Tesla One Year Review at Nineteen Months

Well, not one year. More like 18 months, but close enough. I’m writing this at just over 17 months of ownership, from Sept 2021 to Mar 2023.

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

The Highlights

I never need gas and I have a full tank of fuel every morning. That’s the practical me, the real highlight is that the car is so fast it’s a lot of fun to drive. I stop by gas stations regularly for my diet Coke addition, and the few times I use a gas car, it’s strange to have to pull up to a pump and get fuel. In fact, I sometimes drive next to the little store and then realize I need to move the X5 because it needs gas.

The car is fast. Acceleration is still exciting when I use it. Mostly I drive in chill mode as I don’t need the speed, it’s surprising to passengers, especially the dogs, and I sometimes bounce my own head off the headrest. However, when I need it, it makes merging into traffic easy because I can quickly match speeds with others.

The car giving me access to data and controlling it from remote places is cool. I could start it for my wife when her phone died. I can heat/cool it from the gym or ski slope before I get to it. I have seen the UI change across 18 months to add features, like dog mode, like moving the camera display for turning, music controls, etc. I like this.

Autopilot is great. I use it in certain places, and it keeps the car moving down the road, through bends, letting me watch the road, but not have to focus so much. It’s really nice when I’m tired that it reduces the stress of driving quite a bit, especially over distances.

However, mostly, it’s just transportation that just works. I enjoy driving it, and there are times my wife and I are both wanting to drive it. I miss it when I’m in the X5, or the Suburban, or in a rental. At times, I wish we’d gotten an electric UTV instead of another gas one, but I’m not 100% sure Polaris has figured out the process of building a reliable electric car, both with batteries, motors, and software.

The Issues

Autopilot isn’t perfect. First, it doesn’t change lanes. I could subscribe and get that feature for a price, and perhaps I’ll do that sometimes, but it also has issues. Phantom breaking is much better, but it still flips out in a few places in Colorado. The stretch of C-470 from I-25 in the South going west to Kipling has a few places where the car reads the exit lane speed limit and slows from 70 to 55 quickly.

There also are a few places with sharp curves of cresting a hill where it doesn’t handle things. It also sometimes accelerates and brakes like a new driver, being late to do both. I tend not to use it with my wife because she gets annoyed. As a driver, I can predict these places and I’m ready.

Climate control isn’t perfect. Overall it matches temp well, but the lack of vents in the back, either in the console or side pillars, mean there isn’t great control in the rear. The lack of two fans or vent controls  in front also means that sometimes either the driver or passenger has to compromise with more or less fan than they might want.

The front defroster also doesn’t work well in sleet. Most of the time it works OK, but my wife struggled with it in a bad sleet/rain/snow storm. I think this wasn’t engineered as well as much of the car.

No having a rear wiper is annoying. It hasn’t been too much of an issue, but a couple times I wish I had one. It rarely rains in CO, so this might be a bigger issue in other places. The view out the rear is poor as well, which is annoying. With the cameras, I haven’t found this to be dangerous.

In line with that, I wish I had a way to pop out the door handles, like the Model S. In snow, or at night, I can’t always find them easily, especially while carrying stuff. Rather annoying.

It rarely happens, but sometimes the app loses connection to the car and I can’t open the doors. I have to kill and restart the app. Not a big deal, but it does happen. I also don’t always have my keycard with me, so I get slightly worried this might cause an issue at some point.

Lastly, a trim piece in the car broke and was replaced under warranty. It needs to be replaced again Sad smile

The Costs

What has this car cost me? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Fuel: $919.80 in electricity (ish, my logger was down a bit). This is for 28k miles. My 100mi cost is $3.28. I’ve also spent about $87.44 at Superchargers.
  • Windshield fluid – 5 bottles at around US$4
  • New Rims – 1058.96 (busted one in a pothole. A single one from Tesla was $400 so I just got a new set aftermarket)
  • Winter Tires – $465.18
  • Flipping tires – $270 (3 slips. summer->winter->summer->winter)

Of these costs, the tire costs would have been roughly what I’d have done in many other cars. Rims, hard to know. I could have bent one in any case, though the weight of the EV probably made this more likely.

Maintenance has been about $20. Fuel is low. My 100mi cost in the BMW is easily $14-15 or more. That would have been around US$4k. That’s $3k savings.

Registration is adding a new $8 sticker for EVs in my county, which I wouldn’t pay for a petrol car.


My wife and I were driving recently after a snowstorm. The car started beeping because it thought I was getting too close to the curb, but I was far away. However, the white snow had piled up and likely reflected enough to worry the car. Annoying. It also slowed the Autopilot during a light snow storm because it couldn’t see. Again, annoying.

However, we both think the car is still the best one we’ve owned. We enjoy it immensely, even with a few quirks. The dog mode alone has been a large value add for us.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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