Tesla Long Range Model 3 AWD – First Impressions

Ridiculously Comfortable

Model 3 Black Interior – Click to Enlarge

The premium interior is included with currently available configurations, in the future it will be an option. The option is rumored to be worth $5,000. Worth every penny. Of all of the features available for the Model 3 this is the one to get, you’ll enjoy the benefits every inch you travel. Other options maybe useful from time to time, this one keeps on giving.

It’s hard to put into words how comfortable these seats are, I arrive relaxed and rested after driving.

The premium interior also comes with the panoramic all glass roof. A neat feature but overrated in my opinion, sunlight overhead can be annoying at times as it shines through the roof into the top of your vision.

Brutal Acceleration

Model 3 Accelerating – Click to enlarge

Overtaking is effortless with this vehicle, other than overtaking I can’t see a need for acceleration this powerful as it pushes you back into your seat with a force I can only describe as brutal. The performance model is even quicker, yikes!

Despite the availability of aggressive acceleration, the car can be driven very slowly and smoothly from a dead stop, the accelerator is intelligently setup. You can drive the model 3 like a Cadillac or like a Corvette, your choice.

Who needs a dash?

Model 3 Interior

The minimalist interior has a large touchscreen monitor that houses almost all functions of the vehicle including windscreen wipers and lights. Until you’ve driven a Model 3 it’s hard to understand how you can drive without separate wiper or light controls. However these functions are fully automatic. The wipers activate when it rains, the lights when it gets dark and the high beams are also automatic. It is possible to flash high beams with the stalk like most cars and if the automatic wiper is a tad too slow for your liking you can tap the windscreen wash button on the end of the stalk for a quick wipe.

Automation of functions is taken to a new level with the Model 3 which is how they were able to eliminate all but 3 buttons from the dash. The hazard warning light button is required by law and is located above the rear view mirror. The other two buttons are on the steering wheel where you will find scroll wheels that also act as buttons when depressed or pushed from side to side.

The elimination of the binnacle with the speedometer/indicators/dials  is very controversial, causing many to cancel their reservations. For someone who grew up driving a mini, with its center mounted binnacle, I don’t understand what the fuss is about. The speed is just to the right of my right hand as I drive, hardly inconvenient. Audible speed alerts are available, and quite frankly much more useful for complying with speed limits. Complying with speed limits is the *only* reason you need to know your speed, audible alerts are far more effective at compliance than occasionally glancing at the speedometer.

Buy as much hardware as you can up front, software can be purchased later.

Leaf and Model 3 side by side both juicing up at the same time.

I opted for AWD instead of autopilot. You can’t add options like the premium interior or AWD later. Features such as autopilot or full self-driving can always be added later. There is strong evidence that the only difference between the AWD vehicle and the performance Model 3 is a software configuration limiting power to the rear motor on AWD vehicles. I expect to see an upgrade available in the future to add performance if you wish.

Tesla have started making features such as AutoPilot more and more expensive when purchased later to encourage customers to buy these options up front. Autopilot comes with lots of features. It’s quite conceivable that Tesla could unbundle the autopilot package and sell Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) separately for a few thousand dollars. I prefer the wait and see approach, I will buy autopilot when it’s ready for prime time and no longer beta software. Right now it’s in Tesla’s interest to boost the average sales price of new cars while they work through their backlog of reservations. Later, once the backlog is met and demand is consistent Tesla will want to generate extra revenue from the existing fleet of cars by selling software options to them, expect discounts and special promotions once the reservations have been met.

For a quiet car it’s quite noisy.

AWD Motor configuration – Click to expand

The whine from the front motor and gears is distinctive and a little intrusive at around 30-50 mph, especially when maintaining a steady speed. Under gentle acceleration a growl is heard from the front motor and gears, something that might appeal to ‘piston heads’ who dislike totally silent electric cars. Personally I could do without it. Better sound proofing for AWD vehicles should be considered by Tesla. The new Nissan LEAF is much quieter than the AWD Model 3. I haven’t driven the RWD Model 3 to know if the rear motor whine is intrusive or not, I suspect not.

Proprietary Tesla charging connector is a nuisance.

Model 3 Charging Port – Click to Enlarge

I’ve only used a Supercharger once, just to prove that I could do so using my Tesla account. Every other time I have charged my vehicle I’ve had to use a J1772 adapter. I already have a charging station in my garage which I want to keep, I don’t want to spend $400-$500 for a Tesla specific charging station when I have a perfectly serviceable charging station already in my garage.

In Europe Tesla’s all use the standard “Type 2” connector regardless if they are supercharging or charging slowly on a household outlet. One connector for all situations. Makes sense.

I resorted to buying a second J1772 adapter from eBay. Tesla’s price for an adapter is overpriced at $100. I will leave this second adapter permanently attached to my home charging station.

Tesla Mobile App is very good.

Tesla Mobile App – Click to Enlarge

The Tesla mobile app is awesome. It is quick to connect to the vehicle and has a lot of very useful controls and features. Knowing the interior temperature is very handy. With my LEAF I would turn on climate control anticipating a cold or hot interior. With the Tesla app I can see the actual interior temperature and know if its worth turning the climate control on or not. The vehicle’s current location is very precisely identified on a map. my wife has found this particularly useful being able to see where I am on my commute home, and what speed I am travelling at. Maybe not the best feature if you have mistress or toyboy, but great for the rest of us.

Mobile key isn’t that great.

Model 3 Credit Card Key

Using your mobile phone as a key is a great innovation. Genius in fact, if it worked reliably that is. It can take 15-30 seconds before the mobile phone will enable the car to start, a very long-time if you are in a hurry. This issue seems to be worst with Android phones, I have a Pixel XL phone. Too bad, despite the problems I have not carried a bunch of keys in my pocket since getting the Model 3, I leave them in the bedside drawer at home now. Our home is keyless entry as well so a keyless entry car is a perfect companion. Here’s hoping Tesla fix the issue soon. In the meantime I place my wallet next to the cupholder to ensure the car starts when I want it to. I have the backup “credit card” key in my wallet.

I will probably buy the optional key fob when it’s available. Handing a credit card key to a valet or third party repair shop will pose problems for them in storing the credit card key with other car keys which are normally hung on a hook. As innovative as it is, the rest of the world isn’t ready for it (yet).

An electric car with a very practical range

220 Miles with 70% charge – Click to enlarge

The long range AWD Model 3 has a real world range of 306 miles. Hunting down public charging stations in order to complete a busy day on the road is a thing of the past. I do still frequent Whole Foods and take advantage of their free EV charging, not because I have to, but because I want to support merchants that support EV’s. It doesn’t hurt that I get 25 free miles of driving during my lunch break. With my LEAF I got just 8 or 9 miles during for the same time period, the Model 3 charges so much more quickly.

October 5, 2018 – December 10th, 2018

Model S, Model X and Model 3: Six Months of Free Supercharging

If you buy a Tesla Model S, Model X or Model 3 through the link below, you’ll get six months of free Supercharging. Only existing Tesla owners can send the link, and it works for up to 5 friends. I think it’s a good deal so wanted to send it over.

JP’s Referral Code  https://ts.la/jp75580



Posted in Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, SuperCharger, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

EV Hole Hall of Shame

Back in 2012 I started a ICE Hall of Shame to highlight gas car drivers who blocked EV charging spaces. Fast forward to 2018 and EV drivers are now beginning to show poor etiquette when parking their vehicles. EV Hole is the name used when an EV driver parks in a charging space but does not even bother to plug in and uses the space for parking only.

Here’s our first entrant, spotted in Franklin TN at the McEwen building. The signage on the ground says EV Charging Only, No Parking.

Model 3 owner is our first EV Hole. Click to enlarge


Posted in ChargePoint, Electric Car, EV Hole, Level 2 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tesla delivers five days early using “Tesla Direct” service

My Model 3 delivery date was set for 6:30 PM October 30th several weeks ago. and then I got this text at 9:33 am on October 25th.

Surprise text from Tesla

Five and half hours later Jonathon of Tesla arrived with my new Model 3 at Capstar Bank in Hendersonville where we completed final paperwork, payment and took ownership. The delivery experience took no more than 10 minutes. We got some extra help and advice while Jonathon was waiting on a Lyft ride back to the showroom.

The Tesla Direct service is a great time saver for the customer. We were debating the best way to get three cars 40 miles away from home back home with just two drivers. Arranging for rides, driving the return journey twice, a first world problem maybe but is was a great relief to not have the issue to deal with anymore. Capstar Bank is one mile from our home. The Tesla Direct service is wonderful.

In addition to being convenient the early delivery saved us $140 in car rental expense with Hertz, a vehicle in the family was totalled after we ordered the Model 3 and it made no sense to buy a second car when we only needed one. Thanks for the early delivery Tesla!!

Leaf and Model 3 side by side both juicing up at the same time.

We are now a two Electric Car family. I deleted Gasbuddy off my phone home page and replaced it with the Tesla App. Now my cell phone is my key. I will not need to carry keys anymore (our home is keyless entry as well). There is a credit card sized key in case the phone is not working or if I use a valet.

Acceleration is brutal, the car hugs the road like it is on rails. This is going to be a fun car. There is a surprising amount of road and motor noise for an EV.

First charge after I got home. 32 amp charge rate at a rate of about 27 mph.

With my LEAF I charge when I get to work and again at home. I anticipate I will charge at home once every two days with the increased range the Model 3 affords. I will go from ten charge sessions per work week to just four.

Difference between Home Delivery and Tesla Direct

Tesla have delivered to your home for sometime now, the original Home Delivery service involves you paying for your car in full then it is loaded onto a flatbed truck and delivered to your home, which maybe hundreds of miles from the delivery center.

Tesla Direct, which became available in September 2018, is different in that a Tesla employee drives the car to your home or location of your choosing, you inspect the vehicle to be sure its OK and complete paperwork and make final payment on the spot. Then the Tesla employee leaves in a rideshare, Tesla seem to prefer Lyft. Tesla Direct is only offered to customers who live close to the delivery center and within the reach of rideshare services. Initially you had to live within 30 miles of the delivery center, this may have been expanded or the Nashville delivery center decided 36 miles to our local bank was OK.

Want to buy a Tesla for yourself? Use my referral code and get free supercharging for 6 months!! https://ts.la/jp75580 

Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good luck getting your Tesla charged at the Brentwood TN Supercharger

All six charger bays occupied during Model 3 delivery rush – Click to enlarge

With increased delivery activity surrounding the Model 3, Tesla at Brentwood Tennessee are using all 6 supercharger bays to charge up vehicles prior to delivery. This means that if you want to get a charge you will need to go inside the showroom and ask for them to move a vehicle (which I’m sure they will do willingly).

Hopefully after hours they leave one or two open charger bays. The photo shown here was taken at 4:30 pm Tuesday 23rd October 2018. There is a destination charger also available at Brentwood in the public parking lot, this was charging a car ahead of delivery as well. The Brentwood store is charging 7 vehicles simultaneously in addition to any charging they maybe doing in the service/delivery bay.

Activity at the Brentwood store seems to have peaked, this week there was a lot less activity and I saw no double parked vehicles as was the case a few weeks ago.

Downtown Supercharger Site Overdue

Nashville needs another supercharger location separate from the showroom, the showroom isn’t in an ideal location unless you are travelling I-65. I-40 and I-24 drivers are inconvenienced by its current location.

A planned downtown supercharger location at Gulch Crossing was due to open in summer of 2018, now it’s October and cold outside I’m comfortable saying the goal has been missed. No word on when planning permission will be granted for this location, Tesla’s supercharger site is now showing 2019 as the target opening.

The original supercharger at Brentwood was late which may point to Tesla having trouble finding a site host and getting planing permission.

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Tesla Model 3 AWD – Obtained!!

I have my pickup date/time.

Within hours of posting a blog post (and cross posting on Twitter) detailing the unending wait for a Tesla Model 3 AWD I  received “The Call” from Tesla Las Vegas setting up delivery for October 30th. A coincidence? Maybe. This comes exactly 4 calendar months after placing the order.

The buying process is a little different to a traditional auto dealer. First you setup a specific appointment date and time. Second you need to arrange insurance using the VIN # provided and have that proof of insurance before your appointment date. Third, only cashier checks are accepted, personal checks are not acceptable to Tesla. I paid for my LEAF with a personal check along with many other second hand cars. Tesla are a little fussy.

Insurance was arranged with my carrier Nationwide easily enough. The VIN number Tesla provided was not accepted by Nationwide’s computers. After confirming the number was correct the insurance agent asked me “is this a Tesla Model 3”? I had not indicated what car make or model I was adding at that point, apparently it’s a common issue that Tesla VIN’s are not fully registered.

I have asked my delivery advisor where the car is. I see the VIN is in the mid 95,000’s and Tesla have registered a VIN today in the 135,000’s. It maybe already be manufactured and on its way.

I’ll post updates as they come.


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Tesla Model 3 AWD – Unobtainium?

September 11th 2018 Model 3 Vehicles stockpiled at Belk’s near Franklin TN

Order Placed

On June 30th 2018 I placed a firm order for a Tesla Model 3 AWD. At that time the AWD version of the Model 3 was just being launched on the market, when I heard the price of the AWD option was cut from $5,000 to $4,000 and the delivery window was shortened by a month I decided to place the order. Subsequently the cost of the AWD option increased back to $5,000 and more recently to $6,000.

As a day one reservationist who lined up at the local Tesla store near Nashville to place my reservation over two years ago, I assumed I would get some sort of priority when placing a firm order. Based on my experience no such priority is evident and I won’t place an advanced reservation with Tesla again.

Update:2018-10-08Tesla called today

9/11/2018 Blue Model 3 AWD with Aero Wheels. My configuration!! Unfortunately it went to someone else in Tennessee. Click to enlarge.


Since then other than provide drivers license details and receive a referral code not much has happened to my order. I have made multiple trips to the local store to enquire. The customer service staff are high energy and friendly with a very helpful attitude. They arranged for me to test drive the Model 3 since I ordered sight unseen. Despite their helpful attitude there is little to nothing they can do to provide me with any information, only able to repeat what is published on the Tesla website.

Where am I in line?

October 5th 2018. Second batch of vehicles stored near Belk’s at the Galleria Mall. This is a small sample, I estimate over 100 vehicles stored. Click to enlarge

The most frustrating thing is not knowing where you are in line. If I enter a bank and stand in line, I don’t need to ask the bank staff when I will be helped, it’s easy enough to estimate that as customers get served in front of you; your place in line is transparent. Tesla’s official statement as to where you stand in line goes “Delivery time frame will be based on reservation date, order date, delivery location and vehicle configuration.” My read is that vehicle configuration is one of the most important factors, and not just the configuration but the price paid for the configuration. I’ve observed several model 3’s with my exact configuration parked at the Telsa store ready for delivery over the last 6 weeks, other customers have priority apparently.

My suspicion is that someone who agreed to pay $6,000 for AWD will be closer to the front of the line than myself who got it at a $2,000 discount. I believe this is why Tesla make your place in line opaque, if someone with more money comes along, they will get priority.

At this point I am beginning to suspect my order is somehow lost in the ordering system. While helpful, the local Tesla staff are unable to provide a telephone number at Tesla corporate for me to make enquiries. They indicated this is one of the most common questions they are being asked right now.

Oct 5th 2018. Another Blue Model 3 AWD vehicle manufactured 9/18 and part of another batch of vehicles stored near Nashville. Click to enlarge

Delivery Hell

Tesla are struggling to deliver vehicles they have made, which has forced them to stockpile vehicles all around the country. Could the vehicle to the right be my vehicle? Maybe, but probably not. I have yet to be allocated a VIN number which occurs several weeks prior to delivery.

Having placed my order in the second quarter and here we are in the fourth I am now getting anxious I may lose out on the federal tax credit which is halved for Tesla after 12/31.

The Cost of Waiting

Cost of rental to replace totalled vehicle. Click to enlarge.

What really bites is that due to an accident we find ourselves renting a vehicle. The Model 3 has been on order for months now, I don’t need to buy a second new car, I just need the car I have already ordered. However how much longer should I continue to rent versus buy a car I can resell later? Tesla can’t help. Once again they are very empathic and understanding, but they are powerless to help. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Posted in Customer Service, Opinion, Tesla Model 3, Test Drive | Leave a comment

Weird glitch with LEAF while driving – No fault found

I was driving home recently with the family from Texas Roadhouse when the LEAF made a beeping noise and I noticed warning lamps on the dash. One warning lamp was the EV System Warning Lamp. In addition to the warning lamps I also noticed that the distance to empty gauge was showing dashes. Dashes in place of miles normally occurs when the traction battery has a very low charge. However the car was 2/3rds full and it continued to show 2/3rds full after the dashes appeared.

EV System Warning light and loss of estimated range after glitch. Click to enlarge

The car drove normally. After we got home I restarted the car and everything was normal. Over the next day or two I did notice that the LEAF was more pessimistic about the range remaining compared to its normal over optimistic estimates. The estimates returned to normal within 36 hours. It seemed like a computer in the car responsible for estimating range rebooted itself and reset settings while being driven.

Not knowing what could cause such a glitch I did take it by the dealer for diagnosis. The car did register a fault code the dealer was able to read which indicated erratic CAN voltage. The dealer could not reproduce the fault and cleared the error code.

3G telematics to blame?

Ever since Nissan replaced 2G telematics units with 3G telematics units many customers have complained of random CAN errors. In some cases this has been traced back to low 12v battery voltage causing an array of random and erroneous error codes.

Everything back to normal, except the low distance to empty estimate. Click to enlarge

The consensus in the LEAF community is that the 3G telematics unit consumes more power and the 12v battery has more of a challenge keeping up with demands from the cars electrical systems. I did use the cars remote A/C pre conditioning both prior to heading to the restaurant and prior to heading home. It’s quite likely that multiple requests back to back may have weakened the 12v battery. The 12v battery is just over 1 year old so I doubt it has gone bad. If I get more errors like this, I’ll opt for a larger capacity 12v battery that will not run low so easily.

The good news is that the car did not breakdown or lose power at any time. It seems the error was spurious. The LEAF after 123,000 miles has yet to leave me stranded at the side of the road. It has been a very reliable car, all other cars I’ve owned previously have broken down at least once. EV’s are remarkably reliable vehicles.

Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF | 1 Comment