Here's how the Tesla Model 3 changed everything for me!
The EV world is booming, manufacturers left right and centre are releasing cars - however it seems to me that only one have got totally right. Tesla!
Some years ago I remember driving my first Tesla, a Model S 75D - nothing overly special but quick to say the least. The interior was reasonable, the drive impressively alike to ICE (internal-combustion-engine) cars... but the price was a bitter price to swallow. Following that I'd made a point to drive as many EV's as I could - however found them always falling a bit short.
The Leaf had nice price but bad range, the Zoe had a bit of both - but the interior wasn't quite there. Various other competitors attempted to try and get the best of both worlds but never really got close enough for me, only other Tesla's did it for me (a quality car all round)... but the price was always enough to make you go weak at the knees (Model X, I'm looking at you).
A great front end design!
Price versus range isn't a worry anymore...
For £38,500 you can get an entry spec Model 3 (Standard Range Plus), which still comes with loads of tech - however there isn't a rubbish range on offer either. 254 miles, enough for the general driver - but not quite enough for people that travel for a living. Need more miles? The Long Range model can give you 348 miles for £47,000 - and if you want a bit of power too, the Performance offers a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds, a 329 mile range and all for £52,000. An M3 beater? Lots of people think so...
The interior quality is decent, however at times it does seem a little rushed. Certain elements don't have the same quality as German rival manufacturers and certain bits definitely look to have been fitted wrong. Remember though, Tesla are rushing these cars out at a pace to match the big boys - they've been going for much less time to imperfections are inevitable.
Speaking of that interior!
Spacious is an understatement, it's so minimalist (asides from a giant screen in the centre) you could be in an art exhibition. Everything is done via that screen or the two scroll wheels on the steering wheel - it's also incredibly easy to navigate and get used to. Within 25 minutes I knew the car inside out. The tech features (including click-to-fart) are hilarious and somehow don't grow that old that fast. However the beach racing game is definitely going to dry steer your tyres into oblivion before long.
Rear seat passengers get more space than an M3, with a boot so big it could (in theory) swallow two whole sets of golf clubs. Ventilation is only available at the front, so the rear is incredibly lacking in amenities. That said, if anyone gets bored in the back... they can just look up through the huge glass roof and admire the world around them.
The infotainment does has a slight drawback though, you can only really do one thing at a time. Turning off a heated seat whilst changing song can't be done - old fashioned buttons had their uses. The front seats are comfortable and great for long drives, but in long corners you'll find yourself slipping around. Sadly less holding than a competitor vehicle but considerably more comfortable for long drives (oh... and it's VEGAN leather).
Yep, it's aesthetically 'Marmite'...
The first time I saw an entry spec Model 3, I hated it. The wheels, the shape... everything. However, over the past few months I've seen more and more - then it started growing on me. The Performance model is without any question my current favourite, primarily because it doesn't have strange aerodynamically perfect wheels. It just looks... right.
The external lines are nice, with a typically Tesla styled front end. The side profile is somewhat sweeping, although it does cut in quickly at the back end (almost.. almost.. a hatch). The rear is very Model X, which is a good thing - because I really like the rear design aesthetic of the Model X. Light clusters front and rear have a nice design and are all extremely bright... no worry of visibility to other road users here! Really it is a truly well designed car, however it can take time to grow on you for sure.
The carbon 'spoiler' is park of the Performance model...
There's a huge HUGE problem though!
Well, actually two problems. Firstly, whilst the Tesla charging infrastructure is superb and affordable to charge on, if you find yourself away from the safety net of Tesla's own chargers - it's not a nice place to be. Need to quickly charge at a services? That'll be a £1.50 connection fee, 39p p/KwH... if it works at all. In other EV's, I've found myself stuck on more occasions than I can count due to a failing charging network. Whilst manufacturers like Ford / VW etc are invested in a new network... we're some years away from it being practical and easily accessible anywhere in the UK. Fortunately, there are literally Tesla Superchargers everywhere - plan well enough and the above issue will probably never affect you. Oh, and Superchargers are reliable and massively cheaper than the competitor networks.
The second problem is an issue in every EV on sale - exterior noise. Car parks are like a reaction test, waiting for people to walk out because they can't hear you and didn't look - and blame you. Overtaking a cyclist, you'd better hope they shoulder check because they can't hear you - I almost flattened one that didn't take the time. Companies like HARMAN are working on exterior noise emulators, working with manufacturers to create their own 'sound' - however it's currently not a legal 'must have'.
All of that aside... I'd own one in a heart beat...
I'm a petrol head through and through, however 3 days in a Model 3 were enough to make me reconsider my current car choices and seriously consider selling everything and buying a Model 3 Performance. The style grew on me, the performance is face melting, the interior comfort is unquestionable and the price isn't extortionate either. This is an affordable EV which gives you everything you want, no hidden tricks, just a truly brilliant car.
Now... how to explain to my wife why all the cars are on eBay!