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.

Cybertruck to be waterproof and serve as a boat briefly, may also appear in Cyberpunk 2077

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cyberpunk

Cybertruck deliveries will start next year, but if you can't wait that long, you may want to head for Night City. Cyberpunk 2077 has teased that the highly anticipated vehicle in the real world may appear in the popular video game. But, if that's not enough, Elon Musk announced another exciting and unique feature for the futuristic-looking truck - it will be waterproof.

Let's start with the floating Cybertruck, which should not be a shock to anyone following the Tesla CEO. He bought the Lotus Esprit that James Bond used to jump off a pier and transform into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. He purchased the movie prop for just under $1 million in 2013 and told USA Today, "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform. What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."

In 2016 he tweeted that the Model S "floats well enough to be a boat," but he did not recommend trying it. Now he has claimed the Cybertruck could be used as a boat — briefly. Musk tweeted: Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes & even seas that aren't too choppy.

Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cyberpunk

In a later tweet, he gave some idea of the distance he has in mind: Needs be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel.

Twitter user @Erdayastronaut shed some light on why Musk would be singling out that area and distance. The tweet reads: "One of SpaceX's biggest problems is attracting talent to work at Starbase, which is extremely remote. South Padre is an awesome place to live, but it's almost an hour drive to Starbase despite being only 5 miles from Starbase because of the shipping channel." A quick check of Google Maps demonstrates what the user is describing.

South Padre is only five minutes from Starbase if you cross the channel
South Padre is only five minutes from Starbase if you cross the channel
Google

Musk's tweet also caught the attention of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Officials there seem to be a little concerned about the wording. The official account tweeted: Our derelict vessel crews are begging you to understand that anything that "serves briefly as a boat" should not be used as a boat.

CD Projekt RED also noticed Musk's tweet, and the makers of Cyberpunk used the opportunity to show two concepts of the Cybertruck as it would appear in Night City. Musk and Cyberpunk have had an ongoing relationship for a few years. Most recently, he demonstrated the power of the onboard computer's gaming system by playing Cyberpunk in a Tesla. However, CD Projekt RED did not mention if the Cybertruck in Cyberpunk would float.

Cyberpunk 2077 will be playable in the new Model S

Tesla hints at 'Reverse Summon' being available this year

Future Feature
By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla now mentions 'Park Seek' or what we know as reverse summon on its website'
Tesla now mentions 'Park Seek' or what we know as reverse summon on its website
Tesla

Tesla's team of Autopilot engineers is validating significant advancements to Full Self Driving Beta, including parking lot improvements. While Smart Summon and Reverse Summon were not specifically mentioned during the 3.5-hour AI Day 2022 event, parking lots were discussed, and Elon Musk gave a timeline of when enhancements are expected.

Reverse Summon or 'Park Seek' as Tesla appears to be calling it, is the opposite of Smart Summon. Whereas Smart Summon drives to you from a parking spot, users who activate Reverse Summon would have their Tesla drop them off at a location, perhaps closest to the entrance of a mall, and then find a parking spot. This feature was described by Musk on July 1, 2020, when he gave it a two to a four-month timeline.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of the Autopilot program, started the FSD portion of AI Day, saying, “FSD beta software is quite capable of driving the car. It should be able to navigate from parking lot to parking lot, city street driving, stopping for traffic lights and stops signs, negotiating with objects at intersections, making turns and so on.”

Several team members described how FSD has advanced and soon will be an integrated stack, meaning one code base that includes everything the program needs to navigate the car in a parking lot or on a busy highway. Musk is currently using this new stack, “it works quite well for me, but we need to validate it in all kinds of weather, like heavy rain, snow, dust and make sure it is working better than the production stack across a wide range of environments.”

Paril Jain, the Manager of Autopilot Motion Planning, expanded on what else will be included in the integrated stack, “we do expect to also include the parking lot stack as a part of the FSD stack before the end of this year. So, that will basically bring us to you sitting in the car in the parking lot and drive till the end of the parking lot, at a parking spot, before the end of this year.”

It has been previously reported that Reverse Summon would have three different modes to find parking spots that the owner prefers. The methods would include closest to the entrance, nearby a cart return, and the end of the parking lot for those who like to avoid tight spots that cause door dings. Musk said that the integrated stack is on track for release before the end of the year and maybe as early as November.

Tesla has also updated it's website to reflect this news, although no timeframe is given. The Autopilot section of Tesla's site now has a section titled "To your Destination." The description reads "When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you."

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.36.

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

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