In late 2019, I decided I wanted a Tesla. I thought it was cool that at the same time, it didn’t require a drop of fuel, and it had awesome acceleration. I had often sat in the sample Teslas at Mission Viejo Mall, and I really liked them. When I realized that December 2019 was the last chance to get the tax credit on the Model 3, I pulled the trigger and ordered a Standard Range Plus. It was ready for me to pick up in the late afternoon of December 31, 2019, just in time to get the tax credit. My daughter drove me to the dealership in Costa Mesa, and afterwards we celebrated with a sushi dinner.
One of the factors that helped me decide to buy the Tesla was the stated range of 250 miles. I soon learned that in real life, I would get nowhere near 250 miles. First of all, if you try to charge the battery to 100% full, you get a warning that doing so often will permanently reduce the long term capacity of the battery. So I tried 90%, which was 225 miles. Even then, I got a warning that capacity would be reduced, and regenerative braking would be disabled. So I ended up charging it to about 210 miles or just over 80%.
It was then that I learned that I would get nowhere near even 210 miles of range. I guess my range was reduced by the fact that I used the air conditioning, and that I live up a hill. When I left the house at 210 miles, and drove to LA and back, about a 100 mile round trip, the battery reading when I returned home was about 70 miles. If you do the math, it is clear that the real life range is well under 200 miles.
This limited range problem is compounded by the fact that the nearby Tesla supercharger stations are typically full with a queue of cars waiting for the next available one. If I had known about this in advance, I would not have bought the Tesla.
There were also other annoyances with the Tesla. For whatever reason, the doors do not have a frame above the glass. To compensate for the fact that the frameless door might result in increased wind noise, the windows, when closed, extend a bit into the rubber trim on the car frame. When you open the door, which is done electronically, the window automatically opens down a bit. If it didn’t do that, the car trim or the window might get damaged.
This window quirk has implications. Because you cannot rely on electronics to open the doors in an emergency, the front doors have an emergency manual door release. The user manual warns you to only use the manual release in an emergency, because doing so might damage the car. This has to be explained to passengers, who might instinctively use the manual release when opening the door.
Conversely, when the door is closed, the windows are supposed to automatically reclose. But they do not completely reclose, and this becomes obvious when you hear the wind nose as you drive. So you have to get in the habit of manually closing all the windows completely after you shut the door, even though you never opened them.
Even with the windows completely closed, there is still wind noise when driving at highway speed. A frameless door will never be as quiet as a standard door.
Another annoying quirk with the Tesla is that the charging port opens automatically when even a little pressure is applied to it. This is very inconvenient when you are trying to wash the car! (Apparently, they have a fix for this now—car wash mode.)
More annoying quirks have to do with the fact that you need to take your eye off the road and look down at the touchscreen monitor to adjust the A/C fan speed, or the windshield wipers, both of which require multiple touches. Even opening the glove compartment requires multiple touches on the screen.
Perhaps I could have lived with all these quirks. But the Tesla had another problem for me. The seat is low, sports car style, and this, combined with its extreme bucket shape, made it physically painful for me to drive for long distances. Sitting in the car for longer than 20-30 minutes would aggravate my sciatica, and for anything longer than that, the pain became excruciating. I missed my old 2006 RAV4, which had a higher seat, which allowed my leg to rest at a comfortable 90 degree angle.
Because I didn’t want to be in excruciating pain whenever I drove more than 30 minutes, this became the straw that broke the camel’s back. No pun intended. A broken back is not funny!
Long story short, I traded in the Tesla and I am now the proud owner of a new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which I am very happy with. It’s the same color as my old 2006 RAV4, Blizzard Pearl, and it gives me comfort to know that I again have a white RAV4 parked in my garage. Call me boring; I don’t care. The seat is a tad lower than the 2006 RAV4, and my leg is bent at close to but not quite 90 degrees, but it’s 1000 times more comfortable than the Tesla.
I bought my first cell phone in 1996, in anticipation of the birth of my daughter. I wanted to make sure I was accessible in case of any emergency. The phone was a Mitsubishi, and it had an antenna that extended upwards. I bought a case for it, and it was black. Through the years, I’ve had Nokia phones, BlackBerrys, Droids, and iPhones. And for each one, I had a black case.
About a month ago, my favorite case on my iPhone XS, the Apple silicone case, started breaking down, and it was time to replace it. So I went online to order a new case, and for some reason, I decided to do something different, and I ordered a blue case. The case was identical to the old case except in color. But almost immediately after putting it on my phone, I missed the black one. What can I say? I like what I like!
Every time I looked at the phone, I regretted getting the blue case, and I missed my black case. Even though I just paid the outrageous price of $39 (plus tax!) for a silicone case, I was prepared to buy another one so it would be black.
I talked about it with my daughter, and she agreed that she liked the black case better. And she reminded me of Amazon’s generous return policy, so I returned the blue case. My new black case arrives tomorrow. Even exchange!
The black case arrived, and I am happy as a clam with both a white RAV4 in the garage, and my iPhone wrapped in a black case. As things should be!
They say, “Embrace change.” I understand that sometimes change is inevitable. But there is something to be said for sticking with the tried and true.
Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made in my life was having my daughter. And that’s a change I will never regret. Hey, she saved me $39 plus tax by encouraging me to return the blue case!