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

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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

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

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