Driving the Tesla to Montreal

Last Friday, we took the Tesla out to Montreal. On this trip we will really get to test the Supercharger network.

We left Richmond Hill at around 7am with a full charge of 100%. While on the highway, I took full advantage of the basic Autopilot feature, specifically the Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and Auto Steering. The TACC worked really well, but there were two instances where it did brake for some reason that was not evident to me. The Auto Steering for the most part really take the edge off of driving long distances. However its forcefulness of always driving in the centre of the lane is a bit scary, especially when passing tractor trailers. Normally when I drive and pass a truck, I typically stay more towards the left of the lane. I needed up turning off Auto Steer while passing trucks at times. I hope Tesla can add this lane “bias” as a future software option.

I also got use to passing with the basic Autopilot. I did not purchase the Enhanced Autopilot which will perform automated lane changes. I think this was a good call, as the Auto Steer is already a bit scary for me. We will have to warm up to the automated driving features a little more before we really adopt the new technologies. The jerkiness has improved as I got the timing down between signalling the lane change and re-engaging the Auto Steer once I am on the new lane.

Our first charge was at Gananogue, Ontario at fast Tesla Supercharger.

Tesla Supercharger at Gananogue

This was a very convenient location, as it was close to a McDonald’s. The charger was very fast. The car reported that it was ready to continue on the journey before we finished our breakfast. The charge time was less than 25 minutes, and the cost was slightly above $21. We had 30% on the battery when we arrived, and we left with 85%, which was enough for me to drive all the way to my uncle’s place in Montreal. I arrived with 26% battery left.

I decided to top the car off to 80% so that we don’t have to worry about our state of charge during our stay in Montreal. We went to Cote Vertu mall to perform another charge at its supercharging station.

Tesla Supercharger at Cote Vertu Mall

So the charging station here seemed older, and the handle plugs seemed a bit vandalized. Our first attempt stopped at 50+% for some reason, and I had to return to the car from the mall to plug it in again at a different station, which worked fine until 80%. This was the only “weird” incident I had with the Superchargers throughout the entire trip.

On the way back, we stopped by at the Cornwall supercharger, which was not ideal, because it was pretty far off the highway (more than 3km). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise since there was traffic on HWY 401, so it was good timing. We only charged for less than 10 minutes, just so that we get it top off enough to get to Gananogue again.

Tesla Supercharger at Cornwall

I got back home with around 15% of battery left. I plan to have the car back at home with a minimalist comfortable state of charge as possible because after all, we have solar power to charge the car back up.

While in Montreal, we also played with our J1772 charging adapter that came with the car. This adapter allows us to use a non-Tesla charger. The “Electric Circuit by Hydro Quebec” chargers were peppered throughout the island of Montreal. We found a convenient cluster of 4 chargers near where we stayed (~2km), and slow charged (5kW) our car for $1/hour. We left our car there for about 3 hours and got about 15kWh (~20%+). The slower charge is better for the battery any ways, and we spent the hours at my aunt’s place enjoying congee and more food.

Electric Circuit J1772 charger at Parc Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau in Cote-St-Luc

Another good story to tell is while visiting the Rene-Levesque Park, it was fairly difficult to find parking. However, there were an empty spot reserved for electric vehicles, so I took it! While we walked the park, the Tesla was happily charging at 5kW, so cool. Okay it cost me $0.80 for the charge, so it was not completely free, but can’t complain.

Charger at Rene-Lévesque Park with “Free Parking”

We did not have the opportunity to test our CCS Combo 1 adapter, which I purchased from Tesla just before our Montreal trip.

Combined Charging System (CCS) 1 adapter

The above adapter will allow us to get fast DC charging from a non-Tesla supercharger. Last night, we found one at the Hyundai Canada office near Hwy 7 and 404. This place is close to my parent’s place. The adapter worked well, and we did less than $3 charge there at a respectable rate of 50kW. However being a newbie, I should have charged it up for at least $5, since this is the “minimum” charge. Silly me!

We stayed for about 10 minutes and got about 10% more on the battery.

75 Frontenac Drive – Hyundai Canada

With this new found experience and successful tests of different charging methodologies, I think we are good to go for a cross Canada return trip to Vancouver in September!

Short Road Trip to University of Waterloo

This morning we wanted to show our son what the University of Waterloo campus looked like. This is also an excellent opportunity to get use to our new Tesla Model Y along with its Autopilot functionality.

As the above pictures show, the campus is a ghost town, but it was nice that most of the buildings were still opened and we took the opportunity to walk around.

Aside from the typical Toronto traffic, the drive itself was pretty uneventful. While on Highway 401, I had the car on both Auto Steer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) for more than 80% of the trip. For the most part it worked well, but I did notice a few points:

  • Passing trucks seem to be a lot closer than I like when I manually pass a semi on the highway;
  • When in Auto Steer, the car seem to initiate the turn a little later than what I would normally do; and
  • Finally, one can get really use to TACC and forget to press the brake when TACC is off;
  • I love TACC when in traffic – it is a godsend!

We also took the opportunity to do a quick test supercharge in Cambridge, Ontario at 22 Pinebush Rd, Cambridge, ON N1R 8K5.

We really did not have to charge, since our Long Range model had enough juice to go there and back. We just wanted to experience what supercharging is like. It was super simple! We added 10kWh for $3.93, and that took about 6 minutes. During this time, I showed my wife how to do it.

Another experiment that we did was I ran Waze on my iPhone in concurrent with Tesla’s navigation routing and mapping. Albeit I currently have a sample size of one, but my feeling is that Waze is still better at this point in terms of traffic awareness and routing abilities. Also Tesla maps do not show obstructions, speed traps, and other goodness of Waze. I will be doing more of this comparison on our trip to Montreal next Friday.

Tesla Delivery Day

Today is the day! We departed our house at 10:45 am and arrived at 2 Chrislea Road, Vaughan, Ontario at 11:20am to pick up our new Model Y 2023. I drove into the service centre that was literally filled with Tesla vehicles to the point where we could not park at the service centre. We had to park at the next lot and walked over.

Location of the Tesla Vaughan Service Centre

It was not too bad, as if “someone up there” has arranged to put the rain on pause, while we walked into South entrance.

The first greeting counter

At the greeting counter, I was handed some paper work and told to sign at the relevant locations, which I did. The reception was a well oiled process. After the paperwork was handed over along with my bank draft at the second counter, I was handed the “card keys”, ownership paper, and my chaperone took me to the car. They didn’t even check if I had proper insurance!

Chaperoned to my new Model Y

He helped me to pair my iPhone 14 Pro to the car. Gave me a few tips on operating the wipers, and asked me if I had any questions, which I said “no.” I got into the car and adjusted my seats and mirrors, and we were on our way! I am certain, if I had any questions, he would have been of great help. However, I followed Tesla’s advice and watched all the delivery day videos, so I knew what I had to do. He did tell me that today at this centre, they are going to move over a hundred vehicles. This is more vehicles than any other dealerships in a single month. GM better up their game plan!

I dropped my wife off to her Toyota Prius Prime, and then routed the car to drop my neighbour off to pick up his 10 years old Tesla Model S that was being worked on. My neighbour being a Tesla champion and expert came along with us and was of great guidance to us through the delivery process. Thank you Johnny!

My beautiful wife in front of the Service Centre

On the way home, I established the data link (Premium Connectivity) and turned on Auto Steer. I had to drive a little ways for the car to calibrate itself before I can turn on the cruise control and auto steer. This feature was super handy when I got stuck at a traffic jam on the way home. My new Tesla was able to follow the car in front of me while I was bumper to bumper in the jam.

Once I got home, I tested the Mobile Charger to make sure that it was working and stuck the charger in the trunk, which is where it will live and use during road trips. I added my wife as a second driver, and we added profiles for myself and my wife, and went out for a late lunch. It was very weird to go out without any keys. I can now use my iPhone for both car and home locks.

Now we have two green vehicles in our garage.

Tesla Model Y 2023 (left), and Toyota Prius Prime 2020 (right)

Sorry Subaru Impreza 2013, you will now have to park in the drive way for now.

I have scheduled the charger to kick in at 5am tomorrow so that we can take a small road trip to the University of Waterloo tomorrow. We wanted to show my second son the campus as he considers his options for September.

Tesla charging through the Wall Connector at 40A (~9kW)

One last thing, I also configured the car with my home’s WiFi, and thought it was pretty cute to have the car showing my solar power generation status using my custom power dashboard.

Tesla displaying my solar power generation stats using the in car’s browser

Tomorrow to Waterloo, Ontario, and next week we’ll be going to Montreal! Going to look forward to our Supercharging experience.

Tesla Order Update

It looks like Transport Canada has updated their eligible vehicles for their Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program.

From Transport Canada

From above, it is clear that the Model Y Long Range AWD is now eligible! This is great news. I will be able to save $5000 from the purchase price.

When I checked my Tesla account, I can see that my order has been updated.

That is of course excellent news. However there is a downside. The delivery date is now pushed out to be between late July and early September, so fingers crossed that we’ll be getting it sooner rather than later.

Above estimate as of April 25th, 2023

Update May 1, 2023:

Above estimate as of May 1st, 2023

Update May 6, 2023:

Received an email update indicating “Final Payment is now ready”. Went to the Tesla site and into my account and received the bank wire info. We will call the bank on Monday to arrange the transfer.

Above is displayed as of May 6th, 2023

Update May 14, 2023:

I received a text message this morning:

I chose the 20th, and we are temporarily booked for 11:30am for delivery. I have not received a VIN number as of yet. Hope to get this soon, as I will need it for augmenting our auto insurance.

The Pursuit of a BEV

This is our journey to buy a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

When Tesla announced their Model 3 back in 2016, I was one of the first to place a $1,000 reservation for one. The promise was for an electric vehicle costing $35,000 USD. In the spring of 2018 when the first delivery to Canada happened, the price was $64,100 CAD for the Long Range Model 3. This is not the AWD version, and with the taxes it will exceed $70K. The on the road – all in – price from one of our neighbours exceeded $80K when his vehicle got delivered. Okay, at the time there was a $15K incentive from the government.

The final sticker shock was a bit of a surprise, and we were still probably not ready for a full electric vehicle at the time. We checked out the Nissan Leaf, the Hyundai Kona, and the Kia Niro. These were all in high demand with waiting lists exceeding a year. We waited for the Subaru Impreza Hybrid, which never made it to Ontario, and the availability in Quebec was spotty at best.

In a moment of pure coincidence, we got hold of a Toyota Prius Prime on October, 2019. This is our first Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). We decided on a PHEV to get our feet wet with EV tech but also mitigated our fear of range anxiety. We felt less stress with a hybrid, and the small plugin battery which offers a limited range of the 35 to 45km. This short range will make do for 90% of our trips, which are mainly grocery runs, errands, and trips to local restaurants. We thought this PHEV will be perfect for us.

The experience driving in EV mode with the Toyota has made gas station visits an extreme rarity. We are talking like two partial fill ups during 2020, and probably less than 10 fill ups to date (all partials), and we are on its fourth year driving the Toyota.

We love the PHEV experience so much that on July 27, 2021, we placed a reservation on a RAV4 Prime at Richmond Hill Toyota and were warned that the wait will be very long.

Hedging our bets, we later placed another reservation on a KIA EV6 at KIA Stouffville on September 2, 2022. We thought the EV6 would be in a similar price range of the RAV4 Prime. You can read more about our reservation experience here.

On March 7, 2023, I received a call from my contact at Richmond Hill Toyota and he told me he had a 2023 RAV4 Prime XSE available. The price was $66,073 CAD all in. In January, Tesla dropped their price on the Model Y Long Range AWD to $69,900 CAD (from $85,000). Since we already have a fossil car, a 2013 Subaru Impreza; and a PHEV, the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime, we decided to pull the trigger and reserved the Tesla Model Y on the same day. Below is the configuration and the price breakdown.

Basic configuration (click to enlarge)
Price Details (click to enlarge)

The $81K price tag is higher than the $66K of the RAV4, but I figured that I will probably not buy another car for a very long time. At my age, I minus will cease the waiting and enjoy what life remains. Assuming Tesla meet its commitment on delivery timeframes, we should be getting the car before July, fingers crossed!

I also pulled the trigger in getting the mobile charger, wall connector, and the All-Weather Interior Liners. As a matter of fact, the interior liners already arrived and the charge accessories have already been shipped. We will hit the ground running (or driving). In the meantime, we are back in the waiting game again. May the EV gods be kind to us.

I am already super addicted to YouTube channels that are sharing other people’s Tesla experiences. My wife and I are already quite excited and may even partake on a few road trips with the new purchase. Perhaps testing out the Supercharging network to Montreal, and then an across Canada trip from Toronto to Calgary and perhaps even to Vancouver. We will see.

I will update with another post when the car arrives!