When Tesla invited me to join their Early Access Program for a chance at testing the FSD Beta, I wasn’t the only one invited to be part of the program. At first, about 10 people only, from around the world (in USA really), were given the chance to become beta testers of the new FSD Public Beta program. The keyword here is “Public”. This small group of beta testers has grown to a larger group.
At the time of this article, there are probably between 1,800 to 2,000 beta testers of FSD, per Elon Musk Tweets, and probably closer to between 50 to 100 people that are showing videos of the beta to the general public.
Here is a short list of some of the testers that I have been able to talk to and compare videos of the FSD Beta with. I knew many of them from before we had FSD Beta, but I have also met many of them online, due the the fact that we are helping Tesla with this, and it is almost inevitable that we find each other’s content online.
Feel free to check them out. Everyone has a different style when making videos, so you will be able to see the capabilities from different perspectives.
Here are some of their YouTube channels (and mine):
Since many new Tesla owners struggle with the basic aspects of road tripping with the Supercharger network at first, I want to provide highly valuable tips for beginners.
If you change the charging stops provided by the onboard navigation, it’s almost 100% guaranteed that you will delay your trip’s total time. Especially, when looking to arrive at charging stops with a higher state of charge on the battery. Why? Because charging will be slower and covering less distance per charge. Whenever you are driving with multiple stops to reach your destination, you want to drain as much battery as possible, to (a) cover more distance, and (b) to charge faster. Arriving with “a lot of juice” to charge actually delays trips.
As you do more road trips, you should get the hang of it, and realize that you can arrive with 1% to 5% with no anxiety. Then when you start charging, you will get a lot of energy really quick, and get enough charge to get to the next stop, without charging more than you need.
You can set the maximum charge to 100% and that will have no impact onto the actual road trip navigation instructions. When you start charging at every stop, the time remaining to charge is based on getting onto the next stop. But, if you miss when it says it’s ready to go, the instructions change to “how much longer it will take to your maximum configured charge”, thus delaying your trip. For example: Say your maximum charge is set to 90%. Plugging in may say you will be ready in 15 minutes and at 15 minutes, your range could be 150 miles.
When you have enough charge to leave, after a minute or two, the time to finish charging may change to 45 additional minutes. That’s 45 minutes delay on your trip, and you may not be able to get to a further charger anyway. This is where charging just enough, makes the biggest difference on your trip. This is not speculation. All of the above is based on driving USA coast-to-coast several times in my Model 3, and to Canada and back to South Florida.
If you have any questions, please, reach out to me directly on Twitter @TesLatino.
This morning, I read an article published in a major media outlet, by General Motor’s president, that frankly worries me. It feels like an article that tries to instill fear, instead of supporting an immediate move to drive electric vehicles. Of course, this way of thinking, is best for any manufacturer that is still unable to produce, only electric cars. So I understand it. But it is plain wrong, and misleading.
The first obvious, fear-proposing argument, is about the range. I am going to forget for a moment that any Tesla is capable of a lot more range, than what most people need on a daily basis. Take for example a VW e-Golf. With a claimed range of 126 city/111 highway, this may not seem like a good option to switch to electric. Not because of Volkswagen’s controversial cheating scandals, but because most people think they need to have a lot more range available, from a single charge.
This is inaccurate. Most people have an average of 20-30 miles of driving on a daily basis. So, let’s double that… no, let’s triple it. Let’s say you want to be able to cover three times the average daily driving needs, 60-90 miles. You see where I am going? Not everyone has a garage, but those that do have one, or that have access to an electric outlet where the car is parked, can wake up with a full battery, every morning. In the United States, there are many places where people can charge for free or at a very low cost.
Many employers are also installing EV chargers to incentivize employees. There are many shopping centers and government locations that also provide chargers. Additionally, keep in mind that there are more places with electricity, than there are gas stations. Mostly, any building is capable of trickle-charging or even fast charge an electric vehicle.
The most common argument about charging infrastructure, is that there is a lack of charging infrastructure. Again, this is misleading. It may be true under some circumstances, but for the vast majority of people, this is simply not an issue. Tesla alone has a massive infrastructure in the United States. Does it need to improve? Yes. Is it improving. That would be a solid, yes, and it is accelerating at an incredible pace. But Teslas are not the only electric vehicles out there. There are exponentially more EV charging stations in the United States, besides Tesla’s Supercharging network. A simple internet search will give you hundreds, if not thousands, of charging stations near most populated areas.
To be fair, there is room for improvement on those, regarding speed, and in some cases, availability, due to lack of regulations and enforcement by the authorities, to stop charing stations from being blocked by non-charging vehicles, but for most people, this should not be a problem. Again, the fact that most people can charge at home, should make this a non-issue.
This is another myth. Although it is true, that sometimes, the initial investment on an electric vehicle, is higher than its gasoline or diesel powered counterparts, the savings in total cost of ownership, make it a well balanced, and in many cases cheaper endeavor. There are many way to run the numbers, but just to give you an idea, an EV does not require frequent, oil changes, filter changes, and for most people, hardly ever brake pads need to be replaced, by using regenerative braking. Using the electric motor to slow down the vehicle, thus not wearing out the pads as much as people are used to. Now, how much is a life worth? When you learn the health benefits of not using a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle, and in many cases, the exponentially better safety from an EV, it is an even better story about cost, in favor of EVs.
My opinion is, that the spreading of negative information regarding ownership of EVs, gets amplified when the companies and people with enough influence keep doing it. Instead, they should try to influence change in a positive way. For example, instead of telling someone that they are better off buying a gasoline or diesel vehicle because they will have more options to “fill up”, we should be asking the right questions, and providing solutions, to make the transition to an EV, easy.
Q: Do you have a garage or can you park near your home? A1: Yes.
That means that you almost never, have to go anywhere to charge your car. You can charge at home, and wake up with a full charge every day.
A2: I don’t have a garage or can park near my house to charge.
Here is a list of all the public charging locations near you.
This is only one example, of many, to help people on their transition to a sustainable-energy and transportation future.
I was able to meet with someone that has access to a beta version of the Advanced Summon Tesla feature. While I was with the beta tester, I was able to capture the behavior of a Tesla Model 3 on an empty parking lot.
While there were some glitches (what beta software doesn’t have them), I was very impressed with what I saw. The car went on multiple occasions, to different spots, as the commands were entered on the Tesla app.
It seems like by design, the feature is not meant to move a car from one parking spot to another. We could not get the car to park in a new location properly. However, it seems like it almost perfectly met the purpose of going from a parked location to its owner. By either using the “find me” feature, or by reaching a pin, dropped in the Tesla app map.
Click here to load the Model 3 manual. The Model S and Model X are also available.
Please, read it. It’s the only fun car manual in the market and you will be glad you did.
It’s a car, but it will also give you a lot more than just transportation, so keep it looking good. I use Griots and Chemical Guys products, but use whatever you prefer. You will be glad to keep it looking like new.
Take your time to learn how to operate Autopilot. It’s really easy, but you will quickly learn it’s benefits as well as it’s limitations. Keep in mind one thing though… It is NOT full self driving so it will NOT stop at traffic red lights or stop signs (yet).
Follow the tire manufacturer recommendations and they will give you great service. Tire pressure is always important in all cars, but you don’t want to neglect the landing pads of your new spaceship Get familiar with how to properly rotate your tires.
Ask a current Tesla owner about charging at home or on the road. This will replace the visits to gas stations and will eliminate direct fuel fumes moving forward in your future. Do it correctly.
Get ready to ignore those that don’t understand or don’t want to understand that electric cars ARE better than gasoline cars. Especially Tesla. At the same time, get ready to join one of the most exciting communities. Membership is for a lifetime. And it will be great.
In cold climates, just use common sense. Tesla cars are at the very least as good as any other car, but definitely, better than most.
Take advantage of the the front storage for ALL food takeout. The food’s smell will NOT get inside the cabin.
If you have young children, turn on cabin overheat protection. You never know when it will save a precious little one’s life.
Use a referral code to take advantage of free supercharging. If you don’t have one, I can give you mine. It is rafael41049 you can load it automatically here https://ts.la/rafael41049
Oh, one more thing, you will effortlessly be able to beat most cars on the road at the traffic light. Don’t over do it. Be a safe driver.
Now, if I missed anything, please, ask away. I’m here to help.
It was a beautiful morning on January, 2017. It had been a few weeks since the last time I took a ride on my Hayabusa. It’s like a fuel burning rocket that can do 0-60 Mph in an incredible 1.7 to 3.0 seconds, depending on the location, rider and tires. I was actually planning to postpone my ride, until I had a chance to do some maintenance on it, but at the last minute, I decided to take it to work. After all, it was a beautiful day.
Everything was going well. It was basically stop and go traffic. No high speeds. Just typical South Florida city streets bumper-to-bumper morning traffic. I noticed a driver in a small hatch-back was driving erratic. After a few minutes, it seemed like they were gone.
Then when I least expected it, the same car cut me off suddenly, invading my lane. Then the car in front of them stopped, so they had to stop. I had nowhere to go.
Luckily, I was able to swerve, and avoid a head-on collision. However, what happened next, was one of my biggest nightmares. This was not a bad dream. It was real life, and I was about to lose it. I down-shifted. I gracefully applied the brakes. Lost traction and corrected to one side. Avoided the first car. Got into oncoming traffic, and corrected back. Clipped the mirror of the second car that was in front of the car that made me start the sliding nightmare.
Then…lights out. When I woke up, I was on the ground. Where was I? Where was my motorcycle? What happened? I had pains, I have never before experienced my entire life. Strangers were surrounding me. I couldn’t stop screaming from the pain. Lights-out again. Second time I recover my senses, I was able to manage the pain a bit better. Still screaming a little, but now I knew what was going on. Kind of.
The paramedics were working on me. They asked me where it hurts. “My clavicle! My ribs! My right leg! Please, help me!” I said. “Am I going to die today?”, I asked. They said, “No sir. We’ll take care of you. You’re going to be fine. Try to stay calm.” Easy to say when you are not the one that is laying on the ground with no clue of what will be the long term result of someone else’s bad actions.
You may be wondering… “What did the person that created the accident say?”. Well, no one knows. They didn’t stop, and I was left to fend for myself. It’s ok now. I forgive them. Wherever they are, I hope they have a healthy and long life and never have to go through this nightmare.
After a while, they got me inside an ambulance, took me to the Emergency Room at the nearest hospital, and I went into surgery almost immediately. They had to work on my right leg. I had shattered bones and a broken ankle. They had to re-arrange everything, like a puzzle. Then they had to screw a metal plate to hold all the bones in place with 14 screws. The rest of my injuries would need to heal with rest and therapy.
Ok. back to how my new Tesla Model 3 impacted my recovery. After about 8 months with little to no mobility, I started walking. It was painful, but it needed to be done. I did all my therapy sessions, exercised at home, and was on a decent track to full recovery. But I started getting angry and depressed. I was tired of it. I wanted to quit. But I never did. The next phase started. I was better, but since there were many complications to do even the most basic things, my anger started getting the best of me. I didn’t want to go out. I wanted to stay in my house. What’s the point to go out if I can’t enjoy it.
About a year before my accident, I gave my deposit for the sight-unseen Tesla Model 3. It was the only thing I was looking forward to. I researched everything there was to know about the Model 3 online. The online forum, Model 3 Owners Club would always come up when I was looking for something new to learn about my new car, if I ever got it. Trevor, the forum founder and owner, was of great help. I was mostly a reader, not a poster. Eventually, I started posting my own questions. As I learned more, I started to provide answers. Not much though.
Fast forward to the year 2018, and the anxiety built up even more. My depression whenever I wasn’t reading about Tesla, Space X, or Elon just started to take a toll on me. I never really discussed it with anyone, but everyone around me, knew I wasn’t happy. They knew I was trying very hard, but I needed something else. Then, it finally happened. My Tesla account finally allowed me to configure my new car. I picked all the options I wanted (or that were mandatory if I wanted the car rather sooner than later), and gave my final deposit for the order. About two months later, I went to the Tesla store in Dania Beach, Florida, to pick up my Midnight Silver Metallic Model 3. I was like a little kid. I could barely sleep that night, in anticipation of picking up the car the next day.
The morning or May 29, 2018 I was a totally different person. No longer in a wheelchair, but using a cane to control my walking, that morning I decided to leave my cane. I was so excited, that I was walking almost perfectly fine. Just a few months before, in February, I met Trevor from the forums in person at a Cars and Coffee event. He flew in from Canada, and that’s when we met. I was so happy.
We took a drive-sharing service to the Tesla delivery center. Arrived early. The staff there was great. I had my family with me. I was wearing my infamous sun glasses. I had tears in my eyes, but no one noticed. I was so emotional that after so many years (I was dreaming of owning a Tesla since the early Roadster days), I was finally going to get it, but I was hiding it. At least I thought I was. Then, it was my turn. The store manager said “We are ready to show you your Model 3”. They opened the door to what I like to call “The Studio”. There it was. With a big red bow. The store staff started applauding. As if I had won an Emmy award. A dream come true. A Tesla. It’s mine. I loved it since the moment I saw it. I wanted to take it on the road immediately. I forgot about my ankle. I forgot about my leg. My ribs were healed. My clavicle was solid. My shoulder…well, it’s a work in progress.
But I finally had my car. It was a joyful moment. Almost instantly I felt my body reacting to the good news. My body was telling me “now you have to get better, you must enjoy this moment and everything else that comes with it”. I went over every inch of the car. It was perfect. Time to sign those papers and make it official. Once we were done, we said our goodbyes to the store staff, and went on our way. Wow! What a car. I had rented one about two months before I picked up mine, but mine felt better. It was better. It was mine.
Fast forward a bit over 6 months, and I have driven over 20,500 miles. I’ve been very active in terms of going out since the day I picked up the car. My first road trip was to Key West, with the car full with family and friends. Later, I did a couple more trips down south to the end of the Florida peninsula. I also went several times to Orlando, Florida, which is a couple hundred miles away from home. I love driving the Model 3. As a result, I have been a lot more active, some of the times, I am able to walk one or two hundred steps without much pain. I call that progress.
About three weeks ago, I drove from home Sunrise, FL to Philadelphia, PA. It’s a 1,200 mile trip each way. Last week, I drove from home to Los Angeles, California. I went to Silicon Valley, Fremont, Anaheim… I went to the Apple headquarters visitors center, and a few other technology giants. I even went to my work’s West Coast headquarter in Santa Clara.
So, you see, a Model 3 is not only “a thing to maximize enjoyment” like Elon Musk would say, it is also a healing charm. It’s probably the best car on the road, with only close competitors being from the Tesla brand. No one else gets even close. The Supercharging network makes long travel very easy, and I have met many people that I know will remain somewhat friends, for a very long time.
If you ever have any questions about the Tesla lifestyle (yes, it is a lifestyle, until it becomes a common thing), please reach out to me on Twitter @TesLatino or @rafaelsantoni, and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have. If you are reading this, I hope one day I get to meet you, and share experiences together.