The Edge of the Road Podcast
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It's been almost three months since I took delivery of our Tesla Model 3. Last night was the first time my wife Darlene has driven it, and I recorded the historic event. She says she wanted me to have time to learn the complexities of the car, which I may have over-emphasized. Behind the wheel, her first reaction was "What's the big deal?" 

My cousin Jim, by comparison, went into orbit with delight when I took him for a test drive. You'll hear both of them in this episode.

My apology for the poor audio quality of my recording in the car. I'm not sure why my Zoom HD 1 did such a poor job, and I trimmed as much of the distortion as possible.

If you have questions or comments, please email me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT com. 

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: EOR_46_Darlene_and_Cousin_Jim.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09pm EDT

I finally received a wireless update of our Tesla Model 3's software today. Version 2018.26.1 includes the Summon feature, which enables me to move Tess forward or back using the Tesla app on my iPhone. This is a very weird experience, because you feel as if you are operating a toy car with a remote control, except the toy car is suddenly huge--a real car that's acting like a toy. It goes very slowly, and you have to keep your finger on the Forward or Reverse button the whole time.

Also in this episode, I will tell you what I learned on a round trip drive to Boston and back from Ocean Park, Maine, this week. Short version: driving with AutoPilot features is simply less of an energy drain than unassisted driving, especially if you find yourself driving into a major city like Boston during rush hour.

Direct download: EOR_45_Summon.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

On the way to Ocean Park for the Fourth, Tess and I stopped at the brand-new bank of superchargers at the Kennebunk service area on the Maine Turnpike (I-95). They're fast! 

Also in this episode, why AutoSteer sometimes tells me to put my hands on the wheel when they're already there, the brotherhood of Tesla owners, a couple of fails for autopark, and a new wall charger for Cambridge.

Yesterday's Fourth of July parade here featured a crowd favorite, the Ocean Park Marching Kazoo Band. I've participated in this musical troupe for several years now. Nothing says you love your country more than marching in a parade with a Kazoo in your mouth energetically humming "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Anchors Aweigh."

 

Direct download: EOR_45_Fourth_of_July.mp3
Category:Tesla Model 3 -- posted at: 5:40am EDT

Photo: Steve my Tesla repair technician installs a new taillight on our Model 3, parked near our home in Cambridge Mass. 

Well, that was something different! I've never had a car dealership send someone to my home to repair a car. But that's what happened when I called Tesla to report a problem with a taillight. You'll hear about my first Tesla housecall in this episode.

Also, something I'm learning not to love about AutoSteer, the challenge of smoothly transitioning from AutoPilot to drive it yourself, a quibble about windshield washer controls in the latest software update, an unsettling Adaptive Cruise Control incident this morning on the Maine Turnpike, and my Do It Yourself fix of a minor interior panel problem. 

Kes Woodward and Jeff Freedman emailed me wonderful comments that you will hear in this episode. If you have thoughts or questions or your own Model 3 experience to share, please email me at Podchronicles AT Gmail DOT com.

Direct download: EOR_44_Housecall.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

I drove our Tesla Model 3 to Maine for the first time on Sunday, in a driving rain. She had no trouble following the lane markings with Autosteer. 

When I arrived at Ocean Park, Maine, a brand new Tesla wall charger was waiting for us. It works perfectly, adding about 35 miles of range during an hour of charging. Thanks to Steven Corey for installing it with help from Mark Gustin!

Also in this episode, I will share what I've learned about how hard you have to hold the steering wheel for Tesla to recognize that you aren't napping, when to override Autosteer on a two-lane road in Ocean Park, which exit ramps Tess understands and which ones confuse her, and more.

I'd like to tell you about another podcast that is now on my must-listen list. It's Tesla Tidbits, a daily dose of news all about Tesla. It's a crisp, informative digest of interesting stories--highly recommended. Here is the iTunes Podcasts link and here is the show's Patreon page. The host's name, which I didn't know when I recorded the audio of this show, is D.J. Harbaugh.

 

Direct download: EOR_43_Tess_in_Maine.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

Much to my surprise, bumper-to-bumper traffic turns out to be the life-altering use of the Tesla's autopilot capability. Darlene and I drove for nearly an hour in order to cover just 11 miles between Cambridge and Boston the other night. This gave us a chance to settle into the ease of driving offered by Enhanced Cruise Control and Autosteer. What a difference it made!

When the autopilot mysteriously stopped working for about 10 minutes, I noticed how my anxiety level increased noticeably. The burden of knowing exactly when to slow in order to stay a safe distance away from the car in front of us was back on my shoulders, and I didn't like it. When Autopilot came back on, the driving was better. No question about it. 

Also in this episode, you will hear my wife Darlene's first impressions of Tess, not all of them favorable. 

I finally have learned how to use autopark, for parallel and perpendicular parking.

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

Direct download: EOR_42_Bumper_to_Bumper.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

The Yorkie Claire accompanied me to a Supercharger today in Hadley Massachusetts, conveniently located just a mile from the Paradise City Arts Festival, a favorite event of my wife Darlene's. Fun for everyone.

We drove about 100 miles from Cambridge to the festival, near Northampton. This was my longest drive yet, and it gave me a good chance to settle into familiarity with AutoSteer, automatic lane changing, and enhanced cruise control. At one point I realized that I was driving less well than the AI could. Not always, and not in every situation. But on a stretch of road without exits that puzzled the Autopilot, with average traffic--that's when the Autopilot seems safer than my own driving. 

I also met a guy Miles Andrew Chilson at the charging station who is an administrator of the Tesla Owners New England group on Facebook. My application to join is pending. 

Direct download: EOR_41_On_the_Road_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm EDT

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 gmail.com. 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