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[PSA] Basic Guide to Bannerlord Tech Support, General Modding Practices and Working Modlist for Beta v1.5.2
This post has changed/expanded a lot since I first posted my modlist and it has turned into something more than just a list of mods so I am sharing it again in the hopes that it answers many recurring questions.
I started writing this post because I've been seeing a fair amount of people coming back to Bannerlord recently on the various discords I'm in and on the various Bannelord subs and the same questions keep popping up.
One topic that constantly comes up is how discouraged people are when trying to update/build a working modlist for the current build of that game. As a result, instead of posting my modlist over and over again I figured I would just share it with the community on here for anybody thinking about giving Bannerlord another try.
This has since turned into a basic guide to Bannerlord modding and I think it could help a lot of people frustrated that their game/modlist isn't working. This is not the end all be all, it is only meant to get people pointed in the right direction.
Mods? My Game won't even run Native!
Please try all of these:
- Repair your game via Steam (Right Click > Properties > Local Files > Verify integrity of Game cache
- Make sure NVidia GE Force or equivalent overlay doesn't have anything active (make sure all playback/recording it OFF)
- Make an exception for Bannerlord for any anti-virus, firewall, etc...
- Manually delete all files in your Docs/Bannerlord folder and Steam/.../Bannerlord/bin folder and repair the game.
- Try Fixed Launcher mod on Nexus
To select Beta or any previous version of the game:
Right Click > Properties > Betas > Select the version you want from the drop down
I have played over 1000 days with this modlist and can vouch for how stable it is. I HIGHLY recommend using Vortex and Fixed Launcher.
For installing mods:
The best way to do it is with Vortex.
Vortex saves the mods in a 'library' and only installs the ones you have active in the game's module folder by using Symbolic Links (think of it as a shortcut, which makes the game think a file is there when its actually just a shortcut to the actual file).
It is a very powerful tool for managing your mods. It only installs the mods when you "deploy" them, which will install the mods you have selected from the library into the modules folder and remove the other from the modules folder as well.
First thing to do is to go to settings > workarounds and enable "allow symlinks without elevation"
In order for your mods to get installed, you must deploy your mods or nothing will work. To do so click on the "deploy mods" icon on Vortex tool bar. Check the bell icon top right of Vortex every time to make sure there are no issues with the deployment.
When in doubt, revert any changes.
Any time you change ANYTHING, you must redeploy your mods. Repair the game? Redeploy. Update a mod? Redeploy Not sure if you redeployed already? Redeploy.
Managing your Mods
Vortex is fantastic for managing mods, it will tell you when updates are available and when mods overwrite each other. It allows you to have profiles, etc...
However, I recommend launching the game and ordering your mods through Steam using Fixed Launcher. Fixed Launcher will remember your load order and keep it persistent unless you let it sort the mods for you (Don't do that if you are following my list - my order is better)
General rule of thumb, think of a paint job. You start with the big broad brush to do the groundwork and finish with the detail work. Same is true for mods.
You want to start with major mods which change the core of the game before loading the fine tuning mods. The lowest mod in the order gets the final say, which means that if two mods have files in common, the last one will have the final overwrite.
Speaking of overwrites, NEVER use two mods that change the same feature unless they specifically list each other as compatible. This will always cause crashes at worst, bugs at best.
Choosing mods to add to your list
Modding for a game in EA like Bannerlord is always risky as the constant updating tends to make it difficult to correctly pair up the game version with the right mod versions. Many authors get discouraged when they have to constantly "fix" their mod because the game changed code they relied on, etc...
It is therefore on you, the user, to be smart about how you mod.
The following are not guarantees but they are good habits to have:
- Check the Nexus page information: Specifically the "Last Updated" date so get an idea about how active the mod author is. If a mod hasn't been updated in a month - You might want to reconsider using it unless you know for a fact that it works.
- READ the description page of the mod - all of it. You are adding code into your game and you need to understand what it tries to do, so that you can get red flags if ever two mods seem to mod the same part of the game. Modders are not responsible for issues that pop up because you were too lazy to read what they took the time to explain.
- Pay attention to the changelogs and make sure you understand which version the mod is made for. Always read the changelog before you update your mods and make sure you have the right version of the mod for the game version you are running.
- Other users are your friends - Check the comment section of a mod to see if other users have mentioned issues with the mod. Alternatively, some may have commented to let people know that the mod works on a certain version despite not having been updated. Use these resources, but be aware that they are imperfect.
Modders don't do what they do for money - they spend hours/days/months building something that they then release for absolutely nothing out of the kindness of their heart. You are not owed anything, ever. Each mod is a gift and you should always keep that in mind.
You can however make his life easier by doing a few things:
- NEVER get angry and always be respectful. You don't need to kiss his feet, but the modder doesn't owe anything to you. You do however, owe him some respect - no matter how frustrated you are. Nobody is forcing you to use a mod. If you are that angry about it, uninstall it and move on. Basically - be an adult.
- Report bugs when you see them IN THE BUGS TAB. Please don't clutter the comment section of the modpage, post a proper bug report in the appropriate tab. Make sure you follow the template if the author has one.Otherwise, you bug report should contain the following information:- Game version- Mod Version- Modlist AND Load Order- Describe the bug- How to replicate the bug
- Endorse mods you enjoy and that are kept up to date. Give them a pat on the back if you like their stuff - Its free and appreciated.
- If you use a mod and think its underappreciated, share it! There is nothing cooler to see as a modder than someone you don't know highlighting your work.
My Modlist:If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to me on my discord
Can I add these mods to an existing save?
🟢 Completely Safe to Add/Remove on an existing save
🟡 Conditions Apply
🔴 Requires New Game and cannot be removed
These mods are posted in the exact load order I use them in.
Please stick to this load order unless you enjoy crashing.
🟢 Better Exception Window
This mod is a MUST HAVE for anyone, whether you use mods or not. Even without mods, the crash reports it gives you are infinitely more informative than the Vanilla crash reports. However, if you use ANY mods, you want this because it will usually tell you exactly which mod is at fault. I cannot overemphasize how vital this tool is for any modder.
🟢🟡🔴 All Native Modules🔴🟡🟢
🟡 MCM v3.1.9 (All 3 modules - DOES NOT REQUIRE DEPENDENCIES LIKE BUTTERLIB)
Won't cause any issues unless you have mods loaded which depend on this mod
Stick to version v3.1.9 of MCM for now. It does not require Butterlib, UIExtented, or Harmony - those are only needed for MCM v4 which is still in Beta.
It is safe to add and remove midgame. The only caveat is that removing it midgame will crash your game if you still have active mods which need MCM.
🟢 Saving Overhaul
Another QOL mod which everyone should have. It autosaves every 15 minutes, before and after every battle, has 3 quicksave slots and a quickload function which are implemented in a super helpful way.
🟢 Character Reload
Great Mod which combines the features of both Detailed Character Creation and Character Export Import in one neat package.
🟡 True Villagers
Can safely be added. Less certain about removing it
Tired of seeing 10 dudes with pointy sticks raiding villages made of useless pups running for their mother's skirts? Yeah this mod is for you. Villagers now aren't completely free money and villagers act like they care about their home a little more. Great mod to make raiding not feel like a free money cheat.
🟢 Adonnay's Troop Changer
This mod does nothing on its own - but it allows other mods to do something incredible. It replaces the troops which fill up recruitment pools with the configured troops. This allows modders to give factions a virtually infinite amount of custom troop trees. Can be safely added and removed from a game but any mod using this API will stop working properly.
🔴 Calradia Expanded
CANNOT BE ADDED OR REMOVED MIDGAME
Fantastic Mod which adds dozens of settlements to Calradia and makes it feel less empty. Not only that but the modder has done a great job at putting towns and castles in more logical positions, while also managing to partially fix the janky balance of power which exists in Native.
This is the first part of the solution to the Khuzait steamroll problem.
🟡 Better Lords
Will only work on a new game, and removing it won't change anything.
It changes the face of every NPC in the game in a way I enjoy. Every faction has a distinct look and this is totally a flavor mod that every user should look at before starting a new game to see if it something they would enjoy.
🟢 Diplomacy Fixes
If I had to pick five mods I cannot play without, this mod is on the list. I cannot list all the features in this mod without turning this into an essay but long story short: It makes diplomacy and internal politics feel so much less like a chore. It lets you form non-aggression pacts, alliances and even lets you overthrow the king of a faction with enough support.
I HIGHLY recommend playing with 5% influence decay past 100 influence which can be enabled/tweaked in the mod settings.
Part two of solving the Khuzait (or anyone's) steamroll problem
🟡 Distinguished Service
Some users have had crashes at the end of battles. If this is the case, disable Distinguished Service until you have completed the "establish your clan" mission and try enabling it again.
This wonderful mod allows you to recruit companions from among your troops after battles where they performed admirably. It feels crisp, helps with immersion immensely and gives you an alternative way to build up a band of loyal soldiers which feels organic.
🟢 True Relations
This is a package mod which adds relation changes for almost every possible action in the game. You kill bandits? Local notables will like you more. Battle allies will like you more, companions will grow on you, enemies will learn to hate you. It makes relations more organic and leads to real friendships/hatreds which when combined with other mods add incredible flavor to your game
🟡 Improved Garrisons
Can safely be added. However should not be removed. If you must, make sure that all recruiters & guard parties have been disbanded or it will break your save game.
QOL of life mod that allows you automatically recruit troops for your garrison, as it should be. It is a fantastic mod which lets you play the game instead of spending half your Royal time running to every village in the hopes of finding some troops for your ranks.
Please check out the modpage for a full list of features because I don't have the time to explain them all but this is an incredibly well fleshed out mod which does its job admirably well.
🟡 Economy Tweak
Can safely be added and removed but doing so will result in a few days of economic mayhem as the game adjusts to the new calculations. If you add/remove it, give it time to kick in/phase out
Fixes the economy, makes prices less arbitrary, implements a more logical approach to food reserve /prosperity/etc... in settlements. It is an incredible mod which does make the early game more challenging but it is well worth it. As always, check out the mod page for more details
🟢 Realistic Battle
I love this mod. Have I mentioned how much I love this mod?
If you feel like archers are too OP, battles are boring and short or that armor in Vanilla is useless then this is the mod for you.
In my eyes, this mod fixes so many balance issues in the game by making every troop type/playstyle viable in its own way. It "unlocks" the AI so that even looters aren't braindead and on the whole makes every battle feel fresh and different.
🟢 Useful Companions
Ever thought it was weird that party leaders/caravan masters/governors never seem to learn anything on the job? This mod fixes that. Need I say more?
🟡 True Noble Opinion
Can safely be added, unsure about removing it but I expect it so lead to some weird stuff happening.
Fixes a clear oversight in the current game where each NPC Noble will now have his/her own opinion of other NPC Nobles that aren't hardcoded to be the same as the clan leader's. Fantastic mod for immersion and flavor.
🟢 True Prisoners
Great mod that gives more depth to the prisoner system. What you do will affect you traits as well as your relations. It will even let you do prisoner rescue missions. Works wonderfully well with the other relations mods on this list.
🟢 Tournament Fair Armor
This mod is a fantastic little mod that does what it says incredibly well. Everybody gets the same armor preset in tournaments based on culture. Period. Full stop.
🟡 Blood Shit and Iron
Can be added midgame, although it will take time for the new troops to phase in. Cannot be removed from a save without causing issues.
My own troop overhaul which adds over 100 new troops, completely rebuilds faction troop rosters from the ground up and tries to balance historical accuracy with mount and blade lore. Each faction is its own module so you can pick and choose which faction overhauls you want. However I do recommend using them all as I've done my very best to make each faction feel very different but balanced.
Part three of solving the steamroll problem.
🟡 BSI - Realistic Battle Patch
Same rules for adding/removing as above
Necessary compatibility patch for BSI and RBM.
🟢 Houses of Calradia
Great little mod that adds AI marriage. Needed for any multigenerational playthrough.
🟢 Noble Titles
Great mod for flavor which adds titles to NPC names.
🟡 POC Color Changer (Config available on my mod's discord)
Have this turned OFF during character creation and add it once you save on the campaign map. Can be added to any game but may mess up the banners of your game if you remove it cold turkey.
This mod does nothing on its own. However, with my config, it will give legit banners to every clan, make their troop's uniforms follow clan colors instead of kingdoms colors and will give each clan multiple shield patterns. Combined with the next mod, this change battles and turn the into eye candy. Will it be confusing? Absolutely at first but welcome to the middle ages where uniforms weren't a thing and recognizing friend from foe on the field of battle is not as easy as it seems.
🟢 Bear my Banner (MCM version)
The best mod of its kind. Lets T3 troops and above bear their lord's colors. Great way to get a sense of army strength too (more banners = stronger army) but combined with POC, this makes battles beautiful beyond belief and is fully compatible with custom troop mods.
Post your own modlists in the comments, lets help the new and returning butterlords out shall we :)
The Definitive Tesla Model 3 Review: Own The Future Today
Tesla Model 3 LR AWD, Cross County Road Trip
After completing a cross-country road trip in my two-year old Tesla Model 3, I fell in love with it all over again and knew I had to write a post about it.
In my opinion, Tesla hasn’t just revolutionized the electrical vehicle (EV) industry, it has reinvented the car, as I will show you in this (highly biased) post.
Whether you’re in the market for a Tesla, are an existing owner or are simply curious about EVs, I hope you’ll get some value from this post.
You’ll see why comparing a Tesla to most cars today is like comparing a smartphone to a flip phone — it’s really that big of a difference.
If you don’t know much about how EVs work, I highly recommend watching this popular 10-minute YouTube video titled How does an Electric Car work? — it’s a bit technical but overall worth a one-time watch to understand why EVs are the future. It’s no surprise the EV market is expected to reach over $800 billion by 2027!
In this post, we’ll take a tour of the following aspects of a Tesla Model 3:
1. AppBefore describing the car itself, I want to begin with one of the most convenient aspects of owning a Tesla: the Tesla mobile app. This serves as your primary car key and provides many remote control features.
The mobile app automatically unlocks and locks the Tesla 3 doors using bluetooth — this short-distance, keyless access is extremely convenient because it’s hands-free (e.g. phone in pocket) and eliminates having to carry a physical car key.
Tesla does provide key FOBs but in the two years of owning my car, I’ve only used them for valet parking or as a backup in my wallet, in case my phone dies.
Tesla Mobile App
The Tesla mobile app complements the interior touchscreen by giving you many controls outside the car.
The long list of remote control features include lock/unlock doors/trunks, turning on the climate, control charging, valet mode, honk/flash to locate the car, set speed limit…and more.
You can even use the Summon feature to slowly drive the car in reverse or forward — think remote control toy cars — this can come in handy for water puddles or tight garages.
Other neat features include the ability to send an address to your car from maps apps such as Apple and Google Maps (via the share option). You can even locate where your car is parked using the app.
These types of pragmatic, modern day tech features is what sets Tesla apart from all other car manufacturers.
2. ExteriorThe Tesla 3 is a sleek looking four door sedan, which drives like an expensive sports car.
Tesla Model 3 - Exterior, Frunk and Trunk
The doors have unique flush handles that are aerodynamically designed to reduce drag. You’ll have to get used to giving one time instructions to first time users, such as “put the thumb on the fat part of the handle and open with the rest of your hand.“
Tesla 3 comes with two trunks, a conventional rear trunk and an innovative, front trunk (“frunk”).
I find the frunk extremely useful for small bags (e.g. groceries), since the incline keeps the bags from sliding around. I used to get strange looks when I opened the frunk but people seem to be getting used to it, thanks to a growing number of Teslas on the road.
The rear trunk also has lots of room with an additional compartment under the trunk’s floor. You can also fold the rear seats down for longer objects (e.g. skis); I was able to fit a hybrid bicycle in there once.
3. InteriorWhen people get inside a Tesla 3 for the first time, they are often taken aback by how bare the interior is.
Then…they slowly begin to get wowed by how many features are packed in the deceptively minimalistic interior.
The Tesla 3 can comfortably seat five people, with heating in all seats. It has more legroom than conventional, internal combustion engine (gasoline) cars, since there’s no transmission hump in EVs.
Tesla Model 3 Minimalist Interior
With the rear seats folded down, there’s enough space to fit a twin size airbed — I have read about people sleeping overnight in their Teslas, at campgrounds.
The Tesla 3 has your basics: seats, air vents, several cup holders, multiple storage compartments, USB and 12v chargers, door locks, and window controls (auto retract for all four windows).
At the center of the front panel is a single, gorgeous 15-inch, extremely responsive, touchscreen to operate everything else (including the glovebox) — essentially your control center.
Getting used to having everything on a single screen takes only minutes to get comfortable with, since most of us use mobile devices these days, so it’s a familiar feel.
I’ve personally fallen in love with the single touchscreen concept, since it feels like using a tablet (e.g. iPad) and gives the car a more airy feel, without the clutter of knobs you find in most cars.
It’s baffling to me that other car manufacturers haven’t realized the simple fact that consumers love their smartphones, since most cars still have a fragmented instrumentation dashboard.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support helps but it still doesn’t provide an integrated, smartphone-like, user experience (Ux) — imagine if you had part knobs and part touchscreen to operate your smartphone!
The 15-inch touchscreen provides you access to many features, almost too many to cover in detail in this post, so I’ll list them instead:
- Door lock/unlock
- Settings (glovebox, lights, locks, display, driving, Full Self-Driving (FSD)/Autopilot, navigation, safety, service, software, etc.)
- Climate control
- Wiper control
- Backup camera
- Navigation: Everything you can expect from a mapping app, with comprehensive supercharger network support built in. The satellite view is amazingly responsive!
- Battery level, settings and consumption
- USB connectivity/charging and 12V charging
- Objects nearby (cars, trucks, motorcycles, signs, people, traffic lights, lane markings)
- Dashcam – record video footage on a USB drive using Tesla’s external cameras (see video at the end of this post)
- Custom driver profiles
- Manual/automatic garage opener via HomeLink
- Sentry alarm system
- Tire pressure
- Incoming phone calls
- Seat belt warnings
Then…there’s a whole section on the screen dedicated to apps, including:
- Web browser
- Calendar (integrated with your phone with auto navigation)
- Entertainment (with full-screen support) including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Caraoke (with a “C”), Atari arcade games, drawing tool, fullscreen campfire, and more.
The Tesla air vents provide ample control via the touchscreen, with some very cool graphics to change the airflow direction, by “pinching” the air animation.
The steering wheel comes with scrolling wheels that serve multiple purposes, for example controlling the music volume/track, cruise speed, side mirrors, steering column tilt, and soft/hard rebooting the car. It also has a built in sensor to detect whether your hands are on the steering wheel during FSD (see below).
Steering Wheel Controls
Of course, you get all of the above….under a wondrous, panoramic, tinted glass roof that inspires you to daydream in the daytime and stargaze at night.
Tesla Model 3 Glass Roof
4. DrivingThe Model 3 is extremely quiet, fun to drive, nimble on turns, and accelerates fast enough to make people’s heartthrob and say “wow!”
Imagine having the acceleration of an expensive sports car with the feel of a golf cart — that’s what driving a Tesla feels like.
As of November 2020, here were the 0 to 60 MPH speeds for the three Tesla 3 models (with the ability to go faster via a paid upgrade):
- Standard Range Plus: 5.3s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 140 MPH
- Long Range AWD (my car): 4.2s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 145 MPH
- Performance: 3.1s 0-60 MPH, Top speed 162 MPH
Sometimes at a complete stop in my garage or parking spot, I’ll forget to put my car in park before opening the door — but no worries, the car automatically puts it in park for you.
Tesla also automatically engages the emergency brakes, when you park your car. It’s these little conveniences that Tesla has thought of, which make the Tesla so much fun to own.
While parking/reversing (e.g. in a tight garage), it helps to see a readout of exact measurement, and audio/visual warnings, for objects close by.
Tesla Nearby Objects Warning and Backup Camera
When you first use the accelerator pedal on a Tesla 3, it feels like you’re pressing against pure air since it’s so quiet but the highly responsive, induction motor makes it a lot of fun to go from 0 to 60 MPH (4.4s in my car)!
I absolutely love how quiet my Tesla drives. EVs in general are very quiet under 30 MPH, in fact so quiet that many countries will soon require sound emitters in EVs, for pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
Though the Tesla 3 is a sedan, the large battery in the center gives it the weight and low center of gravity, making it more nimble than many sports cars I’ve owned before.
Tesla Model 3 Battery
Single Pedal Driving
One of the coolest features of the Tesla is “single pedal driving” using a technology called Regenerative Braking (Regen for short; see Wikipedia for details).
When you let go of the accelerator, Regen enables your car to slow down rapidly while also charging your battery. My brake usage has reduced by 80% compared to conventional cars. For example, you can have the car slow down quickly for turns or gradually come to a complete halt at stop signs, without having to use the brakes.
Tesla provides an automatic brake HOLD function that enables your car to stay at a complete stop, without you having to keep your foot on the brake (e.g. at a red light). This HOLD feature also automatically engages, when the car slows down to 0 MPH.
The HOLD function complements regenerative braking, since you can let go of the accelerator while approaching a red light and have the car come to a complete stop, without having to use the brake pedal (i.e. single pedal driving).
If you’ve seen the 2004 movie “I, Robot” starring Will Smith (as Detective Del Spooner), there’s a scene after he crashes a car, when his lieutenant yells this at him: “What is the matter with you? Traffic Ops tells me you’re driving your car manually.”
We are as close to fully autonomous cars, as we've ever been in our lifetime.
There are five levels to autonomous vehicles:
- Driver Assistance
- Partial Automation
- Conditional Automation
- High Automation
- Full Automation
However, even just Level 2 FSD is one of the coolest features in the car, since it significantly reduces the driver fatigue.
FSD - Highway (Utah), Night (Tahoe) and Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
FSD is a suite of features including Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, and others (e.g. Autopark, Traffic and Stop Sign Control).
FSD literally saves you so much driving that, at times, you feel like you’re babysitting the car, by just leaving one hand on the steering wheel with your feet lounging.
I tell friends driving with FSD feels like playing a video game in a comfortable lounge chair, where you have to pay enough attention to not die but you’re enjoying every minute of it.
I use FSD anywhere and everywhere there are visible lane markings, from 25 MPH street to 80 MPH highway, speed zones.
This technology keeps getting better with every software update — I’ve literally seen how it handles so much better over the past year, around things like construction areas.
You can engage just Autopilot (Traffic-Aware Cruise Control) by pressing the cruise control lever fully down once. To engage the full FSD, you press the lever down twice — this activates Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, and Auto Lane Change.
Let’s take a closer look at how FSD works.
According to Tesla’s website, “Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”
FSD - Cameras, Auto Lane Change
The Auto Lane Change feature is amazing and I absolutely love using it each time! You change lanes by simply giving the turn signal and let your car do the rest; i.e. the car will automatically change lanes, when it’s safe.
While doing my cross-country road trip, I came up with two supplemental terms to Auto Lane Change:
- Delayed Auto Lane Change: When you know you can’t change lanes due to traffic, you can go ahead and “queue” your lane change request and the Model 3 will change lanes, when safe.
- Accelerated Auto Lane Change: When you don’t want to wait, so you speed up to create a safe distance between the cars, which triggers Tesla to change lanes.
I’m a bit embarrassed to be boastful about this but I’ve come to rely so much on FSD that depending on surrounding traffic, I’ll work on my mobile device momentarily (e.g. editing documents, instant messages, quick web browsing). I feel irresponsible and guilty but part of me thinks, this is how we’ll gradually move to FSD…a couple of seconds at a time.
While I absolutely LOVE FSD and use it for 80% of my driving (highway, local), I can’t see a door-to-door FSD till 2022 or later, due to factors including Tesla’s technology, roads (e.g. lane marketings) and legislation.
Tesla’s FSD technology is already phenomenal and getting better rapidly but it has quirks that still gives me (and my family) a scare every now and then — enough for me to pay attention to the road.
You can learn more about Tesla’s FSD technology here: tesla.com/autopilotAI.
5. ChargingOne of the things people worry about with fully electric cars is running out of charge — after two years of ownership and a cross-country road trip, I can assure you, this has rarely been a problem for me.
Many of my friends can’t believe I still charge on 120v, after 2 years of owning my car! I realize it’s extremely inefficient but we were considering moving and I just haven’t felt the need for it since I work from home.
120v (Level 1) charges at a pathetic 5 MPH but you can get 50+ miles overnight. 240v (Level 2) chargers charge between 10-50 MPH and direct current faster chargers (Level 3) such as the Tesla’s superchargers, can charge from a couple hundred to 1,000 MPH (using the new V3 Supercharging).
Tesla Supercharger Network and Three Levels of Charging (source: pluglesspower.com)
According to Tesla’s website, as of November 2020, there were 2,000+ Supercharger stations (20,000+ Supercharger outlets) worldwide, with many more coming soon.
Of course, you can always use 3rd party chargers or use the charging cable and adapter that comes with the Tesla. According to Statistica, there were over 24,000 charging stations (with over 78,000 outlets) in the US, as of September 2020.
6. SafetyTesla cars have the honor of receiving some of the highest safety ratings possible, thanks to their drivepassenger protection (e.g. airbags, rollover, alerts).
For example, here’s a graphic from Tesla’s website, showing all 5-star ratings for a Tesla Model 3, from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Tesla’s NHTSA Rating and Model 3 Airbags
From close by objects in your garage to objects on the highway, Tesla 3 has you covered with alerts.
While driving, Tesla constantly detects surrounding objects and displays them on the touchscreen (e.g. car, trucks, motorcycles, people, stop lights, lane markings). Any endangering aspects will show up in red (e.g. lane changes, passing cars).
7. MaintenanceEVs in general require much less maintenance than internal combustion automobiles. Tesla maintenance comes mostly in the form of software.
Tesla updates the software in the car automatically, every month or so. If you’re new to a Tesla, it takes a little getting used to receiving software updates, similar to your smartphone or computer. Till this day, I find it fascinating that Tesla cars are just as much software (or more), as they are hardware.
Tesla Software Updates and Mobile Service
Tesla is also known to roll out some significant improvements via software updates — something you would expect to take your car in for (e.g. an acceleration boost from 4.4 to 3.9 seconds).
Much of any hardware maintenance can be done via Tesla’s mobile service, where someone comes out to wherever you want. For example, I just had my two-year service done for $192.05, in my driveway (see Tesla’s Car Maintenance page for details) with the following note in the electronic invoice:
“Checked Brake Fluid Brake Fluid at 80% life. Replaced Pair of Wiper Blades. Replaced Cabin Filter. Maintenance Performed Tire Rotation on Passengers side only, Drivers side tires are good where they are right now. Recommend new pass front tire soon.”All other major services can be handled at one of Tesla’s Service Centers, by scheduling via the mobile app.
In my area, they tend to be booked 2 to 4 weeks out but the service otherwise is courteous and efficient, handled using a combination of SMS texts, in person and email communications and generous UbeLyft credits to get around.
One thing I’ve found to be a pain is when you have a flat tire — the 18″ tires used on a Tesla 3 can be expensive and hard to find, since they have acoustic foam inside them. This was the #1 concern on my mind, while traveling on my cross-country road trip.
8. CommunityUnsurprisingly, Tesla has a huge fan base including online social networks, offline clubs, third party apps, and much more. The following are some popular clubs and third-party apps that I’ve come across and/or use regularly.
- Reddit: Teslamotors, TeslaModel3, TeslaLounge, TeslaCam
- Forums: Official Tesla Forums, Tesla Owners Online, Tesla Motors Club, SpeakEV Tesla Model 3
- News: Teslarati.com, Electrek, CleanTechnica
Before my cross-country road trip, I decided to hook up my Tesla account to three northworthy third-party apps that many online EV/Tesla enthusiasts seemed to be recommending:
- Teslafi: Logs data for all your drives with amazing detail (e.g. graphs, battery consumption, maps, charging stops).
- A Better Route Planner (ABRP): Popular app used for more precise planning based on your EVs model.
- Stats: Provides several bells & whistles for Apple mobile devices (iPhone/iPad/Watch); e.g. schedule climate/charging, open doors/trunks via Siri, monitor battery health, and more.
Advanced users with coding skills can use the unofficial Tesla JSON API to obtain an authentication key or use Teslamate, a self-hosted data logger with dashboards for driving, charging, efficiency, drain, stats, and much more.
Once you’re setup with these apps, the amazing data they provide makes the whole process worthwhile, as you can see from some of the screenshots below.
Third Party Tesla Apps
There are plenty of aftermarket products for Tesla available on various websites. I’ve only purchased two aftermarket products: a Qi wireless phone charger and a spare tire kit by Modern Spare.
9. CostAs of November 2020, here were the list prices for the three versions of a Tesla Model 3, in the US:
- Standard Range Plus: $37,990 (range 263 miles)
- Long Range: $46,990 (353 miles)
- Performance: $54,990 (315 miles)
If you’re considering buying any kind of EV, you can calculate the cost per mile by dividing its list price by its maximum range. For example, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range at a list price of $46,990 and range of 353 miles costs $133/mile, as shown in the below infographic from visualcapitalist.com.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing prices is that Tesla is years ahead of its competition with its innovative technology and supercharger network — something that’s hard to put an exact value on.
Cost of EV Ownership (source: visualcapitalist.com)
10. ImprovementsI’ve owned some nice cars in my lifetime but never have I owned a car that I loved driving so much every single day, as much as I have my Tesla Model 3.
Tesla is as close to perfect as a car gets but it can use some tweaks, so here’s a list of flaws and/or wishes:
- Alerts: The on screen blind spot warnings aren’t good enough; most people have come to expect something built into the side mirrors.
- Wipers: Tesla’s automatic wipers were horrible but since Tesla launched its ‘Deep Rain’ neural network, they have improved over the past year but still remain slightly flaky (e.g. turning on a couple of times when it’s not raining).
- Voice: Support for voice commands is weak and nowhere as robust as Apple Siri or Google Assistant, which can be frustrating since I often have to turn to my iPhone (e.g. calling a local restaurant).
- Lights: It would be nice to have shortcuts to turn the head/park lights on/off, instead of going into Settings.
- Map: Tesla’s map is absolutely amazing but it’s missing waypoints, so you end up having to use something like the ABRP app (discussed above). Also, It would be great to see icons for what’s nearby (e.g. restaurants, service stations), similar to supercharger icons.
- FSD: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control is overcautious, e.g. it’ll keep 3 to 6 cars worth of distance versus the 1 car, I have it set at. Also, given the choice between tracking using the left and right lanes, FSD chooses to hug the right side, which is extremely annoying on highways (e.g. merging from on-ramps). Approaching stopped traffic at a red light on a major road can be nerve-wracking since the car waits too long to begin gracefully slowing down, thereby requiring harshefaster braking later. The merging on and off ramp with construction barrels, needs improvement.
- Battery: The remaining battery life isn’t 100% accurate to rely on entirely, since it doesn’t take into account leakage, winter weather, winds, etc. It can be nerve-wracking when you think you have 20%, just to find it’s dropped to 15% (and dropping).
- Apps: While it was great to be able to hook up third party apps, it would be nice if Tesla officially sanctioned them via some sort of an online marketplace and support for API keys. It would also be cool to add more 3rd party apps support; e.g. Waze, Amazon Prime, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto). Lastly, it takes too long to load the existing apps (e.g. Netflix, YouTube).
- Music: The music icon should be indicative of the map feature or the music and maps screens need to be separated. The music portion of the screen allows resizing but blocks the directions, in larger view. The music screen should provide more granular controls for track and display the time for songs (e.g. time left/played). There’s no way to pause/mute the radio on the screen (you have to use the wheel on the steering wheel). Lastly, the Spotify interface is flaky (e.g. long load times, checkmark is confusing).
- Tires: I realize many cars nowadays do not include spare tires but it would be nice if Tesla provided third party options on your website, similar to how Apple/Google have marketplaces with reviews, for third party products (e.g. Spare Tire Kit by Modern Spare). Of course, Tesla does offer roadside assistance service.
- Superchargers: It would be nice to have a tall, physical Tesla sign at supercharging stops, since it can be hard to find charging stations in places like shopping centers. A nice trick is to zoom in the destination using the satellite view of the map.
- Service: It can take from a couple to a few weeks to get a service appointment. I suspect some of the backlog is due to the issues earlier models had. I had one major and a couple of minor issues early on (steering wheel replacement, door hinges), which were covered under factory warranty and addressed quickly by Tesla.
- Miscellaneous: Having to reboot occasionally and/or rare black screen. Inside door opening controls can be confusing for first timers, since they look like window controls. Betteadjustable seat headrest that don't stick out so much. Rear windshield wipers to avoid water build up.
ConclusionAs detailed as this review is, I haven’t covered many features, for example Navigate on Autopilot, Autopark, Lane Assist, chime on green traffic light, automatic high beam, driver profiles, and so much more.
Additionally, Tesla continuously delivers features, so it’s not feasible to list everything here. For example, the beta version of the completely rewritten FSD began rolling out in October 2020. For more information on software updates and other great resources, visit tesla.com/support.
In my opinion, Tesla is years ahead of anything comparable on the market currently, thanks to their technology, customer data, supercharger network, battery life, customer service, and more.
Tesla has reinvented the car and thought of so many conveniences (e.g. single pedal driving, auto unlock/lock doors, low maintenance), that it makes it a pleasure to drive and own this car, every single day. Even long distance driving feels more like an enjoyable journey rather than a chore.
If you’re considering buying a Tesla 3, do it. Imagine driving the car of the future, today!
Thanks for reading! :)
If you still want more...please see the original post for video reviews, more photos and...a work anywhere journey on this road trip.