Cross Country Drive with Admin Sighting, June 4-9, 2020

Tony Crocker

Staff member
I have now added some details and pictures of my stops along the way.

jasoncapecod":m14jswxz said:
I assume you drove the Tesla from Cali to Fla.. How did that go? Any range anxiety?
If range anxiety means “Where can you drive in a Tesla within easy range of the supercharger network?” This map shows that coverage by now is quite comprehensive. You can click on any charger and see details:
1) Date opened
2) Max charge rate, usually 150kW, but some urban area chargers 72kW and the new v3’s 250kW.
3) Circle On will display a drive radius (toggle desired distance at the upper left).
4) Red dots are active, yellow cones under construction and blue dots permitted but no construction started yet.

The Trans-Canada highway between Ontario and Alberta went live Dec. 20, 2019. Some interior B.C. and Montana gaps are being permitted. From a ski perspective SW Colorado is still deficient. They need Montrose, Pagosa Springs and Durango. The Big Bend and Carlsbad National Parks are too far from the I-10 and I-20 chargers. In some of these remote places (Telluride for example) you can charge overnight at a similar rate to home charging. I did this during the ski day at both Alta and Snowbird this March.

There are 5 factors that reduce range, and unfortunately all of them affect skiers.
1) High speed: you lose about 9% for every 5mph over 60mph.
2) Cold weather: Range starts decreasing below about 50F. I’ve read 13% at 32F, 25% at 15F, and probably 40% at 0F.
3) Long distance: You get 200-250 miles to start the day with a full charge, but you’re stopping every 90-130 miles after that for the most efficient charging. I’ll get into more details of that discussing the recent trip.
4) Climbing hills: You lose 10 miles of rated range for every 1,000 feet climbed. You get 6 miles of that back coming down. For a 50 mile one way drive 7,000 feet up the Angeles Crest I used 124 rated miles going up and zero coming down.
5) Remote areas like SW Colorado with inadequate supercharger coverage.

In California 1) and 2) tend to be offsetting. To be cold in California you need to be high altitude and that generally means driving mountain roads at 45mph or so. Just as you lose range above 60mph you gain range below it. But if you’re driving on an Interstate when it’s 15F your range will probably take a 40% hit.

My 2016 Model S had 272 rated miles when I turned it in June 2019. Supercharging was max 6 rated miles per minute but decreased to 4 at 140 rated miles, 3 at 180 rated miles and 2 at 220 rated miles. My 2019 Model S (current rated range 352 miles) charges at a max rate of 8 rated miles per minute and is still 6 at 180 rated miles and 5 at 220 rated miles. FYI the lighter Model 3 with a newer battery design has a max charge rate of 10 rated miles per minute.

For those 90-130 mile legs between chargers I like to charge to 180-220 rated miles for a comfortable margin. You can see this would take much longer on the old car and that’s why I never drove that car farther than home to Reno in one day. My drive to Iron Blosam requires about 2 hours in charge stops but it would have been 3.5 hours in the 2016 car.

So here are the summary stats for the drive days on the recent trip:
May 29: Home to Las Vegas 273 miles. This required a 10 minute charge stop in Baker in March but this time it was 111F in Baker, so the chargers were temperamental and it took 20 minutes.

May 30: Las Vegas to Eagle CO 653 miles. The first leg with a full charge was 237 miles to Beaver with 4,000 foot elevation gain. This day required 92 minutes in charge stops, of which 48 were at a lunch stop in Richfield, Utah. Total elapsed time was 9 hours 45 minutes with average speed while driving of 79mph.

On June 1 I skied Arapahoe Basin.
On June 2 I drove a scenic loop through Leadville, over Independence Pass, then back to Eagle via Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

June 4: Eagle, CO to Wichita, KS 654 miles. The first leg was 325 miles to Goodland, KS where I had a 51 minute lunch stop. I was then able to drive 237 miles to Salina, stopping half an hour there before continuing to Wichita. Total elapsed time was 10 hours 15 minutes with average speed while driving of 74mph.

I stayed with a college classmate who is now operating the Maple Grove cemetery, which his father ran when he was growing up. There's a Civil War memorial encircled with graves of Union veterans such as this one.

This prompted me to research that Andersonville would be a modest detour on my final drive day. Other Civil War graves included a Medal of Honor soldier and a Kansas police chief of a town Lincoln visited in 1859.

On June 5 we drove to the Cosmosphere museum in Hutchinson, which has comprehensive exhibits from the Space Race and early rocket developments. That includes German V1 and V2 rockets.


All of the US space missions are documented in numerous exhibits. Gemini X:

Apollo 13 command module:

The shell was returned to the USA from a museum in Paris and internal parts and controls had to recovered from many places.

Full scale lunar module used for training in Houston:

The others were abandoned in space.

Saturn 5 rocket engine salvaged from the Atlantic:

This museum also salvaged Gus Grissom's sunk Liberty Bell Mercury capsule but that was on tour.

For someone who grew up during the Space Race, I was particularly interested in the details of the Soviet program which were kept secret at the time. Chief Designer Sergei Korolov's identity was not disclosed until after he died in 1966.

Volkhod space capsule with airlock extension used for spacewalks:

Most early cosmonauts ejected from their capsules about 20,000 feet and parachuted to earth.

June 6: Wichita, KS to Osage Beach, MO 290 miles. This was all on the secondary route Hwy 54 and I needed to stick to the 65mph speed limit in order to make it with no chargers on that route. If I had a lower range Tesla I would have needed to divert south to I-44 which has superchargers in Joplin and Springfield.

I did not visit this flag museum on the way but took pictures of the ones in front, some with editorial comment added.

Admin's home for 3 months or so at the RV park in Osage Beach, MO.

Admin and his wife can work remotely from the RV midweek and relocate every Saturday. They will get as far east as the Smoky Mountains south of Gatlinburg, TN before heading back west. I suspect admin's RV venture is in a sweet spot these days, as many people are reluctant to fly and RVers can also avoid hotels and restaurants while traveling.

They had a wheel bearing failure that needed repair in South Dakota.

All but one nut came off the repaired wheels by the time they got to Missouri. The repair guy from South Dakota drove 9 hours to fix the problem and is working on the opposite wheel now.

Around 3PM we set out to explore Lake of the Ozarks. The Four Seasons peninsula has numerous inlets but the entire shoreline belongs to private homes, condos and boat clubs. We then drove by the lake's dam, where I couldn't resist this kitschy display.

We finally found lake access on a southeast arm of the lake, where Zoe could finally get some exercise fetching sticks out of the water.

I should mention that Kansas temps were in the high 90's and it was low 90's but more humidity at Lake of the Ozarks, so I was also eager to get in the water.

The water was shallow as far as I went. The first 10 feet or so from shoreline was gravelly, but from then on it was ankle deep ooze. As I walked in the ooze, I left a trail of (CO2?) bubbles behind.

We then drove through a state park with some wildlife. This heron just caught a fish.

Deer are a dime a dozen for many of us at home, but these struck a photogenic pose.

On Sunday evening I had to check out the infamous Backwater Jack pool bar.

This was the packed place all over the national news Saturday of Memorial weekend. Admin could have shot that drone video if he had been there 2 weeks earlier.

June 8: Osage Beach, MO to Auburn, AL 740 miles. The first leg was 260 miles to Miner, MO, about half on secondary roads. This day required 4 stops totaling 87 minutes and I ate just snacks and drinks I brought with me. Total elapsed time was 12 hours 20 minutes with average speed while driving of 68mph, excluding a 1+ hour stop at the museum in New Madrid, MO. Auburn was my only hotel stop, a Quality Inn walking distance to the supercharger so I could leave with a full charge the next day.

Approaching Mississippi River levee:

I did not know that New Madrid was the site of the next important Mississippi River Civil War control battle after Forts Henry and Donaldson.

On that map Reelfoot Lake was formed by the 1811-12 earthquakes. The river is still dynamic. Point Pleasant is in Missouri on the Civil War map but it is now in Tennessee.

Southwest view of river and some islands:

The Confederate stronghold Island #10 was in the opposite direction but that island no longer exists.

Earthquake map inside the museum:

June 9: Auburn, AL to Belleaire Bluffs, FL, 484 miles. The first leg was 180 miles of mostly secondary roads to visit the Andersonville Historic Site for about 1.5 hours. I had 3 charge stops totaling 37 minutes. Total elapsed time minus the Andersonville stop was 8 hours with average speed while driving of 65mph.

Sculpture at entrance to Andersonville cemetery:

About 13,000 prisoners died there, nearly all during the overcrowded summer (maximum population 32,000) of 1864.

Civil War prisoners were usually exchanged during the first 2+ years of the war. This broke down sometime after the Emancipation Proclamation, when the Confederacy refused to exchange black prisoners. Grant's famous comment about refusing exchanges in order to hasten southern attrition was not until August 1864. After Sherman captured Atlanta, most Andersonville prisoners were relocated to a new prison in Florence, SC, where conditions were similar and another 2,800 died. In total 30,000 Union prisoners and 26,000 Confederate prisoners died in camps during the Civil War.

Most northern states have erected memorials to their soldiers who died here. Illinois memorial:

Inside the Pennsylvania memorial is the bronze depiction of prisoners using sticks and cups to get water from a newly formed spring between the stockade and deadline in August 1864.

Memorial from WWII prisoners:

Wider spaced graves are for qualified veterans who wish to be buried here. The national Prisoner of War Museum is here, but it is not yet open due to COVID-19.

I drove 1/4 miles south to the actual prison site, where the northeast corner has been reconstructed.

Diagram of prison site and inadequate stream for water and sanitation:

Overview from the south from Commandant Wirz' HQ:

The stone marker in right foreground is the SW stockade boundary. The opposite corner reconstruction is visible at distance. The other wooden structure at left is a reconstruction of the double gated prison entrance. The concrete structure in front of that is a memorial to the Providence Spring that formed nearby as depicted in the Pennsylvania memorial. Some more state memorials are at far left.

Walking around here was exhausting in blazing sun and thick Deep South humidity. That contributed to the historical ambience.

As far as the Tesla is concerned, I suspect that most people driving 8-10 hours in a day in a gas car would take a similar total of 1.5 hours in rest/bathroom/lunch stops. I even had time for tourist stops on my last two days.


Active member
Cool trip, but that whole first part about charging and range and the likely tracking spreadsheet...
What a fantastic anti-Tesla ad! Waaaaaaayyyyyyy too stressful and anxiety producing for me. Hell, out here there are numerous places where you need to be careful about finding gas stations, so an electric is never going to happen until the infrastructure is ample enough to be as easy as finding gas.


Marc_C":3c57stmm said:
Cool trip, but that whole first part about charging and range and the likely tracking spreadsheet... What a fantastic anti-Tesla ad!
Yep, that would drive me bonkers but for people like Tony, it's almost the whole point for owning one.

I assume that Admin and wife are in Tulsa this weekend?


Active member
jamesdeluxe":2iv8pnzc said:
Marc_C":2iv8pnzc said:
Cool trip, but that whole first part about charging and range and the likely tracking spreadsheet... What a fantastic anti-Tesla ad!
Yep, that would drive me bonkers but for people like Tony, it's almost the whole point for owning one.
Probably. Too much like living in a video game or one of those strategy escape games.....I hate games.

jamesdeluxe":2iv8pnzc said:
I assume that Admin and wife are in Tulsa this weekend?
In TN actually, so still immersed in the deep red part of the country and right next to a Covid19 hotspot. Not all that different than Tulsa when you think about it.

Tony Crocker

Staff member
I'm sure admin would love to be in Tulsa today, but he made his reservations long in advance. Today he's relocating to that Smoky Mountain site.

If you look at that map I posted, you will see that for the vast majority of the US, supercharger coverage demonstrates that range anxiety is a non-issue. The entire Southeast is covered in a grid pattern. Driving from Missouri to Florida the most direct route was diagonal and only intermittently on Interstates and yet there was no need to go out of the way to find superchargers.

Yes I prepared a spreadsheet in advance because I wanted 700 mile drive days to be as efficient as possible. But the Tesla software provides plenty of info to keep you informed and out of trouble. The navigation system shows distance to next destination and estimated state of charge when you arrive. The software will give you speed warnings "To reach your destination drive less than XXmph" if it thinks you're cutting it close. Those of us who like to drive fast keep the energy usage screen for the past 30 miles on display. That screen tells you what your remaining range is if you drive the rest of the trip in the same manner as the past 30 miles. Model S has 4 customizable screens, so when that energy screen is up, I still have trip info, map and radio/streaming/music selection visible also.

All of these screens in the Tesla are far more precise than a gas gauge or warning light. Liz' brother's pickup truck that we drove from DC to LA in 2018 would go barely over 200 miles between gas stops. And needless to say it didn't have adaptive cruise control or other Tesla features that make long distance driving more relaxing.

The bottom line of travel decisions is "What is actual travel time?" This also applies to use of mass transit vs. driving, such as the current proposals to relieve traffic issues in Little Cottonwood Canyon. As Alta's website notes, requiring bus transit to the base of LCC before boarding a gondola up the canyon is a recipe for underutilization.

Jason asked about the cross country travel in a Tesla and I gave him a comprehensive answer, explaining the details of how the charging works. Here's the Cliff Notes version:
1) Leave every morning with a full charge.
2) Put your destination into the navigation system. It will tell you expected percent battery when you arrive. If you're driving Interstates, the simple rule of thumb is that you should have about 1/3 more rated miles (plus about 10% margin for error) than the actual miles you plan to drive before the next charge.
3) From then on at each charge stop you add enough (probably using that extra 1/3 rule) to get to the next one arriving with 10-20% left. By the time you hit the restroom and maybe grab a drink and/or snack for the road (remember you don't have to attend the charger or do a credit card transaction as at gas pumps), it will almost be time to leave. Most of these stops are 10-20 minutes.
4) If you stop for a sit-down lunch you will probably be able to skip a charger and if not the time at the next charge will be reduced. I stopped for lunch on two of the days, so specific charge times were different than my spreadsheet projection but total charge time for the day was quite accurate.
5) Following the simple principles stated above will get you similar results as I got without any tracking spreadsheets.

MarcC":3k4t1xvf said:
right next to a Covid19 hotspot
Which one is that? I can tell you that in Kansas and Missouri there were few outward signs of the pandemic. Some but not all restaurant and supermarket employees wore masks. Almost no one in the general public wore masks. Fortunately no place where I was inside was crowded. For various reasons all the restaurant dinners I ate in those states (Alabama also) were after 8:00PM and most people in those states eat much earlier.

Mask wearing indoors where I am in Florida is only slightly less prevalent than in California, maybe 3/4 of customers in supermarkets. The dominant chain Publix has an annoying setup that supermarket aisles are one-way to reduce close contact. Pinellas County where I am has a skewed elderly demographic, most of whom take the pandemic seriously. Testing, case counts and deaths in California and Florida are similar. The governors are at opposite ends of the political spectrum but both give their counties a lot of leeway in setting the rules.


Active member
Tony Crocker":28je6n15 said:
If you look at that map I posted, you will see that for the vast majority of the US, supercharger coverage demonstrates that range anxiety is a non-issue.
Thinking of various trips I've done over the years, that map shows that range anxiety is indeed a huge issue!

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Marc_C":3tlh3hmf said:
Thinking of various trips I've done over the years, that map shows that range anxiety is indeed a huge issue!
That may be true for you, but for 95% of people in the US, not really. Given MarcC's frequently expressed environmental views, I would think he would encourage that 95% to start thinking about electric cars.

And even most people in MarcC's situation live in 2+ car households. There is no nonfinancial reason an electric car is not practical to be one of those cars. And it will probably see the majority of household mileage driven over time because operating costs are much lower. For the time being the nonfinancial caveat is key because many people can only afford to buy used cars.


Active member
Thanks for the report!!!
I drove a model S a few weeks ago , damn it was a fun.. I would love to have but it's not in the budget..


Active member
Tony Crocker":17dx1m7b said:
Marc_C":17dx1m7b said:
Thinking of various trips I've done over the years, that map shows that range anxiety is indeed a huge issue!
That may be true for you, but for 95% of people in the US, not really. Given MarcC's frequently expressed environmental views, I would think he would encourage that 95% to start thinking about electric cars.
I'm all for electric vehicles. Realistically it's never going to happen until charging it is as easy, carefree, and ubiquitous as filling up with gas is now. It also won't happen as long as there's the perception that they're harder to charge (meaning more planning). No amount of on-board guidance software is going to change that. Until all that changes, hybrids will still be the most likely car people wanting to go electric will actually purchase, if just for peace of mind.

Another huge problem is that battery technology right now still sucks from the environmental perspective. According to the linked article below, manufacturing the batteries for one Tesla produces as much air pollution as running a gas vehicle for 8 years (I have no idea if this is true and I'm too lazy to verify, but we do know that battery manufacturing is not environmentally neutral). Then there's the issue of recycling.

Tony Crocker":17dx1m7b said:
And even most people in MarcC's situation live in 2+ car households. There is no nonfinancial reason an electric car is not practical to be one of those cars. And it will probably see the majority of household mileage driven over time because operating costs are much lower. For the time being the nonfinancial caveat is key because many people can only afford to buy used cars.
This a major impediment for Tesla. A car where the cheapest model starts in the mid-$30K range and other model ranging from $60K - >$100K isn't for 95% of the population.

Here's a piece on 20 reasons to not buy a Tesla - many of them apply to all the other electrics as well:

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Even by the standards of internet journalism, that article is incredibly sloppy. Even when a statement is true, they often get the reason wrong. The article was written in December 2018 but it would not surprise me if it were a rehash of something written a couple of years earlier.
Energy Consumption During Highway Driving
Among some strange things, you notice when you drive electric cars is the fact that their range is alarmingly small in highway driving. This is opposite from gasoline engines that have the best fuel economy on highways and long stretches of open roads. The reason is simple. Tesla’s all-electric cars use regenerative braking to recharge the battery. And since there isn’t much braking on the highway, the battery rarely gets recharged, so the range is small.
Range is reduced on the highway for the same reason as with gas cars: speed. A Tesla, like a gas car, will get its EPA range when driven on level ground at 60mph. Are electrics more sensitive to higher speed than gas cars? Yes, but aerodynamics play a role here too. The SUVs beloved of most Americans have similar speed sensitivity. This also means that if you are cutting it too close on range, you can restore your margin of error by driving slower.

Not Environmentally Friendly
The problem is, in order to produce the batteries for one Tesla vehicle, their factories pollute the air as much as driving a conventional car for eight years.
I thought the correct number was 18 months but I decided to look it up. In November 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a new report comparing two battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with similar gasoline vehicles by examining their global warming emissions over their full life-cycle, cradle-to-grave analysis. The two BEVs modeled, midsize and full-size, are based on the two most popular BEV models sold in the United States in 2015, the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model S. The study found that all-electric cars representative of those sold today, on average produce less than half the global warming emissions of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, despite higher emissions of manufacture. Considering the regions where the two most popular electric cars are being sold, excess manufacturing emissions are offset within 6 to 16 months of average driving.
Complicated to Own and Service
Electric cars have just a handful of moving parts and require far less regular maintenance. Between my first and second car Tesla abolished any requirement of annual maintenance to keep the car in warranty. It is well known that service is the major profit center for gas car dealerships and their foot dragging is one of the reasons legacy car manufacturers (notably Chevy with the Volt/Bolt) have lackluster PHEV/BEV sales.
Takes Too Long to Recharge the Car
How long does it take to fill your tank at the gas station? It probably takes five minutes in most cases, and then you are ready to go. Well, if you have the Tesla, recharging takes around an hour and a half to top your battery.
Principle #1 in long distance driving is that you do not "top your battery," but just charge what need to get to the next station. I have demonstrated that time now averages about 15 minutes, which is true for any Model 3 and any 2018 or later Model S. This is one reason I suspect the article is dated because 2016 and prior Teslas could not charge as fast, and the max charge rate for 90% of the superchargers was increased from 120kW to 150kW in early 2019.
Also, if you charge the car at your home, it can take several hours longer.
:rotfl: This is an advantage of electric cars. It takes what,10 seconds to plug your car in at home vs. a 15-20 minute round trip to a gas station?
MarcC":2m94bzj9 said:
Realistically it's never going to happen until charging it is as easy, carefree, and ubiquitous as filling up with gas is now.
The average owner, not a road warrior like me, is charging at home 90% of the time and thus saving considerable time over the life of the car. This applies even more to the second car scenario. An electric car is more not less convenient most of the time. Plus the electricity costs about half what gas does nearly everywhere as the low gas price states also tend to be the low electric power cost states.
Roadside Service is Limited and Expensive
Since the Tesla is highly specific car brand, roadside service is quite limited and not available in all areas. In fact, you can count on it only in major urban areas and along well-traveled interstate highways.
Roadside assistance is provided free by Tesla with towing radius of 500 miles for battery/drivetrain issues or 50 miles for other issues. I am not aware of geographic restrictions, as roadside assistance plans generally pay local tow services within the covered parameters of the plan.
No Spare Tire
Somewhere between a third and half of the cars sold this year (2019) will not have a spare tire, a jack, or a lug wrench.
This is far from a Tesla-specific problem. The main reason is to save weight for fuel economy tests. If you're planning to take your vehicle off paved roads much, you need to make sure before you buy that you have a spare.
Tire Wear
One of the best aspects of Tesla and all-electric vehicles is the amount of torque electric motors produce. This is the secret of Tesla’s insane acceleration numbers and brutal force. In fact, it punches you in the back when you press the throttle. However, this also has a bad side since the tires wear down quickly compared to regular cars.
This is pure speculation and likely BS. Tesla's electronic traction control makes it almost impossible to "burn rubber." Maybe Ludicrous launches on the Performance versions? Regenerative braking is probably easier on tires than for gas cars. It is a fact that regen braking radically extends the life of brake pads/rotors. I never had them replaced over 38 months/48K miles on my 2016 Tesla, and there are many owners who have gone 100K miles or more with original brake pads.
Tough to Drive on Slippery Roads
Due to the enormous torque which is available from 0 rpm, Teslas are known to be a handful on icy or slippery roads. Simply, even the slightest acceleration is problematic. And that is due to the fact that the car transmits so much power to the ground, even at low speeds. And it could be dangerous for inexperienced drivers in challenging conditions.
More BS. All Teslas have advanced traction control, independent on each wheel, and most current Teslas are AWD. Snow performance is generally praised. It's no more difficult to modulate the accelerator pedal than in a gas car, and if you think that's problem you can set the car to Chill Mode, which limits the acceleration for valet parkers, untrustworthy teenagers, etc. As with any car, if you live in a climate where you're continuously in snow for months at a time, you should get snow tires.
Breaking System (These guys proofread almost as well as they research!)
Tesla brakes work a bit differently than on the normal car. First, they use regenerative braking to recharge the battery and second they sometimes brake without stopping the wheels by cutting the power to the engine. However, it can provide a slightly different feel to the inexperienced driver. To be perfectly honest, Tesla brakes are effective but drivers may need time to get used to them.
I insisted on my October 2015 test drive being on the Angeles Crest Highway in order to test the regen braking. I wanted to be sure it would be a good as engine braking coming down ski area roads. The answer is yes and it took maybe 2 minutes to get used to the regen. 99% of us owners swear by it, as you can modulate the accelerator and rarely use the brake pedal at all. You can drive down a mountain road almost the same way you drive up. Regen braking is a big plus to the overall Tesla driving experience.
Charging Stations
The main concern when you have a Tesla in your garage is charging. You need to know when, where and for how long to charge it. So it is easy to experience range anxiety when your car is in a remote area where there are few charging stations.
Since the map has every supercharger marked in red and the nav system will tell you before you start driving whether you can get there, any owner can easily determine before they leave home if their desired destination is a problem area. The list of problem areas is already quite limited, and if it works 95% of the time, that should satisfy nearly everyone, particularly in the usual 2+ car household situation.
Also, if you want a good charging station at your house, it will cost you and take time to install.
Yes, but as noted above it will save you time and $$ every day you use it.
Strange Buying Process
Tesla has introduced a new way of constructing cars and driving, as well as a new way of selling them. There is a dealer and service network, but not similar to any other on the market. Also, there is no test drive. Dealers have no test cars and they are not allowed to take you on the promotional drives. You can also buy a car online without even seeing it in person. That’s strange, isn’t it?
Most people do not find the traditional car dealer buying experience pleasant. In this day and age many people find the online ordering option convenient. The test drive claim is false. For about a month during the financial squeeze in early 2018 Elon said he would phase out test drives, but that decision was reversed within a week or two. I test drove Model S twice in 2015 and a Model 3 Performance in 2019. When a model is newly introduced, in high demand and thus all spoken for by buyers, that's the scenario where you can't get a test drive. I thus never test drove my 2002 Acura MDX and I had to go to Bakersfield to test drive the Porsche Cayenne.
Lack of Cup Holders
Although cup holders aren’t the most important car feature, for people who spend a lot of time in their cars, they matter. But the Tesla has only two, one for the driver and one for the front seat passenger. But what about the passengers in the back? Apparently, Tesla’s engineers didn’t think they need a beverage during the trip.
Rear cupholders and a center console with a larger cupholder were introduced in April 2016, about two weeks after we got our first car.
Fit and Finish
Since the Tesla is a new brand on the market and their production process is quite different than other car manufacturers, the overall fit and finish of Tesla models are lacking. Some systems stop working and most of the time, there are squeaks and rattles in the interior. This will not affect the overall performance or durability, but for a car at this high price point, it can be a problem.
Each of my cars had one squeak issue that was resolved in one appointment. A chronic squeak/rattle would be annoying because the electric drivetrain is so quiet you will notice even slight extraneous noises. Fit and finish issues were most severe in the early delivery months of Models S (the first car) and X (very complex design) and to a lesser extent in the early months of Model 3. Model Y is just getting started now, but it shares many parts with Model 3 so may be less of an issue.
Hardware Vs. Software
They develop Tesla cars like smartphones or modern computers. That means they have the running gear or drive train that are hardware and control systems that are software. Of course, the software gets regular updates to improve the performance, power usage and comfort of the passengers. However, sometimes, the updates are too advanced for the drivetrain. So, to keep up with the new version, you need new hardware or a new drivetrain. And that is not only costly, but it also requires technical support from a Tesla dealer.
This is just a bizarre a statement trying to make a negative out of a positive. How many cars can be improved in any way after you take delivery? Some things can be improved by software and some not. Let's see. The navigation map is continuously updated. That would cost $300 for a new DVD or chip in most luxury cars. Superchargers on that map now show how many stalls are occupied, which they did not in 2016. Autopilot features are improved every few months. On Al Solish's first Model S75, he got a software update that cut half a second off his 0-60 time.
Steep Price
Unfortunately, Tesla cars are too expensive, regardless of the model. Even the least expensive one, the Model 3, is over $35,000. And that is more expensive than comparable electric cars from other manufacturers. On the other hand, the Model X in full specs is $100,000. That is serious money for a car you can’t even test drive (again, false) that needs a chain of charging and repair stations to be fully functional. In anyone’s book, this is simply too much.
In any determination of value, one must compare to competitive products similarly priced. When most Teslas cost close to $100K, they still managed to outsell in the US the comparably priced Mercedes, BMW and Audi models combined. Also Tesla is a combination of car and tech product, where the tech features both improve and come down in price. My 2019 Model S has 1/3 more range, 50% faster charging speed, an upgraded air suspension standard which I did not order as an option in 2016 and the price was $10K less than the 2016 model. FYI this spring Model S range was improved another 10% and price was cut another $5K. I'm guessing those other luxury cars are not lower in price than in 2016 and that any improvements are modest at best.

The Model 3 is a good value proposition. With gas vs. electricity prices, lower maintenance and repair costs (such as brake pads), total cost of ownership is in the ballpark with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, yet driving dynamics are more like a BMW M3.

Resale Value
With any regular car, you know its resale value and the dealer trades you for a newer model. But that is not true with Tesla. Tesla models are still too new and advanced to predict how much they will be worth on the used car market. This is a problem, not only for current owners of Tesla cars but also for people who want to buy them second hand.
I really don't know what these guys have been smoking, because way back in 2015 when I first started researching, I thought maybe a used Tesla was the way to go. Despite then recent improvements like AWD and the first Autopilot, I was stunned how high the resale was on used Model S, even though older cars had some reliability issues than had since been fixed. So it was an easy call then to buy new. Model S resale fell once Model 3 was introduced but is still comparable to other luxury cars. Tesla Model 3 leads industry in value retention, barely loses any value after a year.
Originally, Tesla made plans to recycle their cars for new ones. However, this is not possible since the batteries aren’t recyclable. Also, to recycle all those cars they would need an enormous and expensive infrastructure.
It seems obvious to me that the application of old batteries with 70% charge left is to store and time shift intermittent renewable power.
Self-Driving Scandals
One of the most talked about features of the Model S and Model X is self-driving mode. In the last few years, lots of manufacturers have introduced autonomous driving models in their cars. However, Tesla is famous for being one of the first. But most manufacturers have had problems since these new systems are imperfect. Self-driving can provide a false sense of safety.
The self driving features are a work in progress and it will take some time to get past the Level 2 where we are now. Some drivers will do stupid things behind the wheel and it's hard to prevent that. But overall there is no question in my mind that the Level 2 I have now (adaptive cruise control, auto steer and lane change) makes long distance driving safer and more relaxing. Those features are being updated, and more importantly massive amounts of data are being gathered from the miles being driven. That data is needed to get examples of "edge cases" that must be covered in order to advance self driving technology further.

MarcC":2m94bzj9 said:
Until all that changes, hybrids will still be the most likely car people wanting to go electric will actually purchase, if just for peace of mind.
The conventional hybrid such as the Prius was the clean tech of the 2000's decade. The more interesting question is how will plug-in hybrids fare? Most of these are "compliance cars" that get maybe 20 miles in all electric mode, or in some cases like the Prius Prime, are nearly impossible to keep in pure electric mode even if you are trying. The Volt was IMHO the only serious plug-in for quite awhile, with the second iteration getting up to 50 miles all electric. But the Volt was space inefficient, as having a 50-mile battery plus a full gas drivetrain takes up lots of space. And of course there was internal hostility inside GM and from the dealers.

I have two acquaintances with the Honda Clarity plug-in and both say they can drive 50 miles all electric. It is more spacious than the Volt too. But in 2019 4,910 Volts and 10,728 Honda Clarity PHEVs were sold in the US vs. 158,925 Tesla Model 3's. My son Adam says PHEVs are the "gateway drug" to pure electrics.


re: the funny picture of the shark at the lake, I remember a story many years ago that divers hired to do underwater repairs at Bagnell dam were refusing to go back down after seeing 6 ft catfish.


Active member
Tony Crocker":1ivaiie0 said:
Even by the standards of internet journalism, that article is incredibly sloppy. Even when a statement is true, they often get the reason wrong. The article was written in December 2018 but it would not surprise me if it were a rehash of something written a couple of years earlier...
I agree! As I said, I was far too lazy to fact check/rebut. Thanks for rising to the bait!

But here's a solid reason (along with the moron who runs the company) to not buy a Tesla:


Active member
Tony Crocker":1mnninh9 said:
I guess MarcC doesn't own a smartphone, as they are made in Chinese sweatshops.
Tesla isn’t a Chinese sweatshop. False equivalence argument, hence irrelevant.