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  • January 23, 2020 11:06 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    Having launched paid membership levels at the beginning of 2020, I decided this was just too important of an invitation to silently leave in our members' email inboxes, without any follow-up. So after soberly counting the cost, I decided to call each and every one of our 700 members and personally invite them to consider upgrading - a rather bold undertaking for a certified introvert!

    After making 175 calls to TOCNYS members (yes, only 500+ to go!), some patterns have emerged that I'd like to share with the rest of the club, in order of importance:

    1. In my opinion: some members are asking the wrong question about paid membership levels and the club in general - The top question I've gotten is "What benefits do I get?" or its related objection "I just don't see enough benefits that would entice me to move beyond the free level."

      Here's the foundational truth about the club that the above statements betray as not being widely understood: TOCNYS is a member-driven organization where members, on the ground, at the local level, provide the real value. It's not just some top-down, corporate money-making business venture that's trying to suck all the value it can from its customers. Rather, its purpose is to facilitate a community of like-minded Tesla fans to generate value for themselves and others in NYS.

      Like many things in life, what you get out of something is directly related to what you're willing to put into it. To those who say, "I'm not getting enough benefit", I'd ask: Have you hosted or attended a local meetup? Have you volunteered at a test ride/drive event? Have you written any articles for our website's blog? Because honestly those are the things that provide the real value for all of us in a way that a 20% discount on tires or a free T-shirt just can't come close to!

      Sure, we're doing our best to structure things so that paid membership is an economic no-brainer, where one is receiving more benefit than they are spending, but the whole point is providing an easy way for members to invest in their club. If John F. Kennedy was a member of TOCNYS, he'd probably summarize with, "Ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club."


    2. Friendly reminder (to myself): Many TOCNYS members are super nice and it's healthy for people to connect with each other - Yes, it's easier and more efficient to send out an email blast, but relationships are rarely what I'd describe as efficient, not the healthy ones at least. Through this process, problems have been vented, suggestions made, feedback given, and encouragements received. I really am proud to be part of this community that is TOCNYS :)

    3. Reality check: Many intend to upgrade to a paid membership level, but forget to after putting it off - This is totally understandable and that's why I'm calling - to provide that reminder, if needed. (Hint: this blog post is another reminder, so just do it now if you're intending to!)

    4. Fun fact: The majority of people don't pick up their phone any more - With the recent years of incessant cold-call spam, it looks like the robots have ruined it for those of us humans that actually still try to use the phone. I estimate around 60% of calls go directly to an answering service.

    5. Funner fact: Of those who don't answer their phones, 10% have full inboxes and can't receive any more messages - So essentially there's no way to reach them at all by phone. Check your messages people - what if I were a legit Nigerian prince with a $10,000,000 favor to ask??

    6. Funnest fact: 99% of people's answering messages are boring, but 1% are amazing - So yes, 97% are boring stock recordings "555-5555 isn't available right now..." and only 2% actually go so far to record themselves saying their name, but one message from one particular member was essentially an amazing Tesla pitch, complete with a recording of Elon Musk saying "I think a Tesla is the most fun thing you could possibly buy, ever. That's what it's meant to be. It's not exactly a car. It's actually a thing to maximize enjoyment. Make maximum fun."

      Lest she get inundated with 700 calls to hear her message, she'll remain anonymous, but she knows who she is and she is awesome :)


    Well that does it for my "Lessons Learned Calling 175 People". Just thought it might be interesting to others, as for better or for worse, it's simply an experience that the majority of people will never have the opportunity to have!

    Love to hear your thoughts - please leave comments below.

  • January 10, 2020 2:29 PM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    After raising donations from TOCNYS members for the entire month of December, TOCNYS was proud to present Tesla Service Center manager, Justin and his team of service technicians with the 2019 Tesla Tech Holiday Appreciation Gift.

    Consisting of fifteen $30 Target gift cards ($450 value), this was a practical way for the members to show their support for the hard-working techs who keep their Tesla vehicles on the road, running as fast and beautiful as when they were first delivered.

    Upstate New York Tesla owners welcomed 2 new Tesla Service Centers in 2019, one in Latham (near Albany) and another in Henrietta (near Rochester). Before that, owners were solely dependent on 2 mobile techs who would go to the owners and make their repairs on-location. Those mobile techs are still active, but no longer carry the entire service burden for Upstate NY.




    Above TOCNYS President Patrick Ho shares with the Henrietta Tesla Service Center staff about the club and our excitement for the future of Tesla in NY State. Afterward, we officially presented the gift cards to the service techs along with a copy of the following thank you letter:


    We want to give a big thanks to all the TOCNYS members who donated to this cause. Donors include:

    • Gold Donors ($100 each!) Peter Grimm & Asa Farnham

    • Harry Burch, Rick Cognata, Roger Dube, Robert Heckl, Craig O'Buckley, David Lovy, Jeffry Luria, Carmelo Oliveri, James Salviski, Fraser Sim, Clarence Sundram, John P Weiksnar, Donald Wilcox, Various members at the 2019 TOCNYS Christmas Party

  • January 10, 2020 1:55 PM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    Tesla’s New ‘All Weather Protection Kit’

    Over the years, Tesla has heard more than a few complaints from Model 3 owners in regions of the world which receive a lot of snow (and thus salt, sand, and gravel on the roads), that the paint would rapidly degrade behind the wheels as a result. Tesla has responded by releasing a new and free ‘All Weather Protection Kit’.

    The kit, as far as we know just consists of mud flaps for behind the wheels. The kit is available for free at most Service Centers in regions much like New York which receive a decent snowfall each year. Although the flaps are available at the Service Centers, the installation is up to the owner. According to an email that Tesla sent, there is an installation manual included with the mud flaps.



    This seems to be a fairly minimal take on winter protection as there were no options to include floor mats, winter tires, or a brush to remove snow or ice from your car. As Tesla has stabilized production and achieved consistent profitability, one would not be wrong to assume that more ease of life improvements like this will be coming in the near future.


    New Jersey Is Getting Electrified

    New legislation recently made an important step on its way to getting signed this week. State Assembly Bill A4819 as well as its counterpart, State Senate Bill S2252, recently received passing votes in their respective committees and will likely be signed into law by the end of this week, which also brings this legislative session to a close.

    It is expected that by December 31, 2021, New Jersey will have: at least 600 DC charging points at 300 not previously existing locations, at least one hundred of the 300 locations is to be on a major travel corridor and providing at least 150kW of power, and at least 1,000 new 240v public chargers. These goals are very ambitious and will hopefully result in great change in the way businesses and the public in New Jersey view EV ownership.

    By December 31, 2025, the state hopes to have: 25% of multi-family residential properties, 25% of overnight lodging and 25% of places of employment will have 240v EV chargers. In addition, by the end of 2025, New Jersey wants 100% of transit bus purchases to be of electric busses, as well as 40% of state owned, non emergency vehicles to be electric. These are all very important steps towards reducing emissions in the state and hopefully more states will follow New Jersey’s lead in the coming future.

  • January 10, 2020 10:37 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    On the last Saturday of 2019, 30 TOCNYS members from as far away as Buffalo, congregated at a member-owned co-working space in Henrietta.

    SPOT cowork's parking lot, boasting 4 Tesla destination chargers, officially broke their record as it was filled with Teslas, with a couple other EV's sprinkled in.





    Heading inside, it was clear that Jim S. and his SPOT cowork are the real deal: formerly a fitness center, the huge space has now been beautifully partitioned into various kinds of work spaces. The socializing and dinner primarily happened in the all-glass cafeteria.

          


    Dinner was a catered affair with food in abundance (probably enough to feed double the people) and snacks to spare. After a while everyone settled for the main presentation of the night. Presenting the TOCNYS 2019 State of the Club Address, Club Manager Joe M. (that's me) recapped our wonderful year of growth and activity:

    Growth:

    • Membership grew 667% from 98 to 655 (200 now in Finger Lakes, 100 in Long Island)

    Activity:
    • Local meetups occurred in 6 of our 11 club regions, 3 of which met regularly at one point

    • Over 50 events around the state: Meetups, Car shows, Meet & drives, NDEW events, 8 test drive events partnering w/ 3 different Tesla teams, Supercharger grand opening ceremony, Music festival, Fashion show, Dog show

    Influence:
    • 2 Upstate Service Centers (Latham & Henrietta)

    • Contact w/ Tesla teams, Tesla corporate (including Albert Gore III), NYSERDA, NYPA

    • Members: Published articles in local newspapers, 3 radio interviews, 2 TV news interviews

    Following 2019 in review, came an preview of what's in store for 2020, the highlight of which being the now active Paid Membership Levels.

    BTW, click here to see new Membership Levels details and to upgrade!

    Finally, the pinnacle of the night was the official picking of the raffle for a brand new Tesla wall charger. Here is Harry S. (who donated the charger to be raffled) picking the winning ticket:


    All in all, it was a very successful 1st Annual TOCNYS Christmas Party, setting a worthy precedent for those to follow in the coming years!

    Special thanks to event organizer Rick C. and host Jim S. for use of his beautiful space, SPOT cowork in Henrietta.

  • January 03, 2020 5:07 PM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    Model Y Performance Spotted Driving in Washington State

    Earlier this week, yet another spotting of the upcoming Model Y Crossover SUV prototype undergoing testing occurred on I-5 in Washington State. The only difference between this testing and other previous public road testing sessions is that the vehicle in the video appears to be a Dual Motor Performance version of the car. This is discernible by the calipers on wheels, as red calipers have always signified a Tesla performance model.



    What is interesting and suggests upcoming production is that Tesla actually painted the calipers for the test, meaning the prototype in question must be very close to what will soon be the full production iteration of the car. The Model Y was originally scheduled to arrive in late 2020 although reports which call for part suppliers to have Model Y parts ready earlier than expected, suggest the Model Y will come to fruition this summer. The footage also tells us that Tesla is continuing to black out the window trim and door handle chrome on the Model Y, which is new for the company.


    Tesla Rushes to the End of 2019

    In order to keep end of year deliveries high, yet manageable and consistent, Tesla has indirectly taken the $1,875 federal tax credit away from buyers. Some buyers, who hoped to get their cars by the end of the year, and thus receive the last of the federal tax credit which has been slowly phased out, are now being given two options, they can agree to take delivery later than expected, in early 2020 or to cancel their orders.

    Tesla has emphasized that it is paramount for them to deliver as many cars as possible by the end of 2020 in order to remain profitable and report higher earnings. This means that one looking purely at the success of the company and not the satisfaction of the customer could see this as a good thing as Tesla has so many orders that they can not keep up with them and therefore must delay deliveries.

    All in all, it does not speak highly of where Tesla sees the customer in relation to their bottom line though. A simple solution for this would just be to credit the tax credit to the owners who have had their deliveries delayed, yet Tesla has announced no plans to do so.

  • January 03, 2020 9:39 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    With the end of 2019 came the end to the latest bout between Tesla and the NYS Public Service Commission over what Tesla views as unfair exclusion from public money. As that particular battle draws to a close, the war isn't yet over as the Albany Business Review details:

    Tesla has dropped a legal complaint against a New York state commission that was prompted by the commission's decision to cut Tesla out of a multimillion-dollar incentive program.

    The electric vehicle maker is now instead petitioning for changes to the program...

    Now, the company is taking a different course of action by asking for changes to the state's program. Among the proposals:

    Tesla is asking for a incentive system based on how fast each individual charger is, not based on the capabilities of the charging site as a whole.

    The automaker recommends adding a cap so no single operator would have more than half of the chargers receiving incentives from the state. That would help mitigate any concerns about Tesla receiving a disproportionate share of the incentives.

    Click here to read the rest of the article

  • December 27, 2019 11:07 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    The eighty member responses to our 12/2019 E-ZPass® New York survey yielded some worthy insights.

    The Breakdown


    More than 55% have standard E-ZPass windshield-mount transponders, while barely 7% opted for the Green Pass version of the internal tags (more on that later). Just over 18% have plate-mount external E-ZPass transponders, compared to 16% with external Green Passes. Two-and-a-half percent indicated they are batting zero, with no transponders at all.

    Why Poll in the First Place?

    The real motivation was from one of our Model 3 owning members who posted on our forum about an issue obtaining an internal transponder. Word has it that E-ZPass New York decided internal transponders do not work with Teslas. They have solely offered external tags in the past for all vehicles with metallized windshields (including an ICE-age Saab that I assumed I was enjoying in a prior decade).

    To fact-check this, we asked a Tesla service technician who vouched that Model S and Model X do indeed have metallized windshields . . . but that Model 3 does not.

    Outdated E-ZPass Info to Blame?

    This is where the Green Pass comes into play. When I ordered mine for one of the early Model 3s back in the spring of 2018, the E-ZPass New York website still had only Model S and Model X (plus Roadster, if you're keeping score) in their regular E-ZPass pulldown menu selection for updating the vehicle type.

    They have since added Model 3 as a vehicle choice but still have been informing a number of Tesla owners that they will not provide them any internal transponders.

    Denied!

    According to our survey that asked whether E-ZPass New York denied any owner an internal tag, we have corroboration from among 55 Model 3 respondents (11, to be precise):

    "Yes. New York wants us to use only the one that mounts on the license plate."

    "Yes, they stated only outside mounts work."

    "Yes, they said that there was something with the windshield that would block the signal."

    . . . and on, and on.

    This response takes the cake for the best snapshot of those having trouble:

    "Yes. It depended on who I talked to. Sometimes they said I would get the internal. Sometimes they said the opposite. Eventually I got a letter stating I would get the external. I got tired of fighting with them. I don't like the external tag. Judging by their website and application process to get the Green Pass (no online application, you must send a snail-mail letter) they need to modernize big time."

    YMMV, Big Time

    It's true, a number of Model 3 respondents replied 'no' on our survey and received an internal transponder after requesting one:

    "I believe we received one front plate transponder before they sent us the green windshield one."

    "No, but I purchased from a toll booth."* *Author's favorite!

    "No, but the process took months. Several phone calls before it was done properly."

    Most Model 3 owners either "upcycled" a former vehicle's windshield-mount E-ZPass, changing the vehicle description to Model 3 online, or just put up with receiving whichever transponder E-ZPass New York mailed out (most often plate-mount).

    It is clear from our data that the windshield of Model 3 easily supports E-ZPass, and any discrimination is based on stale info.

    Metallized Windshield Theory Merited?

    Not so fast. Some Model S and Model X owners have had success with internal transponder signals, though others only with plate mount, making it appear that your particular S or X may need some experimentation.

    One Model S owner with a Green Pass plate-mount had this to offer:

    "I actually requested the front license plate mount for my 2015 Model S because the interior mount would not transmit through the windshield. I couldn’t even get a car wash pass to work through the windshield! Hopefully the newer models have addressed this problem with a specific 'transmit-friendly' space on the windshield. Here’s an extra note: I don’t have a front license plate on my car, so I used two zip ties to secure it just under the nose cone on the driver’s side of the horizontal grill. Pretty much out of sight, but it works!"

    Then there was this, from another owner; Model X this time:

    "I received 2 front plate mounts and returned both asking for the green windshield mount that I finally received."

    One other member went as far as suggesting the vintage of the toll lane may be a factor:

    "I can tell you that it does not read correctly in the older lanes, so that may be the reason for this issue."

    To add to the head scratching, our friendly service tech also seemed to think that some early Model S specimens did indeed have a "transmit-friendly" patch on the windshield expressly for transponders. That ship appears to have sailed.

    Summing It Up!

    The results show that E-ZPass New York still defaults to plate-mount tags for the bulk of Model 3 owners, even though not one respondent complained that their windshield-mount transponder was not working. Every Model 3 owner who shifted their old ICE car's windshield transponder has had nothing but stellar luck. On the contrary, a plate-mount version had certain issues operating from within the cabin:

    "I have done some experimenting on my own with this. . . . My external transponder died after 7 months (when it was on my front plate), I notified them and they sent me a new one. Instead of re-mounting it on the front plate, I decided to place it inside behind the screen (to see if it would still work) and it said to call E-ZPass when I passed a toll booth, but it ended up working correctly when I checked my account online. So now I leave it inside."

    As for Model S and X owners, the results are similar: no choice of transponder offered, yet if you're persistent, it's not impossible to argue for a windshield-mount (conventional E-ZPass or Green Pass). Sadly the success rate of windshield-mount transponders in Model S and X, while not zero, falls short of those in Model 3. The survey shows a 50/50 mix of S and X owners opting for front-plate vs. internal.

    Last but not least, for those not in the know, the Green Pass Discount Plan offers a 10% toll discount to Teslas on the NYS Thruway, but not over all bridges. You must be an existing E-ZPass holder and request a Green Pass (bona fide green plastic for the internal one, but plain black for the external one) via a good old-fashioned letter. It's all explained here: https://www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/greentag.html

    Do you have any other input on the subject? Please add your comments below, or call our toll-free number. . . .

    -John W. (TOCNYS - Niagara Frontier)

    P.S. Special thanks to staffer Joe Moore for amassing all the data, and to each and every TOCNYS member who participated in the survey. Look forward to more of these in the new year!

  • December 26, 2019 10:52 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    Tesla Releases Surprise Holiday Update

    Late last week, Elon Musk announced that there would be an upcoming “Holiday software update”:



    The new update gives one a look at what is coming up for Tesla as far as Full Self Driving and the future of their infotainment go. Here are the top three new and notable things about the update:


    1. New Voice Commands and Mobile Phone Interactions

    The new update carries with it several changes to the way in which the car interacts with a mobile phone connected via bluetooth. The update allows one to listen to and respond to text messages received on one’s phone while connected to their car. The voice commands have now also been improved to recognize more ways of saying the same thing. The range of actions one is able to control via the voice controls is also improved, for example, one can now open the glovebox or change temperatures via the voice controls. This update is likely a move towards keeping driver’s hands and attention on the wheel and the road as more and more autopilot features are introduced in the near future.


    2. Full Self Driving Sneak Preview

    When CEO Elon Musk announced that the update would contain a “FSD sneak preview” many Tesla fans were concerned as to what exactly he meant. Now that the update has been pushed to most of the fleet, Tesla cars equipped with the Hardware 3 computer can select the option in the Autopilot menu to see the “Full Self Driving Visualization Preview” which will allow them to see exactly what their car is seeing.

    The new visualization shows that the car sees markings on the road as to lines of where to stop as well as turning lanes. The cars also see stop lights, and what color they are as well as stop signs. There are also a few little features which are less notable. For example, the car now recognizes trash bins on the side of the road and will show them on the screen. With Autopilot now being capable of all highway driving with Navigate on Autopilot as well as parking lot- low speed driving with Smart Summon, the next step will be automatic driving on city streets. This will be possibly the most difficult task yet for the Autopilot team spearheaded by Elon Musk.


    3. The Little Things

    As with all new Tesla updates, the new version 2019.40.50 update has a few little features that will be fun for owners to play around with to kill time while charging or just waiting in general. There are two new games, Backgammon and Stardew Valley, the latter being a video game in which the player attempts to maintain a farm. There is also the new TRAX feature which allows owners to morph their vehicles into mobile music producing machines.



    The new “Camp Mode” feature which gives owners the ability to use their car as a camping setup. Previously, one would set up an air mattress or otherwise make themselves comfortable in their cars just to find that the air conditioning, charging ports and lights shut off after a certain period of time. With the new update one can now enable “Camp Mode” and the car will leave the air conditioning, lights and charging ports on for as long as one wishes. This feature is also important for the upcoming release of the Cybertruck as that vehicle is geared towards a much more outdoors customer.

  • December 20, 2019 12:14 PM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    At well over 3,500 Teslas, Long Island is home to more Tesla owners than any other region of NY State. Though 91 of which are TOCNYS members, representing a small fraction of the area's potential membership, TOCNYS is gaining traction there through the efforts of a core group of members. We'd like to take this chance to highlight some of that recent activity:

    On December 7, TOCNYS members organized a meetup that coincided with the Holiday Lighting at Wardenclyffe event at the Tesla Science Center, located in East Shorham, site of Nikola Tesla's famous final lab. TOCNYS members proudly gathered and displayed their vehicles, sharing their enthusiasm for the powerful potential of electricity with the rest of the attending crowds.


    And then last Saturday, LI member Keith S. represented the club on NYC's radio show "The Auto Lab".

    Listen below for the edited interview:


    This is just the beginning of Long Island bright future as a TOCNYS region. More is to come and it will be because of members like YOU that bring it to pass! Here are some ways to get involved:

  • December 19, 2019 2:05 PM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

    Tesla Leaks then Releases ‘Acceleration Boost’ Update

    On Wednesday, in fine print on the ordering page for a dual motor, long range, Tesla Model 3, there was a mention of a $2,000 “Acceleration Boost” upgrade which caused many people to speculate that there was going to be an upcoming option for existing and new Model 3’s to boost one’s car’s acceleration from a 4.4 second to a 3.9 second 0-60. The next day, Tesla fully released the upgrade and now all current Model 3 dual motor owners can upgrade their car’s acceleration. This is a big step for Tesla as we can now see that the acceleration can be adjusted by the company through software rather than hardware. Although they have been software limiting range and power for a long time, if they had one universal battery and motor skateboard platform which they produced, they could then just make all enhancements software-oriented which would allow them to simplify production.



    TSLA Hits an All Time High and Shapes Up for Record Quarter

    While New Year's resolutions bring (although likely temporary) change to one’s life, the New Year also brings financial changes and goals for companies, and Tesla is no exclusion. As of the time of writing, TSLA stock currently stands at $402.16 which means that Tesla is gaining steam going into the end of the fourth quarter and the start of the New Year. This also means that a lot of the shorts who bet against TSLA are losing money now as people think that Tesla is moving towards another profitable quarter which would drive the stock even higher. The stock took a dip earlier this quarter after the Cybertruck was unveiled and shortly recovered after it was announced that they had received 200,000 orders. With Tesla about to take over the Chinese market and the growing stability in the US, it would not be wrong to expect even more growth in the stock price.

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