Configuration

On March 31, 2016, I went to the local Tesla store to plunk down a $1,000 deposit on the long-anticipated Model 3. No one had seen one, let alone driven one. There was a line out the door and down the street and I soon learned it wasn’t moving much. There were probably 100+ people in front of me, so I left, went home, and made my deposit from home later that evening. I was probably more than #100,000 of the 180,000 who gave deposits in those first 24 hours, so I figured I’d be waiting a while.

In March 2018, 24 months after all those Day One deposits, it looked like Tesla was getting ready to deliver Model 3s to new customers. They had been slowly delivering cars to some employees and existing owners of other models for the previous six months or so. Hoping I’d get to configure my car soon, I rented a Model 3 for 24 hours from a Tesla employee via Turo. My wife and I ran some errands and put about 100 miles on it. The car was everything I’d hoped for.

26 months after paying the deposit, and after checking the Tesla website many times each day, I discovered I could now configure my car. Of course I’d been planning my configuration for some time, and I was pleased to discover that my chosen config was identical to the first version of the car Tesla was producing. It would be the only configuration (except for color, wheels, interior and autopilot options) available for the first three months.

Tesla.jpg

You can see the config from the delivery sticker.

  • Basic Model 3 with Rear Wheel Single-Motor Drive (standard). 0-60mph in about five seconds. $35,000
  • Long-Range Battery. 310 miles vs. 220miles for the standard battery. $9,000 upgrade.
  • Premium Upgrades. Power, heated seats; center console; premium audio system (excellent!), tinted glass roof; dimming/folding/heated side mirrors; driver profiles; LED fog lamps. $5,000 package.
  • Deep Blue Metallic paint. An extra $1,000 for those shiny little flakes.
  • 18″ Standard Wheels with the removable Aero covers.
  • Enhanced Autopilot. $5,000. Doesn’t include the future Full Self-Driving Capability, but does include (today!) Auto Lane Change, Autosteer (stay in lane), Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (great for stop-and-go traffic), Autopark (parallel and back-in) and Summon (inĀ  and out of the garage, for example).
  • Total $56,000 plus tax and license.

So what didn’t I get?

  • Full Self-Driving Capability. It’s a $3,000 increase, or pay $5,000 to update at a later date. This is a “future” feature. It doesn’t exist yet. Given the complexity of the task and all of Tesla’s many delays, I figure I might not still own the car by the time they offer this. So I opted out at this time.
  • Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive. 0-60mph in about 4.5 seconds. $4,000 increase. I don’t need to drive in snow, mud, etc.
  • “Performance” Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive. 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. A $15,000 upgrade over the base price or $11,000 more than the non-performance AWD version. I had driven a basic rented Model 3 two months prior, so I knew the basic car was plenty fast enough for me.
  • 19″ Sport Wheels. $1,500 upgrade. The standard 18″ wheels offer a smoother ride. Besides, I like the looks of both the standard Aero covers as well as the standard wheel that’s underneath if you remove the Aeros.
  • Premium White Interior. $1,500 upgrade. White? Really?

And what do I think after three months (although admittedly, I still haven’t driven my own car)?

I’m quite happy with the choices I made. The only one I even question is the $9,000 long-range battery. That’s a big chunk of change, particularly considering that the 220-mile battery would probably be just fine for me except for 4-6 days per year when I might make a long trip to Oregon or Southern California. That standard battery still isn’t supposed to be available for another 6-9 months (ie, 2019Q1 or Q2), and since my old car (a Lexus 450X) was totaled in May, I’d have had to buy something else in the meantime. All things considered, I’m very happy to have the long-range batteries.

My Tesla Blog

IMG_5380.jpgMy 2018 Tesla Model 3

It’s been more than two years since my last blog post. So why now? And why Tesla? The short answer is that while stuck at home recovering from a nasty automobile accident, I’ve learned (and continue to learn) quite a bit about the new Tesla Model 3. I have pages upon pages of notes that I’ve decided to re-purpose as an ongoing series of blog posts and articles.

The detailed introduction…

With the rapid growth of social media, the popularity of blogging has steadily waned. Two years ago, all my posts were about photography. Occasionally, I posted a long-form article about something I’d learned, but most of the posts were in conjunction with my YouTube and audio podcast photography gear reviews, first on All About the Gear (on the TWiP network) and then with Gordon Laing on the Cameralabs Photography podcast. Over time, YouTube became increasingly important, and interest in the blog versions of my reviews — really not much more than links to YouTube — slowly faded. And besides, I’ve been so busy with the reviews and with teaching photography, Lightroom and Photoshop, I didn’t have much to say.

For the past three months, my wife and I have been recovering from a head-on car crash. Our injuries were quite serious: broken necks, broken sternums, broken ribs and (in my wife’s case) a badly broken wrist. The accident was May 4, 2018. I’m still confined to a cervical collar and my wife’s wrist is still in a cast. Bottom line: although we’re healing, neither of us can drive so we’re remarkably homebound and getting bored and grumpy. But we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My need to do something probably encouraged my return to blogging.

Okay, so back to Teslas…

On March 31, 2016 I, like many others, put down a $1,000 deposit on a Tesla Model 3. I had previously driven a Model S and even had a deposit on a Model X. But I was never happy enough with either of these cars to buy one. Sight-unseen, however, I was pretty sure the Model 3 would be the right car for me. So I waited. And waited.

Knowing that I’d soon be able to place an order or request a deposit refund, I rented a local Model 3 in March via Turo. No way I was going to order a new car without having driven one and Tesla had no demo cars for test drives. I loved it and placed a firm order as soon as Tesla notified me I could. So I waited.

Our accident was May 4. Eight days later I was released from the hospital, but was told I’d be in the collar and out-of-commission for at least 12 weeks. Sure enough, just two weeks after getting home I got the call from Tesla. “Your car is ready. You and your wife must both sign the documents and you need to pick it up here in Fremont [60 miles away] in two days. Otherwise, you’ll forfeit your deposit and lose your place in line.”

I explained our situation — we could barely walk — and said there was no way we could be in Fremont in two days. The rep said he’d get back to me. I posted our dilemma on social media, where a few thousand people read about it and hundreds left comments.

The next day, the rep called with the news that his manager had a change of heart. Instead of our traveling to Fremont, Tesla would now deliver the car to me, at my home and my wife didn’t have to sign the documents after all. “How’s tomorrow?”

On May 30, 2018 I took delivery of a gorgeous Deep Metallic Blue Tesla Model 3 with 66 miles on the odometer. The Tesla employee who delivered it, took Uber back to Fremont.

If you’ve ever been stuck at home for an extended period for health reasons, but been in pretty good shape overall, you know how bored and anxious you become. I can’t go places without rides from friends, Uber or Lyft and because we live atop a hill that’s too steep and long for me to walk up, I’l relegated to sitting at home in front of screens. And you know what that means: web browsing and shopping!

The Model 3 is sitting in the garage with just 247 miles on it (none of them driven by me) after two months. But it hasn’t been neglected. The car has been wrapped in vinyl, ceramic coated, outfitted with a fancy new front/rear dashcam and generally been adorned with almost every possible aftermarket add-on from decals and “performance” pedal covers to floor mats. The only thing that has saved me so far is that the car is relatively new and a lot of aftermarket accessories haven’t been released yet. If it’s available, I’ve probably bought one.

In the blog posts to follow I will document some of the many things I’ve learned about the Tesla Model 3. There’s nothing new here, but I hope to present it topic-by-topic with plenty of links to other sites so that these blog posts become a valuable resource for you and for me. Hope you enjoy it.