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What's the EV life like when Model 3 is the only car and drives 40k+ miles a year? Spoiler Alert, very long experience sharing

Having been on this forum for a while, I noticed that we don't have a lot of user experience sharing after some extended time owning a Tesla. I'd like to share some of my experiences that hopefully may shine some light. This is not a review, I'm not talking about the 4680 battery, nor the 0-60 time, just want to share my personal experience with new/future owners.

Background
USA Mid-West by the lake. MKE-CHI area. I've owned/driven a Ford Taurus, Subaru Forester, Chevy Equinox, MB GLK350, Infiniti G37x as my daily. I do all my maintenance myself in my garage (oil change, brake, sparkplug, etc.) I'm interested in cars so I can speak in car language at a certain level :)
My initial Tesla encounter was a 2017 Model X 100D from a close family. I was shocked by its power and tech (Wing & AP). At the same time, I was also blown away by its price tag (125k).
Fast forward to the end of 2020, I was tired of my G37x (long story short, I had two at that time, 2010 and 2012. Change in personal life, I sold one and realized I'm still in the same car. I wanted a new one!). I was mainly looking at Macan S, Cayenne, Model S, and Model 3.
I know they are different cars, but I was deciding from practicability, performance, reliability, and cost to own. Model 3 won the fight not only because of the cost to own (I drive a lot, ~40k miles a year, and business miles will be compensated or tax credited) but also I got a chance to get a 2018 AWD w/FSD & 19' wheel for a very low price (right before the bubble).
Ah, yes, in addition, the previous owner of my new house owned a 75D and had a NEMA 14-50 installed in the garage. This outlet urges me to get an EV every time I pull into my garage.

Bad things first
I had 3 services.
The first one was the rear passenger brake light. I noticed pretty bad condensation after a carwash. It finally went down not too long after that. I think I went through car washes way more often than the previous owner and broke it right in time. Filed a service ticket, mobile service fixed it in my company's parking lot within about a week.
The second one was some plastic noise from the rear. Went to the SC in MKE, they "fixed" by reinstalling the rear brake light. The noise went away-ish. I still can hear some squeaking noise once for a while. Not consistent, but it was there.
The third one was about 1 week after the second one. I visited Chicago on a weekend and all of a sudden my rear passenger brake area was making some horrible noise. Filed a service ticket, got a slot second day morning, sent in, got a loaner, came back after 3 hours, the control arm was replaced. It took them a while to figure out what was going on.
All 3 services happened in the first 10k mile of owning the car while I still have the warranty. All experiences were very positive (lucky me, never had a problem with parts shortage.)
Now I had another 30k miles on it in the last 10 months, no issue at all since then.
Not a fan of Winter
MKE-CHI area is a typical cold mid-west weather. A 2018 Model 3 AWD without the heat pump can be annoying at times. Yes, it has the greatest AWD system to handle snow but the range shortening is challenging. I charge my car battery to 80% in the summer, and 90% in the winter. I call it "240 miles" in summer and "180 miles" in winter. You will be fine once you get a hold of it. But for new owners, please be very conservative on your heat in winter, it makes a huge difference in range.

Now it comes the interesting part, can't call it good because some of them are very subjective.

Lifestyle change
This is the BIGGEST change after owning an EV. I have only visited a gas station twice only to get fuel for my riding mower in the last year... I used to be a loyal Sams Club member who goes there and fills up the gas tank 3 times a week! No more extra Sams Club purchase, no more "I'll stop by the store since I'm here anyway". The gas price is never my concern. I don't have a good MPG with a G37x and it used to hurt by thinking how much I have spent on gas in the past week (I cannot let go of its performance to switch to a Prius). It's also annoying to answer questions like "I have 1/3 tank of gas left, should I go to the gas station today, tomorrow, or the weekend when shopping? Am I going to make it?", "Should I go to the Shell on my way to my work? Or the Mobil next to the place I'm visiting tomorrow?" Waking up with full charge is a lifestyle I recommend to everyone. A lot of daily activity decisions were no longer made based on the car situation. (You will be surprised how much you are doing so right now with an ICE car).
MKE is different from CHI, people here still see Tesla as a special car. Most people still believe it has a 6 digit price tag, and of course, everyone wants to see it driving itself.
People are not talking about the performance, nor the cheap electricity when they say they are not going back to a gas car. I truly believe it is the lifestyle/life arrangement that people cannot let go of.

Plan
People say driving an EV you need to plan everything... Yes, and NO. You still plan your gas-filling trip driving a gas car as I mentioned above. I drive a lot, but mostly in the city visit different stores. On most days, there is no need to plan as long as I remember to plug it in the night before (it happened once or twice in the beginning). To new/future EV owners, please don't be scared by the statement "You have to plan everything". No, this is not true for most people.
But yes, I have made myself in bad situations. I got home with 1~2% of charge left sometimes. It was scary, but you know the limit better as you drive more. Make the energy consumption page your friend in the beginning, please. Still, the "anxiety" only happens to me who may all of sudden need to take a 100-mile round trip after the daily errands have drained the battery. My best day was about 350 miles and 2 supercharging sessions.

Charging Anxiety
Then the story hits the charging part. I realized that the "range anxiety" is not truly due to the range, it should be called the "charging anxiety". The gas cars have no anxiety is not because they have a high MPG or big gas tank, it because of the number of gas stations available.
There were so many times I started my 100-mile trip with 30% SOC left. I don't worry about it at all since Tesla has the best SC network and it's still expanding. I may become worrisome if I'm going to an area without SC. I learned how to use Plugshare and familiarized myself with all available charge stations in the areas. Now I am an experienced EV driver, no problem at all!
On my tesla app, in the last 31 days, I have 60% charge at home, 10% on SC, and the other 30% are all from the free charging stations. (Don't forget I drive 40k miles a year). Take a minute and think about a grocery store that is providing free gas for you... isn't it amazing?
To fully take advantage of an EV now, you HAVE TO have access to an overnight level 2 charging station (AKA home charge). Otherwise, you are only counting on the SC/EA network which nowhere to compete with gas stations. I would not recommend anyone who cannot get a home charge to have an EV as the only car for now.

Cost to Own
This is a big point, and this is the point I kept showing off to my colleagues. I'm on time-of-use and pay $0.09 per kWh to charge my car overnight. I always say it takes me $6 to run 250 miles. With everything (company reimbursement, gas savings, tax credit, etc) into consideration, the car will be "free" after 4 years of driving it...
I said I was a car guy who does all maintenance myself. So far I did 4 DIY maintenance on my Model 3 - by topping off the windshield wiper fluid 3 times and replacing the cabinet filter once. I was so bored that I gave all my tools to my cousin and asked him to invite me when he is doing something on his ICE cars.
The more you drive, the more "save" you will get. Well, no one gets a Tesla for "saving", but with 40k miles a year, I kinda DO and it DOES save.

AutoPilot / FSD
AP is a lifesaver. I am NOT going to have any car without a decent level 2 driving automation system. Driving between MKE and CHI is a blast, 350 miles in one day was like nothing. My boss loves it (LoL) too because I can do a lot more on the road now. The day after I received my booster dose, I was in a very bad situation (had nothing from the 2nd dose so took the chance and still came to work). Called the boss, left work, and let the car drive me home. I cannot imagine how I am making myself (and others on the road) home safely with my old G37x. Once is enough to prove itself.
Not to mention some rainy days I summoned my car to the front of the store from the parking lot. And also moving my car in and out of tight spaces without worrying about the door space. I like seeing people's reactions to this. Gimmicks? Yes. Help? Yes, sometimes.

Misc
The gauge cluster layout is very subjective. I don't have any problem with the extreme simplicity in Model 3. And I enjoy it more and more. I visit Chicago Auto Show every year, I've sat in all kinds of cars. I test drove Polestar 2. I continuously felt overwhelmed by all the buttons, screens, and controls others have. My drive style now is "tap-tap", then "you (tesla) figure it out". Plenty of designs can be better in a regular manner. But in most cases I can understand how they were carried out under the concept of "All human inputs are errors." I'm no longer in my 20s that always wants to be the fastest on the road and swirls back and forth in the traffic. I follow the traffic speed and keep my distance from others (Oh, definitely not in a grandma manner. You still do stupid things with a car like this). I don't need to know how exact fast I am driving all the time, I don't need to know my rev, I don't need to know if there is a car I'm going to crash into when I'm checking the map (HUD? I get the point why tesla is not providing it, but we have to admit there is still a gap between the concept and reality). Anyway, simple is better, and I enjoy it.
Currently, I am seeing 7~10% battery degradation and it has been stabilized in the past few months based on the calculation. But given the inaccuracy of the estimate from the system, I don't feel bad about it at all. ICE cars MPG decreases as aging too. There are a lot of high mileage Teslas out there, and I'm planning to keep it for a long time. The last 40k miles gave me a lot of confidence in it.

Love the car, love the lifestyle
 
Thanks for sharing. I relate to most of it, but I wish my car would also be free if I drive it for 4 years.

Then the story hits the charging part. I realized that the "range anxiety" is not truly due to the range, it should be called the "charging anxiety". The gas cars have no anxiety is not because they have a high MPG or big gas tank, it because of the number of gas stations available.
There were so many times I started my 100-mile trip with 30% SOC left. I don't worry about it at all since Tesla has the best SC network and it's still expanding.

Call it what you'd like, if the car runs out of electrons you're stuck lol. Unforeseen traffic incidents happens all the time so the 30% SOC anecdote feels a bit like pie in the sky.
 
Having been on this forum for a while, I noticed that we don't have a lot of user experience sharing after some extended time owning a Tesla. I'd like to share some of my experiences that hopefully may shine some light…

Currently, I am seeing 7~10% battery degradation and it has been stabilized in the past few months based on the calculation. But given the inaccuracy of the estimate from the system, I don't feel bad about it at all.

Love the car, love the lifestyle
Thanks for sharing!

I’d be very surprised if your battery capacity has degraded by anything close to that much in reality.
 
Thanks man. I am sorry I cannot read this much text.
As my boos would say, give it to me in 5 bullets. Or maybe thats
what my partner would say. Love the long version, for bottom readers we
just need to know the key points.
1. love the car
2. trunk has lots of space for having fun
sorry, need to go, law and order is on.
happy hour, never mind
my book review of 2001 a space thing was shorter than this
 
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Hi everyone,
I am this close 🤏 to buying my first Tesla. I have always purchased Toyota and Honda because my main priority is reliability. What is the consensus on long term reliability of Tesla Model 3? I can trust my Camry to run for 200k with very little maintenance or break downs. Is Tesla as reliable or better? I pay off my cars and keep them for 8-10 years or more. Thank you!
 
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advocate8

Active Member
Nov 12, 2019
1,053
1,603
Maryland
Hi everyone,
I am this close 🤏 to buying my first Tesla. I have always purchased Toyota and Honda because my main priority is reliability. What is the consensus on long term reliability of Tesla Model 3? I can trust my Camry to run for 200k with very little maintenance or break downs. Is Tesla as reliable or better? I pay off my cars and keep them for 8-10 years or more. Thank you!
Can’t do long term. But 22000 miles I had zero maintenance ot repairs on m3p…
I love Honda too but their current turbo engines, now in almost every car, are causing serious longevity issues.
 

smatthew

Active Member
Jun 9, 2018
1,494
2,505
CA Bay Area
Thanks for sharing. I relate to most of it, but I wish my car would also be free if I drive it for 4 years.



Call it what you'd like, if the car runs out of electrons you're stuck lol. Unforeseen traffic incidents happens all the time so the 30% SOC anecdote feels a bit like pie in the sky.
Umm, traffic incidents generally result in arriving with MORE power......
 
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Hi everyone,
I am this close 🤏 to buying my first Tesla. I have always purchased Toyota and Honda because my main priority is reliability. What is the consensus on long term reliability of Tesla Model 3? I can trust my Camry to run for 200k with very little maintenance or break downs. Is Tesla as reliable or better? I pay off my cars and keep them for 8-10 years or more. Thank you!
I also can't comment on long term as I only have 7,000 miles on my M3LR that I bought last September 2021. I can tell you that I came from a 2005 V6 Honda Accord with 335,000 miles on it of which I put all of those miles on it but 8. My Honda was killing me on maintenance cost and gas which is why I took a risk on the Tesla. I plan on keeping my Model 3 for at least 7 years. My only concern is the battery and it has a 8 year warranty hence the reason why I will probably get rid of it at 7. From the experience I've had so far I will definitely look at adding another Tesla once I have to replace my wife's Honda. Hope this helps.
 
I love my model 3 performance, but man, do NOT get in an accident (I haven't but a friend did). Parts take forever to arrive (his car took 2 months to get back) and the cost is MASSIVE to repair (all sensors need to be recalibrated at a TESLA certified body shop). Note, insurance for my M3P is higher than my Acura RDX or truck. Just some things to keep in mind. AAA said I can not get less than a $1,000 deductible due to the costs associated with a Tesla.
 
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Thank you for sharing this. I was getting really apprehensive about my new M3P longevity after seeing i lost an estimated 15 miles of range in only 6 months. My last M3LR lost 14 miles range in just over a year. But as most forums topics seem to indicate, that is only an estimate, and can change, and if it really is degradation, it should level off at the year mark and be minimal degradation after that. Having bought mostly Honda and Toyota as well in the past, I can see that so far, just the lack of necessary maintenance and fuel cost make this a worthwhile purchase.

And the previous posts are correct, working in insurance, I can attest that a Tesla certified shop charges 3x the labor rate a normal collision shop charges, at least in my area. I actually had to leave my auto insurance co that I’d had for 15+ years and switch bc my rate more than doubled when I got my Tesla.
 
First Post as a new 2022 M3 LR owner. Just picked mine up last weekend. My insurance is also low only $5 more a month vs my Audi S3 that I traded in for it. My insurance is actually pretty nice $1450 a year for all 3 of my cars. Loving the car great to hear that it has holds up well long term.
 

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