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Tips for new Tesla owners.

garsh

Re Member
Apr 2, 2016
342
542
Pittsburgh
Oh, wow. I figured the cable would be cheaper than a full wall charger. The tradeoffs make sense now.
The naming gives the wrong impression. The actual *charger* lives in the car.

The car comes with a "mobile connector" that lets you plug the car into an outlet.
You can also buy a "wall connector" to charge your car.
Neither is a charger. Technically, they are both EVSE's. It makes sense that they are priced similarly.
 

GoTslaGo

Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
3,063
4,740
US
When we bought our S we opted for a 14-50 NEMA outlet at our house. Approximately 600 (installation, permitting, etc...). Got the extra UMC for an additional 650. At the time HPWC charger was 750, and we did not get the dual charger (80Amps) to be able to take full advantage of it.

Now we have moved and the new house came with a 14-30 outlet built in. So we contacted our Service Center for a 14-30 UMC adapter, which they were able to get for us. 45 bucks.

If the new house did not have a plug built in, given the current pricing we would probably opt for the newer HPWC. Two UMC's proved useful for us, because there was a time where we had to bounce between the two houses and could charge at both (left one at old house, and brought the spare UMC in the car).

If you opt for a 14-50 outlet (not HPWC), some have said that if you constantly plug and unplug your UMC from that outlet that the UMC can drop out over time due to wear. But now that the HPWC is cheaper, it's probably a better option, and you can leave the UMC in the car.

Definitely get some type of higher charging capacity as the 110 V is just too slow. You can probably get by, but if you really want to use the car, and not have it plugged in all the time you really should get an HPWC or 14-50. Hope that helps.
 
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wdolson

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,996
11,375
Clark Co, WA
Depends on the car. Compared to a highly efficient car like a Prius, it's about 40% cheaper to drive. Compared to a standard full ICE car that gets 30 - 40mpg, the savings is even greater.

At the US national average of $0.12/KWh and a gas price of $2.50/gallon, a 50 MPG car costs about $0.05 a mile and the Model S 90D/70D costs about $0.04 a mile. Of course electrical rates are more stable and gas prices are at their lowest in over a decade.
 
If I live in California, what will it cost me per month to charge my M3?

Yes, as at least one has said it depends on how much you drive - right? Of course.

However, it’s not that simple to say the rates are 12 cents a kWh. That simply isn’t true if your provider is Southern California Edison in southern California.

First, the rates per kWh are tiered and vary by season. For this month, May, they start at 17 cents per kWh. Look at your bill. That rate will perhaps take you through the first 10 days of the billing period, maybe two weeks depending on your usage. It depends on many things. Do you cook with electric or gas? Do you use a lot of air-conditioning? Do you have a pool with a pump that runs 10-12 hours a day?

So tier one starts at 17 cents per kWh for the first 307 kWh of usage for the the billing period. Tier two is 22 cents for the next 308 - 400 kWh, tier three 26 cents for the next 401 - 615 kWh, and 32 cents per kWh above 616 kWh of billing for the relevant month. Rates vary by season. I'm under Southern California Edison.

Because I have solar, I am under net metering. My residential solar system will supply all the power for my future M3 and residence, so I'm not concerned about the rates. At the end of the day, whether you have solar or not, electric power will be cheaper than gasoline. It will be even cheaper if your rate is determined by time of use (TOU), when charging at night is cheaper than charging during the day.

It is complex to say the least. The monthly bill is a nightmare to read and interpret. That’s the way the utility likes it.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,691
14,944
California
Yes, as at least one has said it depends on how much you drive - right? Of course.

However, it’s not that simple to say the rates are 12 cents a kWh. That simply isn’t true if your provider is Southern California Edison in southern California.

First, the rates per kWh are tiered and vary by season. For this month, May, they start at 17 cents per kWh. Look at your bill. That rate will perhaps take you through the first 10 days of the billing period, maybe two weeks depending on your usage. It depends on many things. Do you cook with electric or gas? Do you use a lot of air-conditioning? Do you have a pool with a pump that runs 10-12 hours a day?

It would be incredibly cost-ineffective to remain on a standard tiered residential rate schedule as you're describing above with an electric vehicle.

SCE does provide time-of-use plans for electric vehicles that have off-peak charging rates right in that ~12 cents/kWh ballpark:

Electric Vehicle Rates | Electric Vehicles | Your Home | Home - SCE

...which is a more than adequate measuring stick for ballpark estimates of what it would cost to operate a BEV.
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
Yes, as at least one has said it depends on how much you drive - right? Of course.

However, it’s not that simple to say the rates are 12 cents a kWh. That simply isn’t true if your provider is Southern California Edison in southern California.

First, the rates per kWh are tiered and vary by season. For this month, May, they start at 17 cents per kWh. Look at your bill. That rate will perhaps take you through the first 10 days of the billing period, maybe two weeks depending on your usage. It depends on many things. Do you cook with electric or gas? Do you use a lot of air-conditioning? Do you have a pool with a pump that runs 10-12 hours a day?

So tier one starts at 17 cents per kWh for the first 307 kWh of usage for the the billing period. Tier two is 22 cents for the next 308 - 400 kWh, tier three 26 cents for the next 401 - 615 kWh, and 32 cents per kWh above 616 kWh of billing for the relevant month. Rates vary by season. I'm under Southern California Edison.

Because I have solar, I am under net metering. My residential solar system will supply all the power for my future M3 and residence, so I'm not concerned about the rates. At the end of the day, whether you have solar or not, electric power will be cheaper than gasoline. It will be even cheaper if your rate is determined by time of use (TOU), when charging at night is cheaper than charging during the day.

It is complex to say the least. The monthly bill is a nightmare to read and interpret. That’s the way the utility likes it.

Staying on the tier plans are a very expensive way to charge your car. That will quickly add up to more expensive than gasoline, especially at Tier 4. (Trust me, when I first got my Volt, it was cheaper to drive it on gas at the end of the month).

However, SCE offers several Time of Use programs that do have 12 cents per KWH during super off peak hours. I switched my whole house over and haven't looked back since.

In the end figuring out how much it was going to cost me to charge my car for the various rate plan options in CA involved several excel spreadsheets and the raw data dumps from SCEs website. It wasn't for the faint of heart, and that I blame solely on our overly complicated rate system here. You need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, and as a rocket scientist, even I had a hard time. o_O
 
SCE does provide time-of-use plans for electric vehicles that have off-peak charging rates right in that ~12 cents/kWh ballpark:

I am under net metering, and I don't believe I can have both net metering and TOU at my residence if under solar, even with a separate meter. Besides, all my needs will be met with solar. I will pay the current minimum fee of around $10 monthly for all my power. Edison has a lot of fine print in their agreements, which beg detailed scrutiny. If others here under TOU are paying on 12 cents kWh, that's what it is. I doubt they have both NM and TOU at the same residence.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,691
14,944
California
I am under net metering, and I don't believe I can have both net metering and TOU at my residence if under solar, even with a separate meter. Besides, all my needs will be met with solar. I will pay the current minimum fee of around $10 monthly for all my power. Edison has a lot of fine print in their agreements, which beg detailed scrutiny. If others here under TOU are paying on 12 cents kWh, that's what it is. I doubt they have both NM and TOU at the same residence.

I can't speak with authority for SCE, but know with certainty that with PG&E rate schedule and net metering are completely independent.
 

Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
I am under net metering, and I don't believe I can have both net metering and TOU at my residence if under solar, even with a separate meter. Besides, all my needs will be met with solar. I will pay the current minimum fee of around $10 monthly for all my power. Edison has a lot of fine print in their agreements, which beg detailed scrutiny. If others here under TOU are paying on 12 cents kWh, that's what it is. I doubt they have both NM and TOU at the same residence.

I believe you can have both net metering and TOU. The SCE website even mentions that the TOU-d-t plan is popular with solar customers. The advantage of being on a TOU plan with solar is you are potentially being credited during the generation hours for the crazy high KWH peak rate. If you can generate more than you use during the peak hours, those credits at the peak rate go pretty far towards offsetting the non-generating hours use.
 

Blu Zap

Grinning member
Oct 1, 2014
1,094
739
San Rafael, CA.
Ya I heard something from Tesla a while back. In bumper to bumper traffic a fully charged battery can last 24 hours. Haven't tested that, but I believe it is right. I don't have a range degeneration when in traffic.
Also, PG&E in NorCal has an EV rate after 11:00 pm. It was around $.10/kwh. So setting the car up to charge after 11:00 pm was the best. I charge to 90% when taking a trip - 140 miles round trip. 65-70% when around town.
 
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.

You mentioned you were 22 years old, I strongly would advise you to reconsider decision. Paying ~45K for a car at your age would be a terrible decision. Avoiding school loans and saving should be your primary goal. I can appreciate the enthusiasm about Tesla and the Model 3... but, there are more affordable means of transportation especially for young people like yourself.
 

AB4EJ

Member
Feb 25, 2015
775
394
Tuscaloosa, AL
Oh, wow. I figured the cable would be cheaper than a full wall charger. The tradeoffs make sense now.
Just as a note - the "cable" that comes with the car is more than just a cable - it has an electronics package in the middle of it (close to where you plug it in) which shows voltage status and gives info to the car's charging system as to available current (so this can be managed automatically).
 

AB4EJ

Member
Feb 25, 2015
775
394
Tuscaloosa, AL
Yeah, I don't listen to the music stations on XM anymore, I am all about the talk stations. Those I have not found a good alternative for on any streaming service. Many of the talk hosts/shows are exclusive to XM.
I had XM on another car, and it did not suit my wants. My 2 favorite programs are NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition - neither of which are available on XM. So I was paying over $160 per year for a service I used precisely twice a year - on long trips. So I discontinued it. XM contacted me almost on a daily basis for 6 months after that trying to talk me into re-upping. I finally had to order them to put my phone# on their do-not-call list.

That said, I know several people who love XM. and listen to it all the time. Depends so much on whether you like the programming available.
 

AB4EJ

Member
Feb 25, 2015
775
394
Tuscaloosa, AL
I believe you can have both net metering and TOU. The SCE website even mentions that the TOU-d-t plan is popular with solar customers. The advantage of being on a TOU plan with solar is you are potentially being credited during the generation hours for the crazy high KWH peak rate. If you can generate more than you use during the peak hours, those credits at the peak rate go pretty far towards offsetting the non-generating hours use.
You can have both net metering and TOU (at least in Alabama). I have this for EV charging plus a grid-tied solar array. In addition, Alabama Power pays a different rate for power you generate (and push to grid) depending both on time of day and month of the year (they pay a higher rate for power generated during summer peak, etc.).

Even with all that, payback period for solar array is long (~15 years) because Alabama Power pays you only the wholesale rate for power you push to the grid (2.8 to 4.7 cents per kWh). The difference is the cost of grid maintenance. Several states already have this, or are moving to it.
 

beantobe

Member
Apr 13, 2016
108
67
Phoenix, AZ
You mentioned you were 22 years old, I strongly would advise you to reconsider decision. Paying ~45K for a car at your age would be a terrible decision. Avoiding school loans and saving should be your primary goal. I can appreciate the enthusiasm about Tesla and the Model 3... but, there are more affordable means of transportation especially for young people like yourself.
Agreed. Assuming there are loans to be paid- hard to know what peoples' financial situation is sometimes. I'm 34 and I know plenty of people that would give me the same advice because, fortunately for me, I'm more successful than they think....good for OP for having excellent taste in cars!! I say,"if you have the means, I highly recommend you pick one up."
 
At the US national average of $0.12/KWh and a gas price of $2.50/gallon, a 50 MPG car costs about $0.05 a mile and the Model S 90D/70D costs about $0.04 a mile. Of course electrical rates are more stable and gas prices are at their lowest in over a decade.

I think your numbers are a bit off. Using the SoCal best gas prices (from Costco) at $2.65 per gallon, a Prius costs 5.3 cents per mile to operate (assuming 50mpg). Using an electric car average of 3.5 miles per kw/h and 12 cents per kw/h (it works out to 3.4 cents per mile, or about 36% more efficient (close to my original estimate of 40%).
 

JeffK

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2016
6,997
6,931
Indianapolis
Using an electric car average of 3.5 miles per kw/h and 12 cents per kw/h (it works out to 3.4 cents per mile, or about 36% more efficient (close to my original estimate of 40%).

There's also the comfort of knowing your money isn't going to the oil companies and that's priceless. Although most of our gas comes from the US nowadays I'm still tired of seeing those rich Dubai kids... (yes, I'm jealous)
 
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