Five Years of Tesla Model 3 Ownership

Dr Ken Lunde
7 min readDec 21, 2023

By Dr Ken Lunde

Herbie at Uvas Reservoire County Park, California (photo taken on 2023-09-16)

Happiness is probably the most accurate way to describe my feeling every time I have an opportunity to drive my Tesla Model 3, which I have been doing for more than five years. The instant acceleration, which was enhanced four years ago after I purchased the Acceleration Boost upgrade, has yet to get old.

My wife and I have now owned a pair of Tesla Model 3 EVs for over five years, which is a significant milestone. They are as enjoyable to drive as when we first bought them, and we can confidently state that they are better vehicles than when we first bought them, thanks to frequent over-the-air—and free—software updates that added new features and improved efficiencies.

It has been almost two years since I last published an article about our Tesla Model 3 ownership experience, and there have been enough changes to warrant this fourth article. The previous three articles, which I encourage you to read, are listed below:

“The Love Bug”

Every vehicle has a story, and our first Model 3 certainly does now. As I mentioned at the end of the article entitled THIS IS TOSV: KEN LUNDE, which was published about a year and a half ago, I had been thinking to transform Baby Pearl into Herbie, which became a reality on 2023-09-15. The very talented crew at SS Customs in nearby Redwood City did an excellent job in making this dream come true:

Herbie at Uvas Reservoire County Park, California (photo taken on 2023-09-16)

You can read my review of their work here.

My wife returned from a trip to Japan the following Monday, and I nearly put her into shock when picking her up at SJC in Herbie. While Herbie is very iconic in American culture, he is not well known in Japan. Only after I told her the backstory, which is that Herbie is a sentient 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, did she start to warm up to him. Herbie is equipped with FSD Beta, so the analogy works quite well.

Herbie somehow managed to create his own 𝕏 (formerly Twitter) account. He also refers to Baby Ruby as his sister, and Baby Sapphire and Mochi as his nieces. You will learn about Mochi later in this article.

Continued Long-distance Driving

Road trips, particularly cross-country ones, are nothing new for me. I have been driving from our home in San José, California to my parents’ home in Hot Springs, South Dakota for nearly twenty years, and did so about twice a year. The drive is approximately 1,400 miles each way, and most of the route, to the tune of about 1,000 miles, is along Interstate 80.

Herbie in Hot Springs, South Dakota (photo taken on 2023-09-27)

When I published my previous article almost two years ago, I had driven my Model 3 to South Dakota and back four times: twice in 2019, once in 2020, and once in 2021. The single trips in 2020 and 2021 were due to COVID-19. I subsequently drove to South Dakota and back four additional times, meaning eight times thus far: twice in 2022 and twice in 2023. Sadly, the second trip in 2022 was to see my father for the last time, and the first trip in 2023 was to attend his memorial service.

One of the more memorable trips to South Dakota was in June of 2022. I had just left Evanston, Wyoming when a low tire pressure warning suddenly appeared on the screen. I was bringing to South Dakota a new Apple iMac computer for my parents, along with a spare 32-inch Samsung monitor for me to use when I visit. I was effectively in the middle of nowhere, and I had nearly 100 miles to drive to the next Tesla Supercharger, which was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. While supercharging there, I managed to find the culprit: a Phillips-head screw in one of the tires. Luckily, it was a slow leak. I used this portable air pump to inflate the tire each time I stopped to supercharge, and was able to reach Hot Springs, South Dakota without difficulty. While there, I arranged to have all four tires replaced.

Among the Tesla Superchargers along my route to South Dakota, I still feel that the most scenic one is in Tooele, Utah.

Herbie supercharging in Tooele, Utah (photo taken on 2023-09-23)

When I travel, I still like to take photos of my Model 3 at interesting places.

Herbie in Hot Springs, South Dakota (photo taken on 2023-09-24)
Herbie in Pringle, South Dakota (photo taken on 2023-10-04)
Herbie at ‎⁨Coyote Hills Regional Park⁩, ⁨⁨California⁩ (photo taken on 2023-11-05)

Four in the Family

Behold the number of Tesla Model 3 EVs in our immediate family! My wife and I bought our pair in 2018. Our oldest son and his wife then bought one in August of 2019, which was named Baby Sapphire. This increased the number of Model 3s in our immediate family to three. Almost four years later, our daughter-in-law realized that she needed her own vehicle, and another Model 3 was the most compelling choice, both in terms of actual cost and functionality. They took delivery of Mochi, a 2023 Model 3 in Pearl White, at the end of July of this year. In other words, our immediate family now owns four Tesla Model 3s!

Mochi at Tesla in Dublin, California (photo taken on 2023-07-29)

After our daughter-in-law stated that she would like to wrap Mochi in pink, I didn’t feel so bad about transforming Baby Pearl into Herbie.


Interfaces, specifically user interfaces (UIs), are an important feature of Tesla EVs. Virtually all of the vehicle’s functionality is accessed via a touchscreen whose UI is available in a number of languages, including East Asian ones.

In the first article that I published almost four years ago, I suggested that Tesla should use the open source Source Han Sans or Noto Sans CJK Pan-CJK fonts, both of which I architected and developed while at Adobe, for the in-vehicle UI when the language is set to an East Asian one. Starting this year, Tesla began using the latter fonts, not only for the in-vehicle UI, but also for producing the PDF versions of their manuals. Of course, I was very pleased to see these developments.

Speaking of UIs, which are driven by software, my Model 3 has received 21 additional over-the-air software updates since the last article that I published almost two years ago, all of which were FSD Beta updates. As of this writing, both Herbie and Baby Ruby are on Version 2023.44.30.2 (aka FSD Beta Version 11.4.9).

Wrapping Up

Everything that I wrote in the three previous articles about our Tesla Model 3 ownership experience still applies today, so I encourage you to read those articles if you haven’t done so already.

As many of you may be aware, Tesla started to deliver the first Cybertrucks late last month, and I have seen three in the wild thus far. It is unclear as to when the Cybertruck that I ordered will be ready, but until then, I will continue to enjoy Herbie

Herbie at Uvas Reservoir County Park, California (photo taken on 2023-09-16)

About the Author

Dr Ken Lunde has worked for Apple as a Font Developer since 2021-08-02 (and was in the same role as a contractor from 2020-01-16 through 2021-07-30), is the author of CJKV Information Processing Second Edition (O’Reilly Media, 2009), and earned BA (1987), MA (1988), and PhD (1994) degrees in linguistics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at Apple, he worked at Adobe for over 28 years — from 1991-07-01 to 2019-10-18 — specializing in CJKV Type Development, meaning that he architected and developed fonts for East Asian typefaces, along with the standards and specifications on which they are based. He architected and developed the Adobe-branded “Source Han” (Source Han Sans, Source Han Serif, and Source Han Mono) and Google-branded “Noto CJK” (Noto Sans CJK and Noto Serif CJK) open source Pan-CJK typeface families that were released in 2014, 2017, and 2019, and published over 300 articles on Adobe’s now-static CJK Type Blog. Ken serves as the Unicode Consortium’s IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) Registrar, attends UTC and IRG meetings, participates in the Unicode Editorial Committee, became an individual Unicode Life Member in 2018, received the 2018 Unicode Bulldog Award, was a Unicode Technical Director from 2018 to 2020, became a Vice-Chair of the Emoji Subcommittee in 2019, published UTN #43 (Unihan Database Property “kStrange) in 2020, became the Chair of the CJK & Unihan Group in 2021, published UTN #45 (Unihan Property History) in 2022, and published UTN #50 (KP-Source Property Value History) and UTN #53 (CJK Unified Ideographs Extension B, UCS2003 Reference Glyphs) in 2023. He and his wife, Hitomi, are proud owners of a His & Hers pair of acceleration-boosted 2018 LR Dual Motor AWD Tesla Model 3 EVs.



Dr Ken Lunde

Chair, CJK & Unihan Working Group—Almaden Valley—San José—CA—USA—NW Hemisphere—Terra—Sol—Orion-Cygnus Arm—Milky Way—Local Group—Laniakea Supercluster