I’m a Tesla fanboy and in two years I have driven nearly 50,000 miles on my Model 3 Long Range with two engines. I also got $ 6,000 for Full Self Driving, which is now $ 10,000. I’m a tech nerd and wanted to experience every bit of Tesla automation. However, I figured that later on I would never be able to afford it from my retirement income. Yay! I also saved $ 4,000 when I bought it earlier. The amazing thing: My wife and I are as in love with our Tesla Model 3 today as we were when we first bought it. My wife’s favorite thing to do is “dog mode” which she uses all the time for our little brown rescue dog. She loves the sign that says the temperature is 75 degrees, the dog is safe and “My owner will be back soon.”
The car accelerates like a rocket, so threading in, overtaking on two-lane roads and reaching the next set of traffic lights are no longer a problem. Autosteer is like a rock, the smart cruise control is really smart, and Navigate on Autopilot works great on highways with restricted access.
I’ve organized several Tesla / EV promotional events. The last one this year was in Little Three Lakes Wisconsin 4NS the July parade. We had four Model Ss, a Model X that pulled a 100 year old restored wooden and formerly steam powered boat that has now been converted to electricity, my Model 3 carried two electric bikes on a Saris bike rack, and an electric golf cart with my Electric Avenue Shield showing the way.
In the 50,000 miles I’ve driven my Model 3 in two years, I’ve only had one relatively minor non-violence repair. The left front suspension creaked. The part was replaced under warranty at the Salt Lake City Service Center. When the Tesla Mobile Repairer came to my home in St. George, UT to investigate, I had him replace the cabin air filter. Unless you have exactly the right tools, a YouTube video, comes in handy, and you have a few hours to spare, don’t try it yourself.
The car eats tires. It’s so hard that I only got 20,000 miles out of the original tires. Of course, shortly after I got it, I had to start the car many times to show friends the fantastic acceleration. Also, unlike most gasoline cars, the rear tires on my dual-engine car wear out faster. For my second set of tires, I’ll get about 30,000 miles out of my 55,000-mile Goodyear Eagle Touring All Season tires, which I bought for $ 577.93. I will have to replace them soon as there is little profile left. I believe that the thin tires contribute to the high level of noise in the car.
I am waiting with great anticipation for the general release of Tesla “Feature Complete” Full Self Driving on City Streets, which Elon has been promising for years, months, weeks, days and most recently ~ 4 weeks.
Here is my list of how the car could be improved: I’ve picked things I’d like to see on the car that most likely won’t be addressed by the V10.
- The navigation system on my Model 3 is excellent. The satellite map is beautiful on the beautiful screen. I can verbally ask for a store or address and it almost always finds it right. However, there are features that Apple Maps gives me that Tesla Navigation lacks. Apple Maps gives me a primary and two alternate routes to choose from. I would like that with my Tesla. Apple Maps also finds addresses in my iPhone address book. My Tesla is playing music from my iPhone properly. Why can’t it get addresses? I believe there is a way to add them to Tesla navigation one at a time, but why can’t the brilliant Tesla software engineers find a way to automatically access my address book? Example command: “Navigate to Joe Blow’s house from my address book?” Also, I also think it should be possible to add waypoints to my route, or even drag the route to include a city in my route, as you can with Google Maps can.
- Noise: My Model 3 is much louder than my brother’s Model S. The sound system is awesome, it’s fab when it’s stopping or at low speeds, but I have to turn up the volume to feel the great sound system as I continue driving down the freeway. I paid over $ 50,000 for my Model 3. It’s luxurious in so many ways that I have never seen on my Camrys, Highlander, etc. But for that price, I would expect a quiet car.
- Names of lakes and rivers: We spend the summer in the area of over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, where we constantly meander between lakes. Tesla’s beautiful navigation maps do not include names of lakes and rivers. When I cross a huge river, I want to know if it’s the Mississippi or the St. Croix. Apple Maps gives lake names.
- I would like to be able to routinely set the speed to more than 5 mph above the speed limit when using automatic steering. Usually the car refuses to exceed the speed limit by more than 5 mph. My reason is this: In my area in the backwoods of Northern Wisconsin, navigation often thinks the speed limit is 40 mph, or even 25, while on a country road it should be 55 mph. I believe this is caused by errors in the database used by the navigation. This means that the intelligent cruise control is unusable in these situations. I am very spoiled not to normally have to do this manually. Of course, fixing the database would be the best way to solve the problem, but I have no idea how to go about it. One solution that Tesla could implement right away is to allow me to set the speed to more than 5 mph over the limit.
- When I enter a city, my Model 3 automatically slows down from 60 to 35 mph, or often to 40 mph. This is really nice because it prevents me from getting a ticket. However, when I get out of town, I have to manually increase the speed to 60 mph. I can do this on my HW3 Model 3 computer by touching the 55 mph sign on the display. However, the car sees, reads and displays the speed limit of 55 mph. I would like the possibility of the car increasing the speed automatically again.
- If a vehicle crosses your path that you will clear before you even reach the path, the car brakes. I would really appreciate it if Tesla could fix that. (Note: this happens all the time and when I remember it, I’ve learned to hold some pressure on the accelerator to prevent this from happening.)
- I want to be able to choose a standard regenerative stop at a traffic light, stop sign, or behind a stopped car. Currently, this braking function uses the brakes and is too abrupt except in areas of heavy aggressive traffic. I want to be able to choose to have the car calculate when standard regenerative braking begins so that it stops exactly at the traffic light, at the stop sign, or behind a waiting car.
- From a Model 3 Performance owner: There is no safe and comfortable place (for me) to put my right foot when the autopilot is on. There are several positions that seem fairly comfortable but not necessarily safe. Can the first half inch of accelerator pedal travel be ignored when AP is active?
- From a Model 3 Performance owner: When I pause the sound, I don’t want the car to restart automatically. If it is paused for other reasons (incoming call, warning message, etc.), the car can keep going and restart it. When I get back in the car after pausing the audio from the previous trip, it often plays automatically. For example, I can pause an audiobook in a good place before I get home at night. If I open the door the next morning (to put something in the car or grab my snow scraper) before I get in the seat, it may play before I scrape the snow or whatever and when I finally get there get in and sit down, I may have missed a few minutes and have to rewind (often a painful process) to find out where I was.
All pictures by the author.
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