech team technician. I detailed this service visit in the following post:

Reduced Range - Tesla Issued a Service Bulletin for possible fix

While that service visit was great, the real meat of addressing the problem came when I spoke to the virtual tech team lead. He told me some great things about the Model 3 battery and BMS. With the knowledge of what he told me, I formulated a plan to address it myself.

So here is the deal on the Model 3 battery and why many of us might be seeing this capacity degradation.

The BMS system is not only responsible for charging and monitoring of the battery, but computing the estimated range. The way it does this is to correlate the battery's terminal voltage (and the terminal voltage of each group of parallel cells) to the capacity. The BMS tries to constantly refine and calibrate that relationship between terminal voltage and capacity to display the remaining miles.

For the BMS to execute a calibration computation, it needs data. The primary data it needs to to this is what is called the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) of the battery and each parallel group of cells. The BMS takes these OCV readings whenever it can, and when it has enough of them, it runs a calibration computation. This lets the BMS now estimate capacity vs the battery voltage. If the BMS goes for a long time without running calibration computations, then the BMS's estimate of the battery's capacity can drift away from the battery's actual capacity. The BMS is conservative in its estimates so that people will not run out of battery before the indicator reads 0 miles, so the drift is almost always in the direction of estimated capacity < actual capacity.

So, when does the BMS take OCV readings? To take a set of OCV readings, the main HV contactor must be open, and the voltages inside the pack for every group of parallel cells must stabilize. How long does that take? Well, interestingly enough, the Model 3 takes a lot longer for the voltages to stabilize than the Model S or X. The reason is because of the battery construction. All Tesla batteries have a resistor in parallel with every parallel group of cells. The purpose of these resistors is for pack balancing. When charging to 100%, these resistors allow the low cells in the parallel group to charge more than the high cells in the group, bringing all the cells closer together in terms of their state of charge. However, the drawback to these resistors is that they are the primary cause of vampire drain.

Because Tesla wanted the Model 3 battery to be the most efficient it could be, Tesla decided to decrease the vampire drain as much as possible. One step they took to accomplish this was to increase the value of all of these resistors so that the vampire drain is minimized. The resistors in the Model 3 packs are apparently around 10x the value of the ones in the Model S/X packs. So what does this do to the BMS? Well, it makes the BMS wait a lot longer to take OCV readings, because the voltages take 10x longer to stabilize. Apparently, the voltages can stabilize enough to take OCV readings in the S/X packs within 15-20 minutes, but the Model 3 can take 3+ hours.

This means that the S/X BMS can run the calibration computations a lot easier and lot more often than the Model 3. 15-20 minutes with the contactor open is enough to get a set of OCV readings. This can happen while you're out shopping or at work, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings while the battery is at various states of charge, both high and low. This is great data for the BMS, and lets it run a good calibration fairly often.

On the Model 3, this doesn't happen. With frequent small trips, no OCV readings ever get taken because the voltage doesn't stabilize before you drive the car again. Also, many of us continuously run Sentry mode whenever we're not at home, and Sentry mode keeps the contactor engaged, thus no OCV readings can be taken no matter how long you wait. For many Model 3's, the only time OCV readings get taken is at home after a battery charge is completed, as that is the only time the car gets to open the contactor and sleep. Finally, 3 hours later, OCV readings get taken.

But that means that the OCV readings are ALWAYS at your battery charge level. If you always charge to 80%, then the only data the BMS is repeatedly collecting is 80% OCV readings. This isn't enough data to make the calibration computation accurate. So even though the readings are getting taken, and the calibration computation is being periodically run, the accuracy of the BMS never improves, and the estimated capacity vs. actual capacity continues to drift apart.

So, knowing all of this, here's what I did:

1. I made it a habit to make sure that the BMS got to take OCV readings whenever possible. I turned off Sentry mode at work so that OCV readings could be taken there. I made sure that TeslaFi was set to allow the car to sleep, because if it isn't asleep, OCV readings can't get taken.

2. I quit charging every day. Round-trip to work and back for me is about 20% of the battery's capacity, and I used to normally charge to 90%. I changed my standard charge to 80%, and then I began charging the car at night only every 3 days. So day 1 gets OCV readings at 80% (after the charge is complete), day 2 at about 60% (after 1 work trip), and day 3 at about 40% (2 work trips). I arrive back home from work with about 20% charge on that last day, and if the next day isn't Saturday, then I charge. If the next day is Saturday (I normally don't go anywhere far on Saturday), then I delay the charge for a 4th day, allowing the BMS to get OCV readings at 20%. So now my BMS is getting data from various states of charge throughout the range of the battery.

3. I periodically (once a month or so) charge to 95%, then let the car sleep for 6 hours, getting OCV readings at 95%. Don't do this at 100%, as it's not good for the battery to sit with 100% charge.

4. If I'm going to take a long drive i.e. road trip, then I charge to 100% to balance the battery, then drive. I also try to time it so that I get back home with around 10% charge, and if I can do that, then I don't charge at that time. Instead, let the car sleep 6 hours so it gets OCV readings at 10%.

These steps allowed the BMS to get many OCV readings that span the entire state of charge of the battery. This gets it good data to run an accurate calibration computation.

So what's the results?

20200827Battery100PctRange.png


On 1/20/2020 at 30,700 miles, I was down to 270 miles full range, which is 40.8 miles lost (15.1 %). The first good, accurate recalibration occurred 4/16/2020 at 35,600 miles and brought the full range up to 286 miles. Then another one occurred on 8/23/2020 at 41,400 miles and brought the range up to 290 miles, now only a 20 mile loss (6.9 %).

Note that to get just two accurate calibration computations by the BMS took 7 months and 11,000 miles.

So, to summarize:

1. This issue is primarily an indication/estimation problem, not real battery capacity loss.
2. Constant Sentry mode use contributes to this problem, because the car never sleeps, so no OCV readings get taken.
3. Long voltage stabilization times in the Model 3 prevent OCV readings from getting taken frequently, contributing to BMS estimation drift.
4. Constantly charging every day means that those OCV readings that do get taken are always at the same charge level, which makes the BMS calibration inaccurate.
5. Multiple accurate calibration cycles may need to happen before the BMS accuracy improves.
6. It takes a long time (a lot of OCV readings) to cause the BMS to run a calibration computation, and therefore the procedure can take months.

I would love if someone else can perform this procedure and confirm that it works for you, especially if your Model 3 is one that has a lot of apparent degradation. It will take months, but I think we can prove that this procedure will work.

The information here is really stuff that in far simpler (more succinct) terms should be in every user manual.

Understanding basic cell balancing and range estimate calibration processes should not be down to individual owners to try and extract from random Tesla staff.

In general, great info, and it would be awesome if there was a factual equivalent directly from official Tesla engineering source.

I have often wondered why vampire drain is so high, and likely higher as cell condition worsens with age, and it could make sense if it is down to vampire drain. The only thing is that if the hv circuits are off / isolated, then I don't believe the balancing circuits will be active. Certainly on my Raven S LR, if it sits for an extended period, I believe I have seen evidence of the bricks drifting out of balance.

Interesting info. Especially pointing out that allowing bricks to settle ( ie: car not charging or discharging) is essential part of the process.
 
Last edited:

Firebird 2.0

Member
Aug 13, 2020
6
21
Simi Valley
I am impressed with the technical acumen detailed here. It saddens me, though, because it is just one more piece of evidence to me that Tesla autos are not for the senior set (of which I am a reluctant member).

I own a Model 3 and drive it only infrequently ... especially now during the Covid-19 crimp on places to go. Now I'm sure all you young'uns out there will puzzle over how I could possibly lose some sharpness in my senior years; after all, you (and I, too, when I was a young'un) are bright, quick on your feet, sharp memory, and all the rest of the admirable characteristics of not-old humans, AND YOU'LL NEVER GIVE IN TO THE RAVAGES OF AGE, EITHER. Am I not right?

The Tesla autos have sometimes been called, with pride, "a computer on wheels." However, when I describe my M3 that way to others, it's with an inward groan. Why? It is so difficult to do anything, even simple things like open the glove box. In all the ICE cars I've ever driven, it's been easy. A/C? Sure, just reach over WITHOUT HAVING TO TAKE MY EYES OFF THE ROAD and make the adjustments by touch. No way to do that in my computer on wheels.

(btw, I fully expect there will be many crash descriptions of seniors taking their eyes off the road too long and crashing into some innocent car, guard rail at the edge of a cliff, or oncoming fully loaded semi.)

Or, say you want to flip on the windshield wipers to wash off a bug flattened right in your line of vision. If you’re like me, you’ll have to pull over to the side of the road and browse through the logical decision tree on the touch screen (that saves a lot of weight, I’m sure) before you can home in, minutes later, on the part of the algorithm that gives you several choices for windshield wiper activation.

This retired aerospace engineer, who helped design the control system of the GPS satellite decades ago, longs for the simplicity of an old ICE car! Same for my wife, who refuses to drive the M3 because it is “Too complicated.”

Elon! Here’s a demographic that you might not reach until you design a simple ecar: The really senior cohort that really doesn’t need 0 – 60 in 3 seconds. (I tried to think of a name for a senior-appropriate Tesla that could be added to the S3XY lineup, but I nodded off. Maybe after my nap.)
You could always try voice commands. They work well for this senior.
 

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