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What's your best piece of Advice for a newbie?

Benjamin163

Member
May 3, 2021
10
2
London
Hello, I get my first electric car, a model 3 tesla, in 2 weeks. Before that I've been driving a civic estate diesel so I'm expecting some huge differences. I have no off street parking although there are a couple of street chargers not far away.
Anyway, just wondering what one piece of advice/insight anyone has for me?
All thoughts gratefully received.
 

sroy

Closed
Mar 13, 2021
542
227
New Jersey
The biggest mindset change is to forget about fueling but ensuring you can let the car charge when it's sits not doing anything. Not familiar with London much but for some cites where you don't have a dedicated parking spot/garage you may want to select your grocery store based on charger availability. Or at work. In my case I have a garage both there is no chargers in it (yet). So I may plan a weekly activity where I get to park at a charger while I do something else (grocery shopping, gym, running, picnic, etc).

For long distance travel that depends a lot on where you live. But you do need to plan a bit more than with an ICE car (until you get used to it). A better route planner is a good option.

Another aspect is that with ICE car, you may decide to drive hard at a price (ex a 2h travel ride where you accept to pay more to get there 15 min earlier through speeding). With an EV, you counterintuitive need to drive slower to get there faster (if that avoids an extra charging stop). Also with an ICE you get the habit of fueling at a certain tank line (usually empty). With an EV recharging before going below 50% can reduce overall charging time (i.e. stopping twice @60% for same milage for shorter time than once at, say, 30%).
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,773
7,991
Maine
IANATO.

Tesla-specific;:
- read the manual
- don't trust Autopilot: it's just an aid to to reduce the physical effort of driving
- Note that some Tesla Superchargers are in car parks with ANPR, especially when at hotels. If you park at one of those, after you plug in, you have to register at reception to avoid a fine.
- If going to charge at a Supercharger, Navigate to the Supercharger: in cold weather the car will pre-condition the battery so you get faster charging when you arrive. (Actually now works for other fast chargers as well.)

Charging:
- Given that you don't have home charging, finding convenient charging is going to be more important. Check out apps that show locations of chargers. ZapMap and Plugshare would be the main two. Get their apps and check their websites. They'll allow you to filter only to show chargers for your Tesla.
- Some chargers allow your to use contactless payment by credit card, but that's usually more expensive that using the company's app/RFID.
- As you determine the chargers you'll need, you'll download apps for those chargers and at least for some can get RFID cards.
- For longer trips your car's built-in Supercharger information will take care of a lot of it for you.
- But, install the A Better Route Planner app on your smartphone and bookmark the website on your computers. That can help with overall trip planning.
- For longer trips, if you're going to an area without Superchargers, a bit of planning ahead will allow you to identify other chargers you'll use and download apps for those ahead of time, to save having to download the app when you first use them.
 

facedown

Member
Dec 10, 2019
54
74
Denver
I suggest setting the charge level indicator to percentage versus miles/km remaining. You just have to give the range anxiety time to fade away (about a month for me). You see that indicator and immediately think of your cell phone. While they look identical, they behave differently. It is hard to explain but as soon as I stopped conflating the two I got a lot more comfortable with how my car was going to behave.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,709
3,368
Maine
Hello, I get my first electric car, a model 3 tesla, in 2 weeks. Before that I've been driving a civic estate diesel so I'm expecting some huge differences. I have no off street parking although there are a couple of street chargers not far away.
Anyway, just wondering what one piece of advice/insight anyone has for me?
All thoughts gratefully received.
First I’d check in the UK forum for local advice. I highly recommend ABRP, abetterrouteplanner, for trip planning and understanding refueling strategy, since you’re coming from a diesel.
 

Londonfamily

New Member
May 3, 2021
2
1
London
I love my 3 but- Experiment to find the fastest chargers in your area, and the ones you can leave a car at. There is an enormous difference between the actual performance and quoted in my experience so try a few. They also all have different apps and accounts. I charge at home now but I had a month or so charging in different places. Oh, and take a good book/ Netflix series as you do find some time spent waiting.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,373
11,719
Riverside Co. CA
First I’d check in the UK forum for local advice. I highly recommend ABRP, abetterrouteplanner, for trip planning and understanding refueling strategy, since you’re coming from a diesel.

I second the recommendation to check in the UK subforum for more local advice. To make it easier for the OP to find it, its here:


I would also say that the number 1 thing to do is to actually read the manual. Many of the questions people have are actually answered in the manual. You can download a copy of the manual from your tesla account.

The number 2 thing I would say is, since you mention you dont have off street parking (thus wont be plugging in at home when you sleep all the time) is to NOT expect that "oh this car has 350 mile range, I only drive 20 miles a day, conservatively, I will only need to plug in to charge every 12-13 days or so". It doesnt work that way, so hopefully you are not expecting that.
 
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Needsdecaf

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
1,277
1,826
The Woodlands, TX
I suggest setting the charge level indicator to percentage versus miles/km remaining. You just have to give the range anxiety time to fade away (about a month for me). You see that indicator and immediately think of your cell phone. While they look identical, they behave differently. It is hard to explain but as soon as I stopped conflating the two I got a lot more comfortable with how my car was going to behave.

Came here to write this.
 

bjrosen

Member
Apr 19, 2019
299
299
Westford MA
How many miles a day do you drive? Your lack of home charging is unfortunate so you'll need to figure out your charging strategy. At a Level 2 charger you can expect to get between 24 and 40 miles of range per hour depending on the strength of the EVSE. The Model 3 handles a maximum of 11KW AC which is the maximum capability of the Tesla Wall Connector. In the US most public Level 2 EVSEs are only about 6.2KW, I don't know what they are capable of in the UK. Superchargers are up to 250KW so you can add a hundred mile of range in 10 minutes or so. Do you live near a Supercharger?
 

lolder

Member
Jun 11, 2016
906
697
SW Florida
When you get the car, sit in and go through all the screen menus. On some pages there is additional info lower in the page and the scroll bar is barely visible. Swipe up to see if there is something lower. Click on everything to examine thoroughly. You won't remember everything but it's a start. Experiment with voice command to try to find things. If security requires you to turn sentry mode on at your home parking spot it will draw much more energy overnight so plan for that. Tesla Supercharges are the second best sources after home AC charging. Public level 2 AC chargers usually can only provide 20-40 miles of range per hour. Tesla V3 Superchargers can do 400-900 miles per hour. Never leave your card at home. You never know when your phone key may have problems.
 
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variable

Member
Dec 16, 2020
37
40
Chicago, IL
My advice - don't be afraid to refuse delivery if you see issues. Tesla won't stop the behavior of shipping cars with issues until they feel pain around it. You'll be excited and will want to drive the car, but here are things you should look out for:

1) Panel gap issues, especially on the trunk (it seems to be hit or miss that your trunk will be aligned) and frunk.
2) Paint chips, check around the fenders and front bumper. If you see a lot of paint chips, either they didn't have your car covered in transit or you're getting a previously refused car they're trying to sell as new
3) Paint consistency between panels - if they rushed your car out the factory paint may not have had enough time to cure (it can be helpful to run a smartphone light across the panels if the lighting isn't good) -- it may be worthwhile to invest in a $50 paint depth sensor from Amazon to see if the paint thickness is within spec. If it's too thin, you'll be seeing paint chips down to the primer much sooner.
4) Check that the HVAC works for both heating and cooling. A lot of heat pumps have been showing up with bad sensors, and my compressor failed as well and had to be replaced. At this point I've had three temp / pressure sensors and the compressor replaced.
5) Check for any issues with the interior fit and finish, especially around any spots where panels join.
6) Strangely (and Sandy Munroe has called this out), you may notice one side of the car is perfectly fine while the other side looks like it was assembled by a drunk rhesus monkey. My car's driver side was full of issues while the passenger side was perfectly okay.
7) Check to make sure the shipping plastic has been removed from your B pillar cameras. I had one side where it wasn't removed.

Also, consider covering the front of the car with painters tape and heading straight to get the car PPFed. No joke, the paint is that soft and oftentimes paint chips go down to the white primer (if your car is "free white," though, this is less of an issue since they're less noticeable). If your car didn't get enough time to cure the clear coat, this can be an even bigger issue.

Most issues I've had with my car have been fixable, but you absolutely have to watch out for paint issues right away as Tesla doesn't seem to want to take any responsibility for them after 24 hours of ownership. If you do need something like a panel gap fixes, don't take "no" for an answer. When I first got my 2021 the shop was often saying "this is the best we can do" for woeful fixes, and as time went on I would go back and they would somehow be able to magically be able to fix it so it doesn't look horrible.

Ownership:

1) As others have said, Autopilot/FSD is trying to kill you. It works fine on highways, but it doesn't do well on slowing down for sharp corners, or on sunny days where there are a lot of shadows covering up road lines.
2) You're probably not going to get the EPA rated miles. Switch to the % indicator as it's much more helpful, and use the Energy screen to see what your Wh/Mile is (rated is 220). If you are driving into the wind, despite the car being very aerodynamic, you'll get less miles out of the charge. Same goes for hilly terrain (though you can partially offset that with an old hypermiling trick of accelerating while going downhill and letting the regen and momentum carry you mostly uphill)
3) That said, the best efficiency highway speed I've found so far if you want to hypermile is 55-65mph. I had an 80mi drive home yesterday and was averaging just under 200 Wh/Mile. The nav said I would have 12% when I got home and I got home with 17%.
4) Your car will start to nerf itself below 10% charge. This is a good thing as it's trying to get you to your next charge.
5) Watch Byorn Nyland's videos on YouTube, he has done a TON of testing on Model 3s and has lots of great real world info to share, especially in cold climates
6) If you're a nerd like me, you can set up a TeslaFi account (if you're okay with your data living in the cloud with a 3rd party) or a RaspberryPi with TelsaMate (more secure since you own and manage the server) and get lots of awesome data on your Tesla.
7) As others have said, look into your accessory needs (especially charge adapters) and order ahead of time. I ordered the NEMA 6-20 since that fits most 220v electric dryer outlets (Tesla shop), the NEMA 14-50 adapter for camping (Tesla shop), and a NEMA 14-50 to TT-30p adapter on Amazon. So far that has covered pretty much any charge need away from home. For any charging, you want at least a 220V outlet as 120V will rarely get you to an acceptable speed. The out of the box adapter for 120V is only 3mi / hour which is really only good for an emergency situation to get you to a Supercharger.
8) The Tesla wall connector is worth it IMHO if you own your home and can get it wired up. You'll get 11-12KW at 48A and I can charge from around 10% to 90% in about 5 hours. I had Smart Charge America install it and they were very easy to work with.
9) If you like camping or road tripping, RV campsites have just become your best friend. Most will have TT-30P adapters or NEMA 14-50. Note that on colder days you will charge very slowly on TT-30P @ 30A, but that's better than losing energy on camp mode. NEMA 14-50, on the other hand, should be able to keep you warm AND charge your car at an acceptable rate. The website / app The Dyrt has a full community database of campsites and their electrical amenities, and will usually tell you if there are 30A (TT-30P connector) or 50A (NEMA 14-50 connector) hookups. A lot of time, paying for a stay there is much cheaper than a hotel, AND you get to charge your car!
10) There are TONS of camping accessories for your car. A lot of them are crap and many are overpriced because they're "for a Tesla". Make sure to research before spending money on them. You can do just as well sleeping in your car with a self-inflating bedroll and sleeping bag as you can with some of these expensive fold out foam accessories.
11) If you want to preserve your paint, be VERY CAREFUL that you only take your car to hand car washes and detail shops that have worked on Teslas before. If they use the wrong buffer attachment or clay bar too aggressively, they'll damage your paint. Never ever take your car through an automatic brush car wash as it will scratch your paint.
12) Consider getting mud flaps since the design of the car is brutal on rocker panels, especially in colder climates with road salt.
13) Turn off the automatic high beams. It's a bit flakey, and I have been pulled over in Wisconsin for not turning off my high beams for oncoming traffic.
14) If you schedule a service appointment and it's weeks out, don't be afraid (if it's close) to drive your car there ahead of time and insist that they look at it if it's an egregious issue. Tesla needs to learn that they can't book someone out months for service on important issues and you getting in their face is the only way that'll change. Usually my local service center has been very accommodating when I showed up early (I had HVAC issues in the middle of winter, as well as a seat issue that locked my driver seat all the way away from the pedals that made the car unsafe to drive).
15) Don't let a Service Center not fix something that's clearly wrong because they say it's "in spec." Unless they can show you the spec, it's a cop-out for them to not have to fix what the factory clearly screwed up.

That's all I can think of. The car is a lot of fun to drive and I'm certain you'll like it, but manage your expectations as Tesla still has a long way to go on the QC front before they'll be on par with the QC on even the cheapest of ICE cars today.
 

MissT

Member
Feb 1, 2020
41
7
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Lots of great advice here. There is a learning and a trust curve to a new EV driver. Don't sweat the small stuff and don't get hung up with mileage - just ensure you have enough charge for your daily driving. I see far too many worrying about the numbers reached per charge. Treat it like your gas gauge, and fill up when needed (remembering that a happy Tesla is a plugged Tesla)
 

webwarmiller

Member
Feb 4, 2021
37
37
dallas, tx
I'm just hoping you fully scoped out those public chargers near you prior to purchase. How often and at what times are they generally occupied, what is their actual current output, cost, etc. As much as I love my Model 3, if I couldn't charge overnight in my own garage I would get rid of it.
 
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