Model S – TeslaWeekly

In this post, I’m going to cover:
1.  Why you need a dash cam
2.  Will the Model 3 (or Model S/X) have a built-in dash cam
3.  How much will it cost to install a 3rd party dash cam

Alright, so let’s start with 1. Why you need a dash cam.

The most compelling reason to have a dash cam is for liability protection.  There are some unscrupulous folks out there and, believe it or not, some try to even fake an accident to get insurance money.

Here’s a video I watched a while back, but makes a good case for why a dash cam is a good idea.  This is a must-watch.

Another scenario is if you’re in an accident and the other party basically lies about it and insists that it was your fault when it wasn’t.  A dash cam is great because you’ll have the video needed to back up your claims.

Some other people justify a dash cam in case of vandalism to their car.  A dash cam would likely be able to record who vandalized your car in case that happened.

Overall though a dash cam is an investment for your piece of mind.  If you’re an accident or falsely blamed, you’ll have additional evidence you can rely on.

2.  Will the Model 3 (or Model S/X) have a built-in dash cam

Last year, Elon mentioned in a tweet that they were working on activating a dash cam feature for the Model 3.  Basically, since the Model 3 (and Model S/X) already has 8 exterior cameras, Tesla could software activate a dash cam feature that would record video and allow that video to be accessed by the owner.  Here’s Elon’s tweet from last year:

The problem with waiting for this feature from Tesla is twofold.  First, Tesla is notoriously late with releasing promised features like this.  One example is Elon said the browser in the Model S/X would be revamped and made considerably faster (currently it’s very choppy) but that feature has been pushed back several times, although it may come one day.

Second, the dash cam feature that Tesla “activates” probably won’t be as comprehensive as some of the 3rd party dash cams.  3rd party dash cams will likely have more storage capacity and probably even better accessibility (ie., via app) than Tesla because their focus is dash cams.

However, if Tesla did enable a dash cam feature I think it would be a great feature.  They probably could even charge a monthly fee for its activation and for video storage (i.e., $10/month).

But I think for those who think they need and want a dash cam, it’s worth looking into 3rd party alternatives.

3.  How much will it cost to install a 3rd party dash cam

Blackvue is the standard of dash cams and the preferred choice for most people.  Their latest model is the Blackvue DR750S-2CH and costs about $400.  Their older model is the Blackvue DR650S-2CH and costs a bit over $300.

Installation will run about $150 to $300.  Here’s a couple examples from southern California installers:
Ace Dashcam comes in at the lower end of installation price $150.
Calibred Customs comes in at the higher end, $300.

The key when looking for a dash cam installer is to make sure that they have experience installing the BlackVue dash cam in your vehicle.  If they don’t have experience with your specific vehicle, it’s probably best to move on and keep searching.



Should you buy a Tesla Model 3 or a Model S?

If you’re in the market for a Tesla sedan, then you might be wondering if you should buy a Model 3 or a Model S.  Nowadays, a used Model S (ie., 4-5 years old) can be as inexpensive or even more inexpensive as a Model 3.  However, with a used Model S, the car might be out of warranty and you might not have the latest features like Autopilot.

In my opinion, the Tesla Model 3 is the preferred car unless you really need or want the Model S.  The Model S has more cargo room so is much better for road trips, especially if you have a family.  Even though the Model 3 has more cargo room compared to its competitors, the Model S is in a class by itself in terms of cargo room.  The rear hatchback design and fold-down seats (the Model 3 also has fold-down seats) allow one to pack a ton in the back.  With my 2013 P85 I was able to haul home a 70″ TV in the box… that’s right, the whole box fit into the car which is quite amazing.

The Model S also is a more smooth and comfortable ride on the freeway.  So if you’re doing a lot of freeway driving, especially if you have a very long commute, then the Model S might be the preferred choice.  In my own tests, I found my 2013 Model S P85 to be about 2dB quieter than the Model 3 as well.

The Model S is also more prestigious and eye-catching.  It’s a larger car but also the design intent of the car is more flashy than the humbler, less conspicuous Model 3.  So, if you’re looking for a prestigious car, then the Model S is the way to go.

However, if you’re not taking road trips with your family and don’t have long freeway commutes, then I was generally suggest the Model 3 is the way to go.   The Model 3 is a dream to drive with superb handling and performance.  It’s got everything a Tesla needs to have, including a 15″ center screen with navigation and media.  Autopilot is fantastic and is only getting better with software updates.  And the Model 3 is a more efficient car, meaning with less energy you’ll be able to go farther.

The amazing thing about the Model 3 is that it does not feel cheap compared to its much more expensive bigger brother, the Model S.  The Model 3 feels like driving the future, and it’s by far the best car in its class.