So Glad for an ICE car instead of my Tesla

I never thought i’d write this title, but there it is. We went on a vacation, we took two gasoline powered cars, and I am VERY glad I did not bring my Tesla.

  1. We were a pair of vehicles. one vehicle driven by young folks with strong bladders, but also children with unpredictable bladders. The other car was us. There was no stopping unless necessary, and if we stopped, we both stopped. And we didn’t stop for long. Having an electric vehicle with its required stops at certain places – would have been a whole second schedule of stops – would have been a lot of friction.
  2. Where we went, no destination charges, no fricking outlets available in the two parking garages we could park in. Any outlets that were there were occupied by electric carts and were numbered/reserved/policed.
  3. Closest DESTINATION charger: 20 minutes away and not even available to public. Closest supercharger: 1 hour away, 30 miles, $8 toll. Welcome to Miramar Beach, FL, the Sandestin resort. Never going there again.

Furthermore, my wife’s Venza holds more stuff than my model Y. Its not as aerodynamic, and thus there’s more internal volume, just a smidge more.

It served us well. And its paid off. Granted, it needed about 2 qt oil during the trip – its at that stage of life. But it was a champ.

Someday in the future, it will be a pair of EV’s going in a convoy down the road, and the decision to bladder-stop will happen to find charging at every corner, and every place that we stay will have some kind of plug in somewhere. Not there yet.

Go go economics go

I rented a Tesla P85D Model S 2015 with AP1

And here’s how it was different than my Model Y LR AWD Non-P.

  • Bigger. Definitely bigger.
  • AP1, so no repeater cameras, so no blind spot monitoring when changing lanes. On the Highway, i resorted to rolling down the rear windows just a bit so i could hear vehicles in addition to looking in the side mirrors.
  • When coming to a stop, the Hold didn’t kick in as quickly as it does on my car. Several times, I rolled unexpectedly.
  • 7 years 70k miles.. I calculated the degradation to be maybe 5%-10%, using ABRP estimates vs actuals. There was more charging involved, and I suspect that while charging the battery heated up too quick, and it had to reduce charging speed once. (Estimated 1 hour 5 minutes charge to 100% actually only got me to 90%).
  • I tested it in Ludicrous mode once. Maybe double the oomph of my car. In Sport mode, it was just a bit peppier than my Model Y LR.
  • Seats, way bigger. I would say more comfortable. Definitely looked roomier in the back.
  • It was really nice having a trip turn map in front of me, a North-up map to the right of me, AND having a widget up showing actual % vs estimated % for the trip.
  • It was very weird having a dedicated cruise control stick .. a bit confusing, many times I would turn on a turn signal rather than adjust speed.
  • Speaking of Turn Signals, the turn signal stalk is an actually clicky-into-place type thing, not electronic. That was nice. However, older car – when you end the turn, it didn’t always trip the signal to turn it off.
  • Getting in and out took more core muscle strength. Very relieved to get back to my higher Model Y.
  • Cup Holders were horrible. But it was nice having room to stick a bag between the two front seats.
  • Media Computer definitely slower than mine. I thought mine was slow. It felt lightning fast when I got back to my MCU2 hardware.
  • AP1 driving was pretty good – actually AI Driver has a way better video with some details, I did not test it as much as him, as my wife doesn’t like it when Autopilot makes a mistake and I have to correct it.

That’s about it. The picture is the car parked under the Chapel thingy in Sedona. The host’s name is Rebekah on Turo, they were great hosts. Highly recommend.

My First Tesla Mobile Service

It was a good experience.

I had my first Tesla Mobile Service Appointment!

Details of the appointment – later. More important is various topics I asked the person about. All of this is my memory, which is faulty, and to cover Teslaperson, I’ll even say my memory can be fillintheblankious.

Messaging – they switched to the Tesla app for messaging now apparently they did text messages before. Many people don’t have notifications turned on, and thus a disconnect.

Service Center in Louisville – not yet, but the numbers are definitely where they need to be to have one. The southern Indian lease thing didn’t happen, but they have a line on another place, but it will be next year before it opens due to current tenant exit and remodel. Currently 3 people working the Louisville market, all local.

Throughput / Backlog – Currently running about 3-4 days out for mobile service in Louisville. Don’t have a lot of Model Y parts in stock yet. If parts need to be ordered, they try to do it within 1-2 days of ticket open, and it takes up to 7 days to get the parts in.

Service Area – because in Louisville, both my work Blankenbaker and Home Pewee Valley are covered. They are out at Blankenbaker all the time.

Third party apps like ABRP etc – they’ve had a 3rd party app that tried to inject firmware code into the card, so no, not a good idea. If you have one that’s working and it doesn’t keep your car “alive” by pinging it all the time, yay for you.

Wipers – yes they replace wipers, its $__, but if you want you can order the wipers directly and watch the tutorial video on how to change it yourself

Rotate Tires – yes they can do that. $__. Faster/easier for one to take to (your preferred tire place)

Cabin Filter – yes they can do that. $__. Around here, once every year or two?

Recommended Service – 2 years flush brake fluid, 6 years flush coolant. You will not get a reminder, its in the service manual. Brake fluid is hydro-absorb-moisture-ic, so it gets funky over time.

Phone Charging Cables working or not working – Rear Seat USB-C Port Authentic Cable Only because Power Only; Front Seat USB-C Port, because Data and Power, most Cables Work. Power turns off when car goes to sleep.

If Console has problems, unplug Sentry stick and format that on a PC. Unpair phones, delete contacts. Fancy Emoji characters can cause problem.

Funky Color on Trim – Its the soap that’s being used (I go to a car wash). I found that if I applied a bit of moisture and rubbed my thumb over it, it comes right off.

Specific repair – Passenger Seat, one of the controls wasn’t working. Turns out the cable going into the servo motor was not plugged in all the way. Estimated cost: $107. Actual cost: $0. They also filled up the air in my tires and removed a piece of packing plastic that came with the car. The appt was scheduled 7:30-12:30, they showed up about 9am.

It was a good experience.

Driving Tesla LD with ABRP

First RoadTrip! Got vaccinated, visited mom. Used ABRP (A Better Route Planner). Learned some.

This is from my leg leaving Lexington heading towards Huntington. The Blue line is what it was expecting me to do – this is based on a 100% modifier to the speed limit (70mph). The Green dot and projection is where I was actually at and the estimated battery level at the next charger.

But, i had a bit o’ fun.. i went a wee bit faster.

A bit later

I ended up driving a bit more aggressively. A couple of things to note: The green tracking only was enabled once I got to this screen, and I think only while I stayed on it. (This is on my phone). How you drive has a huge impact on battery drain and range.

So, now I’m planning my return trip. I know more.

A) I can be comfortable bringing the bottom charge all the way down to 5%. I was afraid before of going below 20%. Now that I know i can very easily see where I’m going to end up at, i can lower that to 5%.

B) Faster speed = more drain = longer charging, thus there’s a point at which more speed does not equal more time gained. I’m going to play with that in a moment for the return trip.

C) Most of the Superchargers were at Sheetz Gas Stations, which were awesome. Fresh Decaf coffee, grapes, cheese, good bathrooms. Loved it. I have marked one (Lexington, VA) to avoid due to lack of amenities.

Planning the way back

100% of Posted Speed
105% of posted speed. 13 minutes saved.
110% of posted speed. It split the distance and added Lexington – 22+13 minutes instead of 43 minutes. (Its slower charging past 70% or so)
115% of posted speed. I would not do this. Too fast.
95% of posted speed – I probably would not do this either. Too slow.

My final version: This is going at 75 mph on 70 which is 107% –

The actual cost to me is $0, because at the moment, I have 633 free supercharger miles left from someone using my referral code to buy a Tesla. All because I was nice to them on reddit. yay!

The actual driving is amazing. I use Autopilot with assisted lane changes, so most of my interaction is choosing to speed up / slow down to get around people or let people in. The car does most of the driving. I mostly … sit in silence, listen to a podcast, sing, sing more, or talk on the phone, with hands on the wheel. And then the monotony is interrupted with a cute drive to find a supercharger, and some snack acquisition, and walking around a bit. Its nearly perfect.

Thoughts on Driving a Tesla Model 3


I finally did it!  We were in Las Vegas, and my wife said yes, so I rented this Tesla Model 3 for a day to make a quick trip to the Hoover Dam and Lake Meade.

I’ve been dreaming about this car for a while.  I had done my research.  So without trying to classify / rate it overall, here’s the individual things I found:


I started out the day in Chill Mode, graduated about halfway through the day to normal acceleration. I only let it loose once going up an interstate ramp.   About 2x or better the G’s than my Nissan Leaf gives me, and way past 45.   Wow.   Pedal about halfway down = what I’m used to as “strong” acceleration.   Probably not something I’d use a lot.

Autopilot was amazing

Turn it on, and its like the lane I’m in suddenly developed invisible steel rails and the car started gliding on those tracks.  

  • Turns out I drive more to the right than I thought.  I kept trying to correct it.  Wife thought the car was doing a better job than me. 
  • Trying to force the car out of where it wants to go is about the same as..  guiding a car up onto a curb at a very slight angle?  Didn’t measure it, maybe a pound of force?   Easily done, but more than just a touch of the steering wheel.  When it gives, its almost a .. snap? But the car doesn’t veer.
  • The amount of agitation to give the steering wheel so that it knows you’re still there is more than what I normally apply to a steering wheel when I’m driving long distance – I have a very light touch.   It got pissy with me.  So yes, it ensures you are paying attention.
  • It tended to drift a bit when lanes merge in to your lane.
  • it tended to be confused and then snap to a lane when exiting and going down ramps.
  • Telling it to change lanes is awesome.  Its very sure of itself.
  • It tended to be very conservative when people pulled out in front of me in the city.
  • I had way more situational awareness about surrounding cars.   Its like:  see them in side mirror, see them in the display, see them pass me out the driver window, and the whole time: The car knows they are there.
  • I kept it at a follow distance of 5, which is 2.5 seconds.   And pretty much the speed limit. 
  • Even in the city, when not on autopilot, I’d have it in “smart cruise control” where it followed the car in front.  Very relaxing.  It could track the forward car even on windy roads.
  • There were some confusing times – after stopping exiting a ramp – not realizing it still wanted to drive, perhaps?  Or, the car is being a little paranoid, applying braking of its own, and I’m surprised so I apply more brakes as well.  
  • Its already good enough to be a game-changer, and its going to get better.  I want in on this action.   Everybody else, please catch up soon.

Brake, and Hold

Car slows down, press brake to come to a stop.  Remove feet from pedals.  Car stays there.  Like “Hold” mode in a Prius going up a Hill.  Very nice.   Very much a fan.

Single Pedal Driving

I was worried that there wouldn’t be a lot of “Neutral” coast.. but .. I didn’t miss it. I spent more time in auto-cruise-control adjusting speed with the thumbwheel.. and even when controlling my own speed, there’s a very solid feel of “keep this speed going on.”   

I did find that I’d lift my foot a second or two before I intended to slow down – starting to move my foot to the brake – and the car would slow down, startling me.   Probably a few days would get rid of that habit.   Its a different brain circuit.

I’d say first 5-10 minutes are “WTF”, and then its “oh this is nice” + “Whoa why did I do that”, and maybe in 2-3 days it would be second nature.


It felt like I was holding a heavy steering wheel, which was attached with super-strong titanium links to the wheels.  It felt like I could “feel” the wheels through the steering wheel.  Any little input I gave, immediate response.  Is this called “tight”?  And it wasn’t even in Sport mode.  It was amazing.

Drive, Park, and Walk Away.  There is no Off

This was very freaky.  Yeah, stop the car, put it in Park, get OUT of the car, and lock it.  The car is now “Off”.   Unlock the car.  The car is now “On”.   There is a way to turn the car off while you’re in the car, but its not a common use case.

Range Anxiety

What range anxiety?   Yeah, I don’t even know how far we drove, I’d have to look it up.  No worries about the A/C being on, either.   We got it with 228 miles available, drove it down to .. 168? charged it up to 260.


Easily found.  Easily plugged in.  And then … it starts to ramp up the amps.. and .. OMG, 300 miles in an hour!  (initially). I think we stuck an additional 90 miles on in about 40 minutes.  20 of those minutes were wandering around a convenience store.  It is much more relaxed than when you are getting gas, because you know you’re going to be there a bit.  Which is how I’d prefer to roll – relaxed.  Definitely getting the right snack.  I look forward to taking a long distance trip in a Tesla with Autopilot.

Voice Navigation and Navigation in General

Better than any other car I’ve been in, on par with what I expect Google Maps and Apple Maps to be.  Probably closer to Apple Maps in terms of accuracy – it did miss the start of one offramp entirely, and chose the less optimal way into a parking lot, and the long way around involving a roundabout when a simple left was available.

The Car Itself

I think I’d rather get a Model Y.    The Model 3 was too close to the ground.   And almost too cute.   Probably go with gray or black, red is just not me.   Wife says Blue.

Using Turo

I think I’d recommend trying it out.  Granted, this host was maybe better than most?  He had an assistant who took care of all the details and made everything super simple.  Its about the same as how it felt going from Taxi’s to Lyft/Uber .. as it is going from Avis to Turo.  The same corollary applies – its a one to one, pre-meditated thing, with more details to figure out – vs a “go to one place and just get a car” (equivalent to go to one place – at a hotel taxi line – and get a taxi).   While renting, I had insurance cards provided by Liberty Mutual on my phone.    There’s a checkout and check-in process that involves documenting the state of the vehicle.   

At the end of the day, I was sad we didn’t have more errands to run.  

Regrets buying my Nissan LEAF EV

I wish I could have bought a Tesla.

I’m still super-glad that I switched from an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car to an EV.   I do get a little twinge when I see a Prius Prime plug-in-hybrid, however, I have to go back to the big deciding factor:


Yep.  That was the number.   I couldn’t do it with my initial reservation .. maybe I could have done it with the 2019 base Model 3, however, I love technology, and … that would not have been honest with myself.   At least the technology package and AP2, which brings that up to $43k.

However, before I get too far in to my pity party, I need to review:

ICE Car Used Leaf in my Price Range My future Tesla
No Gas!
Super quiet + Jet engine sounds
Nice acceleration
Even better acceleration by the numbers
Remote start A/C and Heater
including a timed heater start in the garage because no emissions.               
All-Around-View Camera
Could happen
Inexpensive maintenance
– no oil changes, etc.  Service every 18k miles.
ditto, except about $600/y with prepay options.
Prius got to 15 cents per mile. Inexpensive per-mile costs
– 3 cents per mile
Many inexpensive ICE cars available. Reasonable Car Cost
– 28 cents per mile (assuming 60k miles payoff)
Not there yet.  Best I could do was around $1/mi at the moment.
Can fit many things Awkward, can’t really fit all the stuff that I could fit in a Prius. I hear its better.
Easy around-town range as long as you visit your gas station 85mi is almost enough. Almost.  There are chargers that make things better. Much better ranges
Long Distance Travel. Not in the Midwest. I can perhaps get to Cincinnati, if I go at 60mph. Superior infrastructure and range.

To be fair, the newer Nissan Leaf had a better range, which solves some of the problems, and if I had done a lease, I could have gotten as low as $300/mo.   However, there’s another angle – I wanted to experience the frustration of a short range EV. So that I have a realistic sense of what was possible/what is not, so I can point people at stuff that’s even better than what I have.

How close till my future Tesla?

If I back track the $ trail – lets say $400/mo (car payment, I’m not adding the $90 in gas that I don’t pay anymore) – at 3.5% APY that gets me to around $21k.   How long till a used Tesla gets down to $21k?

If you go to and play with the dates, I can currently find this chart:


See that little rise at the end?    Annoying.   And, It seems to take about 3 years to drop .. about 40%.  Also note they have no info on price trends for model 3’s and model X’s.

Another tracker:  Used car listings on showed the cheapest model three at $51k.

Another tracker:  Used car listings on Carmax … only show Model S’s, and they are way more expensive than the used cars at

Another track would be a much larger car payment, but .. that’s not something I’m willing to bet 5 years of cash flow on right now.

Its safe to say .. not soon.

So here I am.  I DO love that I’m driving an EV;  Yes, its a bit hard and clunky in some ways; but give it a few years or so (time goes by faster as I get older) and lets see.