14 Tesla Owners share their experience with FSD beta.  What they said was surprising!

I asked 14 Tesla owners who use FSD beta three questions,

  • Did you purchase or do you subscribe monthly to FSD beta?
  • What made you decide to use FSD beta?
  • What do you like about FSD beta?

I was surprised at their answers and you will be too! This is one of my longer articles and I hope you’ll take time to enjoy it and even share it with others. It contains many heartwarming stories, among them are Nancy Larson’s, Jonathan Yokley’s and more. Relax and enjoy this good read!

Subscribe vs purchase FSD beta, what is best?

12 Tesla owners I talked to purchased FSD, only one owner subscribes and one received FSD free for being a Tesla employee (surprise!). Tesla says on their website, “You are eligible to enroll regardless of whether you have purchased Tesla Full-Self Driving capabilities with a one-time payment or subscription.” Subscribing to FSD beta is a great way to test it out before purchasing it.

Nancy is extending her ability to move about independently at age 78 and beyond!

Nancy Larson and Easy at 78 uses FSD beta, photo courtesy Nancy Larson

Nancy Larson helps people look forward to being independent longer through her story.  She wrote, 

“In 2016 we traded in our 2014 green Model S for one with the new Autopilot feature as I saw the increased safety it could provide. And when I purchased my silver Model 3 in 2018, it also included FSD in the purchase price because I wanted to follow the advancing technology forward. So when Beta testing began, it felt like one of those rare opportunities to make a contribution to the safety of the whole world through Elon Musk and the Tesla Mission.

As a 78-year-old, I also see a personal benefit by extending my ability to move about independently over time. While using Beta I can see some situations that don’t appear to be solvable with FSD, but for the most part, I am delighted by what my car, Easy, can do. What fun when she displays a new ability or makes what I thought was a mistake that turns out to be the right thing. Supervising her in town with heavy traffic takes extra effort, and being a part of a revolution is never expected to be stress-free.”

James Bond would drive a Tesla

Shawn Ξ s Model Y photo courtesy Shawn Ξ

Shawn Ξ from Granite Bay finds tough routes to challenge FSD beta.  He enjoys contributing to Tesla’s data collection. Shawn explained,

“FSD beta testing is one way every Tesla owner can give back to humanity and support our children’s future. The positive disruptive impact FSD (all Tesla AI) will have on saving lives, via preventable motor vehicle accidents (MVA) has yet to be fully appreciated. Tesla FSD will eliminate the billions of dollars spent on healthcare costs contingent to MVAs.

What I like most about FSD is that it illustrates what mankind is capable of creating. Tesla’s engineers are implementing AI with a discipline focused on safety, prevention, humility, and caution. FSD is the epitome of caution when considering AI. They are showing us that AI can be used to aid mankind and help advance the light of consciousness, instead of controlling it. It’s also really cool. James Bond would drive a Tesla!” 

This Texas Dad will be remembered as a beta tester

Jonathan Yokley uses FSD beta to take his kids to see Starbase, Texas. photo courtesy Jonathan Yokley

Jonathan Yokley of San Antonio Texas knows how important it is to Tesla’s mission to have people testing FSD beta,

“I’ve driven my 2019 Tesla Model 3 for four years and almost 80k miles. I’ve had beta since October 2021 and use it nearly 100% of the time. Prior to that, I used Autopilot and NAVoAP everywhere possible. I could never go back to driving manually.  I use FSD beta nearly 100% of the time I’m driving. I purchased it back when it was $7,000. I’ve had FSD since the 100/99%ers got it back in October of ’22. I wanted to be part of the coming-of-age of autonomous driving. It’s been my way to contributing.”

“One day in the future when all cars are self-driving
my kids will remember their Dad was one of the beta testers.”
Jonathan Yokley, Texas

You’re safer using FSD beta than not using it

Robert McLaughlin purchased FSD to help advance the technology so he can remain independent as he gets older and for the advanced safety features to reduce the risk of getting in an accident. Robert says,

“I love that I can pull out onto my street, dictate a destination, put it in FSD beta, and the majority of the time it will get me to my destination with few or no critical disengagements. A critical disengagement includes the need to take control to prevent an accident or otherwise create a dangerous situation. I also find it necessary to take control to not hold up other cars. The most frequent intervention is hitting the accelerator in certain situations like phantom braking or advancing at an intersection. It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of technology.

With each new software update, FSD beta gets a little better. The visual representation of what the car “sees” gets cleaner and more detailed, and the ride quality is smoother. To really appreciate this technology you need to spend a few months using it. I also like that it has a 5-star safety rating and that it proactively tightens seat belts and pre-deploys the airbags if the software determines that a crash is unavoidable. Only Teslas’ have this capability. So less likely to be in an accident, and less likely to be seriously injured if you are in an accident. This is a significant increase in overall safety. As FSD beta technology keeps improving, the risk of getting into an accident continues to go down.”

FSD beta testing contributes useful data to Tesla

Dirty Tesla enjoys contributing data to Tesla AI team. Image courtesy Dirty Tesla

Dirty Tesla loves to contribute data to Tesla. He uses FSD Beta as much as possible for 95% of off-highway driving. He shares that, 

“Being invited into the FSD beta program as one of the original testers was an honor and opportunity. I felt I had the chance to really do some good by helping feed data to Tesla to improve their self-driving software which would eventually lead to safer roads for everyone. I also love tech and find it all very fascinating. It makes driving fun and interesting.

I do a lot of driving and I enjoy using it to find edge cases and contribute data to Tesla. It also feels like an extra set of eyes while driving. It’s common for FSD Beta to see something that I do not and react to it before I do.”

FSD is underrated

Douglas, a Model 3 owner in New Jersey candidly explained he bought FSD without telling his wife because of the extra safety it provides. He says it’s underrated and unappreciated. It helped him avoid a collision with a deer.  In Douglas’ words, 

“The most dangerous thing that most people do is drive so often that they don’t think about it. I try to talk my friends into Tesla not just because they’re electric but because of the safety. People don’t realize how easily distracted they are even if for a few seconds whenever they’re driving. Obviously, everyone knows that texting and driving is dangerous and so is tinkering with your music stream or whatever.  It only takes a few seconds for someone to drive in front of you unexpectedly or for a pedestrian to cross the road or a deer for that matter.  Tesla FSD literally has your back, front, left and right. 360° coverage.” 

“It’s like having a copilot to watch the road AND having people facing in a big circle around you watching the road on your behalf. It’s an amazing technology that is saving lives and will save many lives. I always say to my friends that the most dangerous thing you do is drive and if you love yourself as I love you my friend and you love your family, then this is something you should seriously consider purchasing.” Douglas, Model 3 owner, New Jersey

FSD beta is safer, acts like a chauffeur and makes driving enjoyable

Arash Malek uses Tesla FSD beta every day. Photo courtesy Arash Malek.

Ryan Cave of North Texas and dad of two used Autopilot daily for 3 years in his Model S and is excited about the future when cars will drive humans. He wrote,

“I can envision the day when those who can’t drive will be given a newfound freedom. Even those who can will be free to use their travel time more productively. Driving is fun, but I like that FSD beta makes driving enjoyable in a different way. It does most of my driving now, and using it is like watching your children learn. You get to see how far it has advanced, and how interventions generally decrease over time. I also feel more relaxed after long drives or commuting in traffic.” 

Chris Barberich of Encinitas, California also told me he’s excited about the future of driverless cars, 

“It’s fun to see the software make progress towards that future. Also, in most situations, I think FSD plus a human observer is safer than a human driver. I like that it’s there in case I want to use it and I can easily turn it on and off. I like that it often notices cars slowing down before I do.”

Dave Smith, a Model X and 3 owner in Arizona told me FSD Beta feels like a chauffeur. He said,

“It does 99.9% of the driving for me and the 0.1% is where I would intervene or take over. Using FSD makes my mind free up to focus on the real emergencies when driving rather than focus on how to keep the car in the lane, where is my next turn or next exit. The fact that it does everything and I just need to supervise saves you from a lot of mental fatigue. This is huge because it increases safety a lot and also you reach your destination without any fatigue from driving.”

Michael Phan agrees, 

“I like that FSD Beta can be my chauffeur. It’s like having a personal assistant ready to take over driving duties as needed. What’s not to like about it? The hybrid mode of FSD Beta driving with a human over-seeing makes me feel like I can keep myself and my family safe in the car while we travel.” 

Michael Phan tests FSD beta, photo courtesy Michael Phan

FSD Beta lets the public see development progress firsthand

Dan Burkland has been using and testing FSD Beta daily since October 2021 across every kind of road and weather condition imaginable in Minnesota. Dan told me his decision to use FSD Beta came from losing friends & family to motor-vehicle accidents that he felt could have been avoided if the proper autonomous driving technology had been active in their vehicles. Dan said,

“I’m a techy at heart and my curiosity peaked when Tesla came on the scene and described their approach to bringing autonomous driving technology to the masses. I recognized the heavy lift something like Autopilot requires not to mention the large operational domain it is expected to excel in. As a result, I wanted to do my part by extensively testing FSD Beta in Minnesota by establishing several test loops and regularly testing FSD against these test loops (in all sorts of weather conditions). 

What I like most about FSD Beta is how the public has the ability to see the development progress firsthand. Confidence in creep behavior, path planning, unprotected left turns, etc. are things that immediately pop out at me when I compare my recent 10.69.25.2 videos against my early 10.2 videos.” 

CONCLUSION

Tesla owners are closely involved in providing important data to the Tesla AI team and many are motivated by a sense of urgency to help future generations move faster toward a much safer and more autonomous future. When fathers tell me they are thinking of their children’s futures it reminds me of the impression I had when I met Elon Musk at Gigafactory Texas in June 2022. Elon radiates kindness and a strong sense of urgency. He’s kind to the people around him and when he speaks it is with a clear and well-thought-out vision of how we can advance humanity. This article and the people I got to meet through it really touched my heart. We’re in good hands with people like this who care so much about our futures.

Here’s a chart that contains all 14 owners’ responses and I also included myself, since I also love testing FSD beta!

Tesla owners share their opinions about Tesla FSD beta

Special thanks to these Tesla owners for making this article possible! 

Nancy Larsen, @orangewheels2 , Shawn Ξ  @YoumotherFUDer , Jonathan Yokely @yokley_jonathan, Robert McLaughlin or @BulldozerBob, Ryan Cave, https://twitter.com/RyanCaveman , Dino Napoletano @Dr_DinoDMD, Douglas @djohnstonpax

Chris Barberich @cbarberich, Dirty Tesla http://youtube.com/c/dirtytesla

Dan Burkland @dburkland Dan’s Youtube  and Blog – https://dburkland.com, Akshay Jindal https://twitter.com/jindalakshay, Michael Phan https://twitter.com/mpgenchau

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – January 22, 2023. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Updated 1/22/23 3:53 pm to correct statement on tax credits. FSD purchase does not impact the tax credit limit, its only added options like paint, etc. that count towards the limit.

Elon Musk’s talk on StockMKTNewz: What makes Tesla different from every other car company

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. Image courtesy cb_doge

Elon Musk spoke on StockMKTNewz (Dec 22, 2022 in a Twitter space) and his words were notable so I am sharing his talk with you.  Some highlights are,

  • Elon aims to see Tesla grow quickly in a recession, “Let’s grow as fast as we can, without putting the company at risk”
  • Tesla is like no other car company. Elon explains, “the cars are upgradable to autonomy, and arguably an autonomous car is worth many times what a non-autonomous car is”

“I stand by my prediction that long term,
Tesla will be the most valuable company in the world.”
Elon Musk

Elon says he aims to see Tesla grow quickly in a recession, “Let’s grow as fast as we can, without putting the company at risk”

When asked if Tesla can sustain its current growth rate in the next few years or so (in a predicted recession), Elon Musk stated on StockMKTNewz,

“I’m just laying out what I see as, this is just my best guess at the future.  It’s not like I have some incredible crystal ball that’s an exact predictor of the future, so with all appropriate caveats but the reality is, if we are in a recession, and I think we are in a recession, and I think 2023 is going to be quite a serious recession and it’s going to be, in my opinion, comparable to 2009. 

I don’t know if it’s going to be a little worse or a little better, but I think it is likely to be comparable.  It means demand for any kind of optional discretionary item, especially if it’s a big-ticket item will be lower with the FED increasing rates.

Like when you are heading into a recession you should be reducing the FED rate not increasing it.  So that amplifies the difficulty, so now you have a sort of structural demand which is obviously going to be lower in a recession and you’ve amplified the effect of the cost of a car because they’re almost all bought with debt, so you get a double whammy is what I’m saying. 

So the obvious choice in that scenario is you want to grow unit volume which case you’ll have to adjust prices downward or you want to grow at a lower rate or go steady, there’s sort of a choice there.

My inclination would be to still grow. Let’s grow as fast as we can, without putting the company at risk which would mean in that scenario profits would be low to negative during a recession, provided the cash position is okay.

I think that’s still the right move long-term because there’s something that Tesla possesses that other car companies do not which is extremely fundamental. That is the cars are upgradable to autonomy, and arguably an autonomous car is worth many times what a non-autonomous car is.”  

“there’s something that Tesla possesses that other car companies do not
which is extremely fundamental. That is the cars are upgradable to autonomy,
and arguably an autonomous car is worth many times what a non-autonomous car is”
Elon Musk

Tesla Model S with autonomy. Image courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Tesla is like no other car company

Elon Musk continued,

“So even if you’re margins are extremely low in selling the car, the subsequent upgrade to it being autonomous is worth a lot.

That’s something that no other car company can do. Only Tesla can do that. 

I stand by my prediction that long term, Tesla will be the most valuable company in the world.  I’m actually fairly confident that this will be what happens. 

What I cannot predict, because there are many things outside of my control, is what will be the valuation along the way there.  That is subject to a lot of emotional elements on the stock market subject to lots of macroeconomic conditions. 

But I would say, long term Tesla is probably, my best guess, the most valuable company in the world in less than 5 years.”

“So even if you’re margins are extremely low in selling the car,
the subsequent upgrade to it being autonomous is worth a lot.
That’s something that no other car company can do.
Only Tesla can do that.”
Elon Musk

CONCLUSION

We are likely heading into a difficult recession in 2023.  Elon Musk will not put Tesla, Inc. at risk and at the same time he will “grow unit volume in which case you’ll have to adjust prices downward.”  This is a smart move as Tesla possesses something that no other car company has.  Teslas are all upgradeable to autonomy.  Elon said an autonomous car is “worth many times what a non-autonomous car is” and I agree.

I have been using Tesla autonomy for over 2 years now and it is advanced to the level where I can transport across the city of Austin during “rush hour” with zero disengagements. There are many Tesla owners that are having the same experience in different cities across the USA. However, the most valuable thing that no other car company has is Elon Musk for CEO. This is Tesla’s number one asset.

Austin, Texas photo courtesy Adrian N on Unsplash

Read about the magic of Tesla autonomy in these articles

If You Haven’t Used Autopilot Yet, Why Not? (3 Essentials) This article is for everyone who has ever thought, “I love my Tesla, but I will never do Autopilot, it’s too scary.”  I am with you, it can be scary. This article covers 3 areas,

  1. Tesla Autopilot is safer than a human driving
  2. Enabling Autopilot during a drive is easy
  3. You can use Autopilot on your daily drives and disable it anytime during a drive

Enjoying Tesla Autonomy What makes a road trip more fun? Tesla Autopilot definitely does! Freeway driving is also safer when there are eight cameras looking out for your family’s safety.

Do you like reading interviews with Elon?

Elon Musk Conversation with Reporters (Only 4 minutes long and packed with information)

Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long! (full interview) 


Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to preserve this interview in text or written form for the purpose of 1. education and 2. preserving the brilliant insight and words of Elon Musk. January 15, 2023

What is it about the Tesla Model Y that makes it so safe? Explaining the Devil’s Slide crash. [All survived. No fire.]

Screenshot of crash site from California Highway Patrol video, shot from rescue helicopter courtesy: CHP Golden Gate Division Air Ops

All week long I’ve been asked the question, did you hear about the Tesla that flew over the cliff and everybody in it survived? 

I’m sure you heard about the 4 people surviving when a Tesla Model Y flew over the edge of a 250-foot cliff and landed safely without even a fire occuring. It’s like something out of a James Bond movie! And it’s actually related to hard-core engineering and principles of physics. This article will take a quick look at why the Model Y is so safe. Special guest writer Whole Mars Catalog shares the story here with details on the engineering of the vehicle.

  • How high is 250 feet? I compare the 250-foot Devil’s Slide to several spots in Austin. 
  • What is so special about the way the Model Y is made? Whole Mars explains.
  • Why there was no fire. Tesla battery is made to protect occupants.
  • Where is the Y made and how can I get one?

UPDATE: Franz von Holzhausen, Chief Designer at Tesla stated in an interview with Ryan McCaffrey dated January 15,

“Even when somebody wasn’t looking out for their family, Tesla was.”
Franz von Holzhausen

HOW HIGH IS 250 FEET?

I often share pictures of the view from the cliffs by Austin’s Pennybacker Bridge on my Twitter account.  The bridge is only 100 feet above the water. The cliffs are closer to 250 feet, similar to Devil’s Slide.  Austin’s Shore Condos are 257 feet tall. Imagine a car flying off the top of that!

Special guest writer Omar Qazi of Whole Mars Catalog shares the Devil’s Slide story here with details on the engineering of the vehicle

Crashes along Devil's Slide in California rarely end with survivors. So when Dharmesh A. Patel allegedly attempted a murder/suicide by driving off the cliff with a woman, 4-year-old girl, 9-year-old boy, few had hope. 
Just one problem with Patel's plan: He was in a Tesla.
Brian Pottenger, battalion chief for Cal Fire, had this to say about the rescue: "We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle.” 
As they arrived at the scene, other firefighters watching the sedan through binoculars suddenly noticed movement - a sign that at least one person was still alive. 
"Every one of us was shocked when we saw movement out of the front windshield" — Pottenger 
"The incident turned from what had been likely a recovery of bodies to a rescue operation that took several hours amid constant rain, heavy winds, slick roads and crashing waves" — ABC 7
"Crews pulled the kids out of the back window and brought them up the cliff by hand in a rescue basket using the rope system. They were rushed to the hospital by ambulance with musculoskeletal injuries. They were more scared than they were hurt," Pottenger said.
All four passengers were fully conscious when they were retrieved. How? 
This wasn't just a miracle. It was the result of endless work and effort by the Tesla team to build the world's safest car. 
A car that lets you walk away from even the most horrible situation. 
It starts with the structural design of the vehicle. In traditional combustion engine (ICE) cars, the front of the vehicle is filled with an engine that gets pushed in towards the cabin in the event of a crash. 
EVs like Teslas don't have engines. So the front is a storage & crumple zone.
Essentially the front of a Tesla works as a giant metal trampoline, cushioning the passengers from impact.
But it doesn't stop with just the structural design of the vehicle. Software and over-the-air updates are a big part of what makes Tesla safer than other cars. One example is the computer vision-based automatic seatbelt pretensioner. More about that here.
Using the same vision system that drives the car, the seat belt pre-tensioner can detect that a crash is about to happen and automatically pre-tighten the seat belt ahead of time to protect occupants — like the kids & adults in the Devil's Slide crash. 
Most car companies are done crash testing once they sell the car to you. Not at Tesla. They continuously review data from real crashes to optimize airbags and crash response even AFTER you've picked up the car through continuous over-the-air software updates.

And that's just the beginning. I could go on and on. So as $TSLA faced it's worst single-day performance in history for delivering 15,000 fewer cars than expected (only a record 405,000!), remember this. The lives saved. The murders prevented. That is Tesla. 

Tesla has some of the most brilliant engineers in the world working tirelessly to keep us safe. Even after a 70% drawdown in the last year, I'm proud to own a piece of this company. They're working on things that are important for all of us, and that amaze me every day. Miracles. Brought to you by the Tesla Engineering team.   - Whole Mars Catalog (Omar Qazi)


WHY THERE WAS NO FIRE, TESLA BATTERY PROTECTS OCCUPANTS

Tesla batteries are designed to prevent fires and protect the occupants. In this crash down Devil’s Slide there was no fire. You can read the Tesla vehicle safety report, which states,

“Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y have achieved among the lowest overall probability of injury of any vehicles ever tested by the U.S. government’s New Car Assessment Program. Much of this has to do with the rigid, fortified structure of the battery pack that is mounted to the car’s floor, which provides a vehicle with exceptional strength, large crumple zones, and a uniquely low center of gravity. Because of their strength, Tesla’s battery packs rarely incur serious damage in accidents. And, in the extremely unlikely event that a fire occurs, the state-of-the-art design of our battery packs ensures that its safety system works as intended and isolates a fire to select areas within the battery while simultaneously venting heat away from the passenger cabin and the vehicle.”

WHERE IS THE MODEL Y MADE AND HOW CAN I GET ONE?

Tesla Model Y won first place for most American-made car in 2022. That’s because Model Y is made in the USA with the majority of parts also made in the USA.

Model Y is also made in Berlin, Germany and Shanghai China. So, depending on where you live, your Y would be made in the factory closest to you. Here’s a link to the official Tesla website where you can purchase a Y www.tesla.com/modely

CONCLUSION

  • Devil’s slide’s 250 foot drop is extreme. I compared it to the distance from the top of the cliffs at Pennybacker Bridge down to the water, or the top of the shore condos down to the ground. 
  • Model Y is intentionally engineered to be safer than govt requirements. Whole Mars Catalog shares the details of the crash and the engineering that make up the Y. 
  • Model Y is made in the USA in California and Texas. It’s also made to the same high standards in Berlin and Shanghai.
Hike & Bike Trail of East Austin, Colorado River, Courtesy CVSherman
Hike & Bike Trail of East Austin, Colorado River, Courtesy CVSherman

Love to read about Model Y and FSD? Here are more articles…

Model Y: Big Road Trip Advantages Any Tesla is great to take on a road trip because Autopilot makes the journey much easier. But Model Y has two distinct advantages!

If You Haven’t Used Autopilot Yet, Why Not? (3 Essentials) This article is for everyone who has ever thought, “I love my Tesla, but I will never do Autopilot, it’s too scary.”  I am with you, it can be scary. This article covers 3 areas,

  1. Tesla Autopilot is safer than a human driving
  2. Enabling Autopilot during a drive is easy
  3. You can use Autopilot on your daily drives and disable it anytime during a drive

Enjoying Tesla Autonomy What makes a road trip more fun? Tesla Autopilot definitely does! Freeway driving is also safer when there are eight cameras looking out for your family’s safety.

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – January 8, 2023. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Updated on January 15 and January 20, 2023.

Whole Mars Catalog (Omar Qazi), guest author. Published with exclusive permission for What’s Up Tesla.

Tesla Plaid Model S Takes #1 Spot in Motortrend’s Fastest Electric Car Tests

Tesla Plaid Model S photo courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Motortrend just released the results of their tests for fastest electric car. They tested EVs in order to see which one has the fastest acceleration. The Tesla Model S Plaid, came out in the number one spot. Here’s what MotorTrend had to say, and here’s how the other competitors stacked up. 

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid: 0-60 MPH in 2.3 Seconds

Motortrend wrote,

“The 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid is the fastest EV, and the fastest car for that matter, we’ve ever tested in 0-60 acceleration, despite the drama surrounding getting data that matched the standard conditions of our other instrumented tests.

How does a Tesla Model S Plaid accelerate so fast?

It’s fitted with three extraordinarily efficient and powerful electric motors, all-wheel drive thanks to those motors with two at the rear to further bolster the power shove, and an advanced traction control system that interacts seamlessly with said electric motors.

Add it all up, and you get a monstrous 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 ft-lb of torque.

When experiencing the acceleration of a Plaid, it’s abundantly clear that virtually the only force you feel is the Tesla’s seatback hurling you forward to a degree that genuinely makes the horizon the floor.

Except that floor is rushing up at you far faster than any free fall ever could.” – Motortrend

The 5 Fastest Electric Cars From 0-60 MPH – Motortrend January 2023

You can read more about Tesla’s Plaid Model S on their website here.

Tesla Plaid Model S, photo courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Read more about the Model S Plaid…

Tesla Model Y & 3 Are Most American Made Cars of 2022, Model X & S Take 5th & 6th In 2022, Tesla Model Y and Model 3 topped the Cars.com American-Made Index. In addition, Model X came in fifth while Model S took sixth, making Tesla the most American-made automaker.

Breaking New Ground on the Racetrack: Plaid Model S at COTA The Plaid is an example of great craftsmanship and superior technology. It is Tesla’s best vehicle. Being both a four-door family sedan and a vehicle that can compete on the racetrack is a huge achievement. It is the fastest production car in the world. It is also proudly made in the USA.

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – January 7, 2023. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization.

The Amazing Tesla Events of 2022 in pictures! 

Tesla is known for its amazing events. Tesla events include employees first and foremost, some shareholders, and other guests. 2022 was another year of beautifully put together events, most of which were live-streamed for everybody to enjoy.  This article looks back on all 5 major events in pictures. Hope you enjoy and I hope you have a HNY! Ring in 2023, it’s going to be a great year! 

Giga Berlin Delivery Day and Flying Through Giga Berlin

Tesla Giga Berlin celebrated the delivery of the first German-made Model Y in March 2022 and in April they released the famous video “Flying Through Giga Berlin” which now has over 3.7 million views.  This video flew the drone through the machines in-between cycles! 

Tesla released an incredible new video titled: “Flying Through Giga Berlin” with Next-level drone shots! Link to youtube: Tesla 

Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the delivery of the first German-made Model Ys.

Photos of Giga Berlin Delivery Day courtesy Timo Schadat, Ralf @n628ts, Tesla, Inc.

Gigafactory Texas Cyber Rodeo

Cyber Rodeo was an extravagant party and very well done. It took place at Tesla Giga Texas here in Austin and some of the highlights were a chance to walk through the factory’s general assembly line, ask employees questions and get up close to the IDRA Giga presses.

The entire gigafactory was transformed into a magical light show with live music on different stages and a chance to see all of Tesla’s vehicles. Elon Musk and Franz von Holzhausen appeared on stage and the first 4680 Model Y was delivered. A drone show and fireworks display featured the famous dogecoin Shiba Inu to hundreds of cheering spectators. I was fortunate to go and was one of the last to leave!

Cyber Roundup 2022 Tesla Annual Shareholder’s Meeting

The Cyber Roundup was Tesla’s kind way of saying thanks to you as a retail TSLA shareholder. This year’s meeting was the largest in-person meeting ever and it provided an opportunity to see products up close, take a factory tour, and even speak with Elon Musk.

Tesla Cyber Roundup photos by Gail Alfar

Tesla AI Day 2022 in Palo Alto

What amazed me about AI Day 2022 was that Tesla’s Optimus prototype has a brain and is working in the Fremont factory. It is significant that Optimus was shown doing jobs. This included watering plants, delivering packages, and at a Fremont factory workstation moving parts.

Photos Tesla AI Day 2022 courtesy Dirty Tesla, Chuck Cook, Tesla, Inc.

Tesla Semi Delivery at Gigafactory Nevada

In December Tesla invited Semi customers (industry professionals) and Tesla shareholders to celebrate. Attendees were treated to a tour of the Semi production line and could speak with engineers who built the Semi.  They were invited to walk into the cabin of a Semi and meet Elon Musk onstage. 

Photos Tesla Delivery event Gigafactory Nevada courtesy Teslavangelist (1,2,4) and (5) Arash Malek Scentwedge founder.

CONCLUSION

Tesla knows how to throw a party! I hope you have a wonderful 2023 and that your dreams and hopes come true.

Enjoy these in-depth articles featuring 2022 Tesla events! 

Elon Musk Speaks on Giga Berlin Delivery Day Read Elon Musk’s speech given on March 22, 2022 at Giga Berlin Brandenburg.

Tesla in Europe is a Gemstone Read Elon Musk’s first words when he addressed guests at Giga Berlin Delivery Day event on March 22, 2022.

Get Ready, Elon Musk’s Magnum Opus is Coming! Read Elon Musk‘s remarks given on April 7, 2022 at Gigafactory Texas at Cyber Rodeo.

Read the three-part series on Cyber Rodeo here:

Giant fork in the road leads to Tesla’s Optimus AI In the live demo at Tesla Palo Alto at AI Day 2022, Optimus sees the audience of potential employees and just knows that he is supposed to walk out to the middle of the stage and wave. When the music was playing, Optimus just knew it was okay to dance. 

5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting Read about the 2022 Cyber Roundup at Gigafactory Texas. 


Elon Musk’s Vision for the Semi: Highlights from Tesla Semi Event  Gigafactory Nevada welcomed hundreds of guests to this exclusive event!

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – December 31, 2022. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization.

Tesla Blessed us with the best video ever! Behind the scenes with the engineers at Tesla Winter Proving grounds! 

July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

A few days ago I was out with my daughter and she said, ‘Have you seen this?’  We were in Starbucks sipping hot chocolate and it was freezing outside she turned on YouTube and we sat and watched the new video released by Tesla of the cars being tested in the snow in New Zealand.

This is a dream come true to me because my favorite kind of Tesla videos is the ones with the cars drifting in the snow. So this article is going to feature some images from that and hopefully, you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Snowy Tesla Proving Grounds | July in New Zealand

When it’s hot in Texas it’s freezing in New Zealand and Tesla tests software updates that are created in part by the team in the USA and are uploaded to the cars in New Zealand for testing.

Tesla shared a wide shot of the proving grounds, and they are magnificent in the below photo!

July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

This Looks Fun, I Want to do it!

July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Not so fast.  Well, maybe you could do it.  And Tesla engineers in the video were shown shoveling snow, getting up early in the dark, installing tires in the snow, driving in rain and snow, analyzing performance, cleaning dirt and ice off tires and explaining that they do everything, from driving the car to writing the code to calibration to “improve the software using a super quick feedback loop.” 

One Tesla engineer explains that he gets up at 5 am, works 12 hours, and is pretty much busy the whole time.   I know what that’s like.  Registered Nurses have a similar 12-hour schedule, and it is hard work.  These Tesla employees know they are doing work that will save lives and they were willing to share their thoughts in the video.  Here are a few of their comments,

“Where else are you going to find snow in July and August?  It’s crazy! It’s confusing for the body and it’s always been that way. But it puts a smile on your face every single day.  No matter how many weeks you’re working here!” – Tesla engineer in a Texas Buc-ee’s shirt 

“A day in New Zealand starts at 5 am. You wake up. You go go go as soon as you get here, we’re usually here from 7-7 and we’ll drive back with the data, compare the build to the next day and hopefully grab some dinner.” – Tesla engineers

“Obviously fun and important work” – Tesla engineer

“We go all over to test the cars to the extreme so that no matter where the customer takes the car the vehicles are going to be stable.” – Tesla engineer

“It’s super cool to talk to people in California, send that update halfway across the world, you go on top of a mountain and you test that update. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before.” -Tesla engineer 

July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
July Winter Testing | New Zealand Photo Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Here are some of the projects that Tesla worked on in July! 

  • Model Y track mode. A new development for the Y performance package that enables wild maneuvers and drifting
  • Winter TESLA improvements for all four S3XY cars
  • thousands of runs and extreme conditions to test each new software before it’s released

UPDATE: On January 11, 2023 Tesla shared a video of Model Y drifting in snow, enjoy it!

CONCLUSION

Tesla shared a rare behind-the-scenes look at how they test and improve vehicle performance in winter conditions.  Tesla engineers also shared their personal experiences and spoke about what it is like to do this kind of work.  I would say the best part about their job is taking the Model Y onto the proving grounds on a sunny day and having to test track mode on the snow hundreds of times!  Enjoy the video!  

Love to read more on other topics? 

Read Miss Go Electric’s live Twitter thread on her experience traveling in severe winter weather here.

Check out Drive Tesla Canada’s Tweet about success in freezing weather in a Model 3 here.

Tesla Cold Weather Travel: Travel Better with Safety Tips from Tesla and an RN Read a brief overview of my recommendations, many based on what Tesla also recommends. 

TESLA ELECTRIC IS HERE TO STAY Read how Tesla has unveiled Tesla Electric in Texas. Tesla Electric is a new product offering. Just like you can buy a Tesla vehicle or purchase Tesla solar + Powerwalls, now many people in the state of Texas can purchase their electricity exclusively from Tesla Electric. 

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – December 24, 2022. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Header image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Tesla Powerwall + owners and more can join Tesla Electric in many areas of Texas. Photo courtesy Tesla, Inc.

TESLA ELECTRIC IS HERE TO STAY 

Tesla Powerwall + owners and more can join Tesla Electric in many areas of Texas. Photo courtesy Tesla, Inc.
Tesla Powerwall + owners and more can join Tesla Electric in many areas of Texas. Photo courtesy Tesla, Inc.

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson asked his driver why it took so long for him to drive from Texas to Washington DC, his driver asked him if he knew about the *green book. 

Lyndon’s communication with his driver is one of the things that drove him to push for & pass multiple policies for civil rights. I believe Lyndon may have thought, “I’m the damn president, I can make change, so this doesn’t have to happen! “

In February 2021, Elon Musk and part of his family were in Texas. Storm Uri happened, and there were nearly 5 days in that deep winter freeze where there was no water or power for most people, including Elon and his family. 

Elon received a lot of sympathy for suffering through that, but I’m actually glad he experienced it. When people in great positions of power realize the discomfort that other people are going through, they are the ones who can act to make change.

Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act, Equal Housing Act and Voting Rights Act. He declared a “war on poverty.” 

Since storm Uri, Elon Musk has made sure that Tesla has poured resources into Tesla Energy for Texas. Talented people, and I’ve met some of them, have been given support to build up the Texas grid. I know firsthand that Tesla Energy policy leader, Arushi Sharma Frank has dedicated time to leading efforts in Texas since 2020 to establish new ways to power up the Texas grid with sustainable energy. 

Good things don’t come easy.  Just like it took an extraordinary amount of people working together through unimaginable challenges to enact the Civil Rights Act and many other laws to help humanity, it is taking monumental efforts to strengthen the Texas grid.  Tesla Electric is the beautiful result of the blood, sweat and tears of many.  

Angleton Texas now has 81 Tesla Megapacks that support the Texas grid.

Tesla ran a successful virtual power plant pilot program involving at least 64 Texan homes, keeping the lights and AC on during high demand in the summer.

I spoke at the Tesla Energy Virtual Powerplant Workshop advocating for people’s health. “As a healthcare provider, I advocate for people in need. Having power is important to people’s health.” (reported on by Johnna Crider here)

And now Tesla has unveiled Tesla Electric here in Texas. Tesla Electric is a new product offering. Just like you can buy a Tesla vehicle or purchase Tesla solar + Powerwalls, now many people in the state of Texas can purchase their electricity exclusively from Tesla Electric. 

At first, I asked myself how this could help people who do not own a Powerwall or Tesla solar?

I view this as one of the many steps that it is going to take to transition the state of Texas, and ultimately the rest of the USA to sustainable energy. 

TESLA ELECTRIC

To accomplish this in Texas is significant. I once saw Texas as the epicenter for big oil in the USA and that is shifting thanks to Elon Musk.  Now I envision Texas becoming the epicenter for sustainable energy. The home of Tesla Electric. The Headquarters of Tesla. 

So before you think of dismissing the significance of this new product by Tesla, think about how impossible it felt to so many people in the south that the Civil Rights Act could be passed. Nothing is impossible if it’s designed for good.

I met Elon Musk in July 2022 and asked him about protecting the Gigafactory with sustainable energy in the event of another storm. But Elon’s concern clearly was not about keeping his business running in a storm. He turned quiet, taking some time to answer and his answer was clearly based on how people in the state could be helped in the event of another severe winter storm. 

I’ll leave you with that recording, linking to it on my Twitter account here so you can listen for yourself.

Elon Musk talks to Gail Alfar during an interview. He wants to keep the lights on for people.

In this world when powerful people live through the same difficulties that regular people live through, that’s when we see change. We can see change for the better. 

*The annual guidebook was first published in 1936 and helped African Americans safely navigate the roads of a segregated country. Green wrote this guide to identify services and places relatively friendly to African Americans so they could find lodgings, businesses, and gas stations that would serve them along the road. 

Gail Alfar and Elon Musk after an interview at Giga Texas, June 25, 2022.
Gail Alfar and Elon Musk after an interview at Giga Texas, June 25, 2022.

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – December 18, 2022. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Header image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Header image Courtesy Bennett on Twitter.

Tesla Superchargers are being built so fast it’s hard to keep track of them all!

Electric vehicles need to stay charged, and Tesla is making sure they do!  Tesla is working to ensure that cars, the Semi, future Cybertrucks, and even non-Teslas stay charged.  This article celebrates the progress Tesla is making and also looks ahead to where Tesla Supercharging is headed.  

INCREDIBLE PROGRESS IN CALIFORNIA, TEXAS AND WORLDWIDE

In California in 2022 an astonishing 49 Superchargers were built from January to December.  This amounts to an incredible 639 new supercharger stalls! (see Tesla Charging) Most recently another Supercharger station went live on December 8 in Visalia.  

In Texas, 23 new Supercharger stations were added in less than 6 months from June to Dec 8, 2022, adding 284 more V3 Supercharger stalls!

Dallas-Fort Worth and metro areas are offering more options for charging than ever before. New Supercharging stalls have been added in McKinney, Allen, Addison, Ennis, Plano and in Dallas to already existing Superchargers for a total of 14 around the area! But the real surprise is how many more are slated to open in the Dallas-Fort Worth area! 11 more supercharging stations, reaching from Arlington to Plano to Frisco and Denton will be opening in 2023.

Dallas-Fort Worth and the metropolitan area have the largest population (second to Houston) in the state of Texas. 

Newly opened Superchargers in Allen, Texas. Photo Courtesy Vi Gold.
Newly opened Superchargers in Allen, Texas. Photo Courtesy Vi Gold.

My hometown of Austin and its surrounding metropolitan areas all the way from near San Antonio up to Waco have seen tremendous Supercharger growth.  If you travel between San Antonio and Georgetown, Texas, there are 17 supercharger stations available with an 18th planned to open in Q2 2023 in Georgetown.  

Tesla is adding Superchargers all across the USA.  California may welcome one of the largest Supercharger stations ever in Coalinga with 164 stalls, according to Tesla filings cited by Drive Tesla Canada.


This map by Tesla gets updated every day and gives you an idea of the many V3 and V2 fast charging stations in the USA. For the latest locations, see Tesla | Charging.

MAKING SUPERCHARGING A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE

Occasionally, Tesla mobile tire service visits superchargers to offer free air/tire checks. Zach from Twitter encountered this recently.   “Super nice technicians going around asking people if they want their tires filled while they charge.”  

Tesla Mobile Tire Service at Rancho Cucamonga, California Superchargers filling up customers’ tires with air. Photo Courtesy Zach BLKMDL3.
Tesla Mobile Tire Service at Rancho Cucamonga, California Superchargers filling up customers’ tires with air. Photo Courtesy Zach BLKMDL3.

Some Superchargers like Kettleman City, California, serve beverages, provide restrooms and even offer limited merch for sale. My take is that as people need to Supercharge more, Tesla may offer conveniences like this in other locations.

Tesla Coffee Shop. Photo Courtesy Zach BlkModel3.
Tesla Coffee Shop. Photo Courtesy Zach BlkModel3.

FUTURE GROWTH: CHARGING SEMI, CYBERTRUCK, AND NON-TESLAS

Dan Priestley, Sr. manager of Semi truck engineering, spoke at the Tesla Semi delivery event, saying that in 2023 chargers that will support both the Semi and the Cybertruck will be coming to already existing superchargers.  Tesla has built Superchargers at Buc-ee’s in over 26 stores in 7 states and can be expected to expand rapidly. These and more may become places where you’ll see Cybertrucks charging.  If you plan to buy a Cybertruck, this is welcome news!

Tesla plans to grow Superchargers to allow non-Teslas room to charge.  Don’t be surprised if you supercharge alongside a Rivian or a Ford Lightening pickup truck next year!  

Ford 150 Lightning. Photo Courtesy Zach BlkMdl3.
Ford 150 Lightning. Photo Courtesy Zach BlkMdl3.

TESLA ASKS YOU TO VOTE ON SUPERCHARGER LOCATIONS

From California to Maine and all around the world, there are more Superchargers being installed every day.  You can make requests for your area directly to Tesla.  Tesla says, “Vote on Tesla’s next Supercharger site. Every 3-month voting cycle, you can cast multiple votes to help us decide on new Supercharger locations. Cast a total of 5 votes (1 per location) for proposed Supercharger sites.”

CONCLUSION

My take is that it’s so much easier to build Tesla supercharger stations than any other type of charging infrastructure. And much much easier than building petroleum stations!

  • Incredible progress and expansion of superchargers is taking place worldwide, I gave specific examples of this happening in Texas and California.
  • Tesla works to make supercharging a great experience. Tesla mobile tire service offered customers tire air checks at one Supercharging station, and KettlemanCity offers customers a lounge, restrooms, beverages, and even merch for sale!
  • Tesla plans to grow superchargers to allow non-Tesla’s room to charge as well.  Don’t be surprised if you go to charge your Tesla next year and pull up next to a Ford Lightning or a Rivian pick up truck.
  • 2023 will be an incredible year as megachargers will be built to support both the Semi and the Cybertruck.
  • Don’t worry if there’s not a Tesla Supercharger location right near you, just vote on it, at Tesla Supercharger Voting. You can vote for five locations!
Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash
Photo of downtown Austin by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – December 11, 2022. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Header image Courtesy Bennett on Twitter. 

Tesla Semi Event attendees meet a Frito Lay wrapped Semi. Image Courtesy Teslavangelist.

Elon Musk’s Vision for the Semi: Highlights from Tesla Semi Event

Elon Musk talks at Tesla Semi Event. Image Courtesy Teslavangelist.
Elon Musk talks at Tesla Semi Event. Image Courtesy Teslavangelist.

On December 1, Tesla held an event in Sparks, near Gigafactory Nevada. The event was attended by Semi customers (industry professionals) and Tesla shareholders by invite only.  Attendees were treated to a tour of the Semi production line and could speak with engineers who built the Semi.  They were invited to walk into the cabin of a Semi and meet Elon Musk onstage.  Elon handed over keys personally to Ramon Laguarta, CEO of Pepsi and Steven Williams, CEO PepsiCo Foods, and the crowd went wild! In this article, I’ll highlight Elon’s vision for the Semi, share some exclusive photos of the event with you, and answer,

  • What will a Semi cost?
  • How far will the Semi go and how much can it carry?
  • Where do you charge it and how long does it take?
Tesla Semi Event: People tour production line and speak to engineers. Image Courtesy Arash Malek.
Tesla Semi Event: People tour production line and speak to engineers. Image Courtesy Arash Malek.

Elon Musk’s Vision for the Tesla Semi

Elon explained that although combination trucks account for only 1% of US vehicles sold, they account for 20% of US vehicle emissions, and an astonishing 36% of US vehicle particulate emissions. This is because these trucks are huge vehicles, which are being driven all the time,

“People might wonder, Why build a semi-truck? Because if you look at the actual unit volume, it’s small compared to passenger vehicles, so for passenger vehicles, it’s on the order of almost 100,000,000 that are sold every year. whereas for semi trucks, it’s four or 500,000 (globally).

In the USA there are probably like 15 million passenger vehicles and a couple 100,000 semi trucks, so it seems like a small percentage, but, it’s actually 20% of US vehicle emissions because you’ve got a huge vehicle and it’s being driven all the time.

So when you factor in the number of hours driven, and the weight that is carried, it’s actually, although it’s only 1% of vehicle production, it’s 20% of vehicle emissions. and it’s over 1/3 of all particulate emissions. From a sort of health standpoint, particularly in cities, this is a huge impact, like, it’s gigantic. So, that’s why we’re doing it!  

In addition to climate change, and global warming matters it’s also quiet and it’s going to improve the quality of your air and it will actually just fundamentally improve the health of people living near freeways which is obviously sort of a big deal. 

We’re aiming to cover all major forms of transport, it’s consistent with the Tesla mission because sometimes we get asked, shouldn’t Tesla just produce fast cars or premium cars or whatever? But what’s our actual mission? The actual mission is to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy. That’s why we’re making this wide range of cars that don’t really make sense from a brand standpoint I guess, traditionally. But they make total sense when you consider what’s the mission of the company. 

The mission of the company is to accelerate sustainable energy. So it’s super consistent with that goal and really a crucial piece of the puzzle, and that’s why we’re doing it.”

Elon continued, “It looks sick, I mean you want to drive that, I mean that thing looks like it came from the future. I mean it drives like a, it’s like driving a Tesla, literally! And it’s fun, it looks awesome, and you know there’s actually a big shortage of drivers, and so if you are a truck driver and you want the most badass rig on the road, this is it! It’s a beast!” 

Flashback to December 14, 2017. Elon Musk steps out of Semi after driving it onstage. Image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
Flashback to December 14, 2017. Elon Musk steps out of Semi after driving it onstage. Image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

What will a Semi cost?

In 2017, Tesla offered the Semi (with a 500-mile range) for $180,000 and currently, Tesla offers a link to get updates on the Semi and does not take new reservations at this time. The cost, when the Semi becomes widely available, should be expected to be higher than the price offered in 2017. What do you think it will cost? 

How far will the Semi go and how much can it carry?

In a test run video, the Tesla Semi was shown carrying 82,000 pounds and driving up an incline while passing a struggling traditional diesel semi. According to Tesla, the Class 8 Semi’s range per charge is between 300 and 500 miles when fully loaded at 82,000 lbs.  Federal limits are 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, and battery-electric trucks are granted an extra ton through the Consolidated Appropriations Act (2019) by the Federal Highway Administration.  Tesla built the Semi in an aerodynamic bullet shape in order to decrease the drag coefficient. The {\displaystyle c_{\mathrm {d} }} is .36 which is about half of a conventional diesel truck. The Semi’s energy consumption is stunning at less than 2 kWh/mile.  

Semi is built like a bullet, not a barn wall—optimized for efficiency. Image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
Semi is built like a bullet, not a barn wall—optimized for efficiency. Image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Where do you charge it and how long does it take?

The Semi will charge at 1 Megawatt chargers (V4), supported by Megapacks in some cases, (V3 chargers, for Tesla’s other vehicles are ~324 kW).  Dan Priestley, Lead Semi Engineer, explained these V4 chargers will be coming to Tesla Superchargers next year.  Cybertrucks will also be capable of charging at V4s. Charging time will be fast due to Tesla’s new V4 charging cable, created exclusively for Semi and Cybertruck. 

Tesla’s new V4 Charging cable. Courtesy Tesla, Inc.
Tesla’s new V4 Charging cable. Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

My take is V4 megachargers may be installed next year at Superchargers that are already located where diesel trucks fill up. Tesla has already built Superchargers at Buc-ee’s in over 26 stores in 7 states.  I also estimate that charging will take around the same time it takes for a driver to take a break, eat, use the restroom, etc. (around 30 minutes). 

Tesla Semi Test Run graphic, Courtesy Tesla, Inc. see Tesla Semi Delivery Event
Tesla Semi Test Run graphic, Courtesy Tesla, Inc. see Tesla Semi Delivery Event

Looking at the above graphic, notice how regenerative braking is almost able to nullify the presence of hills.  The efficiency of the entire 500-mile run is almost the same as the efficiency over the flat part of the journey.  

Regen braking will add to safety and eliminate crashes like the one that happened in the 2019 Lakewood semi truck crash near Denver and led to the horrifying death of 4 people (and 10 injuries).  If you are not familiar, here’s the link to a video of a man who was near the runaway diesel semi when it happened. 

Dan Priestley explained, “So any highway grade you come across, you can tackle at speed, there’s no compromise, and the other beauty is you’ve got all this power coming up but you also have it going down and what that means, is, you’ve got regenerative braking so, rather than using a jig brake or an engine brake like a diesel truck does, you don’t have to worry about hitting your shifts. If you miss a gear, you’re onto your brakes and a potential runaway situation. You don’t have to worry about any of that. There’s no shifting, no nothing, and so the regen recaptures all that energy as you’re going down these grades, but on top of it, it’s also a safer system for not just the driver, but also everybody on the road because there’s no gear to miss.” 

Another safety asset exclusive to the Semi are a collection of three cameras on each rear view mirror. See a closeup photo by Brandonee916 of this below taken at the event.

Close up of a Tesla Semi rear view mirror. Three cameras mounted in various positions. Image Courtesy Brandonee916.
Close up of a Tesla Semi rear view mirror. Three cameras mounted in various positions. Image Courtesy Brandonee916.

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk stated,  “The mission of the company is to accelerate sustainable energy. So it’s (the Semi) super consistent with that goal and really a crucial piece of the puzzle, and that’s why we’re doing it.”

Building a Semi is crucial because although combination trucks account for only 1% of US vehicles sold, they account for 20% of US vehicle emissions, and an astonishing 36% of US vehicle particulate emissions. 

  • The cost for the Semi in 2017 was $180,000 for the 500-mile range version. Tesla has not posted the cost for future orders and is not taking reservations on the website at this time for this high-demand tractor.
  • Semi will travel from 300 to 500 miles on a full charge and be capable of carrying the maximum load allowed by law, which is 82,000 pounds.  Tesla built the Semi in an aerodynamic bullet shape in order to significantly decrease the drag coefficient. The Semi’s energy consumption is stunning at less than 2 kWh/mile.  
  • Tesla Semi will charge at 1 Megawatt chargers (V4) which will come to Superchargers next year.  My take is they will be built at locations like Buc-ee’s where trucks fill for diesel. In addition, the battery regains energy on declines through regenerative braking, and, in the words of Dan Priestley, “There’s no shifting, no nothing, and so the regen recaptures all that energy as you’re going down these grades.”

Watch Official video from Tesla here Tesla Semi Delivery Event

Like official Tesla Events?  Join me for these…

Elon Musk Speaks at AI Day 2022, Optimus Wears Giga Texas “Don’t Mess With Tesla” Belt Buckle: This event revealed a functioning humanoid robot, and features some awesome pictures. 

5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting: Step into Tesla’s Cyber Roundup event at Giga Texas!  It was held in August, 2022 and features exclusive pictures.  I was able to attend the event and report on it firsthand!

Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #1: Casting and Seats [multi-part series] Join me at the Cyber Rodeo event. Take a tour of Giga Texas with me in this 3 Part series!  I attended this event in April 2022 in order to write this series for you.  Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #2: Battery Assembly and Structural Pack [multi-part series] and Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #3: Body and Paint [multi-part series]

Guests at Tesla Semi Event were treated to a S 3 X Y vehicle lineup! Image Courtesy Teslavangelist.
Guests at Tesla Semi Event were treated to a S 3 X Y vehicle lineup! Image Courtesy Teslavangelist.

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – December 4, 2022. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization. Thank you to Drive Tesla Canada for their reporting on V3 Supercharging and to Arash Malek for his insight on the Tesla Semi Delivery Event, you can view his video here.

Come along for 3.45 minutes to the Tesla Semi Event. Video Courtesy of Arash Malek, founder of Scentwedge.

Tesla Cold Weather Travel: Travel Better with Safety Tips from Tesla and an RN

Romance mode, Courtesy Tesla Asia, Tesla, Inc.

The holidays are a beautiful time for getting together with family and traveling, and the cold weather can be challenging. In this article, I’ll share suggestions that will help make traveling a pleasure and safer.  Should you encounter a winter storm, these tips will be helpful. 

  • Preparing for cold weather driving
  • Day of trip
  • On the road (one added suggestion for Tesla)
  • Upon arrival to your destination 

Preparing for Cold Weather Driving

Install winter tires and keep them inflated to specifications and consider Tesla aero wheel covers for your vehicle, they help maximize range. You can change the wheel configuration in the service section of the Tesla touchscreen.

Top off windshield washer fluid using fluid rated for cold weather. Tesla says, “In temperatures below 4° C (39.2 °F), use a washer fluid with antifreeze. In cold weather, using a washer fluid without antifreeze can impair visibility through the windshield.”  Tesla reminds us to be cautious,  “Windshield washer fluid can irritate eyes and skin.”  Model Y Owner’s Manual Courtesy Tesla

Your phone is the key to your car so make sure your phone is well-charged. always carry your Tesla key card with you.

Tesla message “Tap key card and press brake to drive” credit the author
Tesla message “Tap key card and press brake to drive” credit the author

I’m sharing this small list of items to store in your frunk for snow and emergencies: Flashlight, water, blankets, extra jackets, snacks, portable shovel, snow, brush for cleaning snow off the car, and gloves.  I also recommend a tire air pump, roadside hazard kit, your 110-car charger, and adapters in the front trunk.  

The Nurse in me suggests creating a first aid kit for your glove box which should be a small ziplock bag with a few Tylenol capsules, gauze pads, medical tape, and medium and large band-aids. If you are traveling through unpopulated areas, consider learning basic lifesaving CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.  Watching this 2-minute CPR youtube video could save your loved one’s life. 

Day of Trip

Tesla recommends you pre-condition your vehicle and schedule your departure in the Tesla App. Tesla created a pleasant experience so that if you know what time you plan to depart, your vehicle (and the battery pack) will be warm and ready to go.  If your vehicle is outside in the cold or ice, the good thing about this is that preconditioning will melt the ice off the car, and then you can brush the ice off by hand.

Below are Tesla’s best practices for what to do before your cold-weather trip.  In the rare event, your door handle is frozen, try tapping the center of the door handle with the side of your closed fist to break the ice free.

Winter Driving Tips Courtesy Tesla

An easier way to open the door to your Tesla (if it is frozen) is the open it using the Tesla App.  Tesla created this feature in November 2022 just in time for the cold weather.  

Recent Tesla App Update, credit the author
Recent Tesla App Update, credit the author

I recommend customizing the controls on your app for your trip’s needs.  Here I’ve customized Model Y controls on the App to show Defrost Car, Trunk, Unlatch Door, and Front in preparation for a trip.

Customize controls on the Tesla App. credit the author
Customize controls on the Tesla App. credit the author

On The Road

Tesla recommends driving in “Chill Mode” to conserve energy on the road. 

Using seat heaters can also save energy, “Heating the cabin takes a significant amount of energy that can then no longer be used for driving range.  If possible, lower the cabin temperature setting and use seat heaters for added warmth.”   Winter Driving Tips Courtesy Tesla

A small blue snowflake icon will appear on your car‘s touchscreen if the battery is too cold to access all of its stored energy. This is just a reminder that you temporarily have limited regenerative braking and limited battery power. The snowflake will melt when your battery warms.

Cold weather best practices. Model 3 Owners’ Guide Courtesy Tesla.
Cold weather best practices. Model 3 Owners’ Guide Courtesy Tesla.

Tesla advises, “Vehicle deceleration due to regenerative braking may vary depending on the current state of the Battery. For example, regenerative braking may be limited if the Battery is cold or is already fully charged.

To experience the same amount of deceleration whenever you release the accelerator pedal, regardless of the state of the Battery, you can choose to have the regular braking system automatically engage whenever regenerative braking is limited. Touch Controls > Pedals & Steering > Apply Brakes When Regenerative Braking is Limited. Tesla owner Dan Burkland explains, “this feature is a great way for people to drive the vehicle the same even when it’s super cold and regenerative braking is limited.”

Regenerative Braking in the Cold
Regenerative Braking in the Cold. Courtesy Tesla Model Y Users Guide

On the freeway, you may use Autopilot, and be prepared to take over if there is reduced visibility. I always recommend that people get familiar with Autopilot and its features.  When your car has a software update, it often means an improvement in Autopilot is on the way.  The image below from Model Y explains the importance of always being 100% alert when you use Autosteer (Beta).

Tesla Autosteer (Beta) Mode, credit the author
Tesla Autosteer (Beta) Mode, credit the author

I’m sharing a safety suggestion here for Tesla, made by numerous Tesla owners and summed up nicely by an owner in Dallas, Texas, “Will be cool when they update the navigation with real-time weather data. Avoid or react to dangerous freezes, blizzards, and cold. (And hail, tornadoes, etc).”

EMERGENCIES ON THE ROAD: Be prepared are ready to triage your emergency and either call 911, request help from Tesla using the App, or call Tesla Roadside Assistance at Toll Free: 877 798 3752. Tesla Roadside Assistance is committed to providing you with immediate roadside services, 24/7 365 days a year. See https://www.tesla.com/support/roadside-assistance

Upon Arrival

Park in reverse so that it will be much easier for you to drive onto a snow-covered road. 

If you’re expecting snow or ice buildup, turn on Wiper Service Mode.

One Tesla owner explains Wiper Service Mode, “Tesla’s (wipers) don’t flip up, but I have put them in “Wiper Service Mode” which brings them above the baseline and outs them where the defroster can heat them.  There are wiper heating elements down below on cold weather package Teslas, but it’s not that effect I find in severe cold, especially once you’re moving and the wind chill keeps them frozen.”  Teslavangelist 

Tesla Wiper Service Mode credit the author
Tesla Wiper Service Mode credit the author

Keep your Tesla plugged in as often as possible.  Tesla says that this will help your battery stay warm by drawing a very small amount of power from the wall. Winter Driving Tips Courtesy Tesla

What should you do if you get a warning that your charge port is not latched in the App due to the cold? Keep it latched. Tesla owner Gary Mark, shares that, according to Tesla support, this feature was a recent software change to prevent the latch freezing closed inside port on some models. Once the charger head is warm, the latch will engage itself.

Charge your Tesla overnight up to 100% instead of the usual 80-90%.  Your Tesla will use more energy to combat the cold weather and the battery will discharge faster.

CONCLUSION

I hope you have a wonderful holiday trip! Here’s a brief overview of my recommendations, many based on what Tesla also recommends. 

  • Preparing for a cold weather trip is done some days prior to traveling and I recommend winter tires, antifreeze washer fluid, packing emergency supplies, and being familiar with lifesaving CPR.
  • Day of the trip: Pre-condition and schedule your departure in the Tesla App.  Also, customize the App to make use of its many features.
  • On the road: Try Autopilot with Chill mode! Increase range by lowering cabin temp, using snuggly blankets and seat heaters. (I love the heated steering wheel too!) Emergencies can happen, so 911 or activate Tesla Roadside Service ASAP.
  • Upon arrival at destination:  Ideally you’ll back into your designated spot, plug in your Tesla, and set your wipers in service position.  

Do you love What’s Up Tesla? Here’s 2 other great reads…

Texas’ ERCOT approved an Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project. What challenges lie ahead? You know how to keep warm in your Tesla, now read about how we can all stay warm in our homes and keep the lights on in Texas and beyond!

4 Families from the Southern USA tell what they love most about their Tesla Do you know someone who really wants a Tesla for Christmas but their better half is skeptical? This article shares good practical reasons why people love Teslas.

Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy CVSherman.
Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy CVSherman.

Article by Gail Alfar, creator of What’s Up Tesla. Yes, I am a Registered Nurse. My passion is to spread enthusiasm for the transition to sustainable energy. All Rights Reserved. November 20, 2022. Updated on November 22, 2022. Special thanks to Gary Mark and Dan Burkland for consultation on this article. Header image of Romance Mode is courtesy of Tesla, Inc. Tesla Asia.