Tag Archives: Tesla

Tesla’s Self-Driving…

Given that Tesla’s main claim to fame is that their vehicles are electric -no gasoline use at all- one can be forgiven for forgetting another very big element in their arsenal: Their self-driving feature.

I must admit, when I did the test drive of the Model 3, the Tesla employee showed me how to use the self-driving feature and for a very, very short time I clicked it on before clicking it right back off.

It’s an unnerving thing to try this technology!

The Tesla employee assured me the self-driving feature was quite good, that he uses it to make long treks, but I was rather skeptical.

Welp, I’m not so skeptical anymore.

I will say this: The autopilot currently available in my car -and all Teslas which have that function- is far from something one should completely trust, especially when driving in the city. It doesn’t recognize traffic lights or stop signs and essentially “follows” street lines as well as the cars in and around your vehicle.

In other words, it senses the lines on the road around you and, if there are cars to your side, behind you, and especially in front of you, it will allow distance between you and them while maintaining safe speed limits. You are able, by the way, to manually increase the speed beyond the speed limit.

I find the best use of the auto-pilot is when you’re on the highway. No traffic lights to deal with and only the other traffic for your car to deal with. Further, no pedestrians!

Having said that, I’ve used it within the city as well but here you must be far more cautious. Again, the current software doesn’t “see” traffic lights or stop signs. If you’re behind a few cars and they come to a stop before a red light, the autopilot will stop -safely!- well behind them. However, if you’re traveling with no car before you and you see the upcoming light turn yellow, prepare to hit the breaks because the car will continue through the intersection, at least at this point and with the software I have in my vehicle.

Also, be careful about pedestrians. The other day I was on autopilot and a couple were making their way across the street. The Tesla “saw” them but when they stopped -waiting to see if I’d let them cross- the car would have gone on and, given the pedestrians and I made eye contact, they assumed I was going to stop and let them through, so they were inching forward. I hit the brakes and motioned for them to cross but the autopilot would have gone on.

So if you’re using the autopilot feature, please please please note that while its quite good in many ways, this is still a more rudimentary version of the autopilot and requires the driver keep their hands on the wheel and are alert to anything that happens around you.

I’ve seen video of people sleeping in their seat while allowing their Tesla to move on the highway and this is alarming as hell.

I suspect in a couple more years the self-driving software will become better refined and far more “sensitive” to things like traffic lights and stop signs as well as pedestrians.

But it isn’t quite there yet.

More on the Tesla…

First, though, its been a tough few days. Caught some kind of bug and its laid me pretty low. Suspect its strep throat -I had it twice many years ago while in High School- and its feeling about the same. Went to a nearby urgent care and am now on anti-biotics (the strep test came in negative but the doctor said that’s not unusual in the early stages of the disease. He also noted there was definitely something going on in my throat and sinus).

Alas, I only started the anti-biotics yesterday so until maybe tomorrow I’m still feeling pretty grim. Last night I woke up to my teeth chattering so badly I was afraid I’d cut my tongue in two.

Hope that’s the worst of it!

But returning to the topic on hand (and which I labeled this post): My Tesla 3.

Today marks a week since I got the vehicle and it continues to impress the hell out of me. Driving in a car without the sound of a combustion engine is incredibly tranquil and the music played through your radio is incredibly clear. Humorously, there have been times when I was stopped by a light and the sound of the engines of other cars around me were so damn noisy compared to what you experience driving an electric car.

Yesterday the electrician finally installed a 240 volt plug near where I park my car. Until yesterday, I was using a regular 120 volt plug and the difference is mindboggling.

My Tesla has a range, if 100% fully charged, of approximately 320 miles. However, it is recommended one charge the battery to around 80-90% unless you’re about to take a long trip, upon which you should fully charge your vehicle.

It may sound complicated but Tesla’s app lays all this information out very easily when you’re charging the car. Thing is, using a 120 volt plug gave me a mere 5 miles for every hour charging it. Thus, if I had a full charge and brought the car’s range down to, say, 200 miles, it meant there was roughly 80 miles worth of charging to do. Which meant that when I was using the 120 volt plug, I had to keep the card plugged for 16 hours to get the car to that 80% charge.

Naturally, I didn’t bring the car’s charge down too far. If I had, for example, used up some 179 miles, leaving roughly 100 miles, that would have required me to charge the damn thing at 120 volts for a mind-boggling 35 plus hours before getting the thing up to where it needed to be.

But by having a 240 volt plug, I’m not getting some 30 miles of distance per hour of charge, ie six times the amount of the old 120 volt plug.

So now, if I drain the battery as described above and need to “fill up” some 179 miles, it will take the 240 volt plug about 6 hours to reach that point versus the absolutely crazy 35.

The point is this: If you’re considering an electric car, research the charge times. The fact of the matter is that regular 120 plugs, while good for slow overnight charging, may require too much time if you’re driving more than, say, 40 miles each day. Unless, of course, you don’t mind charging the car each night.

If you’re able to, absolutely get yourself a 240 plug (these are the types used by electric ovens and driers).

Of course, you can always use one of Tesla’s superchargers. They are found in many places and the onboard navigation system will point them out to you, if you need a very, very quick charge. There’s also the PlugShare app which offers community exchanges of information regarding all chargers, Tesla included, available in your area.

Next thing: For the first time on Saturday I tried the Tesla “autopilot” feature.

It was nerve wracking, to say the least!

I was on a stretch of highway that didn’t have too many vehicles on it and turned it on and… I’ll be damned if it didn’t work perfectly fine!

Yeah, I had a severe case of the nerves each time we reached some curved section of the highway, but the car sensed and took these turns well. If I wanted to switch lanes, I simple hit the indicator and the car did this on its own.

Truly, we are living in the future!

A week driving and I’m more convinced than before that I made the right choice. I know there are those who are cynical of Tesla and, especially, Elon Musk.

To you guys I would again say: Forget about all that ancillary crap and go to a Tesla dealership and take a test drive.

I can’t help but think you will be impressed.

Not to brag…

For the past few years and if you know me personally, the subject of electric vehicles has come up.

Around these parts I’ve made my feeling known about the so-called “ICE” vehicles -those which have “internal combustion engines”- and my feelings they are a technology society should have done away with many years ago.

ICE vehicles pollute the air and are incredibly inefficient. There are those that argue electric vehicles and the batteries they use are also “dirty”, but few argue they are dirtier than the use of gasoline. Regardless, to my mind still using ICE vehicles is akin to buying a computer and settling for some 1980’s/90’s tech instead of the latest tech.

Over the past few years I’ve been reading up with great curiosity about the rise of Elon Musk’s Tesla. The reviews of their vehicles, in general, have been incredibly positive and, its fair to say, this has gotten the attention of the big car companies. Today and as I write this, almost all of major car manufacturers are now working on or have released their versions of an electric vehicle.

As fascinated as I was about electric vehicles, as much as I salivated for the opportunity to drive one, it wasn’t until just shy of two weeks ago I finally did.

That’s when things really changed.

Intrigued as I was about EV vehicles and Tesla in particular, I was unsure when/if I’d get it. That test drive, along with the fact that Tesla was having a sorta/kinda end of the quarter sale, sealed the proverbial deal.

Now I know there are those who are suspicious/weary of Tesla and, especially, CEO Elon Musk. He’s gone off the wall at times with some oddball tweets. And yeah it is scary to spend a bunch of money on a car that uses a whole new technology versus the tried and true gasoline.

But I’ll tell you this: If the driving population of not only the United States but the world itself goes to a Tesla dealership and asks to test drive the car, I suspect a good 80+ percent of them that give it a fair shot will come away sold on the idea that the Tesla vehicles are very much worthy of all the attention they’ve gotten.

So impressed was I with the test drive -along with the previous research I did on the vehicle- that I took the plunge. I paid the $2500 deposit and ordered my Tesla 3. Yesterday, I got her…


Driving home was my first extended trip in the Model 3 and it was as delightful as the test drive. When we got there, my wife had her first drive and she was every bit as impressed with it as I was.

Again, I do not intend to brag. I am extremely fortunate to have the means to pick up this vehicle, though in all fairness the version I bought was hardly the most expensive model I could have gotten (I wouldn’t have been able to afford the very top end options, anyway!). Having said that, I strongly urge everyone out there to give the Tesla a try.

Perhaps you won’t come away from the experience as impressed as I. Perhaps you won’t feel it is truly the next generation vehicle I believe it is.

But if you do give it a shot, it might clear much of the haze surrounding Musk and Tesla and the fanboy mentality of many out there while allowing you to focus on the vehicle itself.

A vehicle which deserves, IMHO, many of its kudos.

Tesla… in spaaaaaaaceeeee…!!!!

By now you’ve seen it, Elon Musk launched his Tesla car into space and we got to see the pictures…

Just… wow.

Then there came news, the very next day, that Tesla lost more than expected.

What’s going to stick with you, those numbers or that image above?

Btw, you’re not fooling anyone, Mr. Musk.  I know what inspired you here, from the 1981 film Heavy Metal:

Puerto Rico and Tesla…

If there’s anything good to come from an incredible tragedy, it may be Tesla’s involvement in powering up the island of Puerto Rico with their battery projects, as presented in this article by Fred Lambert and presented on electrek.com…

Tesla deploys 6 battery projects in order to power two islands in Puerto Rico, more to come

When I first heard of Tesla’s battery pack idea, I was intrigued with the concept.  Essentially, the goal is to provide electricity to people via battery packs of various sizes.

In theory, one might in the future have solar panels (or some version of solar panels) on one’s house which feeds directly to a battery pack within your house which will then provide electricity to your home.

Granted, this is something that will work far better in areas like where I live in, which has plenty of sunshine.  However, even if one doesn’t live in an area like that, the battery packs could be charged on your local electrical grid and then used in peak hours of energy usage.

Its intriguing stuff and I’m most curious to see where this all leads… and, of course, whether it works!

Tesla now more valuable than Ford…

Interesting article by Fred Lambert and found on electrek…

Tesla (TSLA) is now more valuable than Ford and why it doesn’t matter

Without giving away too much of the article (or, conversely, simply offering a summary), the article notes that Tesla’s stock has for the first time risen above Ford’s: $45.47 billion versus $45.35 billion.

The article also notes that there remain sharp criticism and critics against Tesla who will no doubt wonder what in the world people see in the company.  It is operating at a loss and Ford sells far more vehicles than it does and operates at several billion dollars worth of profit.

However, the article examines what exactly Tesla is and comparing it one on one to another car making company doesn’t do Tesla justice.  It is, after all, a company that not only produces cars but it also working on solar power, batteries for the home, and software.

I was in a mall this past weekend and it happened to have a Tesla “store”.  Within were two Tesla vehicles, the S and X model (the upcoming “cheaper” model 3 completes the S 3 X –sex– label…if nothing else, Elon Musk has quite the sense of humor).

They were freaking gorgeous.

I’ve long noted that it is my belief with the coming automated driving we will soon not have personal vehicles, instead relying on a Uber/Lyft app that will call self-driving vehicles to us, will take us where we want, then be off to pick up the nearest passenger.

However, if I should ever get myself another car, I suspect it will be the model 3…at least once it is readily available.

If my predictions of what’s to come with self-driving cars prove right, that might well be the last actual vehicle I own!

 

Tesla Autopilot system…

The latest Tesla vehicles have an Autopilot feature which appears to be one more step toward where I think all vehicles are going: Self-driving.

Here we see someone using this feature and finding it a little scary…

I’m not surprised by the driver’s reaction.  As much as I’m all in favor of self-driving vehicles and, further, believe that’s the future of cars in general, I imagine if I were in his place I’d be doing exactly the same.

It isn’t easy ceding control over something you’ve had all along.  Especially when -at this moment anyway- the roads are filled with people who are NOT driving automated vehicles.