17 Sep

5 things I was surprised to love about my Tesla

For nearly 10 years I’ve wanted to own a Tesla. As of a few months ago, I finally do!

This spring I bought a 2016 Model S P90D. It’s all black, with a black interior. By buying slightly used (18,000 miles) I was able to save $50,000 off the original price ($93,000 instead of $143,000). In order to get the configuration I wanted in a used model I had to buy it in Florida and have it shipped out.

There are so many things I love about the car (acceleration, autopilot, etc), but I expected to love those things. I’d read so many articles about the car that I knew everything it would do. But there are some features that I either didn’t know about or now that I experience them I love them so much more.

This list is the unexpected things I love about my Tesla.

1. Temperature control

During an Idaho summer the temperature is often over 100 degrees. If you park a black car in the sun and leave for even a few minutes it can get really hot. Add an all black interior and it’s even worse.

Surprisingly, that didn’t bother me a single time this summer. All because Tesla has a feature called Cabin Overheat Protection where the interior temperature won’t get over an unsafe temperature (some posts say it’s 104 degrees). The car automatically runs the air conditioning just enough to maintain a reasonable temperature.

All that means that without thinking about it, my car was never too hot when I got back inside it!

Best of all, running this all day will barely use the battery. After leaving the car parked all day in the direct sun reviewers found that it only drops the range by about 10 miles. That’s worth it to me!

2. Radar

Have you ever had it where a large car in front of you is driving really slowly, but you don’t know if it’s because they are being annoying or if we are both annoyed at the car in front of them?

Tesla solves this problem. The radar will show the car in front of you and (if it’s there) the car in front of them. Even when you can’t see past the car in front of you.

Magic. Now my frustration is directed at the proper offender.

3. Autopilot in stop and go traffic.

I expected to love autopilot. It’s wonderful. But where it really shines is in stop and go traffic. Turn it on and it perfectly matches the speed of the car in front of you. Whether that’s 60 MPH or 5 MPH. Magically I’m no longer in a hurry. I just let the car go with traffic rather than feeling impatient to get through traffic.

Over Labor Day weekend we were headed to the mountains along with everyone else in Boise. Autopilot made it such a casual, calm experience to be stuck in traffic.

4. Automatic brights

When there isn’t traffic around the Tesla will automatically turn on the brights, then turn them off when there is oncoming traffic. It’s so simple—and I’m sure it’s in many high-end cars now—but I really like it. One less thing to worry about while driving.

5. Freeway signs telling you exactly which lane to be in

When two freeways split or there are a few exits nearby going different places it can be confusing to know exactly which lane to be in. This isn’t a problem in Boise, but driving in any bigger city where you’d rely on GPS to get around you risk missing a turn or having to get over last minute. But not in a Tesla. The dash shows photo of the lanes and where you need to be to make your exit. It’s brilliant and really clear.

Especially for this exit, where to go left you need to be in the right lanes, and to go right you need to be in the left lanes.

That’s it for my list!

For those of you who own a Tesla, what are your favorite features that you didn’t expect?


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8 Responses to “5 things I was surprised to love about my Tesla”

  1. Damn fine car, Nathan, and I didn’t know some of these features existed.

    I, too, will likely continue dreaming for a few more long years. The car of my dreams for years now. So glad you got yours.

  2. Nice car, Nathan! I bought a Model 3 recently and what I love about it is regenerative breaking. It’s just fantastic to lift the foot from the pedal to slow down and recharge the battery by doing so. It’s so powerful that I don’t use the brakes anymore, pretty much.

    Other great things are the accuracy of the mileage prediction out of the battery, which takes into account elevation changes and road profiles. I was stunned when I first saw that it would take half the battery to drive from Sacramento to Yosemite, and only 25% to get back, because the road would mostly be downhill with rengen charging along the way.

    A Tesla is the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in real life. Just feels great to drive it!

    • Nathan Barry says:

      Yes! This one is great. It was on my list in my head and I totally forgot to include it in the article. 90% of my brake pedal usage has been eliminated.

    • brianna tracy says:

      Regen braking – i second that!!

      I have a Model 3 that has two levels of regen. I use max!

      Why? – because it is safer! when you go into a turn, you are already breaking. So if you have to hit the brakes, the “pre-breaking” might be the difference between crashing or not crashing.

      I love to see how the Tesla engineers have implemented all the engineering controls without any knobs and just a touch screen.

      For example – in cruise control, you can change crusie speed by 1mph in 0.1 seconds – super easy

  3. Batsirai says:

    Awesome! But confused tho… at ConvertKit’s MRR I would think this would be an easy purchase – 2 years ago. I’m sure you have other priorities, just seemed a bit weird that where ‘finally able to buy one this year”.

    On the other hand – good money management.

    • Nathan Barry says:

      You’re right. Mostly. It would have been easy to afford, but I don’t spend money that way. I spend a lot of time in the FIRE personal finance world (Financial Independence, Retire Early). So I wasn’t going to buy this car until my net worth outside the company crossed $1 million. I tend to put in artificial constraints to avoid my lifestyle increasing with income. If it’s going to increase, I want it to increase with wealth, not income.

  4. This is amazing! To see the growth from the App Design Handbook and One Voice to now Convert Kit.

    Congratulations. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  5. Congrats!

    I recently leased a 2017 Tesla S100D; it’s a showroom car so I got it for a substantial discount. I don’t have the kind of GPS display you do; I’ve never seen that kind of picture. Now, granted, I haven’t driven a lot of highway miles yet so I’ll watch out for that when I take my next trip in a couple weeks.

    BTW, what firmware are you on?

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