Is the Tesla Model 3 a puncture magnet?

Trips to the tire shop are becoming too frequent

My Tesla Model 3 has now had its third puncture since new in just over 28,000 miles in just over a year. Two of those punctures were with relatively new tires. By comparison my Nissan LEAF has had one puncture in 133,000 miles over eight years.

I’m traveling the same roads and parking in the same garage as I did with my LEAF. I wonder if the weight of the car is factor combined with lower profile tires. The LEAF weighs 3,375 lbs, the Model 3 weighs 4,072 lbs. I carry an electric tire pump in the Tesla’s trunk at all times.

Here are the intervals where the punctures occured.

12/20/2018 @ 4,165 miles

9/9/2019 @ 19,601 miles

1/31/2020 @ 28,202 miles (1,988 miles on new tires).

In each case a screw was found in the tire and the tire patched. I purchased road hazard warranty with the new tires I got at Discount Tire. Given the frequency of issues I’m glad that I did.

 

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Phantom Braking – An alternative explanation

Most users of Tesla’s autopilot software have experienced “phantom braking” while driving along the interstate. This often occurs approaching bridges and overpasses.

Conventional Explanations

Conventional wisdom explain phantom braking as ‘precautionary logic’ in Autopilot to avoid hitting a vehicle crossing the road perpendicular to the traveled lane. One of the first Autopilot fatalities occurred in Florida killing its driver Joshua Brown. Autopilot and its driver failed to brake for a tractor trailer crossing a Florida Turnpike. The theory behind phantom braking is that Autopilot confuses an up coming bridge or overpass as a vehicle crossing the lane of traffic so engages emergency brakes.

I have personally experienced this phantom braking. One can anticipate which bridges are most likely to trigger this behavior, if the road dips down just before the bridge, there is a high likelihood phantom braking will occur.

Need for an alternative explanation

One thing that has always puzzled me is that if autopilot has detected what it thinks is a crossing vehicle ahead, why doesn’t it come to a stop or at least a very low speed? The phantom braking is typically very brief and the vehicle may slow by 15-20 miles per hour and then accelerates back to its previous set speed.

Slowing down by 15 Mph on a interstate isn’t emergency braking. It is however annoying as heck, and could prove dangerous if someone is tailgating you.

An Alternative explanation based on speed limits and an overly aggressive braking response to them

Church Street bridge/overpass on I-65 South

Recent experience has lead me to believe that phantom braking can often be explained by a change in speed limits, especially if the change is wildly wrong.

On I-65 south in Nashvile TN just past Charlotte Avenue the road dips down ahead of the Church Street overpass. I have experienced phantom braking several time here. Recently I noticed that during one of the phantom braking events the vehicle displayed a speed limit of 30 instead of 55!! The speed limit reverted to 55 after going under the bridge.

Could it be that due to a GPS error the car thought I had turned onto Church Street, or maybe the ramp to church street and reduced speed suddenly? This would explain why phantom braking is momentary and why the car resumes its set speed a soon as it resets the speed limit to the actual road speed limit.

Autosteer Speed restricted

In a recent video from Bjorn Nyland he interrupts his monologue with the exclamation “Phantom Brake” as his Model 3 brakes suddenly approaching a tunnel. Conventional wisdom would say that this is due to Autopilot mistaking the tunnel approach as a vehicle crossing its path. However if you watch the video closely you notice that the speed limit drops by 10 km/h approaching the tunnel and displays a warning that it has restricted Autosteer speed. Just moments before this warning appears the car display shows that for a brief moment heavy regenerative braking was applied. Unfortunately the video is very blurry, no doubt due to the sudden braking, I also include that image below as well.

Max Regen for just a moment blurs video image

Feel free to watch Bjorn’s video. Advance to 10:12 to see where the Phantom Braking event occurred.

What should Tesla Do?

When speed limits reduce, autopilot should gradually reduce speed for the first second then progressively apply brakes if the speed limit reduction remains true. This would avoid unnecessary aggressive braking on interstates and highways. This can be very disconcerting for drivers and passengers alike.

Tesla should also eliminate speed limits on ramps to avoid GPS position errors triggering an inaccurate speed limit.

Posted in Accident, Autopilot, Autosteer, Electric Car, Opinion, Tesla Model 3 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cybertruck angular design similar to Straker’s car in UFO?

Tesla Cybertruck

It’s an understatement to refer to the Tesla Cybertruck design as futuristic. Sci-Fi shows over the years have tried to portray what the future might look like. Blade Runnner is cited as inspiration for the Cybertruck. However I reminded of a TV show created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson called UFO. The show was broadcast in the UK in the 1970’s. While the show was low budget with a poor story-line I was reminded of it by the Cybertruck design.

Many visions made in the UFO TV show have now made it into reality. The angular design of the Cybertruck being one of them. Cellular/Car phones is another, re-usable rockets, the International space station, the Space Shuttle and finally a ladies fashion, purple hair.

Straker’s futuristic car with sharp angles and wedge front and back.

Straker’s Car

Commader Straker was in charge of SHADO a secret organization charged with protecting the earth from invading UFO’s. The car itself has sharp angles and wedge shaped front and rear. OK it’s not a truck, but the sharp angles on the side and its wedge like shape are similar to the Cybertruck.

Straker’s car also predicted cellular phones. Straker would conduct matters of global security on his car phone. They didn’t quite get it right, the car phone had a wired handset, however the idea of using a phone on the move was truly visionary.

Straker using his cellular phone before it was invented IRL

Purple Hair

A fashion prediction was made on UFO. The female staff at “Moon Base Alpha” all had purple hair. Hair color has become fashion in the last few years and is accepted as normal. Only the other day I walked into the local UPS store and was greeted by a girl with purple hair. Back in the 1970’s walking around in public with purple hair would have been restricted to Halloween, now you can hold down a job with colored hair.

SHADO Moonbase alpha. Purple haired staff.

Re-usable Rockets

In order to defend earth against UFO attacks space craft would be dispatched from Moon base alpha to intercept UFO’s before they could reach earth.

I find it interesting that Elon Musk has brought two of the futuristic UFO predictions into real life with his two companies, Tesla and SpaceX.

SHADO vehicle that looks much like the space shuttle

 

Re-ussable space craft

 

 

 

 

We are living in a sci-fi TV show from the 70’s.

 

 

 

 

SHADO space station SID, remind you of the international space station?

 

 

 

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Teslaversary

Happy Birthday Car

I took delivery of my Model 3 AWD on 25th October 2018. Here we are one year and 22,067 miles later. The car has been a lot of fun to drive and I will be keeping it for the foreseeable future

What I didn’t get a year ago (but have today)

Rather than do a blow by blow account of what I like and dislike about the car, (you can read my blog to discover what I’ve found over the last year) I thought I’d focus on what features I have today that were NOT delivered when the vehicle was new a year ago. All of these new capabilities have been delivered via over the air updates, the majority of which were free.

1. Dashcam

In the first week of ownership I got an upgrade to Version 9 firmware which included a new feature, Dashcam. Dashcam recorded what one of the forward cameras saw as you drove onto a specially prepared USB drive. A few months later Tesla added the side repeater cameras to this feature.

2. Firmware update activation via mobile app

Within a few weeks of getting my Model 3 we visited England. While in England the Tesla App notified me of a software update which I initiated. The new software was waiting for me when I returned. This would not have been possible the day of delivery but was just a few weeks later.

3.  Sentry Mode

This is one of my favorite features. The car can be set to record activity close to your vehicle while it is parked. Within a few weeks of getting this feature, my Model 3 was hit by a rogue shopping cart. I used the video to obtain compensation from Whole Foods. The staff were amazed I had the video footage but were very willing to help once provided with clear evidence.

4. Blindspot monitoring

This feature shows a red line on the main display when a car was in your blindspot and you indicated the desire to change lanes.

5. Obstacle aware acceleration

My car will now reduce the acceleration if it detects I am about to drive into an object ahead.

6. Dog Mode

Dog mode is an improvement to the “Leave Climate On” feature in the car that displays on the main center screen to people outside your car you have the A/C on and what the current vehicle interior temperature is. While I don’t have a pet or need for this feature when trying it out I did discover the “Leave Climate On” feature I always had. I find the previous feature to be very handy when you pop into a store for a few minutes on a hot or cold day the car is a nice temperature when you return.

7. Autopilot

I did not buy the optional autopilot feature with my initial order. At $5,000 I felt the feature was over priced. The price after delivery was $6,000, which was increased to $7,000. It seemed Autopilot was not in my future. In February 2019 sales of the Model 3 were down markedly and Tesla needed cash. Tesla reduced the cost of Autopilot to $2,000 and removed the Enhanced Autopilot features. I ordered the new Autopilot.

8. Full Self Driving.

Full self driving was also reduced in price in February 2019. I didn’t order it at first, but when Tesla announced they planed to increase the price to pre discount levels, I chose to purchase it for $3,000. This gave access to all the autonomous features and any future features yet to be released. I gained Navigate on Autopilot and Summon. In addition the purchase of FSD ensures the version 3 of the self driving hardware will be made available at no extra cost.

9. Smart Summon

The ability to summon a car across a parking lot was added. Its somewhat of a party trick with few practical uses in its bera form. One day it should be a handy feature.

10. Entertainment – Netfilx, Youtube, Hulu and Spotify

With version 10 of Tesla firmware came a slew of new features. The entertainment features may seem incidental, however once you experience videos playing with the benefit of the cinematic sound you realize its a truly amazing experience. The video features only work when you are stopped and in park.

11. Rear camera support for Dashcam and Sentry Mode.

12. Arcade Games

Several arcade games have been added to the UI. I’m not a gamer so won’t pass judgement.

13. Fart

Yep. My car can make fart noises. Whoopie doo.

14. Romance Mode

The car display can be turned into a hot crackling fire animation.

15 Lane Departure Avoidance

If I start to drift out of my lane, the car will vibrate the steering wheel and nudge me back into my lane.  Once you get used to this feature you realize how valuable it is, its is an antidote to driver distraction or loss of focus for a moment.

16. Feeling lucky and I’m Hungry

The navigation system will now take me to places I may not know or have visited before.

17. Caroke

Karoke in your car. Nuf said.

18. A web browser that works.

Tesla upgraded the web browser to use Chrome and it works very well. You can even use the browser while you drive (Shhhhhh…)

19. 5% more power

Thanks to firmware improvements, the car is now 5% more powerful reducing 0-60 times from 4.5 seconds to 4.2.

20. Joe Mode

Audible alerts can be quite loud and intrusive. Joe Mode allows for you to cut the volume of alerts by half.

21. Vent

I can now vent my windows using a feature on the Tesla App. I can do this while I am locking the car or from anywhere in the world afterwards. The vent feature also allows me to close all 4 windows together.

22. Geo Location Mirror folding

Based on my location, I can have the car automatically fold mirrors. I do so at home, at the ATM, Maildrop at the post office.

23. CHAdeMO adapter support

For over a year after release the Model 3 could not be used at CHAdeMO rapid chargers. Now it can. I got the adapter as soon as it was available. This has extended my ability to charge my vehicle in more remote locations where Supercharger stations are rare.

24. Driving profile associated with phone keys

Rather than have to select a driver profile on the main screen profiles can now be tied to specific phone keys so the seat and steering wheel are adjusted automatically.

25. Faster Supercharging

When I bought the car the fastest it would charge was 120 kWh, now with V2 chargers I can charge up to 150 kWh and 250 kWh with a  V3 supercharger,  we should get V3 Superchargers in Nashville in the next few weeks 🙂

Twenty Five and counting

Yep there are a lot of new features available to me today that were not present on the day of delivery exactly one year ago. No other car maker provides so much so quickly, and the majority of it is for free. I’ll add more as I remember them. There are so many its quite a job to  recall them all, especially since they have become part of the day to day driving experience.

Other Improvements

While not new, many things have improved.

Automatic Windscreen wipers comes to mind. Initially these would fail to activate during heavy downpours or the start of gentle rain.  Today the feature works very well.

Automatic high beams have also seem improvements, but Tesla still have some work to do here.

How about your car?

How many new or improved features did you get this past you in your current vehicle? Let me guess, none.

Posted in Dashcam, Electric Car, Level 3 EV Charger, Sentry Mode, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Fiat 500e spotted in Nashville

FIAT 500e spotted in Nashville TN

The Fiat 500e is very much a compliance car and as such is rarely seen outside of the CARB states it is sold in. Sergio Marchione, former CEO of Fiat/Chrysler is famous for telling prospective customers to not buy his electric 500e because he lost money on each unit sold.

Any Fiat 500e’s found outside of the states it was sold in have been specially transported. The owner takes on some risk that an issue with the electric drive-train may need repair in a select few dealers in CARB states involving expensive shipping to effect a repair.

500e Charging at 1100 Charlotte Ave, Nashville

This 500e was spotted in the HCA building at 1100 Charlotte Pike. Many rare EV’s are often spotted here, HCA employees apparently favor unique EV’s. Its great to see cars like the 500e in person.

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Electrify America Fail – Strike Two

Cable too short to even reach parking bay.

Recently I reported an Electrify America station that was not operational for CHAdeMO users. Today I went by the latest Electrify America site at WalMart in Franklin TN which was just brought into service on October 11th.

The configuration of the single CHAdeMO outlet is such that it is not possible to get a charge with a Tesla vehicile. It will be difficult, maybe impossible, for a Nissan LEAF to get a charger here unles it drives in at a 45 degre angle across the parking bay. The cable will not reach the edge of the parking bay.

It seems to me the charging equipment should be located at the head of the charging bay to make it possible to plug a vehcile in. This is especially necessary in this case since the parking bay is offset from the kerb more than normal to accomodate disabled users.Electrify America is funded by a $2Billion fudn as erquired to compensate for VW’s Dieselgate settlement with the US government agencies. I perceive its easy come easy go since the funds are guaranteed.

Cable won’t reach even if you park in hatched area.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Electric Car, Electrify America, Level 3 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Calling all Tesla Drivers to Chattanooga for Alpine Drive

Train of Tesla’s

Tesla owners in Tennessee and all points beyond are invited to come and enjoy an Alpine Drive November 15-16, 2019 in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Tesla Bros and local Tennessee Tesla enthusiasts have organized  a fun Hike, Drive and Eat event. Home of the Chattanooga choo choo Chattanooga will see a different type of train, a train of electric vehicles driving along the ridge by Lookout mountain.

Tennessee Aquarium

We will all eat inside the Tennessee Aquarium which has been booked exclusively for this outing. The Aquarium is a great place to bring a family with many interesting things to see and do. Tickets include admission to the Aquarium and a catered dinner.

It’s gonna be great. Get your tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Model 3 version 10 software better than a cinema

Tesla V10 Entertainment Choices

As a pragmatist I never thought I’d say the entertainment options in the Tesla Model 3 are truly amazing. Mind boggling amazing. The sound system in the Model 3 is excellent and the 15″ center screen crisp and clear. Starts stream quickly and without skipping. Sit in your car in the dark, turn on a show and the experience is actually better than the cinema. You get to watch what you want and don’t have anyone checking email or chatting close by, no trailers for shows you have no intention of watching.  No overpriced popcorn either. The experience is good enough to kill off cinemas altogether if enough people get a Model 3.

Unbelievable video and sound quality in the Model 3.

Entertainment options are Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. The app experience is almost identical to the web apps for these streaming services.

If a test drive isn’t enough to convince you to buy a  Model 3, the entertainment system most probably will convince you.

I bought the car to drive, now I have a mobile entertainment center. I’m reminded of what Elon Musk said during an interview with Ryan McCaffrey.

“It’s not exactly a car, it’s actually a thing to maximize enjoyment. It’s maximum fun.”
– Elon Musk –  during interview with Ryan McCaffrey July 2019.

Posted in Electric Car, Opinion, Review, Tesla Model 3, Test Drive | Leave a comment

Edison Apartments in Gallatin TN add EV charging station

Edison Apartments Gallatin TN

One of the best parts of EV ownership is waking up each morning with a “full tank” and never having to visit a gas station ever again. If you don’t own a home with a garage, charging where you live may not be possible. This is often cited as a reason why EV ownership will remain a niche. What are apartment dwellers supposed to do?

Edison Apartments have installed a ChargePoint charging station.

One option is to charge at work. Increasingly, progressive employers and office buildings are installing EV charging equipment. Often without a fee for use. You get half your fuel paid.

Charging my Model 3 at Edison Apartments, Gallatin TN

Apartment dwellers at Edison apartments in Gallatin TN now have a new option. The apartment complex has installed a ChargePoint EV charging station with the ability to charge two vehicles at the same time. The best part is that there is no fee to use the station. From a financial perspective Edison Apartment dwellers are better off than a home owner such as myself. The apartments shouldered the cost of buying and installing the charging station, will maintain it and also cover the cost of the fuel. Someone living at Edison apartments could have no fuel cost at all for their car. The convenience of plugging in in your own home can’t be beat IMHO, the apartment complex is quite big and one may have to walk quite a distance from the car back to your apartment. If however you live in block K at these apartments it couldn’t be more convenient.

The charging station is adjacent to the car wash and vacuum facilities. This is smart, electricity is already present in the maintenance building which will have reduced the installation cost significantly. One issue I see with the site is the closest parking spaces are not identified as being for an EV. When I was parked at the charging station, both spaces either side of my vehicle were occupied by gasoline vehicles. The second charging cord while not is use could not be used without an open parking space. My guess is the gasoline car owners didn’t know this, they did leave the space open directly in line with the charging station. There is a need for better signage.

The apartments are close to Vietnam Veterans Blvd and State Route 31E, so a commute to Nashville would be both convenient and free.

Posted in ChargePoint, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Can the Electrify America network be relied upon?

Lightly used charging site. Guess which port I needed?

The short answer is no. For the long answer read on…

I decided to take a trip to the nearest Electrify America charging site to train myself in the use of these stations before I really need one and also to see what charge rate I would get.

I checked the Willowbrook Commons site in Nashville on the Electrify America app and it showed all ports as operational and available. No one was there apparently. The journey took 30 minutes. When I arrived I was greeted with an almost empty charging site. Only one vehicle was there. Good I thought I have plenty of choice, until I realized the car was a Tesla. There is only one Tesla compatible outlet (CHAdeMO) per Electrify America site. All other ports are CCS only. This is an unfortunate design decision. In other countries such as Norway most charging stations each have three outlets. CHAdeMO, CCS and high-speed AC. Electrify America is funded by Volkswagen as part of their Diesel-gate settlement and the sites favor their own electrical vehicles which use CCS. Nissan and Tesla utilize CHAdeMO and are under represented at these sites.

Charging had stopped and a grace period was in effect before the car would be levied idle charges.

I hung around to take photos of the site. I was interested in the charge rate so took a photo of the screen associated with the Tesla. It showed the session had finished and informed me that the grace idle period would expire in 6 minutes. I thought the owner may return soon. He did. He was slow to return to his vehicle and was having a conversation on his phone. He had empty shopping bags which told me he came out of Publix. Eventually he unplugged his car and started walking back to the store. I got out of my car to ask if he could move his vehicle. He ended his call and informed me that he was talking with Electrify America. The station wasn’t working properly, it had aborted after only five minutes. After remote troubleshooting and restart of the unit EA advised him not to rely upon this station for a charge. The entire site had been out of order the previous week apparently, maybe an issue remains unresolved.

Twisted CHAdeMO pigtail at Electrify America

The other Tesla owner went onto tell me he had been successful on other occasions, this was the first issue he had encountered. I noticed that the CHAdeMO adapter had a twist in the adapter pigtail. This was the same as I experienced the previous day at Nissan.

Summary of Issues.

Only one CHAdeMO outlet per site means there is no redundancy in case of charger issues or another vehicle is charging when you arrive. Both of these scenarios were true for me on my first trip to Electrify America.

VW are clearly favoring their own electric vehicles, the dieselgate money is not being used impartially. VW clearly intend to profit from the mandated investment in infrastructure. Its a shame a foreign automaker is given the freedom to discriminate despite being bad stewards of the environment in the recent past.

Update 2019-10-16 – CHAdeMO Issues resolved at this location

Electrify America indicate they have resolved the CHAdeMO issues at Willowbrok Commons

Disappointing Installation

With the vast majority of electric cars on Americas roads today being made by Nissan and Tesla the choice to restrict CHAdeMO in this fashion is disappointing. Electrify America is not a viable alternative to Nissan’s CHAdeMO network or Tesla’s supercharger network. EA sites cannot be relied upon for a trip. I saw no Level 2 J1772 outlets at this site either. If you were low on charge you would not get any relief here.

Electrify America charging station.

 

 

 

Posted in CCS, CHAdeMO, Electrify America, Level 2 EV Charger, Level 3 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | 1 Comment