Still The Best Vehicle I Have Ever Owned

Dr Ken Lunde
8 min readDec 27, 2020

By Dr Ken Lunde, Janitor, Spirits of Christmas Past

“Baby Pearl” on what appears to be the surface of Mars (September 9, 2020)

One year has passed since I published the article entitled The Best Vehicle I Have Ever Owned, which also means one year closer to taking delivery of the Tesla Tri Motor Cybertruck that I ordered on 2019-11-22. And yes, I am really, really excited about that. Who wouldn’t be?

We took delivery of our pair of Tesla Model 3 EVs in September and December of 2018. Mine, which is Pearl White with a white interior that is named “Baby Pearl,” currently has 22,137 miles on its odometer. My wife’s one, which is Red with a black interior that is named “Baby Ruby,” currently has 10,510 miles on its odometer. We are now at 2+ years of ownership, and the experience has been nothing but positive.


Besides dealing with COVID-19, several things transpired during 2020 that continued to make the Tesla Model 3 the best vehicle that I have ever owned, and this article will reflect on the past year. Of course, I also have several more photos to share.

“Baby Pearl” parked at the Wolfe Campus in Sunnyvale, California (January 16, 2020)

Perhaps one of my favorite photos of the year was taken when my Better Half™ and I drove to Weed, California in her Model 3, “Baby Ruby,” to meet with our house architect at our property that has a never-ending view of the always-impressive 14,179-foot Mount Shasta.

“Baby Ruby” overlooking Mount Shasta (February 1, 2020)

Interestingly, this was also the very first time that “Baby Ruby” used a Supercharger station. On that day trip, we Supercharged in Williams, Red Bluff, and Mount Shasta on the way to Weed, and again in Williams on the way back to San José. We were charged only for Supercharging in Mount Shasta to the tune of $13.16 for 47 kWh at a rate of USD $0.28 per kWh. Not being charged in Williams and Red Bluff might be due to free Supercharging that was extended in areas affected by California wildfires.

The Tesla Model 3 continued to be very economical, given that virtually all of our charging is done in our garage using a Level 2 charger. Of course, we charge only during off-peak hours, which is midnight to 3PM for our current PG&E plan, EV2-A, to the tune of USD $0.16 per kWh. All of our grocery-shopping trips involve using one of our Model 3s.

The office where I was working up until early March—at which point I started to work from home for reasons that should be obvious—has 1,000 ChargePoint Level 2 parking spots with free charging and no time limit! My jaw about dropped when I learned of this. My commute was relatively short, so I would typically charge on a Monday and Friday one week, and then on a Wednesday the following week. That work benefit was certainly nice while it lasted, and I look forward to resuming it at some point in the near future.

“Baby Pearl” on shopping duty at Safeway in San José, California (March 22, 2020)

We park both of our Model 3s in our garage, and the charging cable of our Level 2 charger can easily reach both of them. We rarely need to charge both at the same time, so this configuration works perfectly for our needs. Our charging regimen is to charge only when the SOC (state of charge) drops significantly below 50%, and then to charge to 90% starting at midnight.

“Baby Pearl” and “Baby Ruby” parked in our garage (March 20, 2020)

I still don’t use the front trunk (aka frunk) very much, except to carry very special cargo. The rear trunk is huge, and is generally all that we need.

“Baby Pearl” transporting a McDonald’s McRib sandwich in her frunk

In early 2019, I decided to purchase the FSD (Full Self Driving) upgrade for both of our Model 3s, and it wasn’t until the beginning of April of 2020 that both were retrofitted with the FSD Computer at no charge. In retrospect, the USD $5K price that I paid for each of the Model 3s turned out to be money well-spent, because the FSD upgrade is now priced at USD $10K. The improvements, particularly for on-screen visualization, were quite noticeable.

“Baby Pearl” passing by the Tree of Utah along Interstate 80 (August 16, 2020)

Third Road Trip

This year, mainly due to starting a new career in January, but also partly due to COVID-19, I drove to South Dakota only once, which was in early August. The one change when compared with the two road trips in 2019 was that a new Supercharger station opened in Evansville, Wyoming, which is along my preferred route. This new Supercharger station effectively shaved approximately 50 miles off of my drive.

“Baby Pearl” parked in downtown Hot Springs, South Dakota (August 10, 2020)

After dropping off our youngest son, Edward, at the Rapid City Airport for his flight back to Madison, Wisconsin, my father and I decided to drive “Baby Pearl” through Badlands National Park, which provided an opportunity to use the Supercharger station in Wall, South Dakota. This is the furthest from home that I have supercharged thus far.

“Baby Pearl” at The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota (August 11, 2020)

The Supercharging experience was very much like my previous two road trips, meaning that I charged enough to get to the next Supercharger station plus some buffer. Each Supercharging stop was on the order of 15 to 20 minutes. I continue to be impressed by the ever-expanding Supercharger network, which is one of the features that make Tesla EVs very compelling when compared to other brands of EVs.

Side view of “Baby Pearl” supercharging in Tooele, Utah (August 16, 2020)

Those with keen eyes may have noticed that I removed the standard 19-inch wheel caps and replaced them with the Model 3 Aero Wheel Cap Kit, which looks much better, in my opinion. I did this to both of our Model 3s in early 2019.

Bird’s eye view of “Baby Pearl” resting at the Motel 6 in Winnemucca, Nevada (August 16, 2020)

Three Tesla Model 3s

Our oldest son and his wife continue to enjoy their Model 3, though it is a SR+ RWD version that isn’t quite as sporty as our pair of LR AWD ones that have the Acceleration Boost upgrade. I like to refer to their Model 3 as “Baby Sapphire” for what I hope are obvious reasons. We were able to take a family photo earlier this year.

“Baby Ruby,” “Baby Pearl,” and “Baby Sapphire” posing for a family photo (June 20, 2020)

Our fourth Tesla will be the Tri Motor Cybertruck that I ordered on 2019-11-22, which was the day after it was announced.

Mini Tesla Model 3s

Our first and only grandson, Rick, likes Hot Wheels cars a lot, and he was very excited to get the Tesla Model 3 in various colors. Pearl White and Red were released in 2019, and Midnight Silver Metallic and Deep Blue Metallic were released this year. He likes to refer to the Pearl White one as Grandpa’s car, and the Red one as Grandma’s car. I expect the Black version to be released sometime in 2021.

Hot Wheels Tesla Model 3 in four colors

I also sprang for the official Diecast 1:18 Scale versions, first in Red, and then in Pearl White. The Red one matches my wife’s Model 3 in that its interior is black. I wish that the Pearl White one was offered with the white interior to match my Model 3. At least the interior of the Hot Wheels version is white.

The Mandalorian approves of the Diecast 1:18 Scale Tesla Model 3 in Pearl White

In closing, the Tesla Model 3 continues to impress me as an outstanding electric vehicle that is fully capable of long-distance driving, and which continues to improve through frequent software updates. Speaking of software updates, both Model 3s received Version 2020.48.26 while I was writing this article.

For those who own a Model 3 or other Tesla, I encourage you to join a Tesla Owner Club if one has been established for your area. I joined Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley earlier this year.

I look forward to what 2021 will bring, in terms of other improvements and new features through software updates.

About the Author

Dr Ken Lunde worked at Adobe for over twenty-eight 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, is the author of CJKV Information Processing Second Edition (O’Reilly Media, 2009), and published over 300 articles on Adobe’s now-static CJK Type Blog. Ken earned BA (1987), MA (1988), and PhD (1994) degrees in linguistics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, served as Adobe’s representative to the Unicode Consortium since 2006, was Adobe’s primary representative from 2015 until 2019, serves as Unicode’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, and became the Chair of the CJK & Unihan Group in 2021. He and his wife, Hitomi, are proud owners of a His & Hers pair of acceleration-boosted 2018 LR 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