So, here’s the thing. I drive Teslas. A LOT. From Model S to Model X and now Model 3, I have driven over 260,000 km in Teslas in 3 years.
I’m not sure if you’d call me an expert or just plain nuts; someone addicted to Electric Vehicles… or maybe a little of both. I have been around the block a couple times and have some real work travel experiences to share with anyone who would like to know.
The purpose of this isn’t to recount the endless tales of my journeys all over North America (Hay River, NWT, down to San Diego-visiting the Mothership in Fremont, California, or 6 trips across the United States).
The purpose of this missive is to give you my impressions of the new Model 3 Dual motor Performance by Tesla.
I picked up my Model 3 on Tuesday, September 25. As of Monday, Oct 1st, I had logged 3,032 miles by driving, you guessed it, across the United States. I have another 8,000+ miles to go on this extensive road trip but I wanted to take a moment and share my impressions as it compares to my history with Model S & Model X.
First off, I love the look of the car. Small, sleek and — oh so sexy!
It looks like a smaller Model S but without losing any of the “Wow, look at that car!” attention, that Teslas are known for. From the signature hips to the beautiful lines, the Model 3 looks amazing outside and in.
It is just as comfortable as either the S & X. There are obvious differences in the interior, but what I am referring to is that ‘go-for-a-drive’ feel. The car is designed around the driver with a beautiful high-resolution centre display and simple controls.
Get in, look past the features. That is the magic of the Tesla Software interface. Press the brake, push the right control stalk down into drive, press the accelerator and you are ready to drive. How much easier can it get? When you’re done, press park on the right-hand control stalk and you get out, close the door and walk away. I love that!
The seats are just as comfortable as Model 3’s bigger siblings. In fact, I found myself thinking I was in my S a couple of times cruising along the interstates. Not once did I get a numb bum or have a leg or arm get sore as I enjoyed the trip across the country. Everything in this vehicle has been laid out to ensure safety, visibility and convenience. They truly knocked it out of the park.
I won’t go into the many details of the interface within the display, as that is another story, but the controls of Model 3 are very intuitive. There are some small differences like looking to the right of your steering wheel to see your speed, however everything works in a way that is easy to adapt too.
The Model 3 is very stable and commanding on the road. It glides over roads and handles like a dream. When you are cruising on long distances, you can enable autopilot and watch as it navigates highways with ease.
Of course, you need to keep your hands on the wheel and be ready to take over at any moment. Autopilot (AP) really does remove a lot of the mundane cruise tasks and allows you to pay even more attention to your surroundings than before. But you must be disciplined and avoid being distracted. It does allow broader, more open attention to the road ahead. You are the designated driver!
If you are on winding roads, disable autopilot and have some fun. I personally always have my steering in sport mode to get the tight responses from my control of the wheels.
Now what I’m sure some of you are curious about are my likes and dislikes. Well I’ll give you a few.
First my likes, I love the minimalist design, no distraction or dozens of buttons located all around, everything you need is in an easy to find place. Once you have configured your settings in the computer you don’t need to touch it much. You can control a lot of things on the road with your voice like destinations changes, music choices etc. I know many more voice commands are also coming soon.
I also like how the car feels on the road, it is sporty and feels like its on rails. I cannot wait to get some winter driving under my belt as I have had lots of experience in S and X on various winter road conditions that would make many stop driving. I suspect model 3 will perform as well but time will tell.
What really blows my mind is Tesla has found a way to make a vehicle that can compete with the supercar Model S P100D for a fraction of the cost. I could never afford a P100D but I can make it work with a P Model 3. That is mind blowing for such a young company and in a space with fierce competition.
My dislikes, or things I would change if I could? I did notice some things I will miss from my S and X. First, I will miss the bio-defence mode. I understand why that could not make it into the Model 3, but I already have noticed the exhaust smells and other outside smells making it into the car that normally wouldn’t. If you think fast and recirculate the air it does minimize it but nothing beats bio-defense mode for protecting the air inside the cabin.
Second, I noticed the lack of huge windscreen like in the X. I do really enjoy that. But to be fair, this is the same in the S. Not having that A-beam across your vision is just like if you were to take a baseball cap off and all of a sudden can see more. The X windshield is a favorite of mine.
The only other noticeable change but I will not say complaint is the space. This car is smaller, so the cargo space is half as big. So just make sure you buy the car for your needs.
But even though the car is smaller in size, as a passenger not once did I notice my space as the driver being less. I felt like I was in any other Tesla when it comes to elbow room and head room. Some would consider the smaller car a plus.
Well those are some of my initial thoughts. If you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask.