The Edge of the Road Podcast
All about the Gadget on Wheels formerly known as your car.


Tesla Model 3



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May 2018
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Our Tesla Model 3 was briefly plugged into a 110-volt outlet in my parents' garage in Cambridge, Mass. But after about a day of charging, I received a notification on my iPhone via the Tesla app that the charging had ended. 

We turned to ace electrician Pat Flaherty, who has looked after my parents' electrical equipment for decades, to figure out what happened. His diagnosis suggests that if you are going to charge a Tesla in your garage, you should set up a separate circuit for it, lest the combination of the car and, say a garage door opener or two, might trip the breaker.

I had fun popping the front trunk from 2,000 miles away, so Pat could put the charging cables away when we determined they wouldn't be needed in the garage for the next week while we're in Denver.

The app shows that, without the charging cable attached, the car lost 5 miles of range the first day and 2 miles the second. So that's close to what the Tesla guy in Dedham had predicted--a drain of about 1 percent of the battery's range for each day it's unused and unplugged.

Direct download: EOR_40_Unplugged.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:59am EDT

In this episode, we go looking for the Tesla Supercharger station in Cambridge, Mass., and learn there is a charge for topping off the battery on a Model 3. 

Also, a friend of mine in Maine suggests Kennebunk's new Supercharger station, now under construction, may contain even faster next-generation Superchargers. Here's hoping!

I am in Denver for a couple of weeks and left Tess charging from a 110-volt outlet in my parents' garage in Cambridge. This was working well until the outlet tripped itself off with a built-in circuit breaker. 

Also, how come Tess would not unlock the door when I approached with the Tesla app on my iPhone the other day. Naturally, it happened during a downpour. I figured out that I needed to wake up the phone for it to send a Bluetooth handshake to the car. 

If you have comments or questions, please email them to me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT Com. Thanks for listening!

Direct download: TKC_39_Supercharged.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:57pm EDT

Above: Tess, our Model 3, this morning at St. Camillus Church in Arlington, Massachusetts.

In this episode I consider a lapse in my attention this morning on the way home from a meeting.

Tess was moving me through stop-and-go traffic, inching along safely, stopping when appropriate, then waiting for a gap before resuming forward motion. I might have been inclined, if driving a traditional car, to take advantage of the low-risk driving conditions to add a few favorites to the radio stations list. But with Traffic Aware Cruise Control and AutoSteer running, I noticed that I felt a little safer paying a little more attention to the radio than to driving. This set off a flashing yellow light in mind that I want to remember as I become increasingly confident in Tess's ability to take over tasks I've been doing myself for 50 years.

How will I recalibrate my level of attention as a result of this new technology? I don't think it makes sense to pay exactly as much attention as I did when everything in the car was controlled by me, the driver. That would be like demanding the same mindfulness watching a Cuisinart food processor slice carrots as you'd employ slicing them manually with a sharp knife, right?

That said, I don't want to train myself to apply "just enough" attention driving the Tesla. I want my normal driving to be based on quite a bit more mindfulness than necessary. Where is that level of mindfulness? To be determined. 

If you would like to share your experience with a Tesla or similarly equipped car, please email me at podchronicles AT Same request if you have any questions about the car or something I've talked about. 


Direct download: EOR_38_Mindfulness_Lesson.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

My grandson Jake, 4, helped charge the Model 3 this afternoon at a ChargePoint charging station in Watertown, Mass. In about 20 minutes we added about 12 miles of range to Tess. It cost $10 to set up an account with an iPhone app, but the electricity was free.

Also in this episode, I will try to explain what it feels like to drive in an entirely new way using AutoSteer. The car's steering wheel moves to track the road at low speeds and during highway travel. My hands hold the wheel just as they have for 50 years, but now they move where the wheel moves itself. Except--and you need to be VERY ready for exceptions--when the car decides to exit the highway before you intended. It's all fascinating to me, and I hope you will enjoy this episode all about a day when a couple of notable firsts were experienced thanks to our new Tesla.

Direct download: EOR_37_A_Day_of_Firsts.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:41pm EDT

Today I picked up our Tesla Model 3, named Tess, at the dealership in Dedham, Massachusetts. This episode captures the orientation session I received from a very sharp Tesla rep who used to work art Apple, as well as my observations at the end of the day after driving Tess to Cambridge. 

I have not yet tried the auto-driving features, self parking, and other capabilities. But I love the way the car handles and the magic-carpet silence and power of the ride. If I could wave a wand I'd eliminate the sunroof, which has just one filter setting that lets a lot of sunlight into the car on a sunny day like today. But that's about my only quibble. 


Direct download: EOR_36_Meet_Tess.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:32pm EDT

A Tesla Model 3 we saw in a Boston showroom in January

After a six-year hiatus, I am dusting off this podcast in order to share with you our experience with the Tesla Model 3 that I will pick up on Tuesday, May 9, 2018, in Dedham, Massachusetts. Darlene stood in line outside the Denver Tesla showroom on a cold day in March two years ago, which put us in line to receive one of the first non-employee Model 3s to be delivered.

I am studying a Model 3 Owner's Manual that I found online and watching YouTube videos created by enthusiastic early owners of the car.

Direct download: EOR_35.mp3
Category:Tesla Model 3 -- posted at: 5:18pm EDT

EOR 34 Driving East

Three topics from our 2,000-mile drive from Denver to Cambridge, Mass., last week in our trusty 2012 Ford Focus named Henry:

1) If you leave the car running and walk off with the smart key, can someone else drive the car away? We have actually done this a couple of times, most recently at the parking lot of Scooters coffee shop in Omaha. The word from the SYNC support center is no, someone who attempts to drive the car away without a key on their person will not be able to make it go anywhere. Good news. Note to self: turn off the car when you leave it!

2) How we used Bluetooth to listen to An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer on Audible..

3) How to load your destination for the next day's drive from your computer at the hotel to the car, via Google Maps and SYNC Services. Very cool!

Direct download: EOR_34_Drive_East.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

TKC 33 Darlene Learns Parking Assist

This past Sunday morning, which happened to be our 28th wedding anniversary, Darlene and I and the Yorkie Claire drove to a quiet residential neighbohood of Denver for a parking-assist marathon. Since I drive Henry, our 2012 Ford Focus, a lot more than Darlene does, I've had a chance over the past year to get very comfortable with the technology, which helps you ease into a tight parallel parking space with no hands on the wheel. To achieve mastery of parking assist, I recommend lots of practice on streets without traffic. You want to get so this new driving tool is second nature. You want to trust it as much as you do the steering wheel. When you turn the wheel to the right, you trust the car will move to the right. Now, when I see a good parking space, I trust the car to maneuver its way into it flawlessly.

One key point we learned: When using Parking Assist, leave your foot on the brake the entire time. You control your speed in small increments with varying pressure on the brake. Also, look for your target parking space with your eyes and spatial judgement; you don't need to depend on the car's sensors and beeps to find the space. Turn control of the car over to the technology once you know which space you plan to park in. 

Parking on the left side of the street is possible on a one-way street, if you activate the left-turn signal while approaching the space. 

What other tips have you learned about parking assist? Please leave a comment here or email me at PodChronicles AT Gmail DOT com. 


Scott Monty of Ford tweeted me a link to this fantastic video titled "The Parisian Pinball Park." It highlights the problems of NOT using Parking Assist. Ford is going further, indeed!

Direct download: EOR_33_Parking_Assist.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

EOR 32 Listening to Podcasts

Since I imagine some of you are listening to The Edge of the Road in your car, I thought I would explore the way I listen to podcasts in Henry, our 2012 Ford Focus who turns one year old today. In this episode I will discuss playlists in iTunes, information available at SyncMyRide, and the options for listening to podcasts by Bluetooth or USB connection in the car. 

If you also listen to my Kindle Chronicles podcast, you will probably enjoy this On the Media special titled "How Publishing and Reading are Changing." 

If you would like to share your work flow for listening to podcasts in the car, please leave a comment here or email me at PodChronicles AT Gmail DOT com. 

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: EOR_32_Podcasts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

It turns out you can name favorite destinations with MyFord Touch SYNC, as I found out on our 2012 Ford Focus with help from a SYNC agent in a chat session last night. From the home screen, press the Navigation corner in the upper left right. Then press the Destination button. Press Favorites and you will see a button to add a favorite, and you can give it a name, like "Doctor's Office." I had this wrong in the last episode of the podcast, so this is a correction.

Category:Tips -- posted at: 10:54am EDT