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  • November 16, 2020 7:19 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    As a society, we tend to overlook the differently abled people in our communities. Unless you are someone or are close to someone who has physical challenges, handicap parking spots and accessible buildings may not make an impression on you. However, for those with limited mobility, these are just a few of the things necessary to function on a daily basis.

    One such accommodation is hand controls for vehicles to allow those with limited lower body mobility to drive. Tesla and other modern vehicles can present issues with installing hands controls due to changes in the construction of late model automobiles. With the advent of digital controls replacing the mechanical linkages of years past, connecting mechanical devices for pedal controls is problematic. These devices used to attach to the steering column for structural support, but steering columns are no longer structural.


    At least one means of installing hand controls has been developed for cars like Tesla that doesn't rely on the steering column as a structural member. We appreciate the quality work that companies such as Agor Enterprises in Penfield, NY (https://www.agorenterprises.com/) do to install these devices. Agor fabricates a custom baseplate to which the manufacturer's devices are attached during the installation. This is attached under the front seat bracket so that no drilling or alterations to the structure is needed. One such device manufacturer is Veigel (https://www.mobilityinnovators.com/products/primary-controls/hand-controls/) who offers many options for their controls. 

    Next, a mechanism that looks like a gear shifter is attached to the baseplate, then to the brake and accelerator pedals.


    Finally, a spinner is attached to the steering wheel. Now the vehicle is ready to be driven, but only by someone who has been professionally trained to drive with adaptive devices. These programs are available through local agencies such as the Al Sigl Center in Rochester, NY (https://www.alsigl.org/) and consist of several sessions over a few weeks. The driver then gets their license restricted to hand controls.


    The operation with hand controls is fairly straightforward, but takes the practice afforded by the training to safely master driving with hand controls. The driver uses their left hand to steer with the spinner while the right hand controls the brake and accelerator. The "shifter" is pulled back to accelerate and pushed forward to brake. The brake position has a "hold" button, but Tesla owners already have that as a standard function. The hand controls do not interfere with the normal operation of the pedals by someone using their feet. 


    Once having a vehicle equipped with hand controls and completing the training, the driver is now ready to join the world in everyday activities. In the US, the ability to drive oneself is critical in most areas and, with this accommodation, those with lower body limitations can fully participate in the community. 

  • November 12, 2020 9:58 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    20,000th Supercharger Deployed -

    Tesla announced last Sunday that the 20,000th Supercharger had been deployed, a massive step for the company and Tesla owners worldwide. Tesla has been making a massive push recently to deploy more superchargers and this can be seen in New York, as 20 new superchargers are stated to be coming soon on Tesla’s website in the state alone. It has also become apparent that Tesla’s site is not the best source for tracking upcoming Superchargers, as many charging locations, such as the recently completed Water Mill Supercharger and the upcoming Riverhead Supercharger were not listed as upcoming on the website. The rapid growth occurring these days is highlighted by the fact that there were only 17,500 Superchargers in early September. On top of installing so many new Superchargers, Tesla has also been making a push to expand their Destination Charging network, to make road trips easier and more convenient for Tesla owners all over the world.


    New Winter Wheel & Tire Available for Model Y -

    Last week, Tesla launched the new wheel and winter tire package for the 19” Gemini wheels, and this week they continued the trend by doing the same for their 20” Induction wheels. Many automakers do not offer a specific option for winter tires and instead just make all-season or summer tires standard. Teslas perform fairly well in cold weather, especially the new Model Y due to the heat pump feature that saves battery while in cold temperatures. The very advanced traction control system also helps Teslas have supreme composure and traction in snowy and icy driving situations.

  • November 09, 2020 12:26 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Powering Up with Tesla Solar - Preparing

    So now that we’ve approved the layout for the Tesla solar panels, it’s time to approve it and move on with the process. For us, the process would have gone more smoothly had we not made a couple of mistakes in the submission. We’ve been making a lot more contacts with our Project Advisor in the last couple of weeks to straighten out errors. The process for approving the Tesla Solar layout requires that the initial forms be filled out correctly.

    Two key elements factor into ensuring the layout is correct from the beginning. First, filling out the submission must be accurate from the very first keystroke. I misunderstood a couple of items and got into a set of problems that are still being worked out. Read every single line on the layout carefully. First, it’s important to know whether you’re looking for Partial or Full Home backup. We chose Full Home, but Partial Home came up on the layout. Second, the Backed Up Loads showed two items that we do not have at our house. It shows us with an electric range, which we replaced with gas a few years ago. I don’t recall this being an item for selection on the submission and I certainly wouldn’t have selected it. A Well Pump is also listed. I was confused when I was completing the submission and selected this thinking that they were referring to a sump pump, we are on municipal water.

    The Project Advisor has forwarded the changes to the engineering team so that they can adjust the layout if necessary. I suspect that there won’t be any changes to the system size (8.16 kW) or to the storage (2 Powerwalls) as the demand is likely outset by not having either an electric range or a well pump. If you do run into problems with your design, text your Project Advisor. I recommend asking them to call you as a conversation seems to work significantly better than an email or text stream.

    Now we sign for payment method and various related documents. Just as ordering a Tesla vehicle is accomplished through the Tesla website, so is all of the Tesla Solar and Powerwall installation. Going to your home page, you’ll see Solar Panels (if you ordered Powerwalls, they’ll be here, too), vehicles, and Tesla Shop orders. Selecting Manage under Solar Panels, will bring you to your Tesla Energy page where you can review, edit, and approve your energy project. Payment method will also appear here. There are several options including cash, loans, and subscriptions.

    Visit https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/solar-panels/after-installation/billing to see these options. Clicking on the View Order Details link will give you a summary of the order.


    Once everything looks accurate, then it’s time to pull the “solar trigger.” On the Track Your Order page you will have a link to approve you order. This is necessary to proceed to the next stage of getting the local permits. You will have a number of documents to either upload or sign electronically. Be sure to scroll down on the page to see the documents. These will need to be signed in order to proceed to the permitting process as it gives Tesla permission to act on your behalf to contact the various authorities.

    My next step in the process was to determine where the Powerwalls could be mounted. It would have been simple to mount them in the basement next to the main electrical panel. This would have been immediately inside from the electric meter and below the bulk of the solar panels, thus shortening the wiring needed. This looked good until the Project Advisor let me know that it could not be there per New York State Fire Code as indicated in the following excerpt. I suggested outside by the electric meter, but Tesla engineering indicated that the weather is too harsh for that location.

    R327.4 Location. Energy storage systems shall only be installed in the following locations:

    1. Detached garages and detached accessory structures.

    2. Attached garages separated from the dwelling unit living space and sleeping units in accordance with Section R302 of this code.

    3. Outdoors on exterior walls located a minimum 3 feet (914 mm). from doors and windows.

    4. Utility closets and storage or utility spaces within dwelling units and sleeping units.

    R327.8 Fire-resistance rating. Rooms and areas containing energy storage systems shall be protected on the system side by no less than 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board or equivalent, installed on the walls and ceiling of the room or area. Attached garages containing energy storage systems shall be protected on the system side by fire-resistant construction in accordance with Section R302.

    FIRE AREA. The aggregate floor area enclosed and bounded by fire wallsfire barriers, exterior walls or horizontal assemblies of a building. Areas of the building not provided with surrounding walls shall be included in the fire area if such areas are included within the horizontal projection of the roof or floor next above.

    Finally, I chose the garage as the only viable option for mounting the Powerwalls. I looked at the house side of the garage as it has the necessary fire barrier, but there are so many electrical runs and outlets, plus an outside faucet that this seemed difficult at best to accomplish. I finally decided on the opposite wall of the garage. I moved the tools and tool rack to the shed and laid out where the Powerwalls could go. This will require approval by Tesla before they can proceed, but I expect it will be acceptable. Unfortunately, now the wiring will have to run the length of the house, probably through the basement to the main electrical panel.

    This is where we are in the project. Now we wait for permits and an inspection by the installers before the excitement begins. Well, I guess it’s more like until the excitement continues. We already have the Tesla Solar sign up in anticipation.

  • November 05, 2020 6:10 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Sentry Mode Storage Device Now Included -

    It appears as if Tesla is beginning to deliver cars with a built in Sentry Mode and Dashcam storage device. It currently functions that if a Tesla owner wants to use the Dashcam and Sentry Mode features, they must plug a USB storage device into the USB port in the car, and use a function on the screen of the car to format the USB drive to be compatible with the car. It makes sense that Tesla might want to include a storage device, as the feature was originally added to all cars via a software update and did not require any hardware changes. As of now, it appears that the included storage device is only being produced in cars made in the Shanghai factory, although this may trickle down into US made cars as we have seen with other features.

    Tesla Wins Massive New Battery Contract -

    In 2018, Tesla received a large contract to build a massive battery pack in Australia which would store energy and help to reduce emissions as well as lower costs. After six months, it was evident that the battery pack was working as intended, as $17 million of the initial $60 million cost of building the battery pack was recouped. This week, tesla received another contract from Australia to build another Powerpack. While the first Powerpack only had a capacity of 100 MW, the new one will be able to store an impressive 300 MW of power. The new Powerpack will be used to service the Victoria to New South Wales interconnector in the event of an unexpected outage.

  • November 05, 2020 11:55 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Who knows the ins and outs of a Tesla better than Tesla owners, well… maybe the folks who assemble them at Fremont, but even they might not know all of the nooks and crannies like we do. As an owner for years, an enthusiast for even longer, inventor since childhood, and holder of numerous US and Foreign Patents, EV Smart Parts is pleased to announce two accessories that we’ve created exclusively for the Tesla community. One of these inventions will help protect the paint and metal of your Tesla Model 3 and keep it cleaner, the other will improve your safety if you use a radar detector while making it much more convenient to adjust its controls. 

    Model 3 Mud & Stone Guards

    While this may not be the most beloved comment by all, winter is right around the corner, and in New York State, that means salt, sand, and slush… all over your cherished spaceship on wheels. Like many of you I couldn’t stand the sight of this, and when I realized that road debris was being kicked up by the tires and destroying the paint, I had to take action and do so quickly!

     

    What we created over at EV Smart Parts is a 2 ply precision die-cut mud flap that deflects more mud and stones than the typical 4-mud flaps. The flaps are durable, flexible (self shedding), quiet, and provide more coverage and protection than molded front mud flaps. Over the lifetime of your ownership this also translates to a higher resale value!


    We designed a mud flap in keeping with the clean design of the Tesla Model 3. Simply put, it is inconspicuous and practically invisible from the side. Long, low, wide, flexible, durable are just a few attributes that make this the best mud flap out there. These flaps provide a very large “protection shadow” which covers approximately 7 feet of the paint and metal work behind the front wheels!


    Easy-Mount Radar Detector Mount for Tesla Model 3 and Y

    This new product was custom designed for your car and there is nothing out there like it.  If you are currently using a RADAR/LIDAR detector in your TESLA Model 3 or Y, then why not put it where your fingers are instead of a 17" unsafe reach away from your central touch-screen? Great gifts for any TESLA Model 3 or Y owner.

    The Easy-Mount radar detector mount drastically improves driver safety by bringing your radar detector 11” closer to your fingertips… within 6” of the central touchscreen the driver routinely touches. It is THE safe and convenient alternative to standard mounting products such as the tiny suction cup brackets and sticky pads which are provided by the radar detector manufacturer.


    The EVSmartParts.com Easy-Mount radar detector mount removes the risk of accidentally nudging the steering wheel or bumping the gear selector which can suddenly disconnect AutoPilot without warning. At highway speeds, this sudden and unexpected loss of lane keeping can put you in an adjacent lane or in a ditch in a split second. You won't be ready for it and you won't be able to re-engage your brain in time. Muting or adjusting the volume of your radar detector should not result in a crash, this is a big resale value hit!

    As Tesla owners, we value aesthetics, and most times adding a radar detector mount can clutter things up and take away from the simplicity of the clean design of a Model 3/Y. The power cord meandering across the wide dashboard is not a good look in a Tesla so our design conceals most of it quickly and easily.  Our system improves your view of the road by keeping the detector low and close to you and out of your view window.  We also eliminate the annoying reflection of the radar detector in your windshield. These are two additional plusses for safety.   

    EASY-MOUNT  is a major improvement over other types of mounting methods including the obvious aesthetic simplicity of our unique design. We improve safe driver-interaction with this device by securely positioning it within easy touching range of the driver’s fingers similar to the controls of a fighter jet.


    The mount is made from less than 3 ounces of aluminum, not plastic,  and you will be able to Install it in less than 5 minutes without tools. The design is truly one that is fit for a Tesla, one that is that is functional, simple, and modern. And an added benefit to Sunscreen users, Easy-Mount does not hamper installing and removing your sun shade. 


    Conceal more of the power cord with the 6' straight cord that is included with many radar detectors. The instructions also show how to utilize a 6' coiled cord as well, but we recommend ordering a straight cord for the best appearance. Order one on the internet. In almost 70% of the United States (including New York State) it is illegal to attach anything to your windshield. Just another opportunity for a summons if you get pulled over for any reason over. 

    Whether you're looking to protect your life, your Tesla’s paint or your insurance rates, EV Smart Parts has your back. For more information on our products, and to hear testimonies from members in the Tesla community, please visit either our Facebook page or website, to purchase either item discussed in the blog, click here. If you have any questions or you can also reach out through email at evsmartparts@gmail.com. We believe you will be very satisfied with either our EVSmartParts Mud Flaps for Model 3  or our EASY-MOUNT radar detector mount, and are excited to hear any feedback that you may be able to offer. If you’re interested in the design requirements or installation instructions please click on the links below. 

    Installation Instructions-The For EASY-MOUNT radar detector mount

    Design Requirements- For EASY-MOUNT radar detector mount

    Installation Instructions- For Tesla Model 3 Mud Flaps

    Design Requirements- For Tesla Model 3 Mud Flaps

    Made in USA and sold around the world

    ©2020 evSmartParts.com     |     A Division of Way Cool Product Company LLC

  • October 29, 2020 6:51 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Radio is Back to Tesla -

    For owners of older Tesla models with the MCU1, upgrading to the new MCU and getting all of the new features seems like a no-brainer. There is one drawback, the MCU upgrade also removes the radio features from cars that are upgraded. Starting in the fourth quarter of this year, Tesla will begin offering the FM radio retrofit for $500 by appointment at their Service Centers. Although the price seems high, Tesla figures that not all customers will want the FM radio retrofit, so in order to keep the price down on the MCU upgrade, they do not include the radio retrofit.

    More Service Centers on the Way -

    Tesla is currently beginning a massive effort to increase the number of Service Centers in order to catch up with all of their new sales. Now that Tesla has over one million cars on the road, it has become clear that Service Center growth has not been consistent with sales growth, thus overwhelming many Service Centers with more cars than they can service at a reasonable rate. Tesla reportedly is seeking to add 51 new Service Centers through the end of 2021. Along with Service Centers, Superchargers will also be getting a significant amount of new locations.

  • October 26, 2020 11:43 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Link to video - (On the stands)

    Whether you are a NASCAR fan or not, you have to appreciate the Watkins Glen International Raceway! We’ve been talking about this for over a year now and we finally made it happen.


    Covid has definitely put a damper on everything we Americans do and we originally thought that we would be stuck in our vehicles the entire time. To our surprise, we had about 45 minutes to get out, stretch our legs, and even use the restrooms. They originally told us we would not be able to do so. We are also able to walk up in the grandstands and watch those loud annoying ICE cars drive around the track. Still pretty cool though!


    Twenty two cars took off at 12:05 PM for three unbelievable laps around the track. The pace car driver told us that we would probably only be going 55 to 60 mph on the straightaways so most people were pretty upset as you can imagine. Different story when we got out there. After a slow start, we were pushing our cars to the max and hitting the curves at some pretty high speeds. At one point on one of the straightaways, I got up to 105 mph and spoke to a few others that even pushed it a little faster than that. The trick was just backing off a bit from the group so you could punch it!

    Link to video - (On the track)


    There were quite a few people that had conflicting appointments with this date and I know are going to be upset that they were not able to join us. I think I can speak for the group, but we will definitely make this a yearly event!


  • October 26, 2020 10:22 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    The morning was a bit gray and drizzly, but I was sure the drive to Watkins Glen international Raceway would make the trip worthwhile. I'm sure many of the nearly 60 people riding or driving Teslas were excited about this adventure, but I'm not one to get prematurely excited.

    Teslas were lined up at Gate 2 to sign their paperwork, pay their $30, get their admission ticket and their instructions. The staff at the gate were interested in the Teslas and were checking them out, inside and out. One person commented that they thought the Teslas weren't running until they silently moved. We moved from the gate to line up at the staging area. It was a long line of Teslas representing all of the current models...S 3 X Y.

    We had to wait until the race cars had done their practicing. You could hear them revving their engines in the turns. What a juxtaposition to those in the line up with their cars silent, but running. I sat with Camp Mode on, took pictures, checked my email, and texted with friends about what I was doing today.

    Finally, the pace car arrived and the line started to move. Ahead of me I could see Tesla after Tesla move down the road toward the track. Suddenly, I'm at the gate onto the track and I got that feeling...a spreading warmth in your chest when something exciting is about to happen. The heartbeat quickens, you're breathing faster, and your eyes are suddenly focused on what's ahead. A couple of seconds later, you're crossing the edge curbing of the track and you're on it.

    I've walked part of the track before, but there's no feeling like being on the track, following the pace car, hands tight on the wheel, speeding up and taking that first turn. Then it's accelerate, estimate the line to take in the curve, brake into it and accelerate out. There's that straightaway you've been waiting for and you step on the accelerator to feel that instant torque that puts you back in your seat. I can only imagine what the Tesla Performance models were experiencing then.

    You've finished one lap, have a bit of a feel for the track and are looking forward to the next two laps. Now the excitement is rising. You've gotten over the anxiety of not knowing what to expect and are focused on the fun, coming down off the top of the turn and into the inside line. And, of course those straightaways... you can just feel that big grin on your face. 

    Now the third lap is over and the pace car is directing you off the track. Yes, you wish you could spend more time, but you still have that high from the thrill and wave to the pace car driver as you leave the track. As you wind your way down the roads into the village of Watkins Glen, you're still enjoying that high and thinking about how to describe it to your friends when you get home. 

    The trip home always seems shorter than the trip out, but you're thinking about one thing... when do we do that again? The next Track Day can't come soon enough.

  • October 22, 2020 8:04 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Full Self-Driving Beta Has Arrived -

    This week, Tesla finally released the Full Self-Driving beta, which shows how the full rewrite of the system will help Tesla reach the next level of autonomous driving. As can be seen by the photos above, the new visualization is much more detailed and as can be seen by the photo on the left, the car identified everything surrounding the roundabout that it was approaching. To go over every new feature of Full Self-Driving would take a long time so simply, it can (try to) do everything, in every driving situation. Tesla says, “When Full Self-Driving is enabled your vehicle will make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns.” The new system is also based on a much more advanced neural network meaning that as more people begin to use the system, it will improve itself. This video shows the new system stopping at a stop sign, waiting for a car to pass, then making a left turn, something that it has never been able to do before. With the update also comes a $2,000 price increase to the price of the Full Self-Driving feature, from $8,000 to $10,000. 


    Cybertruck Design Improvements Coming -

    Tesla released their Q3 earnings this week, and on the earnings call CEO Elon Musk mentioned that he and Tesla’s head of design, Franz von Holzhausen had been in the Design Studio working on “some improvements to the Cybertruck” and he also mentioned that, “there are a lot of small improvements compared to what was unveiled. I think it’s going to be better than what we showed.” Production of the Cybertruck is expected to begin in 2021 with volume production some time in 2022. The mass production of the ambitious truck relies on two factors. First, Tesla must finish building their upcoming Austin, Texas factory where the Cybertruck will be built. Also, Tesla will likely have some trouble bringing the full steel exoskeleton to production as it has never been done before. Much like all previous Tesla models, the Cybertruck will be a first in many respects so do not be surprised if there is a bit of a delay in bringing the revolutionary vehicle to mass production.

  • October 22, 2020 4:01 PM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

    Owners of the 6-seat version of the Tesla Model X have another option for a second row center console. Universal Mobility, a firm based in Minsk, Belarus, has a new design available for sale. Called the Unimo Extras (as best as I can determine from the website), it's listed for €1,240 (1,460 USD). It has a modernistic design and several desirable features.

    A portion of 6-seat Model X owners prefer having the center aisle open as a pass-through to the third row or a place to put a cooler for long trips. For other owners, a console should have a minimum set of features to be useful. The Unimo has a basic set of features including two deep holders for drink bottles and what appears to be a very comfortable armrest. Built into the armrest is a recessed wireless (Qi) charger.

    The design of the Unimo is very sleek and looks great. There are enough finish and material options that will allow most owners to customize the console to their taste. Installation appears to be straightforward for a DIYer. Being someone who expects a lot of functionality in a product, I observed a few shortfalls as well. There's only one wireless charger, when there are likely two passengers and newer aftermarket chargers often have spots for two phones. I would also prefer a non-skid surface throughout the recessed charger. 

    Once there's power for the wireless charger, there should also be a couple of USB ports on the top or front of the console for games or tablets, and at least two USB ports on the back for the third row passengers. Finally, there's a lot of vacant space under the armrest that could be put to good use. For almost $1,500, I would expect a lot more. See https://extras.unimo.by/en#armrest for details.

    A couple of other options are the Tesla second row center console and the TSportline Executive Desk. Neither of these currently show on the websites, but may still be available. The Tesla center console features two cupholders in front of the armrest similar to those in the Model 3/Y. The armrest lifts up to reveal a storage area with a removable tray. Unfortunately, as with other consoles in the Teslas, there is vacant space that could be put to better use. In addition, there are no power ports on the back side of the console. Pricing information is not currently available on this option on the Tesla website, but other sites suggest checking with the Service Centers. See https://youtu.be/queScgRYFQA for a view of the console.


    The TSportline Executive Desk is a very high-end option at $7,500 as reported on Tesla Motor Club. It is unique in its use of retractable tabletops similar to airplane seatback trays. See https://youtu.be/FxfwlpBO_js for a video. The console also contains a duplex 110 volt outlet and two USB ports on the rear. See https://tsportline.com/blogs/model-x-custom-services-pricing/tesla-model-x-executive-line-desk-package for details.


    Center consoles for 6-seat Tesla Model X may be costly and may or may not fulfill the owner's needs. Ingenuity usually comes through in cases like this. Whether it's coolers or stackable storage, portable wireless chargers or USB splitters, the Tesla and traveling communities come through with unique ideas. 

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