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  • January 19, 2021 9:35 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    We had an incredible turnout for this first-of-the-year Niagara Frontier Zoom event on January 9th! No less than 23 members and 12 guests showed up (despite a Bills game overlapping us, even though we scheduled first—LOL!).That included our special surprise guest, Tesla Joy from Los Angeles, and our bonus guest, Rafael “TesLatino” Santoni from Florida. Stay tuned for a special FSD-specific online event that he will lead. Joy went into detail about her ownership journey, starting in mid-2018, to the present—just back from a three-week stay in Taiwan, where she was accommodated in a Model X shuttle thanks to Owners Club connections there. Along with fielding questions from the audience, everyone listened intently to her recount being a Cybertruck passenger during its reveal, plus plenty of other anecdotes straight from her YouTube channel. TOCNYS President Patrick Ho was on hand. So were Statewide Manager Stephen Pallotta, Finger Lakes Regional Organizer Rick Cognata, and a diverse array of owners and guests . . . representing ten NYS counties! Thanks to all who participated. Check out a screengrab of just one batch of participants, courtesy of Stephen. Keep an eye out for the Feb. virtual meetup, when our special guest may be recently back from the Superbowl. . . . #hey #youneverknow

  • January 14, 2021 7:06 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Model Y Third Row Seating Revealed

    Recently, the highly anticipated Model Y third row seating was revealed. Ever since the Model Y has found its way into the garages of Tesla owners, there have been questions surrounding how Tesla will be able to fit a third row of seating in the rear without making it painfully small. Deliveries of the third row Model Y have not yet begun, but Tesla claims that deliveries will begin in the next couple weeks. As of now, the photos Tesla released look like the third row may be better suited for children rather than adults. 

    Model Y Earns High Marks on Crash Testing -

    Tesla has always put an emphasis on safety, earning five star ratings for both Model S and X. When the Model 3 was first tested, it set a new benchmark worldwide, earning the lowest injury probability of all cars ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as receiving five star ratings from several other crash testing organizations world wide. This week, the Model Y joined its siblings, earning a five star safety rating in every category from the NHTSA as can be seen here

  • January 04, 2021 6:39 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    We are owners of a Model 3, dual motor, long range and since we’re snowbirds with our summer home in Western NY and a winter home in Melbourne FL, we make spring and autumn runs to and from Florida.  Therefore, I often get questioned about how practical our Tesla is for such long distance trips;  “What happens when your battery runs out of charge?”  “How much time do you waste waiting for charging?” and “What does it really cost?” etc.   Of course, the Tesla monitors your charge level and you are fully informed of nearby superchargers and destination chargers along your route so fully discharging your battery is simply a non issue.  

    As for the downtime question, I logged our most recent trip document the charging time issue.    

    November 11:   

    We departed from our home in Buffalo NY at 8:15 AM, having disconnected, fully charged, from our home connection and with our destination entered into the navigation.  The computer quickly planned our route including scheduled stops and estimated times at superchargers along the way. 


    We arrived at 10:45 AM at the Grove City PA supercharger, adjacent to the I-79 interchange, with approximately 185 miles left.  (We could have gone further but enjoyed a washroom break, a snack and some fresh coffee).  We were back on I-79 South with 279-miles of range showing on the computer screen at 11:29. Cost for charging $14.84

    Next, at 2:31 PM and with 67 miles of range left, we stopped at the Weston WV supercharger.  After a quick visit to the washroom, a lunch sandwich, we checked email and at 3:05, with 275 miles of range we were rolling again.  Supercharge cost $13.25 


    That got us to Wytheville VA where we were spending the night in the hotel at 6:40 PM.  While we enjoyed a takeout dinner in our hotel, the supercharger brought us from 44 miles to 265 at a cost of $15.25.


    November 12th:

     At about 8:00 AM, we continued on from Wytheville VA, through NC and arrived at 12:13 at the Columbia SC supercharger with 21 miles of range left.  This was the closest I have ever come to being fully discharged but the computer was managing our route and charging stops very well.  Due to a traffic accident I-77 had been blocked near Charlotte, necessitating a detour of about 15 miles.  For convenience and with the assurance that there was adequate range left, I opted to bypass one of the superchargers and drive all the way to Columbia.   After a short charge time of about 30 minutes, time for us to freshen up in the washroom of the adjacent Homewood Suites and grab a snack, we were back on the road.  Supercharge cost was $7.98.  

    We took I-76 to I-95 and then South on I-95.  Our next stop was the Hardeeville supercharger on the SC - GA border near Savannah where we made another short charge stop at 3:14 PM for a cost of $6.72. 


    With adequate range, we drove right on through Georgia to Florida and our final supercharge stop in Jacksonville, arriving at 6:21 PM and had time to grab light meal and catch up on our email.  Then with about 270 miles of range, we departed at 7:12 for our snowbird home destination.  Supercharge cost was $10.92.   

    We arrived at our place in West Melbourne FL at 9:15 PM with a remaining range of 104 miles and where I could connect to my garage 110V.  (By next morning, Friday the 13th, the range was up to 169 miles, more than adequate for any local use).   

    All told, the entire trip of 1,248 miles cost me $69.96 for supercharging at an average cost of $0.25/kWh. (Our home cost per kWh is $0.13).  So, our trip cost about half of the approximately $140 in gasoline our previous Jaguar would have consumed even at today’s lower gasoline prices.    


    But what about all that time required to charge?  Our total time spent at superchargers was 207 minutes.  This may sound like a lot of downtime, (and it might be significant if two or more drivers are making the entire trip, non-stop), but I am the only driver and this is a two day drive for me regardless.  In fact, it actually took us almost exactly the same time as any of the previous trips we’ve taken in either our Jaguar or CRV.  To make a valid time comparison though, our supercharging time in Wytheville VA was done right in the parking lot of the hotel where we were spending the night, so that charging time had no effect on our overall travel time.  Deducting those 40 minutes makes the effective time 167 minutes.   We also take advantage of the recharging times to use facilities, have something to eat and stretch our legs.   

    To make a valid comparison, there has to be some downtime on a trip like this. Any ICE vehicle still needs about 10 minutes to refuel at least 3 times on a trip of 1250 miles, so by my estimate that’s 30 minutes for refueling.  Also, as a practical matter, we don’t generally last more than about 3 ½ hours without a need for plumbing or something to eat, so generally, we’d also be stopping for some meals.  I wouldn’t include breakfasts or dinners since they are generally at home or the hotel, but assuming lunch and other miscellaneous other breaks on our Florida run, that would easily account for about another 2 hours of downtime.  So adding those two hours to the gasoline refueling time, the total would be 160 minutes.  That compares to the 167 minutes in our Tesla - only an insignificant 7 minute’s difference. 

    Clearly though, compared to any other EV, on a long trip the Tesla has the significant advantage due to the network of convenient superchargers and the technology that enables high speed recharging.    Any other EV would be dependent on charging stations at destination that are considerably slower. That infrastructure is a game changer for any long distance traveling.    

    So at least for us, the Tesla Model 3 is not only just as practical as our previous car but with the navigation on autopilot, it is less tiring to drive as well as significantly less expensive to operate and maintain.

    Richard Clements

  • December 17, 2020 8:19 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Model 3 & Y Headlights Update Coming -

    Tesla recently announced that they will update the headlights on the Model 3 & Model Y in the first quarter of 2021. The new headlights have a different light pattern and are more adjustable than the previous iteration. The ability for owners to set their headlight height up or down, as to not blind other drivers when driving at night has been a very well received addition by Tesla owners, and the new headlight design allows for a more precise focus of the beams. This video shows the differences between the new headlights and the current headlights. There has also been some speculation that the new hardware could unlock more possibilities for software involving the headlights. One example of this could be a feature that automatically adjusts the height of the beams depending on surrounding traffic. 

    Tesla’s Autopilot Remains Ahead of the Curve -

    In 2016, the NHTSA announced that by 2022, all new cars sold in the US will be required to have an automatic emergency braking system (AEB). AEB is a driver assist system that will automatically brake if either a camera or radar system on the car detects an object in front of the car that the driver is not braking for. So far, Tesla and Volvo are the only two car manufacturers to have met this requirement to completion. This is just yet another example of how Tesla being so ahead of the curve as far as automatic driving systems has helped them to meet regulations ahead of time, whereas other manufacturers will have to make changes in order to meet the constantly updating regulations.

  • December 16, 2020 2:02 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)


    As a Tesla owner, you may have already experienced that charging and driving your Tesla in temperatures around 32 degrees F tend to reduce driving range and increase charging times. Now, of course this would come as a frustration to any one, so maybe this winter you’re looking for some tips and tricks to maximize driving range and help with those longer charging times as we head into these colder winter months. Well, in this article we’ll do just that. We’ve taken a look at the most common challenges and considerations Tesla owners face in these colder months and built out some common strategies and tricks to maximize driving range, minimize charging times and take control over driving your Tesla this winter!

    Preconditioning Prior To Charging

    The intention of preconditioning is to raise the temperature of your Tesla’s battery to an appropriate temperature prior to charging. This application of preconditioning is seen in a number of scenarios such as charging your Tesla in extremely cold weather, or preparing your Tesla’s battery for Supercharging. For the purposes of this section we will look at how preconditioning is used in these colder winter months and how to get the most out of the preconditioning feature.

    Why Would You Use Preconditioning?

    If you’re looking to charge your Tesla in conditions around 32 degrees F, without selecting any preconditioning features, Tesla is going to limit a lot of features such as full power output, regenerative braking and top charge rate link as well as charging speeds to preserve the safety of the cold battery. The reason for these precautions is due to some electro-chemical properties of batteries where charging a battery at near freezing can actually permanently damage or even render your Tesla’s Li-ion battery completely useless. 

    Now, to circumvent some of these limitations, Tesla owners can enable preconditioning that will actively warm the battery prior to charging. 

    How To Activate Preconditioning

    If the temperature of your Tesla is around freezing, you will see an icon appear in the climate control section of your Tesla App, selecting this will activate preconditioning. Alternatively in the ‘Climate’ section by selecting to turn on preconditioning will turn on the preconditioning feature link

    Best Practices and Considerations

    If you are looking to optimize the driving range and efficiency of your Tesla in these winter months, consider leaving your Tesla plugged in when temperatures drop to around freezing. About an hour prior to charging, turn on preconditioning. This will effectively warm the battery to an appropriate level before charging. 

    Pros and Cons of Preconditioning


    • Will cut down on the waiting time if you plan to precondition ahead of when you would typically charge

    • Keeps your battery safe from applying a charge directly to a cold battery

    • Actively warms the cabin while the battery is being warmed

    • Increase range, allow for regenerative braking (which isn’t available when the battery is too cold)


    • Preconditioning will consume electricity to warm the battery while not drawing current to charge the battery

    • You do have to plan accordingly to set preconditioning an hour prior ro charging

    Smart-Preconditioning Prior To Charging

    Why Would You Use Smart-Preconditioning?

    Now, if you are driving your Tesla in cold weather on a predictable basis, you have the option to use smart-preconditioning. The principle of Smart-Preconditioning is to warm the battery prior to driving or charging based on your driving habits. The benefit here of Smart-Preconditioning is to benefit from all of the aforementioned benefits of preconditioning in the previous section, however now this feature should be applied based on your unique driving habits. So, if you leave your home at the same time every day, with ‘Smart-Preconditioning’ you can depend on your Tesla battery being effectively warmed prior to your trip, or at least that’s the intention. 

    Contrary to the intention of Smart-preconditioning, we have heard Tesla owners reporting that the smart-preconditioning features don't work effectively and can exhibit some unusual behavior, seen here & here. Here, some Tesla owners stated that they leave their home at the same time each morning and unfortunately the scheduled smart-departure seems to not register and schedule the preconditioning based on their driving habits. Even further, smart-preconditioning seems to be triggered at strange times throughout the day, exhibiting sporadic behavior.

    How To Activate Smart-Preconditioning?

    If you are interested in using the ‘Smart Preconditioning’ setting. Go into ‘Settings’ on your Tesla app, then to ‘Vehicle’ then toggle “Smart Preconditioning’ on.

    Best Practices and Considerations

    Unfortunately, Smart-Preconditioning seems to have some mixed results and there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut model or software release that is the cuplerate. Our recommendation is to test this to determine if this feature is effective for your specific vehicle. 

    Pros and Cons For Smart-Preconditioning


    • Automatically warm your Tesla’s battery and cabin prior to driving determined by your driving habits

    • Keeps your battery safe from applying a charge directly to a cold battery

    • Easy to configure and manage through the Tesla App


    • Smart-Preconditioning will also consume electricity to warm the battery while not drawing current to charge the battery

    • Tesla owners report sporadic behavior of Smart-Preconditioning

    Third Party Services To Optimize Preconditioning and Charging 

    Although Tesla offers a “Schedule Departure” feature on the dashboard, drivers have reported the car will only precondition up until 6 am and then stop. Link. On top of that, preconditioning in cold conditions can take up to 30 minutes, which would require a drive to adjust their battery level each morning to start charging their car and climate well before they leave.

    Luckily, there is a free third-party app that will handle this automatically. 

    Optiwatt, www.getoptiwatt.com, offers a free app that will automatically precondition the car by charging 30 minutes leading up to the desired departure time. If a driver has time of use rates that change throughout the day, Optiwatt will automatically charge during the cheapest times and save the last 30 minutes of charge for right before the departure. It also allows the user to set the climate so the interior temperature is comfortable each morning.

    Other Best Practices Considerations

    Outside some of the preconditioning and smart-conditioning considerations we’ve discussed, there are some other very simple ways to maximize your driving range in winter months. 


    Now, one great feature that seems to be taking the place of ‘Smart-Preconditioning’ is the feature of ‘Scheduled-Departure’. Scheduled Departure allows you to completely configure how you would like your Tesla Charged, heated and ready to drive at a specific time. This feature also allows you to set your maximum charge level prior to driving. This feature like the other preconditioning features will consume energy, however it can bring your Tesla battery and cabin to the optimal state just before charging and driving. To learn more on this feature, CF Tesla has a great overview on setting up Scheduled-Departure here.

    Optimal Parking

    This one is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised lots of Tesla owners forget to leverage the power of our sun! We’ve heard some Tesla owners actually benefit from parking in the sun in the middle of the day to ensure their cabin and battery don’t drop to non-ideal temperatures.This simple heat transfer can keep your battery as warm as possible when parking outside during these winter months. 

    Chill Mode

    Another great way to combat the degradation of loss of range in those winter months is to use the Chill Mode feature. Chill Mode simply moderately limits your Tesla’s acceleration to preserve energy. So now, even if you seem to be losing some range in these winter months, Chill Mode might help you even the scales here, and ensure that you aren’t burdened from the change in weather. You can read more about chill mode here.


    Final Thoughts

    As we head into these winter months, remember that maximizing driving range is in your control! We believe that by understanding the various features you have access to, you can effectively combat any loss or range or charging efficiencies as we head into these winter months. Also, as you move forward, remember to utilize features and third-party services that help optimize driving range, charging times and the associated charging costs that can be seen in winter months.

  • December 15, 2020 4:34 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    When our owners club sets its mind to accomplish something, it doesn't play around.

    The Niagara Frontier region's meetup that took place the morning of December 12 wrapped up the year with a milestone: our first event on the grounds of Buffalo's Giga NY. To check out a video recap of the event captured and edited by Finger Lakes Regional Organizer, Rick Cognata, click here

    Thanks to TOCNYS Club Manager Stephen Pallotta, teaming up with Tesla Community Relations Partner Kayleigh Terranova, our members and guests eagerly seized the opportunity to drive onto plant property for our first Frunks of Toys event to benefit the Toys for Tots organization.

    Stephen himself was the first to park at the facility's newly installed quartet of V3 Supercharger stalls. Making it in from Rochester, and Albany the day before, he anchored our COVID-inspired vehicle distancing (every other parking space) within the parking loop.

    Our kind event sponsor EV Parts Guy of Churchville, NY was next on the scene with complimentary coffee and donuts, plus a wide array of components on display under a tent. Please be sure to check out their Facebook presence for more information on the critical service they provide to Tesla owners and the EV community in general.

    By 11 a.m., fellow TOCNYS members and guests made it past the security gate with only the mildest of warnings ("15 mph, please") and, before we knew it, two dozen Teslas were on site with every frunk teeming with toys. The club at its finest hour, even if it started to drizzle!

    TOCNYS Finger Lakes Regional Organizer / Plaid Member Rick Cognata kindly documented this historic meetup in a way that reflects the draw of benefits like this. In addition to Stephen from Albany, the Niagara Frontier crew attracted a slew of Rick's fellow Finger Lakes members and guests, plus owner Bruno Santos from the Greater Toronto Area. Our president and co-founder / Plaid Member Patrick Ho, in town with wife Georgina, made the rounds to meet members, brand-new and existing.

    It was easy to see we succeeded, welcoming twenty-four owners and twenty-six guests.

    After announcements and the raffling off of some EV Parts Guy door prizes (promise, it wasn't rigged), the caravan of Model S, Model 3, Model Y, and TOCNYS Co-founder / Plaid Member Harry Burch's Model X exited the Giga NY property for a quick trip to the Toys for Toys warehouse for dropoff of the gifts, including one Tesla. (Okay, it was a Hot Wheels car, but still. . . .)

    A big round of thanks to every single one of you who participated and brought future smiles to some kids in need.

    By Niagara Frontier Regional Organizer / Plaid Member - John P. Weiksnar
  • December 10, 2020 7:32 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Hibernating Snakes Halt Gigafactory Berlin Construction -

    In order to build their upcoming Gigafactory Berlin, Tesla had to clear a portion of a forest which caused many problems from local environmentalist groups. Firstly, Tesla was required to relocate an endangered bat species from the land in the first phase of construction. Recently, the local environmentalists sued Tesla because the land that they are in the process of clearing is home to hibernating (technically brumating) snakes and Tesla was forced to halt construction for a couple days until the court ruled that Tesla had already moved as many snakes as they could and they were cleared to continue the construction process. It is awfully ironic that a company aiming to reduce global warming and harmful emissions is experiencing pushback from environmentalist groups in the area.

    Tesla Has a New Leasing Experience -

    In an effort to further simplify the car purchase and ownership experience, Tesla plans to launch a new leasing experience in 2021. As can be seen, the new experience aims to streamline the entire process of leasing a vehicle and enables the customer to do everything themselves, without the need for Tesla employees to get involved. The new system enables owners to, extend leases, transfer a lease, purchase a leased vehicle, sell their vehicle to non-Tesla dealers, report a total loss, and request a lease termination. It currently appears that every lessee will have access to the experience in 2021. This is a big step forward to streamlining the ownership experience, as all of these actions would traditionally require a phone call.

  • December 03, 2020 8:53 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    FSD Beta Wider Release On the Way

    In a November 29th tweet from Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, he announced that the wider release of FSD beta will come in approximately two weeks. Currently, the feature is only accessible to a few lucky testers chosen by Tesla to carefully test the software and send feedback. Tesla is often releasing new versions of the software to the current beta testers more than once a week, each time improving the system. The reason why the process of beta testing is so crucial to a software system like this is that there are so many edge cases that rarely ever happen while driving that the software needs to be prepared for and know how to handle. There are also vastly different roads all over the country, and many difficult situations that arise. Once the system is released on a wider scale, it will only be available to those who have purchased the FSD upgrade, and have the latest version of Tesla’s hardware (included on all cars built in or after April 2019). When Navigate on Autopilot first came out, the software was a bit shaky and the lane changes were not as smooth or natural as a human driver, but over time the system improved and now is much better and more natural compared to when it first came out. This will likely be the case for FSD beta too, there will be moments when drivers have to disengage the system, but the system will improve itself with time thanks to the advanced machine learning capabilities. 

    Heat Pump Effectiveness Proven -

    When the Model Y initially came out, one of the most important features, especially for those of us in the northeast, was the heat pump. The heat pump enables the car to keep the battery at a reasonable temperature without wasting too much battery life. The feature has now trickled down to the Model 3 as well and a recent test conducted by an owner who has a Model 3 without a heat pump in addition to a Model 3 with a heat pump to see just how much of a difference it makes. He set the heat in both of the cars to 70°F and his conclusions were that the Model 3 without a heat pump required 2,170 watts to maintain the temperature whereas the Model 3 with a heat pump only required 735 watts. The findings definitely show that the heat pump makes a difference in how much energy is required, but it will be interesting to see if there is an even larger efficiency gap if he performs the test in colder conditions.

  • December 02, 2020 6:49 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    I came across the WATCH FOR TESLA app a while back and find it useful, so here’s some details.  It’s only for Apple watches at this time and costs a few dollars in the App Store, but no ongoing subscription is required. (Disclaimer: I have nothing - zero - to gain from the app sales)


    The app basically allows you to do everything from your Apple Watch that you can do from the Tesla app on your phone, including lock/unlock, vent windows, enable remote start, start/stop charge, etc. I find it convenient (and kinda cool) to run the car from my watch, especially if my phone isnt’ immediately available. With both the car and the watch on internet or cell service, you can work solely off the watch, but if there’s a dead zone where you’ve parked, for example, then you’ll need the phone or key card to run the car.

    It can handle multiple vehicles easily - our M3 and Y run off the watch - and toggles back and forth with a swipe. It sets up on the watch as a “complication” - a function that you access with a touch. On one of my watch faces, its in the upper right (red circle) - and shows the amount of charge on the last active vehicle.

    Setup is pretty easy, there can be some bugs or mis-strokes, but no worse than many ther apps in my experience. Getting the image of the car(s) was a bit tricky.  The app only runs on the watch (not the phone) and security log on is through your Tesla app user ID/password or a security token process (which seemed excessive to me.).  Plenty of support available.

    The website https://www.watchfortesla.com has good functional description, FAQs and more.  The developer is from Denmark, and is incredibly responsive and supportive for questions and suggestions on a GitHub page: 


    Thought it would be useful info for some TOCNY members, if you were looking for a good Apple Watch app for Tesla.

  • November 25, 2020 10:50 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)
    On November 18th, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with Peter Gordon, Owner & EV Parts Guy at EV Recycling Company LLC here in Rochester NY.

    If you're not familiar, Peter specializes in Electric Vehicles and is dedicated to supplying the best quality used parts for reuse on EV repairs, modifications, and projects. He is working to find the best Second Life applications and end of life recycling methods for all EV parts and HV Batteries that are no longer able to be used in vehicles.

    I could go on and on in this blog, but I will let my video HERE speak for itself. Keep your eyes open for future videos like this going forward, I’ll be calling them “Cogs Vlogs” :)

    Link to video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onr8ULpEGW4&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=Rick

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