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Purchasing Experience and Trip Reports of a Tesla 3
May 17, 2020
by Carl Morrison

As later Tesla Adventures are written about the 2020 Tesla 3, they will be added at the top of this web page, so that the most current report will appear at the top.


Steve Grande was the first Tesla owner I've known. Some time in 2015 he asked if I'd like to test drive his new 2015 Tesla Model S P85D in downtown Fullerton, California after a Train Travel Meetup that he sponsors. Later that year he purchased a Model X P90D and I took photos of it for this web page in March, 2016. Those photos are at As Steve learned of Electric Vehicle (EV) events in our Southern California area, through the LA Tesla Club and Orange County Tesla Club, he would ask me if I'd like to take the Model X and go to the events and do a report. Those reports are listed at A regular trip I made with Steve's Model X was to the annual Hot August Nights 6,000+ classic car show in Reno, Nevada, about a 1,000 mile round trip - three-day adventure - in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The 2019 Hot August Nights adventure was significant and that can be read at: Last ride of the 3 Combover Brothers in a '56 Chevy at:

May 17, 2020, Purchase of Tesla 3 online.

In this report, most photos (as above) can be clicked for a larger version.

One Classic I.C.E. = 1/2 EV (One classic internal combustion engine automobile equals one-half a Tesla electric vehicle's price).

The photo above, is to introduce into this report the 1956 Chevy Delray on the right, behind Steve Grande's 2016 Tesla X. We owned the Chevy since we purchased it, newly restored, in Huntingburg, Indiana, in 1998. The photo above is the day we took the Chevy and Tesla to Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada, in August, 2019, a 1,000 mile round trip, in hopes of selling the Chevy.

I knew we could not afford a Tesla S or X, so when the Model 3s were announced at less than $40,000, I began calculating how I could afford one. I reasoned that if I sold our '56 Chevy, and finished paying off our Town and Country Chrysler, I could afford a Tesla 3. Through various magazines, websites, and car shows, I tried to sell the Chevy for about 3 years. I finished our Town and Country payments in August, 2019, but still had not sold the Chevy. On May 15, 2020, I got a response from my Facebook Marketplace ad for the Chevy and sold it the next day. Knowing that I might trade in our PT Cruiser to Tesla, I had asked earlier what they would offer us and they said, $400. I put the PT Cruiser up for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $1,250 and sold it May 16. That gave me enough for a down payment of 50% of the Tesla 3 that we purchased online.

The Tesla 3 that we purchased online on May 17, 2020. Photo Credit:

Purchasing a Tesla 3 Online (The only way to purchase one during this COVID-19 pandemic.)

Step 0: Test drive a Tesla at one of their "Stores and Galleries" even if you have driven a friend's Tesla. (There will be no pressure to buy one, they will tell you to go home and order it online.) There is a button for "Stores and Galleries" on the world map of Tesla Stores and Galleries; Service; Superchargers and Destination Chargers.

Step 1: If you do not yet have a referral number from a Tesla owner, you can browse

From the home page, at the top, select the model - I selected Model 3.

Select "Existing Inventory" if you like. These are new cars, just like the old fashioned new car lots. This will be other dealers' inventory as well.).

On the right above, DO NOT select "Include Potential Savings". Select "Purchase Price. (You will spend more as we go) (Click Next)


Select Color: Only Pearl White Multi-Coat, Solid Black, and Midnight Silver Metallic, are included, Deep Blue Metallic is +$1,000, Red Multi-Coat is +$2,000. Before you leave, above the 18" Aero Wheels are included. Like them? You can remove them and have black powder coated spoke wheels and with a $50 lug and hub cover they look better, but still black.

Don't the 19" Sport Wheels look better? Above image is only $3,500 more than base price including red paint and sport wheels. (Click Next)

All Black interior is included, Black and White is +$1,000.

Connectivity Explained.

Autopilot included! (You can spend +$7,000 above if you like.) (Click Next)

You can select Cash, Lease, or Loan. Forget the "After Est. Savings".
Nice to be able to check each one.


Your option at this point (above) is "Purchase Now"
for $100 on your credit card number...

  1. However, you need to get a referral number for 1,000 free miles of charging at a Supercharger. (You can use mine below.)

  2. You need to think about Down Payment. (I sold a 1956 Chevy at this point.)

  3. You need to compare financing with Tesla's 2.99% at the time. (My credit union offered 2.69% and I took it, I will be a Cash customer to Tesla.)

  4. You will be asked about insurance. You need a VIN number for a quote from any company. I think Tesla will be the best price I could find.

  5. If you do come back to Step 1 above with your referral number and decide to put down $100 (non-refundable) and start the order, you will see the final Estimate (California EV Rebate is $2,000): Amount Due, including: Destination Fee, Documentation Fee, Document Fee, Sales Tax, Title Fee, Electronic Filing Fee, Registration/Transfer/Titling Fees (About $4,400 more, in California)

Step 2: About Referral Numbers:

I used a friend's referral number and received 1,000 free miles at any Supercharging Station. You may use my referral number for the same offer. To use the referral number, do not go directly to, but rather go to:

Click the above image to get a much larger image.

My Referral Number is
Just click the URL to go to the site.

If you use a Referral Number, the opening screen will look like the screen, above. You know from this point you are going to get 1,000 Free Supercharger Miles if you purchase a Tesla, or benefits on other Tesla products. Click one of the two options under the Tesla model you want to purchase and things will look like "Step 1" above and you can go through making the same selections as before.

Eventually, coming through the options on the Internet,
you will check "Purchase Now".

On the "Purchase Now" page, there is a "View Additional Information" button. In part, this is what you can see there.


Performance acceleration ratings are based on maximum battery power mode and follow Motor Trend's test procedure of subtracting the first foot roll out time to represent drag strip performance.

Electric Vehicle Incentives

Electric vehicles are eligible for various financial incentives and other owner benefits that are unavailable to gas cars. Learn more about state and utility provider incentives in your area.

Gasoline Savings

[1/4 cost of I.C.E. {Internal Combustion Engine}]

Electric vehicles are less expensive to fuel than gasoline powered vehicles. The average person drives between 10,000 and 15,000 miles and spends between $1,000 and $1,500 on gasoline per year. In comparison, the cost of electricity to power Model 3 over the same distance is up to four times lower. Over the six year average length of car ownership, that's between $4,300 and $6,400 in gasoline savings.

We've assumed a fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon for a comparable gasoline powered sedan. We've also assumed the national average of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour for electricity, 10% charging on Tesla's Supercharger network and $2.85 per gallon for premium gasoline over the next six years.


Figures based on testing to EPA standard. Vehicle range may vary depending on the vehicle configuration, battery age and condition, driving style and operating, environmental and climate conditions.

For additional information, please see the current version of the Owner's Manual. The Owner's Manual may be updated and revised as new features are introduced. Please refer to your vehicle's Owner's Manual for the most up to date information. (The Owner's Manual is downloadable before you get a VIN number for your own Tesla.)


My vehicle is protected by a New Vehicle Limited Warranty for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. The Battery and Drive Unit in my vehicle are covered for a period of: Model 3 Standard Range Plus - 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.

Who will expire first, the Tesla's Warranty for 8 yrs. or 100,000 miles or me? (When I will be 86 years old.)

Charging at home, at a Supercharger, or at Destination Chargers.

March 18, 2018, my Tesla-Owning Friend wrote this about various ways to charge a Tesla:

The Tesla Model 3 doesn't get any annual free allowance at the Tesla Superchargers as the Model S and X get. The S and X get 400kW free per year at Superchargers, or about 1,000 miles of driving. The cost to charge varies by state. In California it is 26 cents per kWh. Tesla says that should still be cheaper than gasoline. Home charging costing about $20 for a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, or about $100 for a drive from Los Angeles to New York.

The Supercharger costs seem to range from 20 cents to 30 cents per kWH with most states being right about in the middle of 25 cents per kWh. The rate in a lot of California cities is around that same 25 cents per kWh. Anaheim, with a city owned utility, has lower rates of only 16.4 cents per kWh. My solar panels, figuring the lease cost divided by average power produced per month, only costs about 9 cents per kWh. 9 cents is about the same that I pay for electricity from the public utility at my Vancouver home. I guess they use a lot of hydroelectric power which drives down the cost. In La Plata, Missouri, they pay about 12 cents per kWh and they think that is a high rate! They should move to Palm Springs where I think it is somewhere between 26 and 32 cents per kWh!

The rates at ChargePoint and Blink, that you can find everywhere, seem to be very reasonable. They have a whole bank of them in a lot of California Metrolink / Amtrak stations. They usually charge between 50 cents and 75 cents PER HOUR (NOT per kWh). Charging at one of those for an hour seems to put several kW into my battery. Thus the rate would be way below 26 cents per kW. It might even be below 10 cents per kWh, cheaper than charging at home.

Next time I go to Fullerton I'll try to go with a bit of a low battery charge and see how many kW it loads into my battery over an hour. I'm curious what the cost per kW could be from those chargers. (When the battery is low, the charger will pump in more kW over an hour than when the battery is more full. The charging slows down as the battery gets full. Not relevant if you are being charged by the kW, but very relevant if you are being charged by the hour.) Author: Steve Grande

Before you head out on a long journey, you may wonder if there will be enough Superchargers to get you there.

To get an idea where the Supercharger Stations are located in your area or any area of the world, CLICK HERE to see an interactive map of both Supercharger Stations and Destination chargers.

On the onboard GPS in your Tesla, you put in the destination and the computer will tell you which Supercharger Station to stop at, and how much mileage you will have left as you get there (above) and how long you should charge. All Superchargers included information will tell you where the nearest restrooms and eating places are. You would not need to stop at 3 gas stations in this trip with an I.C.E. vehicle, but at my age nature calls at least 3 times on such a trip. When we used to drive this trip in 2 or more classic cars, using CB radios, we used to ask if the other drivers needed to stop at the next blue sign, but in later years, we just pull off at every blue sign because someone will answer a nature call. I have learned since that you can tap the red Supercharger and see how many chargers are at that location and how many are available. However, I learned that the suggested % left at the next Supercharger is based on driving the speed limit.

Trip Planning.

To see what a trip plan in a Tesla looks like, go to You can select the Tesla that has the range like the one you are planning on and it will give you the suggesed stops for charging. Also interesting to see the Estimated Gas Savings.

Destination Chargers

are provided, in many cases by hotels, Train Stations, and others. I have found in Reno/Sparks, Nevada, that the Nugget Hotel in Sparks provides dedicated Tesla chargers and The Atlantis Hotel, near the convention center, in nearby Reno has several Superchargers. The Grand Sierra Resort provides several dedicated Tesla chargers. You can read about that 1,000 mile trip and using Superchargers along Hwy. 495 and dedicated chargers mentioned above. Read Last ride of the 3 Combover Brothers in a '56 Chevy at:

Charging at home.

Tesla would like for you to purchase a $500 home charger. I had an estimate to run a 75 ft. 50 amp line to the front of my garage from the breaker box for $3,000+ then I'd have to purchase the $500 Tesla charger. It charges up to 44 miles of range per hour of charge.

However, the Tesla comes with a 20 ft. mobile charging unit. If you use a 220 outlet, as I did for our former electric dryer, you need to purchase an adapter for that plug for $35. On a 30 amp line, it will charge at 22 miles per hour. A different electrician said moving that dryer plug to the garage side of the wall would cost about $100 -200 including some other electrical work I need to have done. The only disadvantage I see for using the mobile charging unit for permanent charging in my garage would be that I'd have to take that down and take it with me on a trip IF I were planning to use a home along the trip for charging and I couldn't find a destination or Supercharger at that location.

Parking in my garage.

I happily have a space in my garage and the 20 ft. mobile charging unit will reach the car's plug when driven forward into the garage. And, if I back the car up to the closed garage door, I have purchased a 10 ft. 220 extension cord to put between the former dryer plug and the Tesla mobile charging unit so I can charge the Tesla in the driveway outside my garage. I am hoping to use Summon to put the Tesla into and bring it out of the garage. I understand there needs to be 8 inches on each side to accomplish this, and my measurements say it will work.

Thus ends this report. After I get the VIN number, I can learn about Tesla Insurance, and I will be ready for delivery!

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