Reader note: I still have to finish up my happiness series. Happiness is hard. It turns out that writing about it is even harder. Stay tuned for part 3 soon.
The $355 Tesla Model Y
I first bought Tesla stock on October, 11 of 2012. The split adjusted price is $1.93.
I bought it because I thought the Model S was a nice car and Elon Musk was cool. He was a little more stable back then.
On October, 10 of 2023, almost exactly 11 years later, I bought an actual Tesla:
The day of my Tesla purchase, the stock hit $268/share. The base price of the car was $48,940. I would have had to sell 183 Tesla shares to buy the original car. If I would have sold those original shares, the math would have worked out like this:
$1.94 x 183 = $355.02
I didn’t sell any of those original shares to buy the car, but numbers like this are fun to think about. Yay stocks!
Electric cars are pretty great:
- Super simple: no complex fuel or emissions systems
- No oil changes
- No gas stations
- Super quiet
- Really fast
- I mostly charge the cars from my roof:
We already own a Bolt which is a pretty great car for around town. However, the it isn’t so great for distance driving. The Bolt charges slowly and it’s range isn’t good for road trips. The Mindyvan was a great car, but had over 200,000 miles on it, so we decided to replace it.
Note: We gave the Mindyvan to our local Fintalks friend Amberly. Do I now have to call it the Ambervan?!??
I had wanted a Tesla for a while, but hadn’t planned on purchasing one until 2024. Then I noticed that Tesla was reducing the price of inventory cars. The exact Tesla I wanted was listed at a healthy discount:
Let’s back up a second. My requirements were:
- Not white (Mindy HATES white cars)
- Not black (I’m not a fan)
- Blue, red, or grey would have all been fine
- Wheels: 19″ for better range
- Tow hitch: Yay, bike rack!
- Interior: No white seats! I’m a slob and any color but black would have been a disaster. Plus kids.
- Long-range: This is going to be a road trip tool
Fit and finish: Teslas are infamous for having issues. Sometimes really terrible ones. I’ve seen Teslas with atrocious body gap consistency.
On pickup day, I downloaded a checklist and looked over my car for 45 minutes. It was perfect. The body gaps were consistent. The interior trim was great. Almost a month out, I have zero complaints.
The Y is the ultimate Nerd Transportation:
- I don’t have to carry a key. (YES!)
- The controls are minimal and intuitive.
- It has crude jokes (fart mode) built-in.
- If you turn on the heat, the car waits until the air is warm before the fans comes on (no jets of cold air to the face).
- The car critiques my driving in real time and offers gentle suggestions: “If you kept it under 70mph, your battery would have 2.3% more range on this trip.”
Battery conditioning: Through the Tesla app, I can tell the car what time I’m leaving and it conditions the batteries for efficiency.
No gas stations: I really despise going to gas stations. Nasty fumes, lines, people trying to sell you crap. No thanks. This has oversized value.
Warm cabin: I’m not a person who warms up the interior to 72 before I leave “because I can’t stand 5 minutes of discomfort” type of person, but the car will do this too. And the beauty of an EV is that you can do this in your garage and not have to worry about carbon-monoxiding your family. Fun!
Room: The Tesla can hold a lot of stuff. The cargo area is huge. I can even buy a bed and camp in the back which I plan on doing when combative, EV-hating relatives (more on this in a moment) show up:
So sorry! I was planning on camping in the mountains until whatever day you plan on leaving!
Tesla has stood up a stellar charging network:
- The Supercharger network is widespread and rapidly expanding. In 2024, we will do this trip: Longmont, CO -> Bozeman, MT -> Missoula, MT -> Leavenworth, WA -> Seattle, WA -> Santa Rosa, CA -> San Diego, CA -> Las Vegas, NV -> Longmont, CO. Because of the charging network, charging won’t be an issue.
- The chargers are reliable. (I’ve used other charging networks and they’re a disaster)
- The chargers are easy to use; just plug in the cord. That’s it. No logging in. No credit cards. Nothing else.
- The car will tell you where to stop. No need to worry about range or running out of power. On a road-trip, the car will tell you when and where you have to stop to charge.
Fun to drive: And here we are. I’m a Car Guy. I don’t wear this as a badge of honor because I don’t like this about myself. Cars are dumb objects that we have to ride around in sometimes to get to places. But I like sleek design and a good driving experience. And the Y delivers.
While it’s a 4 door family hauler, the Y hauls ass. It’s much faster than the fancy Acura NSX I used to own. It also handles well with minimal body roll and a taught suspension.
Other Car Guys sometimes lament EVs stating that they have no soul because they don’t make loud noises or burn fuel or have gears to shift. I don’t care about any of that stuff. EVs allow the driver to focus on acceleration, braking, and steering. I’m done with internal combustion.
Front end: I have never liked the front end styling of the Model 3 or Model Y. The nose just doesn’t sit well with me.
Note: Tesla fixed this design issue with the new Model 3 (code name Highland). It should be fixed next year in the new Model Y (code name Juniper).
Combative, anti-EV people: Some Tesla owners love to regale others with their Teslas tales. I’m not one of those people. I put mine in my garage and shut the door.
A have found that a lot of people hate electric vehicles or Elon Musk or both. I don’t enjoy confrontation, so I keep our EVs in the garage, close the door, and then avoid any talk about them. Despite my best attempts, some have figured out that we own electric vehicles and then bombard us with their “knowledge.” Unfortunately, this knowledge is acquired from friends with similar biases, cable “news” networks, or conspiracy theory websites. I have heard:
- “You’ll be stranded on the side of the road!” I’m not sure what this meant and didn’t want to find out, so I didn’t inquire further.
- “You’ll freeze to death because EVs don’t work in the cold.” Nope. We even take our EVs up to the mountains in freezing temperatures and they do fine.
- “They’re worse for the environment than a gas car.” Nope.
- “You’l have to replace the batteries after 2 years.” Nope.
- “But Elon Musk!” But clean air!
For more on all of these titillating arguments, see this.
I do agree that the best car is no car or maybe the one you already have. But if you need to get a car, an EV is the way to go for most.
Sun roof! The roof of the Y is a sheet of glass. I love it most of the time, but when the sun is overhead, this thing heats up the car. I wish Tesla had come with a shade. I’ll be installing an after-market one before summer 2024.
Rear visibility: It sucks.
Expensive repairs: Cracked windshields are the norm here in Colorado. It rains rocks on the highways. 49 miles into ownership, the Y got smacked by a rock. I was able to repair the windshield before the crack spread, but if I had to get a new windshield it would have cost over $1,000. I have read that body work is also expensive.
My Y came with a free 3 month trial of FSD, Tesla’s autonomous driving solution. The car is supposed to drive itself. Ha! Where do I begin? I have no idea, so I’ll just list some observations.
- Longmont to Boulder to Denver: The Y did this trip with no interventions. It was amazing. The car followed lane lines. It noticed when other cars had their turn signals on and gently slowed down to let them merge. It navigated through a construction zone.
- Breckenridge #1: Driving through downtown Breck, the car didn’t seem to notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk. I think that the car would have eventually noticed her, but I didn’t want to take a chance and disengaged.
- Breckenridge #2: The car stopped at a stop sign that was for the lane perpendicular to it. Not good.
- Breckenridge #3: The car followed exit lanes off the road when it isn’t supposed to be exiting.
- Longmont #1: In our neighborhood, the car drives like a 15 year-old taking the wheel for the first time. Turns are jerky and the Y seems to lack confidence.
- Longmont #2: The car stopped in a merge lane when it wasn’t supposed to.
- Construction zones: Most of the time, the car doesn’t like construction zones and I have to take over.
Sometimes FSD works great. Other times, not so great. Every now and then, it’s awful. Overall, it does well on highways. Around town, it needs work.
I won’t spend a lot of time talking about FSD since I wrote a lot about it here: Tesla: BOOM or Doomed?. Also, the next version (12) is mostly new, so everything I experience now will soon be moot.
Side note: If you’re into AI/machine learning, you should read what Tesla is attempting with version 12 of the FSD software. The training part is amazing and version 12 will be one of the greatest software achievements ever if Tesla pulls it off.
We bought the Mindyvan in 2010 and held on to it for 13 years. Our Honda Element celebrated its 20th birthday this past July. I’m not sure if we’ll hold on to the Y for even 10 years. Electric vehicles are in the second inning and will advance rapidly as batteries get better. By 2030, EVs will look a lot different.
But for now, the Y will be a fun experiment:
- What will it be like driving cross-country in an electric vehicle?
- Will the Y be reliable?
- Will replacing windshields bankrupt me?
And most important:
- Will my EV hating relatives ever shut up?
More 1500 Days!!!
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