Thoughts On My Tesla, 2 Years After They Paid Me A Bounty Due To Giving Me Control Of Their Forums And 1.5 Million Accounts

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My Model 3 at delivery, before Tesla managed to have it sent to the body shop.
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2 years ago I went through Tesla delivery hell to get my Model 3. Through a hilarious turn of events, that led to Tesla giving me control of their forums, with access to 1.5 million accounts. You can read about that saga here.

In the end, Tesla paid me a $1,000 bounty for reporting the forums issueMy local store also gave me free lifetime LTE data, 2 full car servicings, and a Tesla home charging wall connector as compensation for the delivery issues.

I’ve had my Tesla Model 3 for 2 years now and some DDF members have asked me to update how it’s going. Is it worth the $37.9K (before state incentives, the $7.5K federal incentive I got is now long gone) to buy one?

Things certainly haven’t been flawless for me since my original delivery issues and the ensuing forums hilarity.

Last year, Tesla replaced my driver’s seat twice after they had squeaking issues. They also had to replace the seatbelt that was damaged when they replaced the seat and they replaced the steering wheel that had some loose stitches. Those services were completed via Tesla Mobile Service at my house, so it was all fairly convenient.

The full self drive mode is nowhere near what Elon had promised it would be doing by now. Yet, the price on that feature keeps going up and is now an insane $10,000. They are beta testing a more robust full self drive mode, but I haven’t been invited to that as of yet. As I paid $3,000 for my full self driving, Tesla did upgrade my car’s computer and loaned me a Model S while they made that upgrade. The Model S loaner felt ancient and drove like a boat compared to my Model 3, which made me happy to have the Model 3. The jury is still out as to whether Tesla can deliver on the promise that their cars will be able to earn passive income for owners by driving people around with no driver, but the new full self drive beta test does look neat.

One upgrade I certainly don’t regret, given that I live in snowy Cleveland, is the dual motor/all wheel drive. The car performs marvelously in the snow. I did not splurge for the pricey performance version of the car as it comes with 20″ wheels that do not perform well in the winter and are miserable on potholes.

I also ran into issues with my promised free lifetime LTE when the system required a credit card payment. At first Tesla offered to send me a monthly check to cover the cost of the service, but they said that would end if I sold the car. Then, Tesla decided to send me a $520 check to cover the cost of 4 years of LTE service and promised further checks after 4 years, but still said the payments would end if I sold the car. Tesla released a feature called Acceleration Boost for $2,000 which I asked for as compensation for these issues. They countered by offering to reduce the cost of that upgrade by 50%, which I turned down, but in the end that feature was somehow enabled on my car anyway without paying for it, making the ridiculously fast acceleration even faster than it was previously. Shortly after that, they finally were able to correctly configure my car to have lifetime LTE. Go figure.

Thanks to referring people to Tesla I also got perks like a Kids Model S, priority software updates, a Tesla unveiling, driving the Boring Machine underground, and a free reservation with a hefty purchase price discount on the future Roadster. I also got a set of forged performance wheels for the Model 3, which I sold off for a few thousand dollars to someone who drove in from Chicago to pick them up! Alas the referral program only gives free supercharging these days. My Boring machine reward is still vaporware with no estimated date when I can actually use it.

Maya enjoying her Model S:

 

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The craziest thing about the car though is that it’s significantly better than the day I got it. That’s the opposite of just about every other tech item and certainly every other car out there. Every week it gets a software update that gives it new features.

Since I got the car, it now has Sentry Mode to protect the car and records dashcam video, it has a new “hold” driving mode that makes driving and braking a true pleasure, it can charge faster, it can detect stop signs and lights, it gives a chime when the light or even the turning arrow turns green, it can play all sorts of arcade games, it has more remote controls available via the app, it has more functions available via voice control, it has more media options, etc.

They even added some features I suggested via Twitter like the option to have the car autolock when you’re not at home and not autolock when at home, and the ability to watch Sentry Mode and Dashcam clips from the car’s screen.

And then there’s the driving itself, which is even more than the day I got it as it’s faster than ever. Pressing down on the “gas” truly feels like the launch of a rocketship! Thrilling like nothing I’ve ever experienced before!

I’ve taken the Tesla on road trips and the difference between it and a conventional car is just astounding. The standard Tesla autopilot functionality means that you arrive at your destination without feeling fatigued. Sure, you need to pay attention to the road, but it allows your brain to relax and arrive in a completely different state of mind than in a regular car. The supercharging network means you won’t have any sort of electric range anxiety. I just wish they made an affordable minivan so that I could take the family on a road trip without the driving fatigue!

Perhaps best of all, I never have to search for lost keys again thanks to the incredible Tesla app.

No matter what car I rent when on the road these days, it feels like I just traded in my Galaxy Note10 for a Motorola StarTAC or my Model 3 for a horse and buggy.

Plus, there are practically no maintenance costs!

Despite service which can be downright frustrating, there’s no doubt that electric cars are the future.

Other companies may eventually figure out that secret sauce and have better service, but Tesla truly has a massive lead over everyone else. Clearly the market agrees, Tesla’s stock is up 1,100% since I got my car in October 2018, which has more than paid for my car 😀

 

Do you own a Tesla? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Want your own Tesla? Here’s my referral code that will get you 1,000 free supercharger miles with your new Tesla.

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141 Comments On "Thoughts On My Tesla, 2 Years After They Paid Me A Bounty Due To Giving Me Control Of Their Forums And 1.5 Million Accounts"

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Iub

Hi all when they figure it out, here comes Aptera…..

Miles

Excellent writeup, with both the pros and the cons. Thank you!

Anon

How many referrals did you end up getting?
(I was one of them)

Justmeha

Following

Justmeha

Turns out the info is right there on the referral link:
daniel made 22 referrals and helped save
185,300 lbs
OF CO2

38,867 gallons
OF GASOLINE

Theblaide

Great article!

DS

ugly car

Alexander

I just got a Tesla Model 3 last month and am just learning the ropes. Wish they had a manual in the glove compartment as opposed to everything online. I got the long range version which supposedly gives me 400 miles on a 100% charge. I drove last week from my house to EWR and then back, total of 90 miles or so. I started at 100% and ended with 60%. There was no traffic and I drove between 65-70 mph. Something seems off!

scott

Incorrect, no model 3 has 400 miles.. that’s the model s… Range on Model 3 AWD is 353. Change your reading to miles instead of %… I find it much more helpful..

Bob

Agreed. Had mine for a year but should have ponied up for the dual motor considering the snow in my area.

The newer versions (and Model Y) also have a heat pump which makes winter driving much more efficient.

Overall, it’s a blast. I seriously cannot fathom why anyone in the market for decent new car would even consider ICE.

scott

100% agree. Butts in seat is the saying. Once you drive it, never will go back to ICE cars

scott

Own the Model 3 and Model Y. BEST car I ever owned and made- or politely asked, my wife to trade in Audi Q7 for Model Y. She loves it!
Every new car will be EV in the next 10 yrs and if you’re about to buy a new car, make sure to test drive Tesla beforehand. Resale value of gas cars will go down the tubes over the next 10 yrs as well. I drive 400 miles each way every other week and as Dan said, it’s a game changer. Even got my kids a 2017 Chevy Bolt as I don’t want a gas car ever again and wasn’t going to spend $38k+ on getting them Tesla.

Also, might be worthwhile to buy TSLA stock and hold for 10 yrs. Imho, you’ll be very happy. I have been shareholder for over 2 yrs and every share I sold, I regret. Thankfully, still have very large position. Feel free to ask me any ?’s about the car. I seriously spend many hrs researching and following the company…

DDF

Do you have a DDF account?

scott

No ddf acct..

Work-for-ur-muny

So lemme just tell you, Chase’s rewards program is called Ultimate Rewards…

yy

As someone who waited for the model Y as I felt the 3 was to tight on the inside. I’m really happy I did as it truly is a lot more spacious feeling. I do agree the quality and finishing is really lacking with panel gaps and cheap plastic finishing. But threes nothing like driving on the highway with auto pilot. I do regret not getting the full self driving before the price increase, At 10 k I cant justify purchasing FSD.

scott

I have both the 3 and Y, and at 6’4″, the Y much easier to get in and out of the car. Fit and finish improves as time goes on. I will probably trade in my 3 for the Y once they come out with RWD option… expecting better price and more range

Mike

Dan I think you sold me. I currently drive a Jaguar F-Pace but this seems a lot more my type as a techy. I love the Model S. I’d love to hear why you didn’t like the Model S as much as Model 3

scott

The S is much bigger, but I’d recommend asking for overnight loaner and see what fits better for you. The 3 is more nimble as it is smaller. Can’t go wrong with either imho..

nirc

i wasnt so smart in buying tesla stock

Mike

Who was. I owned 250 shares at $190 before the split. I sold at $400 pre split and thought I was a genius

Peter

One big downside that you didn’t mention is that if you go on a road trip, you need to sit at least for an hour to wait for a full charge at a station, rather than <5 min to fill up a gas/diesel car. That adds a lot of time to the trip. Plus charging stations are much more rare, especially in remote parts of the country.

scott

Sorry to disagree, but you obviously don’t own a Tesla. I have 44,000 miles and do road trips every other week, 400 miles each way, Atlanta to Memphis. Also did Atlanta to Philly last summer
I stop for 20 to 30 min max 2x for 400 mile trip, every 3 hrs or so. The break is needed for bathroom breaks and the auto pilot on highway makes trip soooo much easier.
Superchargers all over the country.
This is the misinformation spread for yrs about EV’s.
And unless you road trip ALOT, all charging done at home overnight and never need to go to gas station

Andy

I work outside Jackson, MI. The closest charging station to me is over 40 miles away and more than one hours drive one way. So, no the charging stations are not everywhere as you state.

Yossi

The closest charging station to you is your home. A lot closer and more convenient than a gas station.

Not much of a reason to need a supercharger any closer than 40 miles from your home anyway. So yes they are not as abundant as gas stations, but they are usually where you need them. Especially when the nav automatically considers supercharger locations so you never end up empty without a place to charge.

Andy

Check out the Michigan map of Superchargers. They are very few and far between. You’re assuming I go home every night which I don’t. I also live in an apartment. The landlord has not set up a charging station yet. So I will need to fill up at other places just like a gas station. I often travel to Alpena which is over a hundred miles from a charger. I also travel to the upper peninsula often. There are a grand total of three chargers in the entire UP. So it’s going to be a while before people outside major cities will consider electric vehicles a viable alternative.

NW

Don’t forget there’s the best of both worlds coma AI option

Peter

Obviously you own one, but can’t do math. It doesn’t matter how you break it down, it takes more that an hour to charge form 0 to 100%. Just a fact. It takes less than 5 mins to do the same for a gasoline car. And, unless you do all your road trips in metropolitan areas, the danger of being stranded in the middle of nowhere is quite real. Google range anxiety and you will see it is a real thing.

Herschel K

I don’t think I’ll ever buy a non Tesla. I drive 20k+ miles per year and love having navigate on autopilot. Looking forward to FSD rollout to the masses.

scott

I will NEVER buy anything but Tesla, unless for my kids, which is why I got them a used EV Chevy Bolt

Shimmy

Does the dashcam come with the car ?

scott

The over the air updates avg 1 x month for free and car keeps improving with new features. My 2 yr old model 3 is so much better than when I got it.

Cbs

“The Model S loaner felt ancient and drove like a boat compared to my Model 3, which made me happy to have the Model 3”

– had same story.. Old model s they gave me, so much so that when I got home and parked overnight on a pretty full battery, car didn’t open. Called tesla they couldn’t remote open. They had to tow it.. Either way I don’t mind their alternative which is “unlimited” uber credits which was a great way to order food and pick up guests from the airport 😉

In my case I own the Y and don’t regret it at all. I’m happy I chose that over the 3 which I feel personally is too claustrophobic for me.. The slightly higher up and wider on the Y makes a big difference

Shaun

Ohio is ineligible for the referral program Dan. How did you get perks? What were the perks?

joey

Teslas stock has seen a meteoric rise.It has defied the reality of a pandemic and competition that is on its way.It has also defied the fact that automobile manufacturers have been a very bad long term investment, with multiple bankrupcies. “But Tesla is different”:That remains to be seen. They have no made a profit on their car manufacturing yet, if im not mistaken, but rather on selling emission credits to other car manufacturers.
Any mistakes or Musk gettimg himself in trouble again saying things, can cause a lot of profit taking

Mike

That is because it’s not an automaker. They consider themselves a tech company which they are

scott

You are saying all the things that have been said for yrs. Total FUD.. The legacy autos are going to be merging or bnkrtcy in the next couple of yrs. No one is coming out with anything close to the specs on a Tesla. And also factor superchargers network, ota updates, and full self driving. But invest how you like…
You’ll regret not owning tsla stock imho.

Sam

You say it gets significantly better, and mention new options like sentry mode… But this is not exclusive to electric cars, combustion engine cars can also have software updates they can also use an app. The primary difference is the source of power not whether you can build a computer in the car too. And to that we don’t know if it’s better. Perhaps the life span of a Tesla will be shorter than other cars in it’s class or perhaps not. For example a modest car like the Toyota Avalon which is cheaper than the model 3 is known to last upwards of 300k miles. In other words do we know how many miles the Tesla will last?
Another difference between combustion engine and electric is the acceleration and that definitely makes the Tesla seem years ahead.
Lastly I was hoping you’d share the difference between taking a road trip with the Tesla and having to take a half hour break to recharge vs a couple minute break to fill up on gas?

scott

There are NO other cars that have OTA software updates. ZERO.. not sure what your talking about.
And EV have much less moving parts so significantly cheaper on maintenance. My model 3 is 2 yrs old and 44k miles. Only added windshield fluid!
Many Teslas out there with over 200k miles.. some even close to 600k miles.
And total cost of ownership much less than Toyota Avalon. Do the research, easy to find out info.
Once again, in 10 yrs no o ne is buying gas cars! Partly bc of government regulations all over the world and mostly bc once you drive an ev, no comparison to any gas car.

Bob

Not quite accurate. Many cars have OTA. Even my Honda Odyssey. It’s mostly bug fixes and what not that get pushed once in awhile.

I don’t know of others that actually add features like Tesla. Definitely not video games etc. They can even modify the suspension height.

The fundamental reason is because Tesla is a computer 1st and car 2nd. Every car is just another point in the network. Just like your iPhone can be undated anywhere. Same idea.

There are definitely things to quibble with. No AM radio (there are workarounds, yes) and the signal stalk doesn’t quite ‘click.’

One thing all Tesla owners can relate to….whenever you have someone in your car for the first time….floor the gas! The shock factor never gets old.

?

Some? Close to 600k?
You’re telling me that you know of more than one Tesla that has mileage clocked at 580-590k?

David

What a great blog! Almost everyone (positive or negative) has put thought into their comments. I’ve owned a Tesla 3 for just over a year. I’ve owned many nice cars, some over 100k. This is by far the greatest car I have ever owned. It is the “Model T” of electric cars. For the many and one that works. The flaws to be corrected are minuscule compared to gas cars which should have none at this stage. Tesla itself has a phenomenal future. Any company that functions with a growth mindset (and they do it in spades) will dominate.

Andy

Thanks for the very thorough review Dan. I too look forward to hearing your experience on a long road trip where you have to incorporate charging stops.

just a correction

“Sure, you need to pay attention to the road, but it allows your brain to relax and arrive in a completely state of mind than in a regular car.”

I believe you mistakenly left out the word “different” before the word “state”

interesting article

Reuben

Great write up Dan. We’ve had our three for about a year and a half and we got the long range and it goes about 310 320 miles we were told to never charge it pass 80% so that’s where we left the line at and never let it go below 20%. Tesla told us if we are going on a very long trip then to charge it all the way up to 100%. The biggest problem I have with the car (my SOloves it) is that you have to look back to the center consul to see if it’s red next to you if you’re changing lanes. I am used to a car that had a light in the Sideview mirrors. I prefer that much more because I can keep my eye on the road and still see that light out of the corner of my eye,it is much safer. I can’t imagine why Elon did not offer that. I feel the console demands too much of the driver’s Attention. I guess once it becomes self driving it’ll be a moot point.

Eli

Question is if they ever get the quality right. problems with quality of finish and trim etc. have been reported for years. I’d love to see them buy out Toyota and put together the best of both companies.

Moshe

I’m actually going to be picking up my 21 model 3 tomorrow. Trading in my 18 model 3 and since nj now gives 5k off on EVs it was a no brainier to upgrade to the 21 while lowering my payments and getting 5k.

Levi

They might be the future of cars.

But at this point they don’t offer any big practical vehicle for a family with kids. I have 5 kids and the only place we fit is either a mini van or a large SUV.

Mike

Glad you are enjoying your ownership experience Dan, I’ve been mulling an EV purchase for at least 5 years so I’m very interested in this topic. My main issue with your write-up is that you did not address the question most people are thinking about. Is it worth buying a new Tesla Model 3 at this point?

Put it this way, I tried configuring the cheapest dual-motor version I could on the website and it comes to $46,990 before NY taxes.

If you were me and had to pay cash (no referral discounts), would you but this car today? Or maybe the cheaper non-dual motor version for $37,990? Or would you do what I’m probably going to end up doing, getting a decently optioned Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey for about 35-38k? BTW, I’m not considering the van because I love minivans, I need it for carpooling.

Thanks again for the information Dan!

Noah32

Is the self driving mode for highway driving that everyone is referring to on the tesla any different than what’s available on most newer ICE cars nowadays? Better?

Not being condescending, genuinely curious. My car has the smart cruise control and lane keep.

Levi

Does it rather pay to buy or lease ?

Is the calculation buying vs leasing same as with any other vehicle?

Chaim

Great writeup! Waiting for these to finally come to Israel at affordable prices (I know I may wait a looooong time).

Just the stock

Don’t have a Tesla, but bought the stock way back at $27 a share (pre split). Unfortunately I bought very little. Still have it, tremendous returns percentage wise – over 10,000%.

Adam

Thoughts on NIO? They’re planning to do 3-5 minute battery swap stations as opposed to battery charge stations. The stock has been doing very well.

Dan fan

That is a recipe for disaster as better place that israeli electric vehicle start up has tried that and went bankrupt and they had over 500 million in funding

Sam

Thanks for the review.

David

Dan – great post! One comment: I leased a Model S back in 2016 (back when they had that decent lease specials) and went back to a BMW X5 last year and surprisingly had no issues going back to gas. Really dont miss it at all but its a truly great car and “rocket ship” experience. ONE THING THAT MADE ME NUTS IS NO CARPLAY! BMW wireless Carplay is a game changer and more important to me than any tech. Lastly – my Tesla service experience in NY was actually A++ from 2016 ordering to 2019 returning car.

Sara

So curious why you went back to gas!

Tzvi Stern

Hey Dan. Have you discussed the monthly maintenance costs for your tesla

Noah

I’m loving this thread!
I’ve been looking to buy a Tesla for a while. The main reason why I want one is for the ‘self driving’ features, but I don’t know how good the self driving is.
With the included Autopilot, on a highway can I take my eyes off the road and use my phone? Or does that only work with FSD?
Basically, I hate driving and I would much rather a computer drive for me. Is that possible with the Tesla? Or are we still many years away from that?
Thanks for all the advice and help!

shuster

HAHA!!!! Morotola StarTac, got one in the drawer with my “millennium” and nokia 8210

Sammy L B

While all is said & done, I don’t understand how anyone can drop this kind of money without knowing the longevity of such a car. Same things true for buying a car from any other new company. Can someone enlighten me?

Eli

It may be inevitable but you know where this is headed. One day Tesla doesn’t like the way you abused referrals or something and bam, your car stops working instantly aka Google pixel resellers. Or that city parking fine that got lost in the mail triggers a revocation of your cars ability to drive. We are giving up a measure of freedom for an enhanced experience. I’ll hold onto my low tech gas powered non OTA updatable vehicles as long as I can thank you.

James

The car companies are so far behind Tesla, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla just starts licensing the technology to them. If so TSLA would skyrocket and would be like Microsoft of the 90’s

Yisroel

Hey Dan!

Will you lock in your reservation for a roadster, needs to be done by January?

(Maybe they offer a pay-with-TSLA option)
https://electrek.co/2020/12/07/tesla-gives-deadline-roadster-referral-discount-winners-supercar/#more-157651

Josh

Do you think it’s worth paying 10k now for the full self driving feature or the standard autopilot does the job?

Any thoughts on buying a second hand model 3 with the full Autopilot feature.

AsherO

You should disclose that you own TSLA stock (:

Kayla

Need some inspiration… my Tesla brakes failed Thursday evening. They were unable to offer roadside assistance, a loaner, a car rental, as of 2:25 pm est. I have been on the phone with them for a total of about 3.5 hours and got nowhere. Help!

Joe

What ended up happening?

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