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Tips for new Tesla owners.

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by mzairboy, May 8, 2016.

  1. mzairboy

    mzairboy Member

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    The point of this post is to gain insight from veteran Tesla owners and pass it onto those who are getting into the EV scene.

    I am 22 years old and placed a reservation for an M3 on May 1st. In high school we watched Who Killed the Electric Car, and later, Revenge of the Electric Car. We built an electric bike in our physics class and visited Brandon Hollinger who converts vehicle to electric. My first ride in an EV was in his converted Miata. As part of the physics class, I also helped install a solar energy system on our school roof. I drive a Jeep Wrangler as my daily driver. While I believe in being a good steward to the planet and respecting nature, I wouldn't consider myself a "save the planet" type of person. I enjoy technology, and I believe that is part of what intrigued me about electric vehicles. What sold me on a Tesla was being able to drive one. Someone offered to let me drive his Roadster to an EV event, and I quickly jumped on the opportunity. He also let me drive his Roadster to the same event the following year, and I also was given a ride in his Model S. The Tesla Grin won me over. I am a Jeep guy, it's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand. However, I knew right then that one day I would own a Tesla, and now that the M3 is coming out I am able to afford one.

    I am reading through this forum and there is so much information. What are some really important things that new owners should know? Features to order, habits to form, proper etiquette? I'll throw out some examples, and please don't limit it to these, throw in your opinions about what I should be aware of! These are just some questions off the top of my head.

    1. Charging: Should I plug in often, or run the battery down some? Is it better for a modern battery to be recharged often? Does Tesla explain all this when you purchase the car? I have about 6 miles to drive to work. Is it a good idea to charge every day, or drive the battery down half way before charging, or it doesn't really matter?
    2. Insurance: Good insurance companies for better rates? Things to be aware of?
    3. Air suspension vs regular suspension: This is a question I have. Is the air suspension that much better? I'm used to a bumpy Jeep suspension so I assume the regular coils will be an improvement than what I am used to.
    4. Sound system: I figure that since I will be driving a vehicle with virtually no noise, I will listen to the radio more often. Can guys with the premium upgrade chime in on if it is an impressive improvement over the regular sound options?
    5. Service: Nearest Tesla station is over an hour away. I won't need to go probably more than once a year? Do you recommend prepaying for a service plan?
    6. Warranty: I'm buying this Tesla expecting a premium car. What can I expect for warranty? I heard Tesla is very good with customer service, but I hear this from guys who have multiple Tesla vehicles. Of course they will get top notch service. Can I expect this with an M3?
    7. Tesla App: I have a Windows 10 smartphone. Not interested in switching to iOS or Android at this time. I don't expect an app to be made for Windows. Will I be missing some awesome features by not having an app?
    8. Charging Cables: I have a 110 outlet outside my office at work. Anything wrong with charging this way with a regular extension cord? Remember, I only have a short drive to work. At home I have a 220 plug. Is it necessary to purchase a Tesla wall charger, or can I just plug into that?
    9. Cold weather package: What is this exactly? Is it necessary for PA winters? I sometimes scrape ice off the INSIDE of my Wrangler windshield, so I'm used to the cold weather with a softop vehicle.
    10. Vehicle SIM Card: Would the M3 have a SIM card in it so it is always connected? Who pays for this data? Is it built into the price of the car?

    Thanks for any input you may have as I launch into this adventure.
     
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  2. cpa

    cpa Member

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    I cannot speak to a lot of your questions, but will try to answer the charging ones. Tesla says "a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla." Generally, most of us plug in each night regardless of our daily driving requirements. With your six-mile commute, the better thing (and there will be those who will disagree - :cool:) would be to keep your battery charge level around 60-70%. You can always increase it when you get home if you expect a long drive the next day. But, plug your car in every night. I work from home, and keep the share of charge at 65% unless I am going out of town. But my car is always plugged in.

    The EEs on here can address the use of an extension cord, but from what I have gleaned on this site is that this is not a good thing unless your extension cord has a heavy-duty rating. So, I would not charge at work.

    Conventional 110V/15A charging is s-l-o-w. You might get 4 miles of range per hour when the weather is decent, but many have said that during winter they are lucky to gain 1 - 1 1/2 miles per hour because the battery management system draws power to keep the battery warm. For home charging you need to determine what type of receptacle you have in your garage. There are several kinds. Tesla includes an adapter for the RV park 14-50 plug. That can charge as fast as 26-29 miles of range per hour. Once you identify the type of receptacle you already have, you will need to find the right adapter for it. I do not know which ones Tesla still sells separately. You can check Tesla's web page for charging accessories to find out. Personally, I would not invest in the High Powered Wall Charger unless the Model 3 comes with an optional 72A charger and you need a lot of range frequently for weekend trips.
     
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  3. MSullivan

    MSullivan Member

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    Luckily when you get your 3 you will be 25 and eligible for lower insurance rates. :)
     
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  4. mzairboy

    mzairboy Member

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    Thanks for that info! Charging at work would be more convenient for me, and I own a heavy duty cord. Even at a worse case 1 mile per hour charge rate, if I work a normal 10 hour day that almost covers all my driving for that day. Of course, if such a slow charge rate could be bad for the car, I would obviously not want to do it. Also, is there a reason to keep a 70% battery level? I'm slightly OCD and would have to get over not seeing a fully charged car when I jump in. I admit, range anxiety will be something I will need to get over. I am constantly keeping my cell phone charged full because...well I like a full battery indicator. :)
     
  5. Jayc

    Jayc Member

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    Great set of questions mzairboy, I too would be very interested to know answers to some of them.
     
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  6. zenmaster

    zenmaster Member

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    What should my ideal charge percentage be?
     
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  7. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    Quite a few of your questions are about charging, so take a look at FAQ: Home Tesla charging infrastructure Q&A

    Typically you'll see 3 to 4 rated miles per hour from a standard 110V wall outlet. Those are EPA rated miles not actual miles: depending on your driving style, weather, and route you might need more than one rated mile per actual mile. But it sounds like you'd be ok with that charge rate under pretty much any circumstances.

    Tesla tells us that it's bad for battery longevity to keep it at 100%. I see this as a great opportunity to tame that OCD. There's nothing wrong with a little OCD, as long as it's your servant and not your master. Maybe you could get in practice by plugging in your phone a little less often: it should last longer too.

    I didn't bother with air suspension or premium sound. So far I have no regrets.

    The TMS and TMX both come with a Tesla-supplied SIM card, paid for by Tesla. With the TM3 your guess is as good as mine.
     
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  8. mzairboy

    mzairboy Member

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    My phone has wireless charging. I never plug in. ;)
     
  9. Jayc

    Jayc Member

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    So does that mean we can setup upper charge threshold and keep it plugged in?
     
  10. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    I would not fixate on charging at work. If you charge at home and have such a short commute, I would just plug in each night - if that. I know people say "a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla" but we don't do that. In general we plug it in when it gets below say 100 miles of range - or to charge up for our commutes (which are long.) For instance, my husband came home from his commute last friday, charged to 90%. We've been driving it all weekend short distances, not plugging in each night. He will plug it in tonight to get ready for his commute to Philly tomorrow. But that is our driving habits. With yours, I would take the above advice and aim for 60-70% unless you are going on a long trip.

    There is much debate re: the suspension system. We opted not to go with it - and our roads are pretty crappy. The ride is still amazing. If you had some driving conditions you knew you would regularly encounter that would make it a necessary option, then by all means....

    We also opted for the standard sound system. We'd read you can get much better aftermarket systems for the money, compared to Tesla's premium system. Figured we'd try out the standard and decide later if we wanted to upgrade with an aftermarket system. The standard has been fine for us.

    Our service center is also an hour away. We've had to take it in only for our annual service. No big deal. that said, I do expect the service centers to expand for the Model 3 launch and and hoping one opens up closer eventually. We did pre-pay for the service plan, but I think they've changed it since we did so I'd have to look it over to see if anything changed that would make me not do it again.

    We did get the warranty but because we tend to keep our cars for a long time. There are definitely warranty/no warranty camps.

    If you have a 220V 14-50 plug then no, it is not necessary to purchase the Tesla charger. The car comes with a cord with 14-50 prongs. It is more for convenience. (not having to pull your plug out every time - the Tesla HPWC is always ready.) That said, we do not have the HPWC and it has been totally fine. We don't have a garage and for us the installation would have been kind of a production. That said, even with a garage I'm not sure I'd get it, since we've been fine without it thus far.

    The cold weather package includes heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and i think heated washer fluid nozzles? (I'm not sure what the technical term is there ha.) We did not get it in RI - figuring we would just use the preconditioning feature to have the cabin warm and toasty for us. That has been fine - but I will say that is the one feature maybe I'd get next time. Only for the rear heated seats - we have a lot more passengers in our Tesla than we ever had in any other car. :)
     
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  11. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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  12. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    Yes. that is what the S and X have and I'm sure the Model 3 will have the same.
     
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  13. thimel

    thimel Member

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    The app has many features I like. The feature I use the most is to turn on the climate control. Do this five minutes before going to drive the car and the interior is a comfortable temperature. Next is checking the charge level. I use this on long trips when stopped at a super charger. If you forget where you parked your car, the app will show you its location on a map and can pass that to google maps which will then navigate you to it. You can also honk the horn and flash the lights. If for some reason you don't have your key fob, you can unlock and start the car.
    All the above is for the Model S. Just assuming Model 3 will be similar.
     
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  14. StraightDave

    StraightDave Member

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    If I live in California, what will it cost me per month to charge my M3?
     
  15. jsanford

    jsanford Red 3 Reserver

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    This thread is a great idea. In fact, "in the field" advice from current owner experience is why I joined this forum.

    My plan at this point is to drive the Tesla daily on my 24-miles-one-way commute through the Seattle downtown traffic snarl. How is range affected by stopping, going, speeds between 30-70mph on a good commute run?

    When I had an Insight, the batteries did not tolerate parking at all well when I stopped using it for commuting, which is why I plan on using the car for commuting. Ideally I'll have a carpool. My employer has no interest in installing charging facilities at the office, so the car will sit unplugged for 8.5-10 hours during the day (the longer, the less speed variation en route home).

    Rain. We often have standing water on streets and the freeway during the winter. One of my griefs with the Insight is that it had "low rolling resistance" tires which were terrible in heavy rains and prone to punctures. It's my *hope* that since Tesla emphasizes good performance that the Model 3's tires will be more conventional.

    Charging: We have an available 220v circuit after switching our stove to gas from electricity. How much charge will we get if the car is plugged in overnight for 10-12 hours?
     
  16. Borgholio

    Borgholio Member

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    Depends on your electric rate and your power usage. I will be getting about 12 cents per kwh and a 120 mile round trip commute. Assuming 3.5 kwh per mile, it will cost me about 90 dollars per month in electricity. Compared to my Prius at $140 per month, it's still a measurable savings.
     
  17. melindav

    melindav ☰ reserved

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    Also a future owner, and spend about 2 hours of my day in Portland's traffic ...
    I watched a Model S 'road trip' video last night where the driver encountered a construction backup before the Centralia Supercharger and commented that (paraphrasing) "luckily, you can crawl along endlessly in traffic and never run out of juice before you reach your destination".
    If interested, let me know and I can find the video link and send it to you.
     
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  18. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    The Model S range is actually better in traffic - especially bumper to bumper - because of the regenerative braking.
     
  19. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    It all depends on how much you drive. I did post this yesterday which is my own analysis of the cost/mile to drive an EV vs an ICE.

    Cost Comparison EVs vs ICE

    The EPA energy WH/mi is very close for all the EVs on the market now. I would expect the M3 to be a little better than the Model S, but probably not better than the i3 which is the most efficient. I believe the average cost of electricity in California is $0.12/KWh. That is the US national average.
     
  20. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    When you're moving slower than about 40 mph you also have very little drag which helps efficiency more than regen braking. The hypermiler experiments (attempts to get the most range possible out of a single charge) with the Model S have all been done at around 25 mph and trying to go as constant speed as possible. For those runs it's taken close to 24 hours to run the battery down.
     

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