Counting the years with all the fingers on one hand
(Click to enlarge)

5th Year Anniversary

April 28, 2023

Five years ago to the day we took delivery of Correcaminos. As insinuated in my last anniversary report, I am no longer as keen on the car as when we bought it, but I will elaborate more on that judgment down below at the end of this report.

The first topic to address after 5 years is that, as Indiana Jones quips, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Here is how many miles have accumulated on the odometer:

That distance is actually 15,945 miles farther than we had driven our previous Nissan LEAF on its 5-year anniversary. In fact, it is 7,794 miles more than after 6 years in the LEAF. Of course, the latter’s range was no more than 100 miles at best, there were no DCQC stations yet available, and so the few roadtrips we took in it were limited to only nearby day trips. This is undoubtedly why the LEAF’s energy efficiency was much higher: an impressive 5.2 miles-per-kWh.

As you can see in the following table, the Model 3’s efficiency is a much more modest 4.03 miles-per-kWh, which I would attribute to the numerous long distance roadtrips at freeway speeds that we have taken in it. Still, that is notably higher than the EPA’s estimate for our model year, a mere 3.85 mile-per-kWh. No complaints from me!

The EPA also claims that there are 33.7 kWh of energy per gallon of gasoline, so my equivalent energy efficiency to date is:

4.03 x 33.7 = 136 MPGe

There is no way a gasoline car could hope to achieve that level of efficiency. I should also note that this last year Correcaminos achieved a higher average than in its 4th year, as shown in this yearly table:

The previous year’s average was evidently reduced during the 6,417 mile roadtrip that I took cross-country to visit my daughters in North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas. It is not as though we didn’t travel extensively this past year, however. We took our 8th, 9th, and 10th roadtrip to the Sacramento area to visit Tamara’s family. We drove to Salt Lake City to attend Tamara’s niece’s graduation from medical school. We went camping again in Pine Valley. I attended Fully Charge LIVE in San Diego. We visited Capitol Reef National Park. We also took our third roadtrip to Telluride, Colorado, and en route visited Monument Valley and Mesa Verde National Park. As a matter of fact, we’re planning on a 4th trip there in late June and early July this summer. And earlier this month, I again participated in the 2023 Drive Electric Earth Day in Las Vegas.

Obviously, with all these roadtrips, not all our kWh have come from our rooftop solar: we had to rely on Tesla Superchargers when away from home. Nonetheless, I have seen reports that claim that, by 2022, all Superchargers were subsequently powered by 100% renewable energy —if not from solar canopies, at least from utility credits. We are delighted that this has helped maintain our carbon footprint this past year at the level established previously. I wish we could say the same for our fuel costs, but unfortunately the prices per kWh have risen substantially over the past year. As a matter of fact, accordingly to my calculations, our recent roadtrips have cost us approximately the same amount at Superchargers as if we had driven a modest gasoline car like a Honda Civic. All well… I never invested in electric cars simply to “save money,” but to do my small part in helping to mitigate the climate crisis —no matter the cost. If I end up paying more to charge an EV on roadtrips… well, I guess that’s the “fine” I deserve to pay for all the harm I’ve done to this planet during decades of burning fossil fuels.

While on the topic of comparing gasoline and electric cars, let me add that the petrolganda distributed by pe’trolls is like a mythological Hydra: if you cut off one head, it grows even more. Such is the case with the worn out naysayer argument that EV batteries deteriorate so quickly that owners will need to replace tham for a premium price after one, two, three years. Don’t you believe it! I have extrapolated Correcaminos’ capacity after every charge, as plotted in this graph:

As you can see, to date Correcaminos’ battery still retains 94.73% of its original capacity. Yes, the extrapolations have wavered up and down, with scattered variations over time, but the overall tendency seems to have now settled into a fairly level, predictable state of battery health. Let’s hope it continues!

What is my biggest disappointment with the battery is not its capacity, but its electronics. More specifically, readers might recall that its PCS (Power Conversion System) started to break down during the 4th year —yet Tesla refused to cover its replacement under warranty! I therefore petitioned to enter arbitration to dispute that warranty. After nearly a year, the arbitration finally rendered a decision, and the arbitrator unfortunately sided with Tesla. Consequently, I had to pay a whopping repair bill out of pocket to have the Service Center in Las Vegas replace my PCS. EV buyers beware: unlike other automakers like Chevrolet, Hyundai, Ford, etc., Tesla will not guarantee its battery electronics under its battery warranty.

As you can imagine, that disappointment has caused me to sour even further on Tesla —and especially its CEO. As my psychologist spouse points out: Elon Isherwell’s socio-political antics over this past year have clearly revealed symptoms of serious personality disorders. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Tesla’s Board of Directors have not removed him, for he is doing real harm to the company, its stocks, shareholders, employees, customers, potential buyers. Moreover, likely because of his profit-driven decision to eliminate both radar and proximity sensors, and rely solely on cameras, there are now some very real problems with Teslas. For example, Correcaminos’ Autopilot continues to suffer from “phantom braking” events; it will sometimes suddenly “ping-pong” when trying to change lanes; it becomes dangerously paranoid with merging traffic; and every now and then a red steering wheel alarm will sound that there is an object detected directly in front of the car —when there is nothing there! I am growing fed up of these “Tourette Syndrome” spasms that are causing Tamara to be a nervous wreck on roadtrips.

Speaking of roadtrips, for this 5th year anniversary I have compiled another slide-show video, if you’re not bored enough already:

Will we hang on to this Model 3 for another year, and hope that software updates will fix its annoying, dangerous quirks? I can’t say for sure, but to hedge our bets, lately we have been test driving other EVs: the Volkswagen ID.4, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Mustang Mach-E, the Kia EV6. We have learned that in many ways the newer EVs are even better than Correcaminos. The only real dilemma we are facing about them is which one is our very favorite: they are all great cars. Indeed, the only disadvantage doesn’t have to do with the EVs, but with the scanty and more unreliable DCFC networks. In that regard, Tesla’s Superchargers continue to reign supreme.