Impressions From A Tesla Model 3 Test Drive In Florida

Tesla Model 3

APR 26 2018 BY EVANNEX 22

CRUISING FLORIDA IN A TESLA MODEL 3

Reviews of the Model 3 are starting to proliferate, but for a while there, members of the news media had to get creative in order to get their hands on a car to review. Unlike other automakers, Tesla provides very few review vehicles to the press – even the handful of favored media outlets have had to settle for brief test drives. CNN actually had to rent a Model 3 on Turo in order to do a review!

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Watch This: Tesla Model 3 Takes On An Autocross Course

Details: Tesla Model 3 Instrumented Test

Source: Charged

Here at EVANNEX, we were among the first non-Tesla employees to receive a Model 3 – probably thanks to the fact that founder Roger Pressman was the owner of a Signature Series Model S. I recently took it for a spin through the sprawl of suburban South Florida. What follows is not a comprehensive review, but rather the things that made an impression on me, including a couple of aspects that mainstream reviewers don’t tend to write about.

My big-screen debut

Before leaving the parking lot, I received the grand tour, which for Model 3 mostly means stepping through pages on the touchscreen display. This screen controls most of the car’s functions, and it has been the focal point of most media reviews: some love it, some hate it, most agree that it “takes some getting used to.” However, I don’t find Tesla’s new minimalism to be that radical a change.

Much has been made of Model 3’s comparative lack of physical knobs and switches, but in fact, the controls you need to use while driving – gear selector, turn signals – are right where you’d expect to find them (on two steering wheel stalks), and so is the volume control for your tunes (one of two trackballs on the steering wheel controls the sound system, and the other controls whatever you’re looking at on the screen). Doors and windows are opened in the usual fashion.

Source: Charged

Your nav system, phone, stereo, and system settings (you can choose from 3 steering modes, 2 regen modes, creep/no creep, etc) are all controlled onscreen – but that’s nothing radically new. Cars’ background functions have been migrating to screens for over a decade, especially on higher-end models – even my 2006 Prius has a touchscreen (albeit a far more primitive one). Headlights went automatic a generation ago. The only things that arguably seem a bit weird to operate from the screen are the windshield wiper speed (Tesla is said to be working on that one) and opening the glovebox (and there may be a specific reason for that).

So yeah, the 3’s user interface would be revolutionary compared to a car from the 1980s, but to me it just seems like an elegant execution of a natural progression (which could have described the iPhone when it came out). Tachometers, odometers, temperature and oil pressure gauges and other dashboard doodads are really just steampunk-style vestiges of a long-gone automotive age. The only thing you need to see when driving is the speedometer and the nav screen, and glancing to the right instead of glancing down is a minor adjustment.

I say it’s high time somebody cleared away all that clutter. Model 3’s interior is a modernist masterpiece of minimalism. Instead of looking at a jumble of AC vent controls, your eyes rest on an attractive piece of (supposedly real) wood trim running the width of the dashboard. It may just be that this simpler, less busy line of sight, combined with the silence of electric drive, makes for a more relaxed driving experience.

Source: Charged

Yes of course, it drives great

I’ve never claimed to be an expert on handling, but even I could appreciate Model 3’s rock-solid cornering – even at moderately high speed, it takes the curves as if it were fastened firmly to the road. My car guy colleagues at EVANNEX told me that the suspension is somewhat stiff (in a good way), comparable to a BMW 3 Series, whereas Model S, especially with the optional air suspension, delivers a smoother ride, more typical of a luxury car.

I also had the opportunity to drive Matt Pressman’s Signature Series Model S, to compare its ride with that of Roger’s Model 3. Both have acceleration to spare, and both handle wonderfully, but there’s definitely a difference. Again, I can’t describe it in technical terms, but you can feel the difference in size (Model 3 is a foot shorter and a thousand pounds lighter). The S drives like the bigger, heavier car it is, while the 3 feels “nimbler,” as Roger put it.

You engage Autopilot by pushing the gear selector all the way down – one tap for cruise control, two taps for full Autosteer. I only had a short time to experience Autopilot on the highway, so I can’t really say how it compares to the version in Tesla’s older vehicles. However, the Pressmans have all three generations of Autopilot represented in their fleet – their Model S has none, the X has first-gen AP, and the new 3 has the latest and greatest, Autopilot 2, which Roger says seems generally equivalent to the older version. As others have, he noted that it’s particularly handy in stop-and-go freeway traffic (all too common in the Miami/Broward agglomeration), freeing you from the tedium of maintaining a constant distance.

Source: Charged

Is it the new Bluesmobile or what?

One aspect of autos in which I can claim some expertise is storage space. As a working musician, I lift large, heavy objects in and out of my vehicle on a daily basis and, as I’ve written many times before, it isn’t all about the cubic feet – the ideal gear-hauler has a wide opening, a low deck with seats that fold flat, and little or no “lift-over” at the back. I was keen to check out Model 3’s trunk for myself and to compare it with the S and my trusty if unglamorous Prius.

When it comes to width, Model 3 makes the grade – I’d have no problem getting a medium-large guitar amp in there. Unfortunately, the 3 has a bit more of a lift-over than the S, and the rear seats don’t fold quite flat. It’s probably possible to get your PA system, milk crates, and guitars in there, but it would call for some creative packing, and you’d have to be careful not to bash up the interior fixtures. The verdict: Model 3’s cargo capacity will be quite sufficient for the average driver, but for those of us with special needs, it can’t compare to Model S (and – sorry, folks – the lowly Prius remains the king of small cargo-carrying cars).

All this really shouldn’t be read as a criticism. No one ever said Model 3 was a hatchback – it’s a sedan, and sedans are designed for hauling people, and maybe a few bags of groceries. Model 3’s cargo-carrying capabilities may be inferior to those of the marvelous Model S, but they’re far superior to those of legacy mid-size sedans.

Source: Charged

Just one little problem

Having experienced Model 3, I’m convinced that, once the word gets out, everybody is going to want one. Alas, most will not be able to get one. I have faith that Tesla will eventually reach its aspirational production rate of hundreds of thousands per year, but even so, there will surely be a waiting list for the foreseeable future.

As Tesla struggles through “production hell,” many superficial observers believe that legacy automakers will step into the breach, mass-producing their own EVs and burying the plucky little startup. However, as I’ve written elsewhere, it’s becoming apparent that EVs aren’t going to be much of a money-maker for the majors. When battery costs pass that magical $100/kWh milestone, as will happen within the next couple of years, demand for EVs will swell, and carmakers will face a dilemma: crank up the production lines and cannibalize their golden geese, or continue trying to hold back the electric tide, and risk being Kodaked (there’s also a major risk of mixed metaphors and neologisms).

Ironically, after years of writing “Nobody’s buying EVs” stories, the mass media could soon be churning out “Nobody can buy an EV” articles.

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Writer/Photography: Charles Morris; Note: This article originally appeared in Charged.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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22 Comments on "Impressions From A Tesla Model 3 Test Drive In Florida"

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The res is crazy on those pix

An Insideevs reprint of an EVANNEX reprint of a Charged article? Its printception!

Haha. +1

Another good review for the Model 3, the most important car to be released since the Model S.
In regard to the last few lines of how there is no demand for evs, Ford just dumped it’s entire line-up of cars due to lack of demand, sans the Mustang & Focus. But with Tesla it’s au contraire mon frere. Lack of demand is something that Tesla does not suffer from.
Why is that you may wonder, well sometimes it’s just as plain as day, the Model 3 is simply that much better than anything else on offer ev or otherwise if you can wait, afford it, and have a place to charge, it would be an error to buy anything else.

I think Ford and the rest are repeating past mistakes. They did the same thing before the last recession. They focused on where the demand was, trucks & SUVs just as the price of liquid fuel was going up. Gas prices hit $5 a gallon and they couldn’t give away the trucks and SUVs. They need not chase demand but anticipate future demand. Saying that, whoever makes a good all electric pick up truck gets to take the most amount of chips off the table. If it is not you Ford, you better watch out.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Pix are squished, sup wit that?

Quick cut & paste

Mobile sizing issue. Sorry.

Looks squished on my desktop computer, too. Not radically, but noticeably. The first pic is fine, but most or all of the rest are a bit squished horizontally.

Hmm. I will let the devs know.

Definitely not just mobile. Same on my ipad.

Yes, that’s still considered “mobile.” The desktop platform is fine for those pictures, but not for phones and tablets. There’s something wrong with the upload of those particular images on mobile devices. It’s being sorted out by the devs.

Good points. 1) Suspension. Having a sophisticated suspension is the Tesla brand. Too bad the average driver doesn’t try to notice these things on a test drive. The BMW i3 also has a sophisticated suspension, and it shows up in ride quality. The Bolt doesn’t. And that may not show up in the first year of ownership. But, keep it for a long time, and you’ll learn the limitations of a bad suspension. The BMW i3 would use a bit more width, a wider track for the handling it deserves. And the i3 Sport is addressing this a bit. But, it’s a good thing, out of the box, suspension is not an issues for Tesla. 2) Space. If Elon would put an “estate-wagon” in as an option to buy. Much more space, and a much better ride, then what an SUV typically offers, but giving you the space of an SUV. 3) Ford is addressing the EV issues, by simply dropping cars today. And slowly adding EV’s to replace them. Which is interesting. It positions Ford to be a SMALLER car company, but more profitable riding out the end of gas. And if EV’s start to become popular for them,… Read more »

I put in line breaks to create paragraphs, and your comment box turned it into a jumble of words. You should look into fixing this.

Thank you.

The line breaks are actually preserved after clicking the “more” button to show the whole post.

Right, I noticed that happened to one of my longer comments, too. If the forum software thinks the post is too long to display in full, it not only truncates it, it also collapses all the paragraphs into on!

I certainly hope that latter “feature” (as in “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”) is changed. That makes comments harder to read.

It

Does

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better.

Don’t

you

think?

The

collapsing

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feature

with

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more

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does

help

for

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I’m

famous

for.

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everybody

doesn’t

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sore

finger

trying

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Ford is a major sign of the times.

Did the south florida sun become too hot with the glass roof?

So, the Model 3 looks like its roof line is almost lower than the Prius. It could be a misconception from the angle of the photo…