Between a Rock and a Sweet Spot
(Click to enlarge)
After 4 Months
with our Model 3
Mark D Larsen
After 4 months, 7,500 miles, 3 extended roadtrips, and numerous daytrips, I am more enthralled with our Tesla Model 3 than ever. Correcaminos truly is a serene, clean, green, mean, supreme machine, the very best car I have ever owned.
With double the months and miles in the rear view camera since my first feedback, I will post below a few more suggestions that perhaps Tesla might consider to make this great car... even greater. Undoubtedly some owners will find nits to pick among them, but I nonetheless offer them for whatever they’re worth.
Time and Temperature
Many owners have asked to please move the time and temperature from the far right upper corner of the touchscreen to the left. I agree with their suggestion, for I now know that the readouts I glance at most frequently on the touchscreen are first the speedometer, followed by Autopilot/Cruise Control, and then time and temperature.
The problem with this change is where to put those readouts. For example, although not always showing, it seems like all the areas along the top of the vehicle pane are reserved for warning lights, as illustrated in the following “doctored” photo:
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Could the time and temperature be placed to the side of the left turn signal, one on top of the other, like the traction control icon to the side of the right turn signal? Or could one be located under the Autopilot steering wheel on the left, and the other under the speed limit sign on the right? Frankly, although they might work, I’m not keen on either of those solutions.
I supposed that, if it were solely up to me, I would shuffle the icons along the top of the navigation screen instead, so that the time and temperature were on the far left, and the lock and Tesla logo were on the far right, as illustrated in the following “doctored” photo. After all, I typically use the latter icons only when parked, so it shouldn’t pose a problem to have to look all the way to the right to access them:
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Below is how the touchscreen’s vehicle pane displays distance driven, kWh used, and energy efficiency:
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Owners can already choose to display distance as either mi (miles) or km (kilometers). I would suggest also giving them the option to display energy efficiency as mi/kWh (instead of Wh/mi) or km/kWh (instead of Wh/km).
For example, in the above photo, the touchscreen could display the energy efficiency of the “Trip Miles” as 4.48 mi/kWh (instead of 223 Wh/mi). The “Lifetime” efficiency could be 4.20 mi/kWh (instead of 238 Wh/mi). As far as I am aware, all other EV manufacturers use this alternative, which in my mind makes it easier to understand and compare efficiency among different vehicles.
As an analogy, all automakers display fuel efficiency as, let's say, 25 MPG (miles-per-gallon). It would only confuse owners if one automaker opted to display instead 5.12 OPM (ounces-per-mile). Of course, making this suggestion an option would leave the decision up to owners to choose which efficiency calculation they prefer to display on their touchscreens.
I would suggest that Tesla should make the Regen/Power Line in the vehicle pane thicker. Call me a nerd, but I really like seeing the regen line grow longer when descending hills, slowing down, stopping.
The problem is that, unlike the black power line, the regen’s green color is hardly noticeable against the display’s white background. Make the line two, three, even four times thicker and the green regen will be more visible.
I really appreciate having the shelf in the console to recharge our mobile phones. It is a great feature! There is, however, a potential problem: one could easily forget that the phone is on the shelf, and exit the car without it. Since the phone is the “key” to lock and unlock the car, such forgetfulness could prove a disaster. I would therefore suggest adding an option so that, if drivers exit the car with their phones still on the shelf, the Model 3 would sound an alert (a series of chirps, beeps, buzzes, whistles, tweets, honks?) to warn them that such is the case.
While on the subject of phones, when using them on the music screen, in addition to the “previous,” “play,” and “next” buttons, I wish the display would also allow one to see and access the playlists, artists, albums, songs, shuffle, repeat, audiobooks, podcasts, etc. I could at least select my phone’s playlists in my previous LEAF, but perhaps that was because it was plugged into a USB port, and a more complete interface just isn’t possible with Bluetooth...? Well, if wishes were horses, I’d win the Kentucky Derby.
Indeed, since my horse is now out-of-the-gate anyway, I’ll also add that I wish I could play a movie from an iPhone or iPad on the touchscreen —but ONLY when the car is in ‘P’ark, of course.
I mentioned in my previous set of suggestions that, when I exit the car and Tamara is still in it, the climate control will turn off. Other owners suggested that she simply needs to touch the screen and the car will “fire up” again. We have since verified that this solution works —but not always! There have been times when touching the screen didn’t work for her. As another possible solution, it seems to me that Tesla should consider programming a routine for a future update so that, when the driver’s phone is no longer detectable, the car will sense that there is still a passenger in the car with another registered “key” phone —and keep the car on for that occupant.
Another suggestion that I offered previously was to let owners configure their garage’s Homelink setting to include Creep Mode. I now suggest going one step further: give them the option to engage Creep Mode whenever they shift into ‘R’everse. I don’t want to “creep” when in ‘D’rive, but enabling that one-pedal control would sure make it easier and safer when pulling out of driveways and backing up in parking lots —which I’ve had to do to plug in to all of the 21 superchargers I have used so far.
Auto Close Programming Flaw
I purport that there is a serious design flaw in the Homelink programming that automatically opens and closes a garage door. We discovered this flaw to our horror —and great expense— on one occasion when we arrived home and “auto open” engaged. Because of the location of our HPWC, we always have to back into our garage. On this occasion, we veered left as usual to the wider area of our driveway, and I put the car in ‘P’ark to first haul some bulky items from the trunk into the garage through the open door. I then shifted into ‘R’everse to finish backing in. As we were about to enter, the “auto close” also engaged, without displaying its usual alert on the screen, and shut the door on our Model 3, causing damage that will cost us a pretty penny to repair. Apparently shifting in-and-out of ‘P’ark causes this to happen! I am of the strong opinion that, whenever the “auto open” engages, it should completely disable the “auto close” function, which should only be reset to function after a driver has manually pushed the Homelink button to close the door, safely parked in the garage. At the very least, Tesla should make that a safety option for owners to select. Unless and until Tesla makes that change, I have turned “auto close” OFF in Correcaminos. The feature is just too risky in its current version.
I would suggest that Tesla allow the ventilation screen in the trunk ceiling to pop out so that you can reach up through its hole to clean the inside of the rear window. You practically have to do gymnastic contortions to do so by reaching over the trunk shelf from the rear seats.
I loathe drivers who dangerously tailgate. I thus wish Tesla would allow an option with the rear sensors so that, when driving faster than a given speed (40 mph? 50? 60?), if the vehicle behind gets closer than one car length, the Model 3 will briefly engage the emergency flashers for a few seconds to warn the tailgater to back off.
Speaking of rear sensors, with an object like a bike rack on the rear of the Model 3, it triggers their alerts. One can mute the beeping sounds, but it would be nice to also allow drivers the option of temporarily turning off the flashing lines and written warnings.
I have come to love Correcaminos’ Autopilot and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control. They make driving much more pleasant, relaxing, and safer, both on long distance highways and in congested freeway traffic.
I will observe, however, that Autosteer tends to drift toward the outside line on a curve, rather than the inside line, especially at higher speeds. I have experienced a few instances when the tires ended up on top of the outside line —even driving over its rumble strips! Human drivers, conversely, tend to “hug” the inside line on such curves, so it makes it even more dangerous when they’re coming in the opposite direction on a curve to the right and both cars are “hugging” the line that separates them.
I would suggest that the Autosteer engineers tweak the program so that the Model 3 will tend to “hug” the inside line when going around a curve. It would render that safety feature even safer.
I will offer two more suggestions for Autopilot and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control:
- These features automatically adjust the Model 3’s speed when driving past a speed limit sign. Since the GPS is evidently aware of the upcoming speed zone, I would strongly suggest that the adjustment happen a given distance (5 yards? 10? 20?) before —rather than after— driving past a lower speed limit sign.
- Since the Model 3 keeps a “log” of one’s driving that Tesla can access to verify the cause of an accident, it would sure be great to have a “Replay” button in the interface that would allow one to watch what the touchscreen displayed for the most recent, brief period of time (10 minutes? 20? 30?). In fact, Tesla should likewise finally implement the promised “dash cam” features using the car’s cameras.
I will now bore readers with an anecdote to explain why I make these suggestions. While on our recent roadtrip, when we entered the small town of Norwood, CO, several speed signs reduced the posted limits in rather quick succession, as shown in this video —that we took after the incident that I’ll describe down below:
As expected when we entered the town, Autopilot automatically reduced our speeds to the posted limits upon passing those signs: first dropping from 55 mph to 45, then to 35, then to 25. I was therefore surprised when, a few blocks later, I saw flashing lights in our rear view mirror. We pulled over, and the officer informed us that we had gone around the curve at 10 miles above the 25 mph limit. He consequently gave me a speeding ticket, not even a warning, the only traffic citation I have received in over 25 years. It cost me a whopping $167.
Were we, in fact, still going 35 mph when taking the curve beyond the 25 mph speed limit sign? Maybe, perhaps, possibly, because Autopilot reduces speed after driving past such signs. The one or two seconds it took for that function to engage might have been when the cop caught me on his radar...? Hence, I make the first suggestion above, to automatically reduce speed before driving past a speed limit sign.
Now you can call me paranoid, but I also think another explanation is possible. I still doubt that Correcaminos was going 35 mph around that curve. These small towns are notorious for their “speed traps,” and perhaps the cop saw a sleek, new, “hot” car coming around the curve, with out-of-state license plates no less, and decided to nab us, regardless. After all, he knew damn well that, for me to contest the ticket, I would have to return to the town weeks later, pay for the court costs, the trip there and back, and a motel room, so the total expense would end up even more than the $167 fine —not to mention the inconvenience. Besides, would the town judge take my word over the local cop’s? GOT me, didn’t he? A very clever ploy to pad the impoverished town’s coffers by fining the “gol’durn fatcat out-of-towners with their fancy sports cars.”
This is why I wish I could have replayed what actually happened when we were going around that curve. Rather than the cop’s word vs. mine, it would be his radar vs. my replay. Would it make a difference? Probably not, since he has all the power and authority, but it would either... allow me to see with my own eyes that I really did deserve the ticket, or... give me the satisfaction of showing him that he and his radar gun were wrong.
At any rate, a bit of advice to other Tesla owners: beware if you ever drive through Norwood, CO.
Ooooof! Enough of my pedantry with this post. I simply hope that Tesla will at least consider implementing some of these suggestions. And there are certainly enough nits above for other owners to start picking.
Shall I reiterate how much we love our Model 3?