21st July 2018 by Kyle Field
The Tesla Model 3 is the defining car of this generation. The first car that really sets the bar for an affordable electric car. The only problem is that … well, it's not that affordable. Still. Let's rewind for a minute to see where this story started. On March 31, 2016, at 6:30 am, Zach Shahan and I met at the Tesla store in Santa Monica, California, to wait in line for several hours with a few hundred enthusiasts for $ 1,000 or $ 2,000 Passing to book a car we had never seen before – the Tesla Model 3. We had very little idea what we reserved, but we knew we wanted one (or two) of what Tesla had promised to be a cult car.
At the unveiling event of the Tesla Model 3 later that evening, we learned much more about what Model 3, the model S little brother, would look like. With a snubbier nose reminiscent of Porsche, it would come with an industry-changing $ 35,000 price tag. It talked about the future and about electric cars becoming mainstream. It was not the Jedermann's car, but it delivered more than 200 miles of range at a base price that was half of the Model S, making it affordable to millions of people around the world.
Fast forward to today and the Model 3 is officially in production for just over a year – but not yet the $ 35,000 version. The deliveries officially started in July 2017, but Tesla was very, very slow to get out of the door in large quantities in Model 3 due to numerous production-related issues that were baptized to Tesla CEO Elon Musk "Production Hell"  Last month Tesla finally had a Model 3 production rate of 5,000 a week, which was the vehicle's first core target production rate since launch. At this rate, it was reported that Tesla as a company could achieve profitability and offer more interesting options for the car, such as four-wheel drive, the Performance Edition and various color options. For the masses, Model 3, which achieves a high production rate, means that more electric cars are coming into the hands of some of the hundreds of thousands of reservation holders who have registered as part of the story in the first few weeks after the revelation, more than two years ago.
One of our early reservations turned into a car this week when we received the delivery of the first Tesla Model 3 CleanTechnica at the Tesla Santa Barbara Showroom. It is a Long Range Black Model 3 with the Premium Upgrade Package. After obsessing and driving as many plug-in vehicles as I've gotten my hands on for the last 5 years, I'd like to share things that were good and bad with Model 3 in the US The first 24 Hours
I've been driving a bunch of Tesla Model 3 over the last few months, and the first thing that strikes me every time is how invisible the car's nose is while driving. Combined with the instant torque of the powerful electric motor, the driving experience feels very much like a go-kart – in the very best possible way. The view from the vehicle front is great. This is underlined by the minimalist, minimalist line.
As great as it is, I feel the car pull on a long suppressed desire to drive far more than any car I drove in recent memory. The 2010 Toyota Prius, which served as my main gap car between our Tesla Model S and our new Tesla Model 3, did not bring the slightest fuss behind the wheel, nor the most plug-in cars I drove. The Model 3, which I was able to spend a day with in January, was the last to pull on the same chords and only the Chevrolet Bolt has been on the same scale of fun lately.
My shirt in the photo above is not an accident. It's the Mountain Pass Performance shirt that represents the name of the company's white Model S. After spending so much time browsing the company online to prove its dominance on the track in The Future, it remained the name really stuck with me because of its resonance with my belief in the car. This car – the model 3 – represents the future. The future is electric and the Tesla Model 3 is the epitome of what an affordable electric car is today. All this ties in with our CleanTechnica slogan "The future is now".
On this affordability … I understand why Tesla has not released the $ 35,000 version of the car, but dang, it hurts weird way to build and sell so many models 3 without that part of the equation yet true is. I held back the Model 3, but decided to push the trigger early to fully exhaust the US tax credit for electric vehicles before it expires in 2019. I'm looking forward to the day when the Model 3 can be sold at $ 35,000
The current $ 49,000 floor on the Model 3 is far from cheap – it's a ton of money. But it puts the car at half the promise of an affordable, long-range electric vehicle, and that's commendable. Having said that, I will be even more excited when the basic configuration is delivered, because that's the other half of the dream. Let's do it.
Coming back in the car, the phone button is extremely intoxicating. My main concern is that technology be used to solve problems, but the Model S key where the key fob worked – and worked extremely well – is a complete failure of the Model 3 key system. I would withdraw into a key if I could. As it stands today, even with all low-power features on my phone turned off and any permissions enabled, it can not unlock my car most of the time.
If given the opportunity, I would go back the key chain for a simple reason – because it worked. Because it's software, it's possible that Tesla can fix something, but man, I feel silly going to the car without knowing if it actually opens, then I have to dive back in my bag, unlock my phone and pull up the app just to unlock it maybe. I have the idea, and I see the potential, but I have to call that a failure now.
One of the major changes in the Model 3 is the consolidation of almost everything into the landscape, 15 "display. Getting rid of the gauge behind the wheel did not bother me at all – I do not miss it – a look at the side at 15 inches -Display instead of looking down to see the speed is effectively the same, if not a little better.
The user interface on the new 15-inch screen is not as efficient as the Model S or X when the driving functions remain on the left side of the screen (as it should be), the remaining functions do not feel in the remaining square of the screen.In particular, the music player is not intuitive at all and requires four swipes to remove it from the screen after he was maximized, the settings in the car have too many levels and are distributed in a few different locations, and the cruise control does not flow well on the touc hscreen.
What works well on the screen is the navigation. The car has the same great voice recognition and navigation as the Tesla Model S and Model X, allowing you to navigate in beautiful surroundings. My wife does not like the screen automatically zooming in and out, but for me it's perfect. When you're on the highway, the navigation zooms back to indicate upcoming exits and cities, and then as you leave the highway, the system zooms into the details of the neighborhood level.
Let's talk looks. Yes, I know that not everyone likes the look of the car – especially the dashboard – but I absolutely love it. It feels so high and smooth inside that it makes me smile every time I come in. It's simple enough not to be cluttered, but still creates everything I need to do.
The Model 3 has a pocket in the door, which is an improvement over the Model S interior, and the center console feels very natural, ergonomic and functional.
The exterior of the car is absolutely great for me. I was not sure what I would think about the Aerofelgen, but I really like it. With the black exterior, they look like oversized luxury wheels on an exotic sports car. They accentuate the lines of the body and just feel right.
Of course there are many more of us on the Model 3, but what surprised me is how much I learned about the car in just one day. Stay tuned for the next update, but until then – for free!