Ownership Verified: The wait was long enough: leviathan's Tesla Model 3 Performance

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
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I used an old router as a repeater so I could get a decent WiFi connection outside, I had upgraded my mobile data to 60GB to cover updates but having to sit in the car while they download and having it nag me for a WiFi connection made me set it up. I used a wired 2.4GHz antenna to improve signal further, maybe you could do something similar to cover more spaces.

Also is that a Vel Satis in the background? Really pleased to see that people have looked after them.
 

bone

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Tesla doesn't offer WiFi at their supercharger stations?
McDonald's does in their restaurants! ;)
 

leviathan

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Occasionally my employer will remember that I have a company car, and task me with transporting some stuff around. Today, this is my trunk:

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Supplying the kitchen in a new office of ours from Ikea. Do mind, this is on a slightly stiff lowered "sport" coil suspension and 235/35R20 tires rubberized wheel paint. Some clanging can be heard while cornering.
 

leviathan

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So, about that Ring lap... two more have happened during this year's Ringmeet, and there was some driving on a preceding roadtrip as well. Similar to last year, charging has turned out to be much easier than expected, even though we had two Teslas in the group and not just one. Some pictures:

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I believe this was the first recharge en-route on Day 1 of the roadtrip.

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Day 3, at the Wasserkraftmuseum Ziegenrück.

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Roadtrip group photo!

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Parking lot of the Panarbora, from up high on the tower. Guess which are the disabled spots :p

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Decided to rid the front of a thick layer of bugs during Ringmeet. Shiny!

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At the unlisted-but-open-to-the-public Nürburgring Supercharger.

There are some nice 'Ring pictures from this year, but I am yet to choose one to actually buy, so nothing here for now.

---

Also, while checking out some dashcam footage from the roadtrip and Ringmeet, I found out that my cheap USB drive used for the onboard dashcam is dying. The car doesn't report any issues, but some recordings are incomplete and some seem to be missing entirely. I presume the plug-and-stay drive not actually intended for continuous video recording (much less from 4 cameras at once) has reached its write cycle limit. So I decided to go all-out and ordered some upgrades:

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(not my image, but identical to my setup now)

A Taptes USB hub and a 500GB Samsung T5 SSD. The SSD compartment closes up with a lid, and in anything but extremely good light one can't even see that there's anything non-stock in there. Another advantage is that I can keep both Lightning and USB-C charging cables plugged in, and the hub also does power management - so I can charge one phone at full 2A (taken from both 1-amp USB-A ports the car provides), or two phones at 1A each, plus run the SSD at the same time - and there is another USB-A and a USB-C port left free for, well, stuff.
 

leviathan

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Do you have front cam footage from the traffic light drag race time @calvinhobbes was snoozing at the wheel?
Unfortunately no. Either no-one pressed the button to save it, or it's part of what was lost due to drive corruption.
 

Matt2000

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I've been very tempted to get that Taptes hub, it looks very neat. I'd have to cut down the organiser I have but that's no big deal. I have the same T5 500GB drive, it seemed from everything I read that it was the best bet to ever avoid corruption and I had 4 other Samsung SSDs already so I trust them. :p

Sorry to hear you didn't get the footage, the dashcam features still need work in my opinion. I've been experimenting with a triple-sucker GoPro mount on the glass roof and may discreetly install the dashcam I had in Bugsy as it's just sitting around now.
 

leviathan

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After a fairly uneventful autumn, the most exciting thing to report is that I just put on winter tires on the car again.

Tread on summer tires is down to 3mm all around. That is still well above the legal limit, but probably at the point where I should get a new set next year. The factory Michelin PS4S set managed two full summer seasons, including two roadtrips and a total of 4 'Ring laps (and one instance of Joe driving it spiritedly from the 'Ring to the campsite), for a total of almost 30'000 km. On a heavy car, with my driving, I guess that's plenty acceptable for a "performance-oriented" tire. All in all I'm very happy with the PS4S and will probably get another set of the same ones... the price being the only thing I don't like about them. But as a wise saying goes, never cheap out on anything between you and the ground.

Also, today turned out to be a properly warm day - probably the last one of the season, or at least for a while. When I rolled off the shop lot the car showed 20°C outside. And holy shit are freshly un-storaged soft winter tires loud on warm dry asphalt! The first couple intersections after rolling out of the shop, every acceleration and braking sounded like I was doing a burnout - extremely loud squealing, even when slowing to a stop gently on regen only. It eventually quieted down to mostly normal by the time I got home, but still squeals quite a bit if I actually hit the brakes with any noticeable force. Earned me some really weird looks from people along the road... Never had this effect before, or at least nowhere near this loud. Hope they keep quiet when driving around normally from now on, otherwise I suspect there's something actually wrong with them - definitely don't remember them doing this last year.
 

leviathan

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Took the car in for a almost-2-year "service" with a small list of issues to fix + a general checkover just in case. Despite the lockdown currently in effect across Germany, workshops are allowed to stay open, thankfully. Following stuff was done:

- Alignment check and correction, on my request. Something felt off about the car in the recent months, including the Nordschleife laps all the way back in August. And I have regrettably had a couple instances of rim-to-curb contact, which is known to possibly affect alignment. After the tire shop that I use for my winter tires refused to do it on a Model 3 (even though they are an official Tesla partner - weird...), I just went with the service center. They did a test drive and some measurements, and indeed quite a lot was off - apparently the car pulled to the left a little, which I didn't even notice much, and toe was all over the place. All fixed, and on the drive home it did feel a little more stable in the lane and at speed on the off-ramps. Of course, sample size 1 for now - needs more thorough checking on some twisties in decent weather :)

- Replaced the interior A/C air filter. Recommended item after 2 years, and I've had a couple instances of a weird smell when starting the A/C after the car sat for a while. Known issue on Tesla forums. Could've done this myself, but it's fiddly AF, and the cost is not very high, so easier this way.

- Other recommended items for the 2-year interval - suspension bolts torque check, brake caliper cleaning, brake fluid check and replacement. Some cost in there, but for the peace of mind and reassurance to the leasing company what actually owns the car.

- Checked and adjust wiring in the right wing mirror, hopefully fixing an issue I've had since the beginning. Sometimes when in underground garages, the right mirror wouldn't fully fold and/or unfold. Eventually diagnosed to be an issue with the cellular antenna inside the mirror interfering with the mirror motor/position sensor when having really low cell reception, feeding high power to the antenna. Widespread thing affecting many Model 3s, fixed by adjusting the position of the wires in the mirror mount. Apparently they were already correctly installed in mine, but they still undid and re-did them all - here's hoping that got it.

- Checked and verified that my car isn't affected by the infamous "rear bumper might fall off when driving through standing water" issue.

- Asked about the HW3 upgrade ("FSD computer"), since my car is one of the few EU Model 3s delivered early enough to be still running HW2.5 (Nvidia chip used for the Autopilot before Tesla came out with their own silicon). Sadly parts aren't available in DE just yet - official word is still "Q1 2021", but they expect it might take a little longer still. Oh well... with European regulations around the Autopilot and FSD, I'd be extremely happy to get anything remotely like the current FSD beta in the US some time until the lease runs out on 2023, but not counting on it. For now the only thing HW3 really does over here that my car doesn't is speed limit sign and traffic light recognition. Would be nice to have that, but I can live without for a couple more months.

All in all, a very relaxed service experience. And I paid less after 2 years with some extra work in there, than I ever did for yearly services on all my previous cars. Well, except the MX-5, but that was different.

Also, please note that Tesla produces only best quality, in absolutely everything they do, as witnessed by this invoice header right here:

photo_2021-01-04_18-11-40.jpg


It's a different way of doing things for sure :D But so far it's been working out rather nicely.
 

leviathan

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After last year Germany didn't really get a winter, this time around we actually had several weeks with below-freezing temperatures and snow. So this became the Tesla's first encounter with "proper" winter temperatures.

In short: while being perfectly comfortable and usable in the conditions, it really didn't like them very much.

In longer: the car's consumption and thus range are massively impacted by the cold. Especially when the battery is allowed to cool down a lot by sitting for a couple days without being plugged in, the extra energy burn by the heater (combined interior and battery) and inefficient power delivery from cold cells crank the Wh/km number waaaay up. Combined with the generally higher highway consumption, it got a bit ridiculous. At one point I suspected Tesla has made the alignment worse on the previous service visit, or something else on the car wasn't working properly, since the numbers were so high. But it went down to rated consumption nearly immediately after our weather decided to not be winter anymore, and swung all the way back to 10°C and more within a couple days.

More specifically, here's some screenshots from Teslamate with trip consumption numbers.

Exhibit A: a highway drive from Frankfurt to Stuttgart in December 2019, in 5°C, with the heater running but the consumption being sort of within expected winter-y numbers. I charged the car before leaving, so the battery was at normal temperature starting out.
exhibit a.jpg


Exhibit B: a day of mostly highway driving between Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Bensheim in early February 2021, at -5° or so, with the day starting with the abovementioned properly-cold-after-a-day-of-sitting battery. Heater on all day. This is when I suspected something being wrong.
exhibit b.jpg


Exhibit C: a very similar route to B a week later, starting with cold-ish battery in the morning at ~6-7°, and ending with no HVAC running at all in the afternoon at ~12-13° in bright sunshine.
exhibit c.jpg


On that last day, I only had the heater run for the first ~30-40km of the day, after that the AC was either completely off or actually cooling the car because of all the sunshine. Speeds and route were mostly the same, maybe a bit more highway on day B. The resulting consumption made it quite clear that nothing is wrong with the car after all, it's just that the cold costs that much more energy.

On the positive side, while the heater is hungry, it's quite powerful and fast. Preheating the car from sitting in the cold garage overnight to cozy 22° on the inside takes about 5 minutes, and giving it another 5 allows the driver's seat heater to warm the pleather nicely as well. Really only missing a steering wheel heater for perfect comfort - the newer 2021 Model 3s actually have one, mine sadly doesn't.

This whole thing is also why I'm quite happy to have the large battery. Even at the worst consumption listed here, it will still go close to 300-ish km at highway speeds, which is far more than the distances between Superchargers on nearly all Autobahn routes are by now throughout Germany, allowing it to still be driven anywhere at any time when I need it. A "standard range" model with the smaller battery would still be usable, but less range combined with slower charging speeds would make long-range travel in the winter less comfortable for sure.
 

NooDle

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Had the exact same thing with my eGolf (which unfortunately only comes with a small battery). Especially standing still for a few days at negative a lot does hurt the range tremendously. Mine couldn't even manage 130 kms, while I have gotten double that while driving very carefully in summer...

Makes you wonder why EVs are such a big thing in Norway, since its negative a million there for months on end...

Question : do you ever use the preheating before you leave? I've learned that starting the heater half an hour before you're actually supposed to leave, costs a LOT less energy than doing it on the go. As in 5-10 kms range versus 50 while doing it while driving.
 

leviathan

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Question : do you ever use the preheating before you leave? I've learned that starting the heater half an hour before you're actually supposed to leave, costs a LOT less energy than doing it on the go. As in 5-10 kms range versus 50 while doing it while driving.
Yes, although I can't confirm the difference in "efficiency". When pre-heating, it will always burn 1%, sometimes 2-3% battery just in those 5-10 minutes. On the drive, the car heats up slower - I believe I've read that when pre-heating the heater will run at full 7kW, but it never cranks that high with someone in the car, since the produced airflow can apparently be uncomfortably hot. Also, on "Exhibit B" the car was pre-heated for the same 10 minutes before leaving as usual... it didn't really help the overall consumption in the end.

If I had a wallbox at home, the whole thing would be different ofc. You could pre-heat more and still leave with a full charge. But alas, for now I don't.
 

eizbaer

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The model 3 (afaik) will run what teslabjörn calls the afterburners (up to 3.5kW per Motor) to warm up the battery (same as precondition for supercharger) in addition to the interior heater when it’s set to pre-heat from the app. It won’t do this once you’re driving (iirc), as it assumes the losses from driving to be sufficient or something.
So yeah... at least with the Tesla there is possibly a massive difference in power draw between the two.

what I’ve noticed (and what is fairly obvious, I guess): the longer the drive the better efficiency gets. But below say 5C the efficiency of the car is actually too high - as in my 60 km highway commute doesn’t heat up the battery enough to provide proper Regen when exiting the highway (very apparent in the high pitched whine of abovementioned afterburners)...
 

NooDle

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Yeah my Golf doesnt have afterburners, only ptc heaters so as soon as we hit negative temperatures the efficiency goes way down. But a warm cabin means a warmish battery, which in turn means more regen, which means more range. A fully ‘frozen’ battery (-15 degrees overnight) gives me only 20% of the max regen. A heated up car gives me 60% regen at startup.


I *do* have a home charger so preheating at home (on ‘borrowed’ power, from the grid, not the batteries) is an awesome tool. Fully heated cabin, fully defrosted windows and still 100% of battery is just awesome...
 

leviathan

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Those "afterburners" are the motor controller putting additional current on the motor out of phase, generating heat but no momentum. This is also what happens when you select a Supercharger or a different HPC in the nav and the car starts preconditioning the battery for fast charging on the way there. It can only work while driving (the motor needs to be turning), so I don't think it can be used while parked - iirc when the car is pre-heating, it's literally just pushing full 7kW of current through the ceramic resistive heater elements, and pumping really hot air into the cabin and around the battery cooling system heat exchangers. I guess it might be more efficient with a parked car, since there is no airflow to carry interior heat away via glass.

And yeah, a battery that cooled down overnight will not heat up significantly over a "normal-length", relaxed drive. I have the same issue on my 25-minute-ish morning commute, in the cold regen just barely becomes powerful enough for city driving by the time I'm off the highway and arriving in downtown Frankfurt.
 

eizbaer

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It can only work while driving (the motor needs to be turning), so I don't think it can be used while parked
Oh it actually does - at least the OBD apps show those 3.5 kW additional power going to both motors and being pulled from the battery.*

* disclaimer: my entire source for this is teslabjörn/YouTube - might be garbage info! (Shown here, first example I could find from about 4:40 ish:
)
 
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