Love driving around in sub zero temperatures in my Tesla and watching the sunsets, so different so amazing.
|Sunset during a drive home|
I finally got a Tesla Boombox feature working on my Model 3, almost a month after release...maybe because of the cold or maybe just lack of time to sit with a computer and get it figured out. Anyways, I made a short instructional video on how to format a single USB drive using Windows 10 for both the Tesla Dashcam and Tesla Boombox. Well actually all three, when Tesla Track Mode is included in the mix.
I was cruising along at the speed limit on autopilot, and it automatically changed to the left lane to overtake a semi carrying giant pipes. Quickly from behind came a car charging at 95-100 mph, so I quickly sped up to get around the semi....big mistake...Autopilot was not happy with me. Probably I should have let the speeding butthole slow down behind me, but that would just propagate more Tesla hate.
For the rest of the trip until I stopped Autopilot could not be engaged.
Got the December 2020 software Update last night. Huge improvements to text messaging. The overall improvements are:
|Text Messaging is now much easier|
I like to break up the measurement of power efficiency (Wh/mi) into two distinct seasons - summer and winter. But, since I live in a place with four seasons, basically I am using the Daylight Savings Time (DST) switch over as the time to reset one of the trip counters in my Model 3 to keep track of average energy consumption. I am rather happy with the performance of the vehicle over the 2020 spring and summer.
|March to October (DST) consumption|
Averaged 248 Wh/mi for over 4,899 miles of driving. consuming 1,216kWh of energy.
By comparison my solar panels made ~7.5MWh during the same period, in fact just the solar production during the month of July 2020 covered all the energy consumed by the car.
The lifetime consumption at the same time was
Got the October update on Halloween and it was backed with lots of goodies:
|October 2020 Updates|
Wanted to give the battery a full cycle so on the way back home from a trip, I skipped a super charger stop since I could get home with ~5% battery. As I got closer to home I started using up more battery to get home as low as possible and managed to get down to 2%.
I have heard some horror stories of the Model 3 needing a jump from an external 12V system to get it going, so I wanted to avoid hitting 0%, though I am not sure if it would drain the 12V battery. I guess 2% was my personal tolerance on my range anxiety. Surprisingly, I still had ~5 miles left per the computer based on the last 5 miles of my crazy driving....not bad.
|Battery down to 2%|
What I learned was that 15% state of charge is a lot, the usage of battery slows down considerably below that. Of course this is not good for the battery's longevity, so I don't think I will be taking it below 10% ever again, and I rarely take it over 90%. Sometimes to 95% during long trips.
The October 2020 update dropped for my Model 3 and it has 3 nice little goodies.
|Oct 2020 update features|
I really appreciate the Speed Assist Improvements because I use Autopilot a lot and even though the highway speed detection has gotten better with the last update, the more local (those county and city roads with 65, 55 and 35 mph limits switching around) it was still dicey. This caused me concerns when going through small towns where the income is based on traffic tickets, basically made me double check Autopilot's speed management whereas I want to be a lazier driver 😎.
Looking a little deeper at the other improvements...
Hard to believe it's been a year with my Model 3. Fortunately, the free premium connectivity expiring was a good reminder 😏. Two days after premium connectivity expired, the satellite maps and the live traffic icons were gone from the map and clicking on the Tesla T icon to bring up car information indeed indicated "Standard Connectivity".
Essentially the system rebooted at some point and disabled the features only available with premium connectivity. I signed into my account online (not via the mobile app) and was able to signup and restore the premium connectivity. The Tesla system then rebooted 2-3 times, which was bizarre, and premium connectivity was restored.
The comparison of the two options as per Tesla are below...
|A piece of foam and some double sided 3M tape fixed creaking from tweeters|
I rotated the tires this morning. The rear tire depth was a hair above 7/32nd and the front tire depth was just under 9/32nd (not quite to 8/32nd) at 5100 miles. These tires at new come as 9/32nd per the specs at Tire Rack.
|Rear tires wear out much quicker even on an AWD|
So the rear tires seem to wear out at approximately 1.5/32nd in 5000 miles and the front at 0.5/32nd in the same periods, or 3x faster in the rear. Since these tires are rated 400AA and should last ~40,000 miles when they reach 2/32nd and I seriously find that is going to be impossible to achieve.
They key for longevity is both correct pressure and frequent rotations.
After doing the DIY Xpel PPF for the top of the rear bumper and rear rocker panels by cutting a standard Xpel roll myself, I decided to try the mirrors, hood and front bumper. Arguably a lot harder, and required lots of patience, learning on the fly and attention to details was key. But it is done and I am happy with the results, specially for a DIY project.
|DIY Xpel on Hood - Bikini Cut|
I bought my pre-cut kits at a discounted price, compared to OEM pricing listed on the Xpel website, by contacting Chad Baker. Paid via PayPal and got the Fedex shipments in 2 days. I took my time and did this over 2 days in the garage.
Here are some tips:
Busy Summer for Tesla, I feel that I am getting updates every week. This week (or month) it seems that Autopilot is getting smarter. Almost seems like different teams at Tesla are competing to get updated out.
For those that use the Autopilot feature of Stop Light/Sign recognition, a few updates ago Tesla added the feature that the stop line drawn on the screen would turn red or green depending on the color of the traffic lights. Seems maybe too many Tesla drivers were distracted 😏 while waiting for the light to turn green and tap the accelerator pedal, so now it appears that upon a green light, the car will chime as a notification to make a decision to move.
|Green Traffic Light Chime|
Additionally, the cameras can now read the traffic limit signs. This is good because I often observed that using the GPS data, usually the car would slow down a little past the sign. When I am driving through small remote towns, whose main source of income is traffic speed violations (you know exact the ones I am talking about), the car was susceptible to tickets especially when the speed goes from 55mph --> 35mph --> 25mph --> 35mph --> 55mph in the stretch of 1 mile, and there are cops parked right at the 35 mph sign in both directions.
Others improvements include:
At times it seems as though Tesla is reading my mind. On a recent trip we stopped for some food and my daughter left the rear door part way latched. I happen to glace at my app in the store and noticed that and had to go back to close it. A week later this update drops and I was ecstatic.
|Notification on Tesla app for Door left open|
I have always used Xpel paint protection film (PPF) on my cars for the front bumper and partial hood. My GT-R has 3M stuff because 12 years ago, Xpel was not as common. The good side is that bugs in summer, rock chips all year round and salt chips in winter do not damage the front of the car, especially highway driving.
The Xpel PPF is also self healing, which has been good over the years. The one down side is that it increases the cost of repair. Having a bumper to bumper accident that requires work on the bumper adds an extra cost to the repair. The film need to be removed and new one reapplied and many times insurance will not cover the extra costs.
A buddy of mine owned the only Xpel certified shop in town and he recently sold it and moved, so I decided to try my DIY skills. The two areas of concern for me were the top of the rear bumper on which I saw a scuff mark from loading/removing my bike into the trunk and the rear rocker panels for which Tesla is offering a DIY kit on their accessory site.
|DIY Xpel PPF cut and applied to top of rear bumper|
When non-Tesla owners ask why I like my Tesla so much, this simple feature says it all. My car gets better, more useful and smarter with every update almost every month. Software > Hardware. With the June 2020 Update, Tesla added the ability for the side cameras (referred to as repeaters) be added wit the backup camera.
All I had to do was shift to reverse and swipe the image from the backup camera on screen up, and viola, the left and right side are visible. So handy when backing up into a spot for charging, also useful in my garage and bonus - the image is visible with the camera option while the car is moving forward, which assists in tight maneuvers. Bravo Tesla.
|Using side repeaters to help with parking|
At some point Tesla decided that on local roads, that are not official highways, they would limit autopilot speed to the speed limit. I really didn't care about neighborhood roads as I drive at the speed limit, but on many county roads with speed limits of 55 or 60 mph, traffic usually moves at +5-8mph. Using autopilot is convenient because these tend to be many miles long, but it caused lots of unsafe overtakes by other drivers having to cross the dashed yellow line.
With the latest update as of August 1st, 2020, I was so pleased to see that speed limit for autopilot can be set to +-5mph. I usually have it set to +3mph relative speed...enough not to piss of drivers and also not too much to get pulled over.
Here are the update release notes. Small but useful features.
|Autopilot speed +5mph on local roads|
I read about Model 3s losing their bumpers due to filling up with water. When I look underneath at the rear diffuser and I see that there are some small holes where it meets the undertray for drainage, so I decided to make some enlarged holes along the slope. Drilling holes in cars always reminds me of this clip from the Simpsons.
I specifically bought a P3D- because I wanted to make my own version P3D, by putting in better parts the Performance Upgrade Package aka PUP. Or even perhaps a P3D+ but with a twist such that I don't want a fully track dedicated car (as I have my GT-R) but I want it to be comfortable and efficient...in fact if possible more efficient than an LR AWD model. So the journey started by looking at brakes, aero parts, suspension components and eventually tires + wheels. I want it to come in under the cost of the Tesla PUP but with better parts.
Two piece rotors shave of approximately 14-16lb depending on front rotor size option. This is both sprung and unsprung weight. Sprung weight is not enough to make a considerable efficiency difference and the problem with the unsprung weight is that it is too close to the rotational axis i.e. lighter rotor hats not lighter rotors themselves. Therefore, maybe a last choice more for better braking and not efficiency, specially considering a $2,000-$2,200 cost, but I will first consider better brake fluids and lines.
One sure way to make a positive impact is aero. I first look at front splitters and rear spoiler. Anyone who watches any form of racing will know that the Model 3 "carbon" spoilers stuck on with 3M tape do absolutely nothing for considerable downforce. If my assumption is not correct, I should be able to put about 30-50lb of pressure on a spoiler stuck to a trunk with 3M tape and not have it snap off. 😅Therefore, it purely cosmetic unless bolted on and not worth the $1000 IMHO. A better rear under diffuser would take care of eddy currents behind the car.
The front splitter is also a crock. Studying the front aero changes over 4 iterations of the current generation GT-R for the last 12 years has revealed what works and does not work in terms of aero. I don't care what a self funded CFD study states, the speeds at which you need to go to achieve ~5% efficiency simply by putting some additional plastic is not practical even for every day highway driving speeds. Visual inspection of the front of a Model 3 shows its pretty damn good aero design, if anything aftermarket products simply seem to cover the wheel opening slightly more, pushing the air out sideways. Perhaps sharing raw CFD data for a peer review would be one sure way for a vendor to stand behind product claims by manufacturers. Instead I believe that a more aero front under diffuser would help reduce the gap between the car and ground more cost effectively. This is what Nissan did to the GT-R after lap upon lap of Nürburgring testing.
So I next looked at lowering springs and for $324 the Eibach E10-87-001-02-22 PRO-KIT Performance Springs is one of the most cost effective ways to improve aero. Indeed my GT-R is lower and I can barely fit 2 fingers compared to my Model 3 in which I can fit 4 fingers between the tire and body. Lowering the car over an inch reduces drag, all around...period. Anyone an F1 tech fans? You know exactly what I am talking about. It also improves handling and could enhance ride quality. Bonus was that the springs are available on Amazon which means I can use gift cards to pay for it.
First off, I am extremely happy with the way the car looks with these springs on. This is how it should have been from the factory, IMHO.
|Visual Comparison of before and after springs|
Secondly, it is much more compliant on bumps due to the dual rate springs. The best way I can describe this improvement is that I can hear the tires hit road imperfections, but not feel them anymore. Before, I could immediately feel them as well as hear them. Handling is same to only slightly better, steering is very neutral as it was before. As you can see from my post about track mode, I do beat it up on back roads and these are not always the smoothest surfaces so compliance was important for me, I don't want it so stiff that it is unstable.
As for the Wh/mi, huge improvements here...
Changing the front spring requires a little more precision and some special tools compared to the rear spring. In addition to the tools needed for the rear springs, this will require
|Changing front springs.|
The Model 3 front trunk or (frunk, as its known on the streets) is fairly easy to remove.
Definitely needs to be removed to access things such as strut mounts for spring changes, front alignment and other service work.
To remove the frunk, first open the frunk lid. Remove the vent shield close to the wind shield. It is held by several plastic clips and simply pops up. The down arrows show the mounting points and the entire piece just pops up.
Next remove the vent inlet. Again, it is held by the white plastic clips as illustrated and so it simply pops up.
|Eibach and Stock Springs side by side|
This is a lot easier to do with the car jacked up even on one side. Remove the 3 pop fasteners using a flat screw driver. Remove the small nut that hold the fabric in the wheel well behind the well, this will give easy access to other bolts.
Note I have aftermarket splash guard so my setup looks different. Repeat this for the other rear wheel. The wheel does not need to be removed, a short flat screwdriver will work just fine or come in from under the car.
|Remove pop fasteners|
The June 2020 Model 3 Update is upon us and full of many goodies. This one is loaded compared to last month's update.
- The Model 3 can now go through green traffic lights when it is certain you are in a straight only lane without requiring conformation using the stalk and also changes the color of the stop line to green or red depending on the traffic light. Hella cool.
|Go at green light without confirmation|
Let's face it, almost no one ever took out the USB device that record Dashcam and Sentry Mode footage to see what has happened unless a specific event such as damage/ accident prompted one too. Long requested was the ability for Tesla to simply view the footage in the car. With the update on/around April 9th, 2020 that is exactly what Tesla did... finally... a Dashcam Viewer in the car! Awesome and extremely useful.
|Tesla Dashcam Viewer|
Now I almost always view Sentry footage before leaving a parking location and so far the results have been hilarious... from the unknowing person simply doing weird stuff while parked next to the Tesla or others impressed by the Tesla coming over to look at it. Piece of mind before leaving a spot against damage and vandalism.
Here is the update screen with the information about the Dashcam Viewer...
Tesla pushed out the May 2020 Update and some minor improvements as noted in the screenshots. Seems that the Tesla Toybox has been made easier. I like the new design. Also the charging sites map for superchargers and destination chargers indicate the speed and can be filtered upon by - Destination vs V2 vs V3.
Also the Dashcam can finally format the drive, I know there have been countless discussions on how to format the drives. See my post regarding my selection of USB drive, which after a year is still going strong. Really don't care about the backgammon improvements, though.
|New Toybox and Charging Sites|
Track Mode on the Model 3 is pretty cool, especially because it keeps getting better as time goes on. It was very basic when I got my P3D- and has got better two times already. I have driven a number of times with track mode and it is simply a blast to drive, the beast wakes up in track mode especially when it puts down over 1000 Wh/mi of power and pulls 1 G of acceleration and 1 G of braking on non-sport brakes. Re-gen FTW!
|Fun on some back roads with track mode.|
Here is how to setup track mode and all the options that are available:
So apparently MGM did not like Tesla using Hall 9000 from the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey' for Sentry Mode. So it switched to something else with an update that resembles a turret from the game Portal. Those jerks at MGM!
Sentry mode is pretty cool to keep the vehicle safe when left alone, though it does use some additional power but not much to affect range unless you leave it on for many days. This is what the new icon looks like:
|New Sentry Mode screen graphic when activated|
One thing I have found is that Sentry mode gets a lot of false alarms at night. See the video.
|Configuring HomeLink on the Model 3|
|Hero Me Gen 3 on Ender 5|
|Failed to turn on climate|
|2 minute warning that the car is about to do a software update|
|The key to stopping window squeaks in Model 3|
|TesTap Wireless Charging Pad installed with Pixel 4 charging,|
|Great idea, bad implementation|
|Tesla gen 2 key fob with silicone sleeve and aluminium quick-release clip|
|Trying to reuse some hardware laying around. GPT was too slow. Adapter ran too hot|
|DIY Cable installed since Tesla cable was out of stock.|
|This tiny little Nitrogen tank lasts over 1 year, with 4 cars and 1 motorbike.|
|Body color matched low-profile mus flaps with har|
|DIY 18" Alloy Spare Tire Kit for Model 3- Success!|