Tesla Software Update 7.1 added auto summon, you can call your car to meet you outside, or have it park back in your garage automatically.
This felt a bit scary, especially with my angled garage, and things to hit, but it actually worked, including getting my garage door opened and closed ok. Very nice :)
This video shows the process from outside the car, using the key:
While this one shows it from inside the car, using the android app:
This is a very interesting Dashcam. I'll start with the conclusion: it's a lot of value for money: android, ability to run almost any app from android market, dual dashcam, and wifi, for just $130!!! but sadly, it's actually a bit too cheap: the cameras are of poor quality and there isn't enough RAM to run other android apps well.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01967VSJY
Here are the main points:
Toguard is one of those new Chinese companies that actually cares about customer support and doing the right thing. I have to give them credit for this and hope more copanies will do the same. The product is far from perfect, but from my interactions with them, they really care about making it better. Despite the low price, they also give you extras like they nicely bundle both a 12V cigarette lighter adapter and ODB2 power connector for constant power. They also provide some plastic tools to help you route wires inside your car without scratching it (very handy for routing wires inside your car).
The device is a full featured quad core android tablet in side your rear view mirror. The previous dual core version was not able to reliably run recording and another app at the same time. This one almost is, except for its biggest problem: only 512MB or RAM. This is totally insufficient and causes major slowdowns, or google play services to crash pretty often due to lack of RAM. I would happily have paid more to get a 2GB device, it is very disappointing the manufacturer did not choose 2GB and settled for a totally inadequate 512MB (it's enough to run just the dashcam, but not run that plus run another big app like google maps).
It runs android kitkat, good choice since it's a good release for devices low on RAM (people who somehow wish it had a newer android don't realize new android versions take more memory and do not offer more features that are important for this device).
You get a real android tablet in a 5" factor. You can add our google account, install google maps or waze (but for me they will be super slow or barely unusable), and you could even install calendar or gmail if you wish.
The wifi is 2.4Ghz only and would be used to install apps at home, or tether to your phone, but that's a bad choice because wifi tethering is very expensive on batteries for your phone. Still, it's better than nothing, and ok for you if you have a fancy car that provides its own wifi hot spot.
Sadly it does not come with bluetooth. Bluetooth would have been a perfect way to get internet from your phone via bluetooth tethering without killing your batteries. While having callers show up on BT could be useful for some, most cars do this now, so I don't really need that feature, and the audio from that mirror isn't great anyway. But it could be nice to have audio out from the mirror to your car stereo if you're doing maps routing.
The video recorder works but is lacking most of the features present in the previous dual core device. This is not a showstopper, but it's disappointing
It comes with a build in navigation app that works offline. I didn't really like the UI and I'm not going to use an inferior maps navigation app when I have google maps on my phone with real time traffic.
However, the ODB2 wiring is mostly pointless because this version of the hardware does not support motion detection.
The rear camera wire is not good though because it contains a big adapter bulge in the middle which makes it impossible to route inside your car due to how thick that bit is.
The rear camera is only 720p and very poor quality but it will read a place from a car that is stopped behind yours. If any car is moving, the picture will be unusable
The rear camera has a red wire you're supposed to connect to your rear headlights. This is however difficult to do on my car, and I wish they had just used a light sensor to remove the extra wiring requirement. In my testing, I did not wire the night vision LED, although to be honest, I doubt they can do much except maybe to video the outline of someone who would come on foot to break your rear window. If you're driving, headlights from cars behind you totally overwhelm the camera.
Generally both cameras will not let you see any license plates if any cars are moving. I think the sensor size is too small and if anything moves, even during bright daylight, the picture and license plates come out totally blurry
Sadly the mirror itself doesn't have a good mirror material and doesn't give a very good view during the day and a worse one at night. That's a bit concerning for wha't supposed to be a rear view mirror before anything else.
The GPS is a great addition for the base price (many dashcams do not include it by default). First I thought mine wasn't working well, until the nice Toguard support told me that it had to be mounted with with glue sticker facing down (I had glued it to my windshield next to the mirror, which meant it was upside down).
The device comes with about 4GB of flash free, which is very generous, and handles external sdcards perfectly. It even offers the more convenient USB storage mode if you plug USB, over the less convenient PTP/MTP support that android has switched to, and doesn't work well on all OSes.
I'm super familiar with android, so interacting with it was trivial. Someone not knowing android may have a harder time setting up advanced features, but basic operation will work out of the box.
Also, it comes with a stupid music at boot and annoying metallic voice when power is lost. Neither bring anything to me but sound spam. I really wish I could turn them off.
So, my verdict?
If all you care about is a very well integrated dual dashcam, to show that the other car hit you, and you didn't reverse into it, this will work. If someone who does a hit and run on you stops before driving off, you may get their plate. If you're hoping to get the plate from someone who cut you off, that's not going to happen.
The manufacturer should forget this model or quickly supplement it with one that has more memory and better cameras. This would cost more, but that's fine. Currently there is no dual dashcam mirror with android that's better, so there is no competition.
Honestly if you're going to run other android apps on it, it might work, but you're likely to get frustrated and disappointed.
I bought a Spy Tec K1S, which is a very nice dual dashcam, and I figured I would put the front cam in the car's nose so that I can also use it as a parking cam to avoid hitting those curbs you can't ever really see, and that are sometimes too low to be picked up by the parking sensors.
For some reason, a set of Telsa owners have bought blackvue DR500 or DR600 dual dashcams, but I don't understand why you'd buy those when they cost more than the K1S, and do not come with a handy little screen you can put anywhere in your dash. http://teslatap.com/modifications/dash-cam/ talks about it, but this was clearly not my choice. My Spy Tec K1S dashcam was better, cheaper, and more versatile :)
The main problem was routing the cable through the firewall and knowing how to take panels apart. Quick google searched turned out some pages:
Sadly the first page makes it sound easy to just use the hole with an unused grommet, but in my loaded up car, that grommet was used by a drain plug (I'm getting the pano roof) and proved mostly impossible to take apart (I tried pushing the grommet back from the frunk side to the cabin side, but didn't manage).
this is how it looks like if you're lucky
In my case, I was stuck making a new hole just above that grommet, and it was easier to do from the cabin side above the grommet and towards the frunk side. I just used a cordless power drill with a metal bit. Once to make a reasonable hole, and a 2nd time to make one big enough to fit a mini USB plug through the whole (required for the dashcam). I then used silly putty like blue tack (that was yellow) to plug the hole since I didn't have a new grommet that was big enough).
I spent too long taking out panels that didn't need to be taken out until I figured out that I only needed to take out one panel with a special T15 screw. The magic panel is on top of the passenger feet, there is a single screw to take out:
This is on the passenger side by the door, but you need to remove the panel on top:
After that, you make a hole above the grommet with a drill (unless your car isn't using that drain plug):
After getting my 90D, I looked into how hard it would be to get in my favourite ski resort around Lake Tahoe: Kirkwood. The problem is that there are no superchargers nearby (Truckee is 1.5H in the wrong direction) and no destination charging. Hell, Kirkwood until recently wasn't even connected to a power grid and made its power from on site diesel generators (not very green if you recharge from that).
The challenge was seeing if I could drive from Manteca Supercharger and back in a day trip without plugging in, and basically even with a 90D, I didn't think it's possible unless you have super ideal conditions (nice and warm, clean roads, drive slowly). Of course, the problem is how much you can trust the power usage simulations vs what's going to happen in real time.
So, I'll give the end of the story first: if you are able to plug into a 110V plug to keep the batteries warm and give them a few extra Kwh while you ski, it is possible to make it from Manteca and back if you charge at 100% in Manteca, in either an 85D or a 90D. If you cannot plug in, it should still be possible (barely) but you'd have to be ready for having to stop in Jackson (4KW charger) or beg the Lockeford Inn for power before you hit highway 99 (100A charger but likely 40A for most of you with single inverters) if you hit unexpected conditions.
Either way, I made it from Kirkwood to Sutter Creek, Amador Transit (just north of Jackson) in 7.7Kwh, and that was driving fast in snow (more rolling resistance) and cold weather (-3C), which means that as long as you have 10Kwh left in Kirkwood, you can make it back down to civilization. Keep in mind that you'll only get 16 miles of range per hour in Sutter Creek, and 26 miles of range per hour of charging in Lockeford Inn. Better than walking if unexpected things happened, but making it back to the Manteca supercharger is better for obvious reasons :)
And back to getting power at Kirkwood, there are some 110V plugs here and there in the underground parkings, most are even the 20A type which will give you 16A charging instead of 12A charging if you buy a NEMA 5-20 plug. Mind you, it'll still charge slowly (I arrived 13:30, left 16:30 the next day, so 27H of charging at 16A. This brought my battery back from 19% to 65% (42kWh of charge in 27H, or 1.5kWh of charge per hour, which is consistent with what you'd get from a 110V at 16A).
In my case, that 65% charge on a 90D was just enough to drive back from Kirkwood to home with 4% battery to spare (and again, not slow driving, in cold weather and with snow, making the drive less efficient: 46Kwh for 183 miles, including 7000ft of downhill).
You don't like reading, you like cliff notes, well there you go :)
if you don't have an 85/90D, it's safer to go through Folsom supercharger, despite the detour. Or, try sleeping at lockeford Inn and charge there.
Manteca to Kirkwood to Manteca with an 85/90D is dicy if you can't plug in at kirkwood. On a nice day without snow and warmer temps, t should be doable though, and if you run short, charge at Sutter or beg at Lockeford Inn (charger is supposed to only be for customers).
Plugging in 8H during a snow day at kirkwood should be enough to keep the batteries warm and allow Manteca-Kirkwood-Manteca.
But getting a plug at kirkwood you're allowed to use in a parking spot you're allowed to use, is problematic if you're not staying the night with an assigned parking spot. If you must plug in, you will manage, but you'll be parked illegally in an underground parking spot that is assigned to someone else potentially, and you risk being towed.
Obviously driving in a snowstorm will increase rolling resistance and decrease battery life due to temperatures, be mindful of that
Heated windshield wipers did not help keep the windshield clear of snow (disappointing). At times I had to waste battery to blast full heat air on the windshield
Distance estimator was very wrong both when I left the Manteca charger and when I left Kirkwood. Both times it over estimated my range significantly, and then adjusted to a better value within just 5 minutes of driving.
Distance estimator does not seem to take temperature changes due to altitude and gave me a lot less range on the drive back than I really got, because I'm sure it assumed the temperature would be -4C the entire drive.
I'm very disappointed that my 90D shows only 76kWh usable from my battery pack from that drive
Regen did a much better job slowing the car down downhill in snow than brakes which engaged ABS almost right away. Plan to never drive fast enough in snow that you'll ever need brakes.
4WD with stock M+S tires, while having not very good traction in the snow, were sufficient for the drive without chains if you drive carefully (basically you cannot brake much downhill and finish all braking before you turn (most important advise, follow that and you'll be ok)).
Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and direct way: The Inn at Locke House in Lockeford
I didn't do this, but if your schedule allows, drive the night before to The Inn at Locke House, make sure of their 100A Tesla charger to fill up and leave at 06:00-06:30 (or 07:00 if there isn't snow on the road) the next morning. You'll get to kirkwood before 09:00 with enough power left to drive back to Manteca supercharger for your drive home (if you have an 85-90D).
If you have a 70D, you can drive from Lockeford to Kirkwood, but if you cannot charge in Kirkwood, you may only get back to Jackson/Sutter and you might have to charge there (at a slower speed) since it's not clear you'll make it back to Lockeford, or even less so the Manteca supercharger.
Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and longer way: Folsom Supercharger
If you have a 65 or 70, this is likely the only really safe option for you. If the weather is nice, it's not a huge detour (well, still a 1h detour)
Going to Folsom is the obvious thing people mention, but Manteca to Kirkwood is 109 miles, 2h19. Google Maps says going through Folsom is 170 miles, 3h21mn if you cut through SR49 back to SR88, or 182 miles and 3h13 if you go up hwy 50 to south lake and turn back at SR89 to kirkwood when you arrive in Meyers/South Lake Tahoe. Don't be fooled though, during a snow storm, this isn't going to be 1 extra hour, it will be at least 2 extra hours, and often more.
If you are going through Folsom in a snow storm, don't get tricked by little roads that cross from 50 to 88, especially if the snow line is low. Those roads are not plowed and people get stuck on them every year with non one to help them for a while. My recommendation is SR49 from hwy 50 to SR88, it'll be much faster than going to south lake via 50, and back to kirkwood via 89, 88.
Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and even longer way: Truckee Supercharger
I'll mention it because it's there, but:
it's really a long detour
during snow storms, i80 is the first road to close (before 50 and 88)
driving SR89 around the lake is scenic, but during a snow storm, not a fun drive or SR89 could just be closed
Bay Area to Kirkwood: 183 miles, 4h50 drive with a 1h supercharger stop in Manteca
If sleeping in Lockeford and charging there isn't an option for you, this is your next option.
I drove in a snow storm and made no attempt to drive slowly to conserve battery (on the contrary). I did however not use cabin heating unless it was required to defog the windshield, or later in the trip to deice the windshield when the heated windshield failed to do its job.
Here's the actual trip:
08:40: Departure with 90%
10:00: Manteca Supercharger with 55%
10:55: Left Manteca Supercharger: 0 miles with 95% (trip router claims I'll arrive with 29% battery)
11:35: Passed by Lockeford Inn: 31 miles with 76% (losing 19% for just 31 miles was both weird and disappointing, by now trip router says I should arrive with 21% battery only)
12:08: Passed by Pine Grove: 67 miles with 57% (by now I'm going uphill a lot in a snowstorm, but thankfully arrival battery estimate has stabilized at 20%)
13:26: Arrived in Kirkwood: 115 miles, with 20% left (this means a 70D wouldn't quite have made it)
Notes from that trip:
the car drove great in the snow despite the M+S tires having limited traction in the snow (as expected). I did have to use my race driving skills not to end up understeering in a snow bank (although driving 25mph only would also have taken care of that, but that option was less appealing).
I'm pretty worried about the car losing 19% charge for only 31 miles that weren't really uphill. Either something is wrong with my batteries, or the percent meter (arrival at Lockeford around 11:35)
Trip router telling me I'll arrive with 29% battery when I'm at the supercharger, and then 22% just 6 miles after I left the supercharger, that's not good.
On the plus side, I drove fast, uphill, in a snow storm (i.e. low temps and severe rolling resistance), and arrived at Kirkwood with 20%. That's much better than I expected. So the trip planner wsa likely conservative, which is good (on the trip back, same thing, I arrived home with more battery than I should have for the driving I did).
Battery went from 95% to 20% means 75% battery gave 57.4Kwh. Mmmh, that means 100% is only 76Kwh, that's not good :-
Charging your car at Kirkwood
I wrote this post because driving to Kirkwood is the worst case scenario of the entire Tahoe area. It's a long drive up a state route with no cell phone coverage for about 1H of driving, and virtually no life until you reach destination, which itself does not have destination charging, and no real publicly accessible 120V plugs. The nearest superchargers are Truckee (72 miles away, but big detour), and Folsom (82-90 miles, 1h+ detour, 2h+ if snowing). You however want to make it back to Manteca if you can (109 miles).
Kirkwood does have some 120V plugs in parking lots, but to use them, you'd have to be illegally parked in reserved parking spots for condos. At this time, there is no proper way to use those spots. If you end up using them during a weekday when the parking lots are near empty and you're going to leave right after 16:00 when the real owners of those spots might arrive, put a note on your windshield with your phone number, and keep in mind that your car can technically be towed for being parked there.
What I did was stay overnight and worked with Pyramid Peak Properties who hooked me up with a parking spot next to a plug. Note that this is not something they officially offer, they just nicely hooked me up when I asked them and they might be able to help you to if you reserve a rental with them (please don't ask them for a plug if you're not staying with them, providing one is already non trivial if you do stay with them).
That said, my trip calculation shows that after just 4H of charging during the day (i.e. finding a plug you're not really supposed to use, and parking somewhere you're not supposed to park), I had enough power to get to Folsom and Manteca. The trip estimator said:
Lockeford: 12% (a backup if you find out that you won't make it to Manteca)
Note that this was just with 4H of charging, and that my actual downhill driving despite being aggressive and in the snow, beat the estimate from the calculator (see below). With 8-9H of charging, you should be better of (but remember that I used a 16A plug NEMA 5-20) that gives 5 miles per hour of charging, if you use a regular 12A plug that only gives 3 miles per hour, adjust accordingly.
As explained above, if you cannot charge at kirkwood, keep in mind that your battery is actually going to lose non trivial charge by trying to stay warm. This means that going from Manteca to Kirkwood back to Manteca without plugging in at kirkwood, is very unlikely to happen. Lockeford to Kirkwood to Lockeford should be possible, and if you are in trouble, you could stop at Sutter Creek (just north of Jackson) which I was able to reach by only using 7.7Kwh while driving fast downhill in the snow.
So if you have an 85 or 90D and cannot charge at Kirkwood, you should be able to drive from Manteca to Kirkwood and back to Sutter Creek to top up if you can't make it to Lockeford (Manteca direct seems unlikely unless there is no snow and it's not cold), but I think you got my point now that finding a plug somewhere is in your interest (not only to keep the batteries warm, but also because regen won't even work when you leave kirkwood if the batteries are cold). There are some around, but probably none of them are really meant for you to use, so I can't recommend that you use any specific one unless you get a parking spot assigned you by Pyramid Peak Properties, or maybe Kirkwood Lodging (but when I asked them, they weren't able to give you a specific parking spot next to a plug if you're not renting that exact numbered condo/room).
Kirkwood back home: 182 miles straight without charging, 3h15 or so
After 27H of charging at 16A, I got my car back up to 65% (from 19%, and that includes doing some four wheel drive drifting and donuts in the snow with slip start turned off when the parking lot was empty the first night :) ). The Router claimed that I would arrive in Manteca with 37% or directly home with 7%. However this dropped to 1% as soon as I got on the road, likely because the car sensed the difference in temperature when I got out of the parking lot.
14 miles into SR88, it then told me I'll arrive home with -8%, and soon after, -18%. My guess is that despite my not using much enegery to drive downhill, it didn't like the temperature (the trip planner should have gotten it from internet weather forecast, and should be computing that it'll get 2C warmer for each 1000ft of altitude I drop, but my guess is that it does not).
I did take a break for food on the way, but I ended up arriving home around 21:00 with a full 4% of battery left :) (it went from 7% to -18% and back to 4% during the drive). Obviously I could have stopped at several superchargers on the way, but since I didn't need to, I didn't.
7.7kWh (11% used): Sutter Creek. Although I didn't need to, I stopped at the Sutter Creek Amador Transit charger (just north of Jackson), to which I arrived with just 7.7Kwh used. I only charged a few minutes to try the charger and find out it was only a 4KW charger (200V, 22A)
13.5kWh (18% used): Lockeford
20kWh (27% used): Manteca Supercharger
46kWh (38.3k+7.7) (61% used): Home (127 miles away)
Be wary of the distance calculcator in trip planner, it was wrong twice in my case by not counting the temperature before I left (from 7% left at destination to -18% left), and then not counting again when temps got warmer (causing the battery left to back from -18% to 4% when I arrived).
On the trip back, I got 61% used (65% to 4%) and the car showed 46.0KWh used. This means 100% capacity is only 75.4Kwh, again strange and disappointing for a 90D if that number is correct.
Picture for posterity
Below, some screenshots/pictures that may be helpful.
Bay Area to Kirkwood: 183 miles, 4h50 drive with a 1h supercharger stop in Manteca (pictures)
Here are a few pictures and notes from the trip up:
25mn of charging, but I was not comfortable with anything but near full
In just 18mn, I alledgely had enough to arrive in Kirkwood, but again, not enough margin or power to get out
Sadly getting close to full power takes a long longer.
52mn after I arrived, I finally got to 95% (didn't want to wait for the last 5%)
Alledgely, I should have 29% when arriving (in real life, I had 19%, so make sure you have a good margin)
Oh boy, just a few minutes later, it now days I'll arrive with 25%
And just 2mn later, it says I'll arrive with 22%. By then I was getting very worried with the trend :(
The router is buggy, why would it pick a longer street over hwy 99?
WTF, why is it insisting to take that slower and longer road?
Pine Grove, climbing in snow at over 600Wh per mile, arrival battery left stabilized at 20%
Projected Range looked correct
Nice weather, the car handled well enough in snow with its stock 19 inch M+S tires
Windshield Wiper heating didn't work well, ice accumulated anyway. I didn't otherwise heat the car
Carson Spur, almost there...
And there we go, made it, 57.4Kwh used from Manteca, 20% left
I arrived way too late for a powder day, but made the best of it :)
Charging your car at Kirkwood (pictures)
A few pictures from the kirkwood parking lots showing charging and estimated ranges:
Found a 20A plug in an underground parking lot
The one issue is access to plugs is only with reserved parking spots allocated to units that rent out
Obviously I'm not going to get a full charge with 2kW
4H later, moved my car to an assigned spot courtesy of Pyramid Peak Properties, got 7% in 4H
Alledgely, I could have made it back to Manteca with nice driving if I were capable of it :)
Thanks to Jon Wehan for hooking me up with this 20A plug
Condensation got inside the headlights, I asked Tesla support and they said it was ok
Kirkwood back home: 182 miles straight without charging, 3h15 or so (pictures)
A few relevant pictures of the drive back, showing estimate changes and the Sutter Creek charger:
This is good, now I have many options
Apparently, I can get home with 7% left if I drive slowly, but I'm not going to :) and also it doesn't account for the snow on the road
Just as I leave kirkwood, I'm now told I'll arrive home with 1%
And a few minutes later, this drops to -8%
And later, it continues to drop to -18%
Using 76Wh/mile downhill, not bad, -3C temperature
Now only using 34Wh/mile downhill, temperature back up to 4C
Arrived in Sutter Creek just to try the charger
my car said bad wiring for that charger, so only 4kW/22A
Arrived in Lockeford with 47% left, or 18% used which was about 13.5kWh used from kirkwood
Home sweet home. 301Wh/mile is high but linked to the temperatures, snow rolling resistance, and speed driven