10 Hardest Things To Adjust To In A Tesla Model 3

OCT 13 2018 BY MARK KANE 74

Tesla Model 3 amazes and surprises novices.

There are already millions of people who drive plug-in electric cars and enjoy the driving experience, but how do those accustomed to internal combustion engines see modern BEVs like the Tesla Model 3?

Well, Popular Mechanics notes 10 things that – subjectively – require the largest mental adjustment. Other authors maybe would slightly change up the list, but it’s worth knowing how EVs are seen by the world.

Many potential customers could need years before making the switch due to some of these differences. Change isn’t easy for everyone.

Top 10 by Popular Mechanics:

  1. Opening doors from the outside (quirky door handles) and from the inside (button plus emergency lever). You need a few tries to get used to it, but be ready to explain it to all the other passengers that you meet.
  2. Closed-off front end – without grille
  3. There is a frunk
  4. No key fob (coming soon though)
  5. No start/stop button
  6. There are almost no buttons of any kind (touchscreen controls everything)
  7. Autopilot – an exercise in trust?
  8. Strong regenerative braking for one-pedal driving
  9. You eat only where you can Supercharge
  10. It’s so quiet

Source: popularmechanics.com

Categories: Lists, Tesla

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74 Comments on "10 Hardest Things To Adjust To In A Tesla Model 3"

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I believe the i3 has stronger regen. Be careful what you wish for.
Rear tires can start to wear fast.

Not sure why people are down voting you, the Bolt also has stronger regen than any Tesla and yes I do own a Tesla. Besides, they are wrong, Tesla cannot one pedal drive since it cannot completely stop without using the brake pedal.

Model3 Owned- Niro EV TBD -Past-500e and Spark EV,

I do really like the paddle regen options on the Bolt. That will never happen with the Model 3 though. 2 more switches is 2 too many!

Switch off creep and it can

No – Tesla’s regen braking gets you down to 5-10 kmh, but at that point it pretty much lets go. So you will continue to drift forward, right into an intersection or whatever. You do have to apply the brakes to come to a complete stop. I’ve been driving a Tesla for 5 years, and am quite aware of this.

One thing that the Bolt actually does better than Tesla – they not only have regen when you lift off the “fast” pedal, but when you hit the brakes regen goes up even harder (you can see this because it gives a numeric readout of the regen, and that climbs as you hit the brakes). In a Tesla, the regen is based entirely on how fast the wheel is spinning, and applying brakes doesn’t change that at all. I would love it if all braking could be done magnetically, but I’m not sure that’s safe enough. Anyway, I like that the bolt actually increases regen when you brake. That’s nice.

The Roadster had pretty decent regen at a ‘fixed’ rate. Basically ‘One Pedal’ driving whether you liked it or not, but in any event, it is what it is.

I was surprised that when I test drove an “S” that the standard regen was rather like driving a volt in ‘D’ (or any ICE automatic transmission car – it was there but you had to use your imagination a bit). Making the “S” the most agressive was rather like putting a GEN 1 VOLT in “L”. Much better but still not anywhere nearly as aggressive as the Roadster.

The BOLT ev, when using both the paddle AND placing the shifter in “L”, has more aggressive regen (Up to 70 kw) than any of the above cars – so much so that I need to ‘relearn’ things when I go back to the ‘ELR’ with its REGEN ON DEMAND that is not so nearly as aggressive.

I’ve noticed now that it’s getting cooler (30’s and 40’s), Model 3 regen braking sometimes is limited. It shows the dots of the limits of regen. So I have to adjust my one-foot driving patterns. Before I knew I could slow down enough at certain spots on my commute. I’m now either letting the regen happen sooner, or actually pushing the brake pedal a bit. I’m surprised that these (what I consider mild) temps have this much affect on regen. I never saw that in my Volt. Regen was always the same.

Hey Kdawg, James from GM-Volt. I picked up my Dual Motor M3 during “delivery hell” a couple weeks back.

I didn’t get a chance to experience the regen in warmer temps. I use the mechanical brake at the end of each stop. So you are saying that in warmer outside temps I can nearly one pedal drive at times? I would like that better.

Too bad Tesla doesn’t add at least one more option for a slightly more aggressive regen setting. I like the Bolt and Volt’s Regen On Demand paddle a whole lot.

Yes, i’d like one more option for a more aggressive regen. What i was referring to above was slowing down before taking turns,curves,exits, etc. Not really coming to a complete stop. Before, I never had to touch my brake. Now I do sometimes, or I have to start regen sooner. I don’t know what temp causes the limited regen. Some mornings it’s cold out and I don’t have limits. Other times, it’s not too cold but I do?

The beauty in Bolt and 2nd gen Volt is the “Regen On Demand” paddle behind the left spoke of the steering wheel.

If you haven’t tried it, it’s a fantastic way to modulate your regen AND still maximize your “glide”, or coasting abiiity to maximize range. There are several levels of regen in GM electrified cars, so you can squeeze the paddle and basically brake to a full stop using regen only, or just seperate squeezes to increase the regen incrementally.

I really enjoy my Tesla, but that is s feature that would be most welcome.

In the Bolt and Volt, instead of shifting the e-gear lever to L (“Low”) mode, you can keep it in D and just brake with your left hand! It’s very intuitive after only a few tries. This way, you have the best of both EV world’s: gliding or coasting to maximize range, not hitting max regen every time you lift your foot.

Rather than gliding or coasting to maximize range, I leave it in L, keep more speed going, and let L do its braking at the last minute. It’s also a mental task/game to get the distance right.

Front-wheel regen can be stronger and be felt stronger, just like normal braking which is more sensible in front. But to be accurate about the regen strength we should define it first. What’s a strong regen? High amperage, or more speed reduction? The horsepower and weight are parameters here.

I saw the Bolt regenerate briefly @ 68 kW (= 90+ hp), downhill in L mode with paddle engaged, w/o the brake pedal.

Model 3’s regen is awesome… The only time I use the brake pedal is to complete that last split-second of complete stop when at a stoplight and then to apply the Hold Mode.

With careful driving, you should be able to only use the friction brake in an emergency.

So, coming to a complete stop at a stop sign constitutes an “emergency”???

That is unfortunately not true. You do need to use friction brakes to come to a complete stop, if you’re on a flat or downhill.

Yeah Colin but the point is, on a Bolt EV you CAN come to a complete stop on a slight downhill grade or of course a complete stop at a stop sign…..

There are many days when the only time I’ve touched the brake pedal is to start the car, and put it ‘in gear’ (mandatory), but I’ve never actually touched the brake pedal while driving. 70 Kw Regenerated in the BOLT ev is after the mechanical and motor and rectifier losses, so figure its putting at least a 100 horsepower ‘anchor’ on the car… Since the car is relatively light it slows right down.

It’s true, but kinda off-topic… This list is about switching from combustion cars to a Model 3, not about comparing Model 3 to other EVs.

Trick: For those willing to use diligence in case your Tesla has a mind of it’s own occasionally, you can use your ACC in local driving. This way, if a car is in front of you, your Tesla will come to a complete stop without you having to press the brake pedal.

Indeed, Tesla is miles ahead of i3, LEAF and Bolt in so many ways. One pedal driving is not one of them. Bolt and Volt win that game with their “Regen On Demand” steering wheel paddle.

The TM3 is way more expensive, cannot be leased, assembly is questionable, fit and finish is below average, lacks a handy lift back or hatchback, lacks convenient buttons and knobs, has a distracting screen, has no heads up display, uses a cheap rear-view mirror with no night viewing adjustment, was released to the public with inadequate road testing, and is not available to the general public, and may not be for years. Miles ahead? Really?

Yes, I just checked my tire tread depth today and the rears are 6/32″ and the fronts are 7-8/32″.

Not sure to be due to regen. EVs’ tires wear faster because of their instant torque. Drive less torquey, tires will last longer.

That is One of the reason You should Rotate Tires Regularly …

8 out of 10 are very minor in my opinion (as long as the regen is easily modulated by the user)

These are concerning:
1) everything controlled by a touch screen. I’ve been in a Model 3. I don’t like it. I really hope the Tesla Pickup does not have this “feature”. It’s a deal breaker for me. Life in the north involves gloves. Even more so in a vehicle that consumes range to heat it.
2) not a deal breaker but I’m not comfortable with these fold-away door handles in freeing temps/freezing rain . The fact that there are “blow dryer” videos is proof enough that these represent an unnecessary risk (and cost)

Lived in Minnesota my whole life. Gloves aren’t needed when driving, especially when you can easily preheat your car. Even if you think you need them, there are gloves that are touchscreen friendly.

The touch screen controls everything is just plain wrong. Headlights and wipers are automatic. Windshield washers, radio, turn signals, cruise control, shifting, are all on stalks or steering wheel controls. Navigation and changing stations or media can be done through voice controls. I am not sure what else can be done on voice controls since I have never read the manual on the car. More is coming to voice control. I just got in and drove away 9 months ago.

All in all the best car I have ever had, and my other car is my 2013 Model S 60.

Love my Model 3!

These are all dumb… If you owned a Model 3, you would very quickly realize you don’t need all those knobs and buttons. I too pushed back on the Screen only design and almost dropped my reservation because of it. So glad I didn’t do that. Absolutely love this car and quickly grew to love the dash design as well. Funny how that happens. So far, love the door handles too. I have been in plenty of ice storms and it is an issue with any handle.

I do not miss the buttons AT ALL

My problem with the screen in the Model 3 is it seems like an afterthought and was just added. Having it more integrated into the console like the S/X would have helped the appearance.

Doing that would have either required moving the screen backwards, so it’s less convenient to reach, or moving the console forward, which would reduced the amount of space available for your legs.

Having the touchscreen float was the key compromise made to reduce the size of the car (vs the Model S) without reducing the space available in the cabin. Losing some trunk and frunk space was pretty much the only other compromise made, I think.

You lost the cluster, too, but that could have been made up for with a HUD… but HUD would have raised the price.

Also – the HUD is one of those places that’d be easy to create an amazing experience, much better than you get with current HUDs. For example, imagine an AR hud that took into account the driver’s head position & direction, even down to where the eyes are looking, and projected information onto the screen relevant to the driver’s POV. That’s some iron-man stuff right there. I could see Tesla doing something like that.

“My problem with the screen in the Model 3 is it seems like an afterthought and was just added.”

From what I’ve read, Tesla’s intent was to move the screen closer to the driver so the speedometer display would be easier to see.

But only those who actually drive a Model 3 are in a position (so to speak) to say whether that design approach was a success or not.

I drove my coworkers Model 3 and I hate how everything is controlled by the touch screen. It’s a pain in the ass to use, especially when your hand is bouncing around. Things that would be trivial in any normal car are very annoying in the Model 3.

The door handles are also terrible. Why can’t Elon just point normal door handles on the damn car? I hate how he thinks everything needs to be clever and reinvented. I’d gladly sacrifice the minimal range normal door handles would sacrifice.

I’ve also seen too many glitches with the car. For example, we both get in the car doesn’t recognize he’s in the car and doesn’t “turn on”, charging door won’t open, etc.

No thanks. I wouldn’t buy one. It takes a lot more than insane acceleration to impress me.

No doubt someone used to driving a horse and buggy thought the same if forced to borrow a neighbor’s horseless carriage for a day.

Drive a Model 3 for a week, and then tell us what you think.

So – what were you trying to adjust in the touchscreen while driving? Everything is automatic. Also – why were you taking it off road? I’ve been driving my model S for 5 years, and never been “bouncing around” so much I couldn’t easily use the screen.

The door handles are like that for aerodynamics – not just “being different for the sake of it”.

There have been reported problems where the blutooth of the car doesn’t always recognize the phone. That’s more of an implementation problem than a design problem, because it doesn’t affect everyone.

“Life in the north involves gloves.”

So get some touchscreen gloves.


Most of that sounds like just FUD. They are non issues.

What they didn’t mention? Figuring out how to get the car through a car wash in neutral. There just needs to be a “car wash” button to push.

Turning creep off should be like neutral, or at leas not pull you forrward from the push rollers!

I think one of the hardest things for me to adjust would be the need to see everything as FUD.

Most are totally non-issues. 1 & 9 have some merit. 6 maybe for some people, there are buttons on the steering wheel and almost everyone has a cell phone with a touch screen, how hard is it too adjust to one in a car?

Those Are 10 Problems That I’m Looking Forward To Having Real Soon…..rotf-lmao

Here is my take: 1. Opening doors: after the first day of driving my TM3 I got used to opening doors 2. Closed-off front end – not new, a few ICE cars had this design in the past; I think the car looks cool 3. There is a frunk – great for Chinese take out, does not introduce food odors inside the cabin 4. No key fob – one of the great features, love using my phone instead and not worry about losing the car key (or fob) 5. No start/stop button – not needed as the car is always ready to go and does not need to be turned off 6. There are almost no buttons of any kind – ok, this is one is the hardest to get used to; on the plus side, OTA software updates add new features to the display 7. Autopilot – didn’t buy it and not planning to buy it in the future because I want to drive my car 8. Strong regenerative braking for one-pedal driving – not as strong as BMW i3 and not true one-pedal 9. You eat only where you can Supercharge – I charge at home and very… Read more »

I just used the frunk for Chinese takeout yesterday. Its nice that you don’t have to stink up main cabin or trunk.
Who would consider not having a start/stop button something hard to adjust to?
These are a few of the advantages of this amazing car, the biggest two are not having to stop for gas and not driving around spewing poison gas.

Single best use of the frunk- saving the cabin from take-out food smells. Totally agree!

Acevolt, John, I would NEVER leave take out food (especially multiple stacked Chinese takeout containers) unattended in the frunk. Frunks are not new, lots of people have Porsche 911’s. I like my chinese takeout in the passenger seat, finger hooked to the bag handles.

Well actually the 911 does not have a frunk. It just happens to habe the trunk in the front. 😉
Only engine in the back.

The frunk does have hooks for bag handles

I would like to have an option for stronger regen that will take it to a full stop. Otherwise regen is one of the best things about driving it.

Overall the convenience of never having to stop to refuel combined with never having to go to another stinking gas station again is the top advantage to me.

Also all the advantages of electric driving. Domestic fuel, ability to go fully renewable for fuel, no pollution. My local power utility is 100% renewable and carbon free.

Several of these things are actually advantages once to get used to them. None of the others are a big deal at all, just a different way of doing things. Takes a couple of weeks tops to get used to regen and then you never want to go back.

I have not yet used a supercharger in 9 months, have not needed to. We will for Thanksgiving, we are driving down to LA. Then again at Christmas we are planning to go to Tahoe. Need to get some chains though.

Used superchargers more with my MS-60 with a shorter range.

The hardest thing to do is to not drive fast. Real hard for me to get use to.

How about getting used to no instrument panel in front of the driver? Sure you can live with it, but it didn’t have to be that way.

I bough a usrd 2004 Prius in 2013: I found the Center Display strange, at first, but soon it was second nature! My co worker that I sold it to, a coule years back, never complained about the Center Speedo! You learn fast, in hands on driving! (Much better than via pictures and on forums!)

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Gen 3 Prius is left of central display, but well ahead. I don’t even think about it. I suspect I’d have no problem in the 3.
Funny that nobody complains about the rear view mirror being in the center. It’s almost like people don’t use them.

The Speedo is actually easier to see in model 3. It’s always in your field of vision

I found #5 (no start stop button) very off-putting when I drove a Model 3. There are times when I am waiting for someone that I just want the car to be completely turned off.
Having the car always ready to go means it is wasting power.

Love it, best driving experience in 30+ yeas of driving all sorts of German cars!!

Of course you can turn it off. You’ll just need to look for the function yourself. RTFM.

Henry says it’s in the book! (Read The F’n Manual, was his msg!)

But… no one reads the manual these days. Unless there is at least a 100 YouTube videos explaining how to open the manual it is not possible (being sarcastic but honestly, no one reads the manual for anything these days)

Which is obvious by all the YouTube videos of people using AP in conditions and roads that the manual says they should not use it in.

“…no one reads the manual for anything these days”

Put me down as being “no one,” then. 😉

Altho admittedly many manuals for consumer electronics these days are pretty darn near useless. My cell phone manual? Fuggedaboudit!

“2. Closed-off front end – without grille”

I didn’t realise that it was just me who pays no attention to the grille whatsoever. Am i missing something?

Personally I don’t get all the hating from EV advocates about having a front grille for appearance sake. I happen to like the original design of the Model S, nosecone and all!

But to each his own; diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

The ‘hating’ from EV advocates on the front grille issue comes down to energy efficiency. As much as automakers have used the weirdmobile-with-neon-blue-trim strategy for their EVs, the one feature (lack of need for a large grille) that actually distinguishes an EV from ICE vehicles is skipped over. All the pointless cosmetic tomfoolery can be forgiven to some extent — but wasting 15% of your range for the sake of a pointless grille is an expensive vanity. Batteries are expensive and heavy — paying for extra battery to cover the range lost by drag created by the grille is galling.

Yeah, saw a new Model 3 driver on the road the other day, leaning over and staring in confusion at the touch screen while driving down the road. He was really not paying attention to traffic. Gave him lots of space.

They forgot Bjorns “Bladder Anxiety” after about 100 miles or before in some cases.

The grill-less TM3 face (2) is a lot more practical and tasteful than the fake grills on EQC, e-Tron and i-Pace. Besides, back in the 1990’s (almost) grille-less cars were very common, and nobody seemed to be wringing hands about that.




At 78,000, I’d say the payments.

People who can afford the top end probably have cash in the bank for it. But for us lesser people even $49k is out of reach or difficult to make payments.

Purpose of regen is to capture wasted energy, super strong (Bolt) versus Tesla Model 3 wouldn’t make huge difference when comes to total energy saved.

Actually, it’s about the same situation as the 110V EVSE vs the 240V EVSE. Some power is lost due to conversions, so if you regen at 10kW for 2 seconds and lose 10%, then compared to regen at 20kW for 1 second and you only lose 5%, then it is better to regen at the higher rate.
In my Leaf, of I regen at a lower rate as I come to a stop I might only add 0.1% to the battery. But when I regen at a higher rate, and come to a stop quicker, I might actually add 0.3% to the battery.
Personally, I’d prefer regen is just the maximum it can be, all the time, and then I’ll use the accelerator to regulate how much I regen. If you just lift off the accelerator you should get max regen, but if you ease off the accelerator you should be able to regulate it.
Max regen in all situations, that’s the best.

The ’10 Hardest Things’ don’t seem to be much of a bother to a new Model ‘3’ owner, really….

There are some compromises – sure – such as glove wearing in very cold weather – but seems like they are very minor when keeping in mind this is a ‘cost reduced’ Tesla, and they have to save money someplace…..

The Bolt EV is not a perfect car either, it being also ‘Built Down to a Price’, but it is a great fun car to drive.

I imagine Model 3 owners enjoy the money they’ve saved over the purchase of an otherwise more expensive Tesla, and the FEATURE I would like most in the ‘3’ is that apparently it is the most reliable and easily serviced Tesla to date.