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

 

 

This entry was posted in Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, SuperCharger, Tesla Model 3. Bookmark the permalink.

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