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A day with the Model 3; got 227 wh/mi

SoCalGuy

Active Member
Apr 22, 2012
1,416
1,095
So Cal & New York, NY
So I recently had a chance to drive the Model 3 for a day (a February build). I drove approximately 200 miles in a combination of street and highway driving and got an average energy use of 227 wh/mile (implying a total range of 330 miles on the 18 inch wheels without the aero caps!). Here are my thoughts from that experience:

Very efficient in combination driving - It was a crisp 65 degrees for most of the day and I drove about 200 miles all in, ranging from highway driving up to the mid 70s mph to street driving in the 25-40 mph range. I was riding on 18 inch wheels without the aero caps, with two adult passengers, and I still managed very high efficiency with an implied range of 330 miles or 227wh/mi! I wonder how much of a hit the 19s would have on this range.

Screen works very well, even at night
- I was initially concerned about glare from the large screen during the day but did not find that to be an issue despite it being a fairly sunny day. At night, I was also not distracted from the screen in Night mode with auto brightness turned on (it was at 22% brightness). I do wish that some of the controls were more well located (e.g. the volume control for the navigation) so I'm hoping that will be improved in future software.

Sound system is very good - So I tried the sound system a couple of days earlier in the Tesla showroom and was blown away by the crisp midrange and "immersive" sound, particularly when the "Todays Hits" streaming channel was on (try listening to the song Somebody Special by Nina Nesbitt to see what I mean). It sounded better to my ear than the Tesla Model S in the showroom. When driving, the sound was less impressive (due perhaps to the ambient noise from wind/tires) but still very good.

Autopilot worked better than expected - I had never driven using the Autopilot before but was impressed at how generally smooth the acceleration and lane changes were. This car was running the latest 2018.12 software. I still didn't get used to where the sensors are in the steering wheel, because even when I rested my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel, it would still alert me to grab the wheel (so I would end up squeezing the top portion of the steering wheel). I guess I have more to learn about the tricks with Autopilot in this regard.

Regen works great - The regen on the car worked very well, particularly strong at lower speeds. In my Fisker, a lower regen setting appears to get greater overall mileage and efficiency in most applications but on the Model 3, trying out Standard and Low, it seems like Standard generates better efficiency. Does the brake pedal only activate the friction brakes? (I know in the Fisker the brake pedal uses a blended system activating both regen and friction depending on how far it is depressed).

Wind noise wasn't distracting - The wind and tire noise were definitely noticeable in my drives but not out of the ordinary for most cars of this size. For some reason I was expecting it to be quieter but I'd say it was about average for a car in this size (perhaps a little more noticeable than a Lexus IS and about average with the C and 3 series).

Ride quality was okay - definitely felt the bumps
- Driving through city streets in the NYC area, the bumps were very noticeable (even while avoiding the big potholes). It was definitely not a soft ride but I didn't find it overly harsh. It's been a while since I've ridden in an MS with Air Suspension so hard for me to compare. I would say the car rides a little harder than my Karma (I think the added weight on the Karma helps dampen some of the harshness).

Steering wheel doesn't tilt
- I was surprised that although the steering wheel telescopes and raises up and down, it doesn't tilt. The steering wheel angle is always locked in place. Took a little getting used to.

Back seats are not as comfortable
- My biggest gripe with the M3 are the back seats. I'm not a particularly tall person but there is absolutely no thigh support in those seats and they sit very low to the ground. Compared to the S, I think they sit 1-2 inches lower - that doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a big difference in how much of your upper leg has support. I think the backseats will be acceptable for short rides, but I don't think most of my friends of average/tall height would enjoy taking a multi-hour roadtrip back there. Maybe someone will come out with an aftermarket seat cushion that is angled up to support your legs while leaving your behind touching the actual seat. I think people would feel less uncomfortable/fatigued if they had more leg support.

Acceleration not as quick as I expected - Okay, so first let me say that the car is quick. I think DragTimes clocked it at 4.7s 0-60. That said, its definitely not Model S quick and my day ride with the car is making me rethink whether or not I want to wait for the AWD or P versions of the M3. Highway passing speeds were more than adequate, but I felt the 0-40 mph seemed slower than the MS.

Headrests not adjustable
- Small gripe here but nowhere near a dealbreaker. Unless I'm mistaken, the front headrests are not adjustable. Not sure why Tesla didn't add those in to the premium seats, especially since they're in the S and they're also in the middle back seat of the Model 3.


Overall, the car was fantastic. I may hold off purchasing until I get the specs and timing on the AWD/P versions.
 

xav-

Active Member
May 26, 2016
1,187
823
Orange County CA
Thanks for your review!!

The anti won’t like your review though. As a positive note though you gave the anti folks a couple new reasons to be even more anti model 3:
- the steering wheel doesn’t tilt
- the headrest are not adjustable

They will add that to their existing list which include very high priority items such as missing AM radio.
 

dstroot

Member
Nov 28, 2017
18
16
California
So I recently had a chance to drive the Model 3 for a day (a February build). I drove approximately 200 miles in a combination of street and highway driving and got an average energy use of 227 wh/mile (implying a total range of 330 miles on the 18 inch wheels without the aero caps!).

How do you get the wh/mile???? I can not find it anywhere on my M3.
 
Dec 19, 2015
893
796
North Dallas, Texas

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xav-

Active Member
May 26, 2016
1,187
823
Orange County CA
It’s on the bottom left of the screen. You have to swipe a couple times to get there (one of the section is windshield wipers, the other is tire pressure, etc), and the default is where you can turn on the rear view camera
 

AviP

Member
Feb 8, 2018
202
151
New Canaan, CT
What! No AM radio? :eek: I love listening to Bloomberg Radio 1130AM.

BetaPilot is not for me. :D

As to the back seats, I'm buying the SR so it is for local use only. I will rarely have 3 people in the M3.
 
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run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
6,868
SF Bay
I still didn't get used to where the sensors are in the steering wheel, because even when I rested my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel, it would still alert me to grab the wheel (so I would end up squeezing the top portion of the steering wheel). I guess I have more to learn about the tricks with Autopilot in this regard.


Squeeze all you like but it'll make no difference. The car is sensing torque/resistance. Just keep a bit of weight on the 3 or 9 oclock position with your hands and that should do the trick usually.
 

SoCalGuy

Active Member
Apr 22, 2012
1,416
1,095
So Cal & New York, NY
Squeeze all you like but it'll make no difference. The car is sensing torque/resistance. Just keep a bit of weight on the 3 or 9 oclock position with your hands and that should do the trick usually.
Ah good to know - are there any sensors in the bottom half of the steering wheel around 7 or 5 o'clock? That's normally where I rest my hands when driving
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,606
2,137
Philadelphia, PA
Acceleration not as quick as I expected - Okay, so first let me say that the car is quick. I think DragTimes clocked it at 4.7s 0-60. That said, its definitely not Model S quick and my day ride with the car is making me rethink whether or not I want to wait for the AWD or P versions of the M3. Highway passing speeds were more than adequate, but I felt the 0-40 mph seemed slower than the MS.

I've seen reviews where they say the Model 3 is not as quick under 30 as Model S. I think that's a function of the PM motor vs the Induction motor of the S/X. My BMW i3 is the same way (PM motor by the way). Right off the line, it's a little sluggish (again, compared to the S/X) but 30+, it's hauls pretty good.
 
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run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
6,868
SF Bay
Ah good to know - are there any sensors in the bottom half of the steering wheel around 7 or 5 o'clock? That's normally where I rest my hands when driving

It's purely based on the force to turn the wheel a little. You can rest your hand at 7 or 5 (the wisdom of this notwithstanding) but just put some pressure on the wheel like you're trying to make the world's most slight turn and then the car sees that there's someone there.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: SoCalGuy

kbM3

Active Member
May 22, 2017
1,927
10,189
Orlando
So I recently had a chance to drive the Model 3 for a day (a February build). I drove approximately 200 miles in a combination of street and highway driving and got an average energy use of 227 wh/mile (implying a total range of 330 miles on the 18 inch wheels without the aero caps!). Here are my thoughts from that experience:

Very efficient in combination driving - It was a crisp 65 degrees for most of the day and I drove about 200 miles all in, ranging from highway driving up to the mid 70s mph to street driving in the 25-40 mph range. I was riding on 18 inch wheels without the aero caps, with two adult passengers, and I still managed very high efficiency with an implied range of 330 miles or 227wh/mi! I wonder how much of a hit the 19s would have on this range.

Screen works very well, even at night
- I was initially concerned about glare from the large screen during the day but did not find that to be an issue despite it being a fairly sunny day. At night, I was also not distracted from the screen in Night mode with auto brightness turned on (it was at 22% brightness). I do wish that some of the controls were more well located (e.g. the volume control for the navigation) so I'm hoping that will be improved in future software.

Sound system is very good - So I tried the sound system a couple of days earlier in the Tesla showroom and was blown away by the crisp midrange and "immersive" sound, particularly when the "Todays Hits" streaming channel was on (try listening to the song Somebody Special by Nina Nesbitt to see what I mean). It sounded better to my ear than the Tesla Model S in the showroom. When driving, the sound was less impressive (due perhaps to the ambient noise from wind/tires) but still very good.

Autopilot worked better than expected - I had never driven using the Autopilot before but was impressed at how generally smooth the acceleration and lane changes were. This car was running the latest 2018.12 software. I still didn't get used to where the sensors are in the steering wheel, because even when I rested my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel, it would still alert me to grab the wheel (so I would end up squeezing the top portion of the steering wheel). I guess I have more to learn about the tricks with Autopilot in this regard.

Regen works great - The regen on the car worked very well, particularly strong at lower speeds. In my Fisker, a lower regen setting appears to get greater overall mileage and efficiency in most applications but on the Model 3, trying out Standard and Low, it seems like Standard generates better efficiency. Does the brake pedal only activate the friction brakes? (I know in the Fisker the brake pedal uses a blended system activating both regen and friction depending on how far it is depressed).

Wind noise wasn't distracting - The wind and tire noise were definitely noticeable in my drives but not out of the ordinary for most cars of this size. For some reason I was expecting it to be quieter but I'd say it was about average for a car in this size (perhaps a little more noticeable than a Lexus IS and about average with the C and 3 series).

Ride quality was okay - definitely felt the bumps
- Driving through city streets in the NYC area, the bumps were very noticeable (even while avoiding the big potholes). It was definitely not a soft ride but I didn't find it overly harsh. It's been a while since I've ridden in an MS with Air Suspension so hard for me to compare. I would say the car rides a little harder than my Karma (I think the added weight on the Karma helps dampen some of the harshness).

Steering wheel doesn't tilt
- I was surprised that although the steering wheel telescopes and raises up and down, it doesn't tilt. The steering wheel angle is always locked in place. Took a little getting used to.

Back seats are not as comfortable
- My biggest gripe with the M3 are the back seats. I'm not a particularly tall person but there is absolutely no thigh support in those seats and they sit very low to the ground. Compared to the S, I think they sit 1-2 inches lower - that doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a big difference in how much of your upper leg has support. I think the backseats will be acceptable for short rides, but I don't think most of my friends of average/tall height would enjoy taking a multi-hour roadtrip back there. Maybe someone will come out with an aftermarket seat cushion that is angled up to support your legs while leaving your behind touching the actual seat. I think people would feel less uncomfortable/fatigued if they had more leg support.

Acceleration not as quick as I expected - Okay, so first let me say that the car is quick. I think DragTimes clocked it at 4.7s 0-60. That said, its definitely not Model S quick and my day ride with the car is making me rethink whether or not I want to wait for the AWD or P versions of the M3. Highway passing speeds were more than adequate, but I felt the 0-40 mph seemed slower than the MS.

Headrests not adjustable
- Small gripe here but nowhere near a dealbreaker. Unless I'm mistaken, the front headrests are not adjustable. Not sure why Tesla didn't add those in to the premium seats, especially since they're in the S and they're also in the middle back seat of the Model 3.


Overall, the car was fantastic. I may hold off purchasing until I get the specs and timing on the AWD/P versions.

I’m pretty sure up and down is steering wheel tilt. I’ve never heard of, nor driven, anything else.
 
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favo

P3D+ owner
Apr 5, 2012
1,059
1,166
Durham, NC
I’m pretty sure up and down is steering wheel tilt. I’ve never heard of, nor driven, anything else.
Yeah, I'm having trouble imagining the mechanism that would let the steering column go up and down with no change in tilt at all. I don't think Model 3 is steer by wire, but maybe it is.
 

mtndrew1

Active Member
May 12, 2015
1,350
3,767
Gardena, CA
Are there really cars with 6 way adjustable steering wheels? Up/down, in/out, and tilt?
I always thought up/down and tilt were the same thing.

Older domestic cars had a mechanism where the steering column had a pivot roughly where the column passes under the instrument cluster. You could pull a lever and the steering wheel would arc through its range, defaulting to a fully-raised position through a spring load that dramatically changed the angle of the face of the steering wheel. The actual column could not be raised or lowered and was fixed in place

I’ve known people who love this feature on older GM products as they would pull the lever just before exiting the car and the steering wheel would pivot upward with the angle facing away from them. This eased ingress and egress, parcularly if they were uh, corpulent.

I haven’t seen a car equipped with this kind of steering column in a long time though, with one of the last holdouts I’ve experienced being a C6 Corvette.

5F487708-6733-472C-936F-6F5917FE9552.jpeg
 
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McFlurri

Active Member
Apr 27, 2016
1,499
1,511
Kitchener, Ontario
Older domestic cars had a mechanism where the steering column had a pivot roughly where the column passes under the instrument cluster. You could pull a lever and the steering wheel would arc through its range, defaulting to a fully-raised position through a spring load that dramatically changed the angle of the face of the steering wheel. The actual column could not be raised or lowered and was fixed in place

I’ve known people who love this feature on older GM products as they would pull the lever just before exiting the car and the steering wheel would pivot upward with the angle facing away from them. This eased ingress and egress, parcularly if they were uh, corpulent.

I haven’t seen a car equipped with this kind of steering column in a long time though, with one of the last holdouts I’ve experienced being a C6 Corvette.

View attachment 294879

My 2017 Newflyer Xcelsior uses this type of tilt/ telescope system. I love it!

Makes getting in and out of the seat much easier ;)
 
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mtndrew1

Active Member
May 12, 2015
1,350
3,767
Gardena, CA
Ah good to know - are there any sensors in the bottom half of the steering wheel around 7 or 5 o'clock? That's normally where I rest my hands when driving

There are zero sensors anywhere on the steering wheel itself.

The car determines a presence by having resistance as it tries to steer the car; you need to provide a little resistance against its steering movements to satisfy the system.
 

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