A primer for people who are thinking about buying a Tesla

By Henry Farkas

My Tesla Model 3, unimaginatively named "Blue Tesla," is relatively new. I bought it in June 2020 during the pandemic. Didn't really need it. Not going many places. Bought it anyway. I'd been thinking about buying one for a long time.

Because it was a pandemic, they arranged a touchless buying experience. They called me from the Tesla place when the car arrived. They said it was the blue Model 3 outside the door of the showroom. It just so happens that I live relatively near the Tesla Service Center in Owings Mills, Maryland It looks more like a regular car dealership than most of the Tesla stores.

So I went there, and I couldn't figure out how to get into the car. Remember touchless? Well, there wasn't even a salesperson around. I had gone on a test drive a few months previously, before the pandemic. The salesperson had opened the door for me. I remembered that the model S has a handle that comes out to greet you when you put your hand near it. Not the Model 3. After poking and prodding a bit, I called the number they gave me and spoke to someone inside the showroom. He pointed out that if I pressed in on the back of the handle with my thumb, the front part of the handle will swivel out from the door, and I could grab it with my fingers. It's nice that the handles are flush with the doors. Less drag and less wind noise when driving at highway speeds. But people unfamiliar with the Model 3, including some of the Model S and X owners, won't be able to open the doors of your Model 3.

Then, I sat in the car and signed the papers. I put the papers and the check in the envelope and put it in the slot in the door of the showroom. I gotta say, this was the quickest car buying experience I've ever had, and I've been driving for sixty years. On the other hand, this car has lots of differences, and I didn't get an orientation. Fortunately, YouTube has the orientation. Here's a link to one of them.

Shifting is a bit different than most other cars. The shift lever goes back to a neutral position when you shift so you need to use other cues to know what gear you're in. I was used to this because I used to drive a Prius, and they have the same issue. Here are the clues.

If you're in Park, the picture of your car on the center screen is seen from the left front. The picture of your car, with its original color, is angled towards the left lower corner of the screen. Push down on the steering column mounted gearshift lever for Drive and up for Reverse.

In Reverse, the picture of the car is seen from the top, and you get a big picture from your backup camera with lines showing you where the car is going to go if you back up. That's a really good clue that you're in Reverse gear. Turn the steering wheel, and the lines move.

If you're in drive, the car is pictured as if you're looking at the car from the rear and slightly above. You can see that the car is going to go forward. If you're going less than five mph such as backing out of your driveway, you don't need to stop before shifting to Drive. You don't even need to step on the brake. Just shift to Drive, and the electric motor will stop the car and immediately start it going forward.

That will get you on the road. There are lots of helpful videos on YouTube about the features of the Model 3. Those videos are an excellent way to learn about your new car. Go to YouTube and search on Tesla Model 3.

Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic.

Elon to Switch to the Cybertruck; Volume Production in 2024

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Kim Java

Tesla's fourth quarter and 2022 earnings call with investors was mostly good news unless you were planning to drive a Cybertruck soon. While company executives eagerly jumped on every question asked by investors, there was a noticeable pause when a point-blank question was asked about Cybertruck's mid-year production date.

Elon Musk responded "um, we do expect production to start, I don't know, maybe sometime this summer. But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it's always very slow at first. So I wouldn't put too much thought in start of production."

Volume Production Next Year

If the millions of people with Cybertruck reservations were in attendance, you might have felt the air leave the room. The previous belief was mass production would start by the end of 2023. There may be some stainless-steel beauties on the road by then, but only a few. "It's kind of when does volume production actually happen, and that's next year," said Musk.

Perhaps sensing some disappointed buyers, Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering added, "(I'd) like just to emphasize on that, we've started installation of all the production equipment here in Giga Texas, castings, general assembly, body shops. We built all our beta vehicles, some more coming still in the next month, but as you said, the ramp will really come 2024."

The Cybertruck Will be Elon's Next Car

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 at the memorable event that included the unbreakable armor glass smashing. Musk was wearing the smashed glass Cybertruck t-shirt while taking questions from investors. While the wait continues, he is adamant that it will be worth it, "So it's an incredible product. I can't wait to drive it personally. It will be the car that I drive every day… it's just one of those products that only comes along once in a while, and it's really special."

The original release deadline was set for 2021. However, the production date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, like a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a positive sign that beta vehicles have been produced. Images of what appears to be a Cybertruck were leaked a few months ago.

Recently, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen did confirm that the Cybertruck was ready for production, but it's a work in progress. Every Tesla beta product gets thoroughly examined and meticulously reviewed before the next step. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

A Look at Tesla's 2022 Numbers and Record Quarter

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Statista

Tesla published their Q4 2022 and full-year financial results, setting new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations. Tesla’s annual profit rose to $12.6 billion in 2022, from $5.5 billion in 2021. Annual revenue rose to $81.5 billion, from $53.8 billion the year prior. Tesla reported fourth-quarter revenue of $24.32 billion beating analysts' $24.07 billion estimate. The automaker also reported earnings per share of $1.19 beating analysts' $1.12 estimate.

Tesla’s stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the earnings release and surged more than 10% the next day.

Tesla's Q4 2022 revenue set a new record for the company, up 59% from a year earlier. In addition to automotive revenue of $21.3 billion, Tesla recognized $324 million of deferred revenue from the company’s driver assistance systems.

FSD Beta Numbers

Tesla reported that 90 million miles have now been driven with FSD Beta, up from 58 million miles in the previous quarter. The company also confirmed that they have about 400,000 FSD Beta users in North America, a sizeable increase since the last report. With such a steep increase in miles driven and FSD Beta becoming widely available in North America, Tesla is making significant progress with its autonomous driving software.

In late 2022 and into this year, Tesla began cutting prices on its cars globally. Elon spoke about how recent price cuts have fueled a surge in demand for Tesla: “Thus far in January we’ve seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in our history. We’re currently seeing orders of almost twice the rate of production.” He added: “These price changes really make a difference for the average consumer.” Tesla acknowledges that average sales prices have to decrease over time because affordability is part of Tesla's mission to grow into a company that sells multiple millions of cars annually.

Price cuts will impact profitability, but margins should remain healthy, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn affirmed. Tesla has wider operating margins than the industry average, which allows them to make such price cuts.

Elon issued an uncertain forecast for 2023, saying Tesla planned on 1.8 million vehicles for the year without specifying whether that was a target for production or deliveries. If the company were to deliver 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, that would result in 37% annual growth.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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