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16,000 Days, A Set of Random Memories

16,000 Days, a Set of Random Hidden Memories Claire Joy cjsb28
Written Sunday, Aug 23, 2020
16,000 Days Ago Tuesday, November 2nd 1976. Jimmy Carter was being elected as President of the United States, and a confused girl was born in Kansas City, Missouri. A girl who doctors and the world proclaimed was a ‘boy’. I was the apple in everyone’s eyes.
13,120 Days Ago On my bike, riding down the hill to my house as fast as I can go. Fervently peddling, because I thought if go fast enough I could leave my shadow behind. I know, it’s stupid, but I was a dumb kid. I rounded the corner, and took a bad fall in front of the house in the bushes. To this day, my left wrist bears the scar where the jugular was almost sliced by my stunt. I thought I could drive away my shadow, I wanted it to be true. But no matter how fast I go, how far I go, how hard I try, my shadow is always there.
12,844 Days Ago From the mirror’s eye I could see her. Long hair let down, dressed in mom’s jumpsuit, rolls of socks on my chest where breasts might go. I’m terrified, and so alive at the same time. My ears wide open for the sound of tires on gravel, telling me to hurry up and get out of the outfit. But they’re not home, so what’s the harm I asked myself, slipping on mom’s hosiery. Even now it was creepy, but I imagined being a girl and a woman, imagined then prayed. As the nights ran into one another, I would often pray that I would wake up a girl, and everyone else would know me as one without memories of being a boy.
12,665 Days Ago Burke Elementary, the playground behind the baseball diamond there is a huge maple tree, and it constantly shed acorns on the ground. Warm days of recess, everyone else is playing, but I am alone under the shade of this tree. I look at them playing, and hear them shouting in the background. My eyes are closed, I take a breath, I let it go. This comes naturally, there is no concept for me at this time about meditation. There is peace here. There is no internal battle going on because I am one, suddenly alone, truly alone, I am complexly self-aware of my own existence and I become very scared. Quickly I rise up, and run toward the others on the playground. But in that brief moment of time I can imagine life both as a girl and as a boy. At the time, the eighties, there was no concept of a child holding their puberty through drug intervention, no idea that that could ease into what would be discovered later as ‘transition’, the ability to change gender through medical intervention and social acclimation. So in the days and months that follow I would do everything I could to make these feelings go away. No more dressing in mom’s things, no more wondering what life could be like, these feelings are to be left in the trash of my own past, and from now on I was going to be the best friend, brother and son anyone could be. So I started to pretend, I would pretend that I was a boy, a good friend, a good-natured brother, a loving son. I did this for them and myself, thinking this whole being a girl thing was too weird to air aloud, and like the earliest days, kept it buried a hundred miles deep.
That old maple tree is there to this day.
11,501 Days Ago The old church had that old-church smell, and the Thursday night was quiet with me alone. The scout troop remained small all through my teen years. Eventually we had others join, long-time scouts. We were never really good friends, though, something set me apart from others my whole life, some odd disconnect only I could know. It was the same distance that kept me from engaging too much in my own life. The separation between my gender inside and the outside world of expectations. All I wanted from life was a little ordinary. No more thoughts about being a girl, this time I would ‘man up’ and be the best son I could be, a friend when possible, a brother to my sisters. In the years that follow, I would turn away, forget about my feelings. For a time it sort of worked, yet in disturbing intervals it would somehow return, that feeling of disconnect. It didn’t go away when I was eight, it didn’t go away when I was a twelve, or fifteen. Latter, I kept rolling in what I have come to know as ‘dysphoria’ There and back again, over and over, like a fire that will not burn out. Even though I could push it aside, concentrate on being who everyone else thinks I am, often enough it would crop back up in the hidden war raging inside myself.
8,872 Days Ago The lifeguard gig is the best job I ever had. It was community college just after high school graduation. I had a mind to still somehow become a military officer so decided on a practical major, civil engineering. While getting the basic classes out of the way, I kept busy with the part-time job of lifeguard, mostly to pay for a car to go between home and classes. During a set of my rotations, I watched over girl’s high school swimming practice and meets. Sitting there, it became clear to me I was feeling an odd mixture of attraction and envy or jealously. It was disturbing at the time to feel like that. In the months that followed, I would look back on my own childhood, wondering what was affecting me. This was the dawn of the internet, so why not search this out. I was 20 years old, and this is the first time ‘transexual’ entered my vocabulary. Of course I knew about trans people, but my impressions was based on pop culture of the 80’s and 90’s; caricatures and jokes in movies and trashy TV talk shows. There were chat rooms and online billboards in 90’s style internet, but reading their stories it was all bad news, dark times of transition, loosing most of the people in their lives, work and family and the tribulations of ‘passing’ in a hostile world. The costs, both financial and personal, were too great to consider further notions of transition. So I decided to completely shut it down, to keep myself constantly busy with school or work or exercise. My friends at the time were far away, so I was alone in the early college years. My parents were separating, but we were able to live in the ancient house on Drury full of ghosts from a long faded childhood. Mom and Autumn needed my help, but I neglected them and ignored them. Often I would drive to southern Kansas to be with old friends again on weekends. Any chance to be outside the house I took it.
My life was a train wreak, and I believed everything was just fine. Denial is a powerful drug.
5041 Days Ago University finals are done, and graduation is just before Christmas. Mom and Dad are proud of me, grandma and Autumn are also there on this cold December night. After the pomp and circumstance of the graduation ceremony, we dined at an Italian restaurant, and dad gave me a gold coin for a gift. University was something I wanted to get done and over with, thinking my life was truly begin, but first I wanted to travel, to see if I could make my way west and maybe find work there and move.
5002 Days Ago After a costly car repair of replacing my alternator to the 1995 Honda Accord I was driving across the country in the winter time, just outside a small town in northern Utah. My mind at the time was a mess, I wanted to get as far from the house on Drury as I could get. I wanted to be done with all thoughts of transition and being a woman. In the mess behind the driver’s seat was the usual disaster of clothes and bags, and in one of these bags are a set of old women’s clothes I was wearing earlier this morning before the breakdown. The sun was falling down, and I was one hour west of Boise. Before driving into the Blue Mountains of Oregon, overlooking the Snake River Valley, there was a scenic overlook. This is where I stopped. This is where I got out of the car, in the crisp air, overlooking the wild mountain valley full of clouds rolling fast like sun-laden water. As I stood there in awe, there was a switchback trail below me going down. I traversed it some, just to a point were there was a clear fall of hundreds of feet. This is where I could end all of it, I thought. This is where my hidden war inside myself could finally be decided. Was this the real reason for my journey west? Was this why I came here? In a daze, I drifted precariously to the edge, my eyes unused to flow waxed to the full. This was it, this is where this will end. I leaned forward. On the road above me, a truck blared its horn. Surprised, I shot backwards into the other side of the trail and on the ground. Breath returned to me, how long did I hold it? Trembling between the worlds I stared, lost in a place that can never be, I stayed there for a long, long time until the sun had fallen down. I climbed back to the car, still shacking, still crying in the cold air. It was a long dark drive to Portland. Just drive, I thought terrified in the darkest night of my life. Up and down mountains, freezing and thawing, getting chains, placing them and taking them off and repeating over three valleys. It took hours, all through the night into the smallest hours of the next morning before I reached Portland. With tired eyes and tired thoughts, somehow I found the hostel, somehow I found sleep, although I don’t remember checking in, or the final reach of the drive.
I lost something today. I lost myself.
4985 Days Ago The journey west was left wanting. I visited Portland but didn’t stay long enough to really apply for work, afraid I would run out of money, a very real possibility. So I carried on, traveling north to Seattle and found it busy and too urban for my likening. Then I went north again into Vancouver, BC. I loved Canada, saw a hockey game with new friends. Time was not on my side, so it was south, back to Portland for a day then just south of San Francisco. I wound up in a private room in a seaside youth hostel where I put on my women’s clothes and despaired. Crashed to sleep in them, and crazily, the room was not mine at all, and others made their way into it and slept in the other bed. Embarrassed that both I was in the wrong room and the fact that I was ‘in drag’ made the situation dire. Desperate and embarrassed, I hurried back into boy clothes and rushed out as fast as possible. I trashed the clothes that moment in the nearest dumpster and drove off as fast as I could out of there. This made visiting my Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Roger that much more awkward with that fresh in my mind. Of course I couldn’t mention the cross-dressing but nervously told my story and my adventure across the country. Today I am in El Paso, Texas, visiting my older sister Mary Lynn. Searching for the map, just a second passed, over the rise in the motorway there was stalled traffic. I could only slow the car before impact. The accident left my car broken again, a crushed radiator that needed repairs. No more money, I had to borrow a thousand dollars from Mary. I hate borrowing money, especially from family, the minute I have it I’m repaying her. Tonight we drank together, Mary and her husband Mike, and a few of their friends from the military, and damn did I need it. Think it was the first time I tried Crown and Seven, but I really liked it. We had a fun time, got caught up on the latest, and just joked around, it was a good time. Tomorrow is a long 19-hour drive back to Kansas City. This journey left me defeated and victorious at the same time. But I can’t help thinking I lost more than I gained. I have bills to pay, the real world demanded satisfaction, and I would have to wait.
4984 Days Ago It took every bit of 20 hours driving to get back to Kansas City. I hoped never to see that house on Drury again. But here I am, a broken and defeated...man? woman? What the fuck was I? My hidden war inside myself is far from over. There were practical matters to settle. My goals now are to get a part-time job, not in engineering but just a job so that I can maintain my life while physically preparing for the military officer candidacy training I wanted to do, and I’ll give myself 8 months to do it. I will run daily, drop weight, and study for exams. Repaying Mary is top on my list, after that I guess I’ll live in Drury until I can’t anymore. Mom and dad are separating, and mom lives in an apartment not far away, while dad stays with his new girlfriend Janet. I don’t know how to feel about this, with everything else going on inside and elsewhere in my life. All I want to do is forget about this whole misadventure. Put away any thoughts of being a woman and focus on enlisting in officer training school.
4744 Days Ago After eight months of preparation, delaying my engineering career, I have been officially disqualified from military service for medical reasons, some given were flat feet and severe near-sightless. My scores were mediocre, and not worth mentioning. This entire time was a waste.
4534 Days Ago After being fired from my first engineering job, it’s clear to me engineering was a wrong path. So I started exploring other options. For about three months I had been volunteering at St. Luke’s Hospital emergency room. I want to give nursing a try, so this week I’m applying for nursing college. My new friends are cool, we talk often and I feel like I’m appreciated here.
4224 Days Ago Months ago I applied for work at the city of Kansas City as a codes inspector. After my last interview, I got the call and accepted the job. My goal of going to nursing school ran short as money again was too tight, even still living in that dreadful house on Drury. The house is being sold soon, so I would have to move and be on my own for the first time. I’m taking an apartment on Wyoming Street in Westport.
3509 Days Ago Vietnam has become my new favorite country. Traveling the with my friend from work, his name is Ha, and his family was a blast. This is a book in itself, but briefly we traveled from the Mekong Delta to Hanoi and many places in between, including the mountain town of Da Lat and the seaside town of Hoi An. We spent three weeks in Vietnam. (In case you’re wondering, Ha is married, straight as far as I know, but his wife couldn’t go so I was his “other wife” lol, promise it wasn’t gay, much).
3328 Days Ago Long had it been since I even though about those times, the darker times where my head was messed up and I was so confused about my life and something as fundamental as my gender. It was wonderful, I could just forget. I lived in my house on 14th Street for about five years now, and I was not alone, mom moved in with me. Still, I had hoped to fall in love and marry and start a family here, but I’m 35 years old now. In many ways, much of my life had slipped me by. I thought I could ‘forget’, but that’s just it, I can’t ‘forget’ if the war is constantly on my mind. It was the real reason my relationships failed all my life, the internal struggle that everyone else seemed to see except me. Because of this, my failure to transition, waiting until after all my hair has fallen out and I had hid myself away in drink and video games until I was severely obese, that I hit bottom. This summer I started reading literature, works of all kinds from Russian to British. One of the authors was Virginia Wolfe, and her book “Orlando”. I had no idea what it was about, unusual as I mostly read cliffs notes before diving in. It seemed boring at first, a 16th century nobleman on his journeys. Then on one adventure, half way through the book, he is magically transformed into a woman, and continues her quest as Lady Orlando. I threw the book across the room. All of a sudden, all those memories of my struggles resurfaced, and I realized my feelings was not a new phenomenon, this book was written in the early 20th century. It was a tidal wave of emotions. I deny all of it, this is not me. Is it?
2689 Days Ago My mom and sister moved out a year ago and now I find myself alone. Every day I get off the bus from work, and cry while walking to the house. I am trapped by an upside down house mortgage, a job I hate, a town I’m forced to live in completely alone, and now trapped in my own body that has become old, fat, bald and apparently trans. In my house there is a .385 Magnum revolver I had previously purchased from a gentleman I meet on some enchanted evening in the ghetto. The revolver is loaded with one round. Inside a cold, dark house, more alone than at any other time in my life and completely surrounded by darkness, and completely trapped inside. I demonized the world outside and locked myself inside, no clarity about how to get out of the situation. I am caught in a web, in a cage. There is only one way out, right? Play the Game, spin the wheel. I lift the heavy cold steel to the back of my head, aiming for the brain stem to be sure I don’t survive my injuries. Pull the trigger mechanism. In the silence of a cold dark house, the sound of an empty revolver hammer against my skull remains to this day the loudest sound I have ever heard. Wide-eyed terror, I laid the gun on the dinning table. Long had it lain there, as a stared at it. I took it apart, the round was the next one, gathered its parts and rounds, and threw it into the Missouri River. This concludes my second attempt to end my life.
To this day I never touched another firearm, and never will again.
577 Days Ago Eight rounds in the cold of night. It had been a week since the first shooting, a near miss involving the neighbor’s kids who were being shot at by a rival gang drive by. No one then was killed, their kid was injured. I found rounds landed in the bed I was just moments before inside and called the police. That is the first rule of the hood; keep your business to yourself. They came back tonight. Eight rounds into the Honda Civic, one ended up in my bed feet from where I was laying asleep. I fled to Dad’s house. This is the last night I would spend here. To top it all off, I got a job offer in plans review, and if you asked me just a few months earlier before all this I would have took the job gladly. Instead, pacing in dad’s basement alone all night, decided against the job.
This is the third time I should be dead.
325 Days Ago It’s a bright sunny September Day. Work was done early so I returned the work car to the parking garage, to its usual spot on the 8th floor. It suddenly got dark, not an ordinary mid-day cloud cover but a darkness I can barely describe, like a strange night suddenly descended on me. It became hard to breath, and I sat out at the back of the SUV for a long time. All I could see was six feet around me, and the parapet wall some ten paces from me. My thoughts suddenly went to that parapet. How easy it would be hop on, how easy it would be to stand on the ledge, how easy would it be to let gravity finally do the work for me. It was a panic attack, an uncontrolled incident that nearly cost me my life. Someone walked by while sitting at the car and startled me, again an angel snapped me out of it. Dad’s words from earlier last week rang in my ears, “I think you should be happy, I think everyone has a right to be happy”. This was my third attempt, and my fourth time I should be dead. No more. Tonight I reached out to a therapist, I know now I need help. After years of denial, the fact that I’m trans is undeniable. My time has come to finally try to put a handle on this. It didn’t go away when I was 8, it didn’t go away when I was 20, nor at 26 nor at 30 nor at 35 nor at 38; this was going to haunt me until I end up mad or dead. My time has come to stop swinging from a spiral and become the woman I am inside.
57 Days Ago Ten months of running trails and therapy, over 100 pounds of weight lost. Delaying for three months while waiting for the fertility clinic to open after Covid-19 had been mitigated enough to reopen. Turned out to be another waste of time because I am not fertile, and probably could never have had children. Sad but now anxious to start, I finally got my medication for estrogen and anti-androgens. After decades of dreaming, I gave myself my first injection of estrogen on 27th of June, 2020. I am 43 years and 8 months old. My life is just beginning.
My name is Claire Joy, you see me, it’s good to be here with you.
Present day, Sunday, Aug 23, 2020
submitted by cjsb28 to MtF

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The Definitive Tesla Model 3 Review: Own The Future Today


Tesla Model 3 LR AWD, Cross County Road Trip
After completing a cross-country road trip in my two-year old Tesla Model 3, I fell in love with it all over again and knew I had to write a post about it.
In my opinion, Tesla hasn’t just revolutionized the electrical vehicle (EV) industry, it has reinvented the car, as I will show you in this (highly biased) post.
Whether you’re in the market for a Tesla, are an existing owner or are simply curious about EVs, I hope you’ll get some value from this post.
You’ll see why comparing a Tesla to most cars today is like comparing a smartphone to a flip phone — it’s really that big of a difference.
If you don’t know much about how EVs work, I highly recommend watching this popular 10-minute YouTube video titled How does an Electric Car work? — it’s a bit technical but overall worth a one-time watch to understand why EVs are the future. It’s no surprise the EV market is expected to reach over $800 billion by 2027!
In this post, we’ll take a tour of the following aspects of a Tesla Model 3:
  1. App
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Driving
  5. Charging
  6. Safety
  7. Maintenance
  8. Community
  9. Cost
  10. Improvements
Here we go.

1. App

Before describing the car itself, I want to begin with one of the most convenient aspects of owning a Tesla: the Tesla mobile app. This serves as your primary car key and provides many remote control features.
The mobile app automatically unlocks and locks the Tesla 3 doors using bluetooth — this short-distance, keyless access is extremely convenient because it’s hands-free (e.g. phone in pocket) and eliminates having to carry a physical car key.
Tesla does provide key FOBs but in the two years of owning my car, I’ve only used them for valet parking or as a backup in my wallet, in case my phone dies.
Tesla Mobile App
The Tesla mobile app complements the interior touchscreen by giving you many controls outside the car.
The long list of remote control features include lock/unlock doors/trunks, turning on the climate, control charging, valet mode, honk/flash to locate the car, set speed limit…and more.
You can even use the Summon feature to slowly drive the car in reverse or forward — think remote control toy cars — this can come in handy for water puddles or tight garages.
Other neat features include the ability to send an address to your car from maps apps such as Apple and Google Maps (via the share option). You can even locate where your car is parked using the app.
These types of pragmatic, modern day tech features is what sets Tesla apart from all other car manufacturers.

2. Exterior

The Tesla 3 is a sleek looking four door sedan, which drives like an expensive sports car.
Tesla Model 3 - Exterior, Frunk and Trunk
The doors have unique flush handles that are aerodynamically designed to reduce drag. You’ll have to get used to giving one time instructions to first time users, such as “put the thumb on the fat part of the handle and open with the rest of your hand.“
Tesla 3 comes with two trunks, a conventional rear trunk and an innovative, front trunk (“frunk”).
I find the frunk extremely useful for small bags (e.g. groceries), since the incline keeps the bags from sliding around. I used to get strange looks when I opened the frunk but people seem to be getting used to it, thanks to a growing number of Teslas on the road.
The rear trunk also has lots of room with an additional compartment under the trunk’s floor. You can also fold the rear seats down for longer objects (e.g. skis); I was able to fit a hybrid bicycle in there once.

3. Interior

When people get inside a Tesla 3 for the first time, they are often taken aback by how bare the interior is.
https://preview.redd.it/k1zpvo0ms4y51.png?width=1600&format=png&auto=webp&s=b62a611c636906e381a3503b728a84b3ba2554d8
Then…they slowly begin to get wowed by how many features are packed in the deceptively minimalistic interior.
The Tesla 3 can comfortably seat five people, with heating in all seats. It has more legroom than conventional, internal combustion engine (gasoline) cars, since there’s no transmission hump in EVs.
Tesla Model 3 Minimalist Interior
With the rear seats folded down, there’s enough space to fit a twin size airbed — I have read about people sleeping overnight in their Teslas, at campgrounds.
The Tesla 3 has your basics: seats, air vents, several cup holders, multiple storage compartments, USB and 12v chargers, door locks, and window controls (auto retract for all four windows).
At the center of the front panel is a single, gorgeous 15-inch, extremely responsive, touchscreen to operate everything else (including the glovebox) — essentially your control center.
Touchscreen
Getting used to having everything on a single screen takes only minutes to get comfortable with, since most of us use mobile devices these days, so it’s a familiar feel.
I’ve personally fallen in love with the single touchscreen concept, since it feels like using a tablet (e.g. iPad) and gives the car a more airy feel, without the clutter of knobs you find in most cars.
It’s baffling to me that other car manufacturers haven’t realized the simple fact that consumers love their smartphones, since most cars still have a fragmented instrumentation dashboard.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support helps but it still doesn’t provide an integrated, smartphone-like, user experience (Ux) — imagine if you had part knobs and part touchscreen to operate your smartphone!
Settings
The 15-inch touchscreen provides you access to many features, almost too many to cover in detail in this post, so I’ll list them instead:
  • Speedometer
  • Door lock/unlock
  • Settings (glovebox, lights, locks, display, driving, Full Self-Driving (FSD)/Autopilot, navigation, safety, service, software, etc.)
  • Climate control
  • Wiper control
  • Backup camera
  • Navigation: Everything you can expect from a mapping app, with comprehensive supercharger network support built in. The satellite view is amazingly responsive!
  • Battery level, settings and consumption
  • USB connectivity/charging and 12V charging
  • Objects nearby (cars, trucks, motorcycles, signs, people, traffic lights, lane markings)
  • Dashcam – record video footage on a USB drive using Tesla’s external cameras (see video at the end of this post)
  • Custom driver profiles
  • Manual/automatic garage opener via HomeLink
  • Sentry alarm system
  • Tire pressure
  • Incoming phone calls
  • Seat belt warnings
Netflix - Full Screen
Then…there’s a whole section on the screen dedicated to apps, including:
  • Web browser
  • Calendar (integrated with your phone with auto navigation)
  • Entertainment (with full-screen support) including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Caraoke (with a “C”), Atari arcade games, drawing tool, fullscreen campfire, and more.
With so many entertainment options, you will have to find reasons to get bored on supercharger stops.
The Tesla air vents provide ample control via the touchscreen, with some very cool graphics to change the airflow direction, by “pinching” the air animation.
Climate Control
The steering wheel comes with scrolling wheels that serve multiple purposes, for example controlling the music volume/track, cruise speed, side mirrors, steering column tilt, and soft/hard rebooting the car. It also has a built in sensor to detect whether your hands are on the steering wheel during FSD (see below).
Steering Wheel Controls
Of course, you get all of the above….under a wondrous, panoramic, tinted glass roof that inspires you to daydream in the daytime and stargaze at night.
Tesla Model 3 Glass Roof

4. Driving

The Model 3 is extremely quiet, fun to drive, nimble on turns, and accelerates fast enough to make people’s heartthrob and say “wow!”
Imagine having the acceleration of an expensive sports car with the feel of a golf cart — that’s what driving a Tesla feels like.
As of November 2020, here were the 0 to 60 MPH speeds for the three Tesla 3 models (with the ability to go faster via a paid upgrade):
  • Standard Range Plus: 5.3s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 140 MPH
  • Long Range AWD (my car): 4.2s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 145 MPH
  • Performance: 3.1s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 162 MPH
To begin driving a Tesla 3, you turn it on by putting your foot on the brake pedal and turn it off by putting the car in park — there’s no “cranking” the car on or shifting the gear in park and pressing a STOP button — it’s essentially like turning your smartphone on and off.
Sometimes at a complete stop in my garage or parking spot, I’ll forget to put my car in park before opening the door — but no worries, the car automatically puts it in park for you.
Tesla also automatically engages the emergency brakes, when you park your car. It’s these little conveniences that Tesla has thought of, which make the Tesla so much fun to own.
While parking/reversing (e.g. in a tight garage), it helps to see a readout of exact measurement, and audio/visual warnings, for objects close by.
Tesla Nearby Objects Warning and Backup Camera
When you first use the accelerator pedal on a Tesla 3, it feels like you’re pressing against pure air since it’s so quiet but the highly responsive, induction motor makes it a lot of fun to go from 0 to 60 MPH (4.4s in my car)!
I absolutely love how quiet my Tesla drives. EVs in general are very quiet under 30 MPH, in fact so quiet that many countries will soon require sound emitters in EVs, for pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
Though the Tesla 3 is a sedan, the large battery in the center gives it the weight and low center of gravity, making it more nimble than many sports cars I’ve owned before.
Tesla Model 3 Battery
Single Pedal Driving
One of the coolest features of the Tesla is “single pedal driving” using a technology called Regenerative Braking (Regen for short; see Wikipedia for details).
When you let go of the accelerator, Regen enables your car to slow down rapidly while also charging your battery. My brake usage has reduced by 80% compared to conventional cars. For example, you can have the car slow down quickly for turns or gradually come to a complete halt at stop signs, without having to use the brakes.
Tesla provides an automatic brake HOLD function that enables your car to stay at a complete stop, without you having to keep your foot on the brake (e.g. at a red light). This HOLD feature also automatically engages, when the car slows down to 0 MPH.
The HOLD function complements regenerative braking, since you can let go of the accelerator while approaching a red light and have the car come to a complete stop, without having to use the brake pedal (i.e. single pedal driving).
FSD/Autopilot
If you’ve seen the 2004 movie “I, Robot” starring Will Smith (as Detective Del Spooner), there’s a scene after he crashes a car, when his lieutenant yells this at him: “What is the matter with you? Traffic Ops tells me you’re driving your car manually.”
We are as close to fully autonomous cars, as we've ever been in our lifetime.
There are five levels to autonomous vehicles:
  1. Driver Assistance
  2. Partial Automation
  3. Conditional Automation
  4. High Automation
  5. Full Automation
Tesla currently has Level 2 in its cars but has already demonstrated Level 3, in this popular two-minute YouTube video by Tesla.
However, even just Level 2 FSD is one of the coolest features in the car, since it significantly reduces the driver fatigue.
FSD - Highway (Utah), Night (Tahoe) and Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
FSD is a suite of features including Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, and others (e.g. Autopark, Traffic and Stop Sign Control).
FSD literally saves you so much driving that, at times, you feel like you’re babysitting the car, by just leaving one hand on the steering wheel with your feet lounging.
I tell friends driving with FSD feels like playing a video game in a comfortable lounge chair, where you have to pay enough attention to not die but you’re enjoying every minute of it.
I use FSD anywhere and everywhere there are visible lane markings, from 25 MPH street to 80 MPH highway, speed zones.
This technology keeps getting better with every software update — I’ve literally seen how it handles so much better over the past year, around things like construction areas.
You can engage just Autopilot (Traffic-Aware Cruise Control) by pressing the cruise control lever fully down once. To engage the full FSD, you press the lever down twice — this activates Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, and Auto Lane Change.
Let’s take a closer look at how FSD works.
According to Tesla’s website, “Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”
FSD - Cameras, Auto Lane Change
The Auto Lane Change feature is amazing and I absolutely love using it each time! You change lanes by simply giving the turn signal and let your car do the rest; i.e. the car will automatically change lanes, when it’s safe.
While doing my cross-country road trip, I came up with two supplemental terms to Auto Lane Change:
  • Delayed Auto Lane Change: When you know you can’t change lanes due to traffic, you can go ahead and “queue” your lane change request and the Model 3 will change lanes, when safe.
  • Accelerated Auto Lane Change: When you don’t want to wait, so you speed up to create a safe distance between the cars, which triggers Tesla to change lanes.
FSD requires you to have your hands on the steering wheel every 20-30 seconds — I rest my left or right hand on the bottom part of the steering wheel to avoid getting the warnings but I’ve heard of people using their legs, water bottles and other crazy ways to fool Tesla’s FSD into thinking your hands are on the wheel.
I’m a bit embarrassed to be boastful about this but I’ve come to rely so much on FSD that depending on surrounding traffic, I’ll work on my mobile device momentarily (e.g. editing documents, instant messages, quick web browsing). I feel irresponsible and guilty but part of me thinks, this is how we’ll gradually move to FSD…a couple of seconds at a time.
While I absolutely LOVE FSD and use it for 80% of my driving (highway, local), I can’t see a door-to-door FSD till 2022 or later, due to factors including Tesla’s technology, roads (e.g. lane marketings) and legislation.
Tesla’s FSD technology is already phenomenal and getting better rapidly but it has quirks that still gives me (and my family) a scare every now and then — enough for me to pay attention to the road.
You can learn more about Tesla’s FSD technology here: tesla.com/autopilotAI.

5. Charging

One of the things people worry about with fully electric cars is running out of charge — after two years of ownership and a cross-country road trip, I can assure you, this has rarely been a problem for me.
Many of my friends can’t believe I still charge on 120v, after 2 years of owning my car! I realize it’s extremely inefficient but we were considering moving and I just haven’t felt the need for it since I work from home.
120v (Level 1) charges at a pathetic 5 MPH but you can get 50+ miles overnight. 240v (Level 2) chargers charge between 10-50 MPH and direct current faster chargers (Level 3) such as the Tesla’s superchargers, can charge from a couple hundred to 1,000 MPH (using the new V3 Supercharging).

Tesla Supercharger Network and Three Levels of Charging (source: pluglesspower.com)
According to Tesla’s website, as of November 2020, there were 2,000+ Supercharger stations (20,000+ Supercharger outlets) worldwide, with many more coming soon.
Of course, you can always use 3rd party chargers or use the charging cable and adapter that comes with the Tesla. According to Statistica, there were over 24,000 charging stations (with over 78,000 outlets) in the US, as of September 2020.

6. Safety

Tesla cars have the honor of receiving some of the highest safety ratings possible, thanks to their drivepassenger protection (e.g. airbags, rollover, alerts).
For example, here’s a graphic from Tesla’s website, showing all 5-star ratings for a Tesla Model 3, from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Tesla’s NHTSA Rating and Model 3 Airbags
From close by objects in your garage to objects on the highway, Tesla 3 has you covered with alerts.
While driving, Tesla constantly detects surrounding objects and displays them on the touchscreen (e.g. car, trucks, motorcycles, people, stop lights, lane markings). Any endangering aspects will show up in red (e.g. lane changes, passing cars).

7. Maintenance

EVs in general require much less maintenance than internal combustion automobiles. Tesla maintenance comes mostly in the form of software.
Tesla updates the software in the car automatically, every month or so. If you’re new to a Tesla, it takes a little getting used to receiving software updates, similar to your smartphone or computer. Till this day, I find it fascinating that Tesla cars are just as much software (or more), as they are hardware.
Tesla Software Updates and Mobile Service
Tesla is also known to roll out some significant improvements via software updates — something you would expect to take your car in for (e.g. an acceleration boost from 4.4 to 3.9 seconds).
Much of any hardware maintenance can be done via Tesla’s mobile service, where someone comes out to wherever you want. For example, I just had my two-year service done for $192.05, in my driveway (see Tesla’s Car Maintenance page for details) with the following note in the electronic invoice:
“Checked Brake Fluid Brake Fluid at 80% life. Replaced Pair of Wiper Blades. Replaced Cabin Filter. Maintenance Performed Tire Rotation on Passengers side only, Drivers side tires are good where they are right now. Recommend new pass front tire soon.”
All other major services can be handled at one of Tesla’s Service Centers, by scheduling via the mobile app.
In my area, they tend to be booked 2 to 4 weeks out but the service otherwise is courteous and efficient, handled using a combination of SMS texts, in person and email communications and generous UbeLyft credits to get around.
One thing I’ve found to be a pain is when you have a flat tire — the 18″ tires used on a Tesla 3 can be expensive and hard to find, since they have acoustic foam inside them. This was the #1 concern on my mind, while traveling on my cross-country road trip.

8. Community

Unsurprisingly, Tesla has a huge fan base including online social networks, offline clubs, third party apps, and much more. The following are some popular clubs and third-party apps that I’ve come across and/or use regularly.
Clubs
  1. Reddit: Teslamotors, TeslaModel3, TeslaLounge, TeslaCam
  2. Forums: Official Tesla Forums, Tesla Owners Online, Tesla Motors Club, SpeakEV Tesla Model 3
  3. News: Teslarati.com, Electrek, CleanTechnica
Apps
Before my cross-country road trip, I decided to hook up my Tesla account to three northworthy third-party apps that many online EV/Tesla enthusiasts seemed to be recommending:
  1. Teslafi: Logs data for all your drives with amazing detail (e.g. graphs, battery consumption, maps, charging stops).
  2. A Better Route Planner (ABRP): Popular app used for more precise planning based on your EVs model.
  3. Stats: Provides several bells & whistles for Apple mobile devices (iPhone/iPad/Watch); e.g. schedule climate/charging, open doors/trunks via Siri, monitor battery health, and more.
It was a bit nerve-wracking to give my username and password to these apps but once you have an authentication key from one of them, you can use that for the others.
Advanced users with coding skills can use the unofficial Tesla JSON API to obtain an authentication key or use Teslamate, a self-hosted data logger with dashboards for driving, charging, efficiency, drain, stats, and much more.
Once you’re setup with these apps, the amazing data they provide makes the whole process worthwhile, as you can see from some of the screenshots below.
Third Party Tesla Apps
Aftermarket
There are plenty of aftermarket products for Tesla available on various websites. I’ve only purchased two aftermarket products: a Qi wireless phone charger and a spare tire kit by Modern Spare.

9. Cost

As of November 2020, here were the list prices for the three versions of a Tesla Model 3, in the US:
  1. Standard Range Plus: $37,990 (range 263 miles)
  2. Long Range: $46,990 (353 miles)
  3. Performance: $54,990 (315 miles)
FSD costs an extra $10,000.
If you’re considering buying any kind of EV, you can calculate the cost per mile by dividing its list price by its maximum range. For example, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range at a list price of $46,990 and range of 353 miles costs $133/mile, as shown in the below infographic from visualcapitalist.com.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing prices is that Tesla is years ahead of its competition with its innovative technology and supercharger network — something that’s hard to put an exact value on.
Cost of EV Ownership (source: visualcapitalist.com)

10. Improvements

I’ve owned some nice cars in my lifetime but never have I owned a car that I loved driving so much every single day, as much as I have my Tesla Model 3.
Tesla is as close to perfect as a car gets but it can use some tweaks, so here’s a list of flaws and/or wishes:
  1. Alerts: The on screen blind spot warnings aren’t good enough; most people have come to expect something built into the side mirrors.
  2. Wipers: Tesla’s automatic wipers were horrible but since Tesla launched its ‘Deep Rain’ neural network, they have improved over the past year but still remain slightly flaky (e.g. turning on a couple of times when it’s not raining).
  3. Voice: Support for voice commands is weak and nowhere as robust as Apple Siri or Google Assistant, which can be frustrating since I often have to turn to my iPhone (e.g. calling a local restaurant).
  4. Lights: It would be nice to have shortcuts to turn the head/park lights on/off, instead of going into Settings.
  5. Map: Tesla’s map is absolutely amazing but it’s missing waypoints, so you end up having to use something like the ABRP app (discussed above). Also, It would be great to see icons for what’s nearby (e.g. restaurants, service stations), similar to supercharger icons.
  6. FSD: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control is overcautious, e.g. it’ll keep 3 to 6 cars worth of distance versus the 1 car, I have it set at. Also, given the choice between tracking using the left and right lanes, FSD chooses to hug the right side, which is extremely annoying on highways (e.g. merging from on-ramps). Approaching stopped traffic at a red light on a major road can be nerve-wracking since the car waits too long to begin gracefully slowing down, thereby requiring harshefaster braking later. The merging on and off ramp with construction barrels, needs improvement.
  7. Battery: The remaining battery life isn’t 100% accurate to rely on entirely, since it doesn’t take into account leakage, winter weather, winds, etc. It can be nerve-wracking when you think you have 20%, just to find it’s dropped to 15% (and dropping).
  8. Apps: While it was great to be able to hook up third party apps, it would be nice if Tesla officially sanctioned them via some sort of an online marketplace and support for API keys. It would also be cool to add more 3rd party apps support; e.g. Waze, Amazon Prime, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto). Lastly, it takes too long to load the existing apps (e.g. Netflix, YouTube).
  9. Music: The music icon should be indicative of the map feature or the music and maps screens need to be separated. The music portion of the screen allows resizing but blocks the directions, in larger view. The music screen should provide more granular controls for track and display the time for songs (e.g. time left/played). There’s no way to pause/mute the radio on the screen (you have to use the wheel on the steering wheel). Lastly, the Spotify interface is flaky (e.g. long load times, checkmark is confusing).
  10. Tires: I realize many cars nowadays do not include spare tires but it would be nice if Tesla provided third party options on your website, similar to how Apple/Google have marketplaces with reviews, for third party products (e.g. Spare Tire Kit by Modern Spare). Of course, Tesla does offer roadside assistance service.
  11. Superchargers: It would be nice to have a tall, physical Tesla sign at supercharging stops, since it can be hard to find charging stations in places like shopping centers. A nice trick is to zoom in the destination using the satellite view of the map.
  12. Service: It can take from a couple to a few weeks to get a service appointment. I suspect some of the backlog is due to the issues earlier models had. I had one major and a couple of minor issues early on (steering wheel replacement, door hinges), which were covered under factory warranty and addressed quickly by Tesla.
  13. Miscellaneous: Having to reboot occasionally and/or rare black screen. Inside door opening controls can be confusing for first timers, since they look like window controls. Betteadjustable seat headrest that don't stick out so much. Rear windshield wipers to avoid water build up.

Conclusion

As detailed as this review is, I haven’t covered many features, for example Navigate on Autopilot, Autopark, Lane Assist, chime on green traffic light, automatic high beam, driver profiles, and so much more.
Additionally, Tesla continuously delivers features, so it’s not feasible to list everything here. For example, the beta version of the completely rewritten FSD began rolling out in October 2020. For more information on software updates and other great resources, visit tesla.com/support.
In my opinion, Tesla is years ahead of anything comparable on the market currently, thanks to their technology, customer data, supercharger network, battery life, customer service, and more.
Tesla has reinvented the car and thought of so many conveniences (e.g. single pedal driving, auto unlock/lock doors, low maintenance), that it makes it a pleasure to drive and own this car, every single day. Even long distance driving feels more like an enjoyable journey rather than a chore.
If you’re considering buying a Tesla 3, do it. Imagine driving the car of the future, today!
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Thanks for reading! :)

If you still want more...please see the original post for video reviews, more photos and...a work anywhere journey on this road trip.
submitted by startupsidekik to TeslaModel3