I’ve now had my Tesla Model 3 AWD for six months and 10,000 miles. Here are my impressions so far.
Overall, I still love the car and do not regret purchasing it at all.
My expenses have been:
- Registration – $200 extra to make up for the lack of paying gas taxes
- Tire Rotation (every 6,500 miles) – $24
- Superchargers (road trips) – $43 (after burning through my 1,000 mile referral bonus)
- Home Charging – about $70/month in electricity
Here are the highlights of the car:
- Acceleration – The acceleration is immediate, amazing, and smooth. A friend of mine compared it to being on a roller coaster when it first shoots out of the station. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
- Autopilot – Not to be confused with the Full Self Driving beta (FSD), Autopilot is basically lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control turned up to 11. You still need to keep a hand on the wheel and need to pay attention, but it makes highway driving for road trips so much easier.
- Comfort – Another road trip benefit. The seats are very comfortable. I was perfectly fine even after a 12+ hour road trip to New England.
- Software Updates – For some reason the car was delivered a couple of versions behind on the software, and it took 3-4 weeks before they started showing up. That was frustrating, but apparently is typical. After that initial delay, however, they began showing up regularly. I know some people didn’t care for the V11 update but I was OK with it.
- Supercharger Network – These are everywhere. A couple of months into owning the car I took a trip to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. I had no issues finding Tesla Superchargers along my route. Other people have made this observation before, but I actually found it relaxing to have to stop every three hours or so to get out of the car and charge for 15-20 minutes. A charging session takes longer than gassing up, but you can plug the car in and walk away. Most of the charging stations are at convenience stores, and by the time I was done in there the car was close to being ready to go anyway.
I have had a few minor issues with the car since purchasing it:
- Clearance – The Model 3 has roughly the same clearance as a Honda Civic. You have to be mindful of some uphill turns or you might scrape. Fortunately the bottom of the car is well protected.
- Rattling – When I’m driving on some bumpy or poorly maintained roads (for example, 80% of local WV driving), I can sometimes hear a rattling coming from either the seat belt connector or the back seat. First world problems, I know. Tesla service found the issue with the back seat, but I’m waiting for a part to come in. For the seat belt, I found a fix on YouTube.
- Water in Camera – One time after washing the car I got some moisture trapped inside the drivers side rear-facing camera. This disabled the camera. As a result, Autopilot was entirely disabled. Again, fixed by Tesla Service.
In my original post I recommended a number of accessories. All of them have turned out to be great and useful except for the sun screens. They might be good, I just haven’t used them yet.
Having the car for six months has given me some additional insights into the two biggest objections to going with an EV:
- Range Anxiety – This is a non-issue. I charge at home every night, and for daily driving have the battery set to 70% capacity. I pull out of the garage every morning with a 250 mile range, more than enough for anything I’m doing during the day, including my 80 mile round trip to work and back. It’s really nice not even having to think about stopping for gas.
- Battery Wear – The battery is warranted to maintain at least 70% capacity for ten years, which is still 250 miles. That’s the range that the VW ID.4 comes with now. That said, battery costs have been declining rapidly. By the time my car needs a new battery, the replacement will be much cheaper and/or have a much higher capacity. I’m not worried about it.
Getting the Tesla has definitely been a positive experience. I would encourage anyone looking at switching to an EV to do whatever you can to make charging at home an option, though. The benefit is definitely diminished if you can’t do that.