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Imperfectly Perfect Experience with Tesla M3

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by strava, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. strava

    strava Member

    Jul 26, 2018
    New Jersey
    A little bit background so that I’m not just a number
    I’m always a cheap person, calculating cost/benefit from different angles whenever possible. Cars are just something that bring me and my family from point A to B. While most of my friends own and drive luxury cars, I’ve stayed with underdogs like Hyundai, Nissan and Kia. Before Tesla M3, I owned a Kia minivan and a Nissan Leaf. Minivan because my parents and in-laws could come over and stay for extended periods. Leaf because it’s cheap to buy, to drive and to maintain apart from other regular EV benefits like quietness and instant torque. Due to the limited range, Leaf was the commuter car (about 60 miles in winter, summer or on freeway) and the minivan did the heavy lifting. The minivan is the 2017 model with driver assistance package. So I’m no stranger to both EV and SEA 1.

    Nothing to do with being cheap, I’m a big fan of technology. I installed a Garmin iQue GPS in my car when Nokia was still ruling the world. My birthday gifts to my wife have mostly been new laptops or mobile phones. Before reserving Tesla M3, I had followed Tesla as a tech company rather than a car company, not as a fan but as an observer of something interesting.

    The purchase decision
    I reserved M3 on 3.31.2016 after one of my friends bought a Tesla (Model S) with his sign-on bonus from his new job. I was switching my job that day. For fun I placed a hedge bet to lose $1000 to Tesla if I could land a job with a Tesla-size sign-on bonus. I lost the bet in less than one year fortunately. But Tesla dropped off my radar with everything else going on in my life, particularly the birth of my daughter coinciding with the start of my new job.

    Fast forward to 4.10.2018. The invite finally came and I went to the configuration page. I was ok with spending 5k on EAP but didn’t like 9k on the LR battery and 5k on PUP. The cheap part of me took over and I decided to wait for the standard range option. My wife cared even less about a car.

    We happened to stop by a Tesla showroom over the weekend, which was one of the few with a M3 in the northeast. The M3 on display was Silver Metallic. Not our favorite color. But getting inside, we were wowed by the minimalist interior design. I had rode all kinds of luxury cars and been always underwhelmed by their distinctions from the mass market counterparts. The comparison between those luxury cars and M3 was like between a Nokia N95 and a iPhone. My wife and I decided not to wait for the standard battery after the visit.

    The purchase process
    I placed the order for a Red M3 18” + AEP on 4.17. For financing, Tesla quoted 6 year from Chase @ 3.39% but I found a much lower rate with a local credit union. For trade-in, Tesla quoted $10k for my 2015 Leaf. was much higher at $10,700. But when I visited the dealership that offered the quote thru, I got only $9300. Quotes from other sources jumped around $10k and I decided to stay with Tesla for the sake of convenience.

    The wait was long and agonizing. I checked forums and VIN tracker websites, trying to get a hint of when I could get my M3 delivered. The promised one month delivery didn’t happen and I received the June delay email on 5.20 instead. On 6.21, I got the email from my delivery specialist along with the VIN #0276xx. On 6.25, the delivery was scheduled for 7.2.
    Just before delivery, I called the delivery specialist to add FSD because 1) the after-delivery price increased to $5000 2) it’s tax free when included with the car in my state 3) it can be financed at sub-2% interest rate. Above all, the tech fan part of me spoke louder this time although I’d always believed that SEA 5 is at least 20 years away.

    The delivery process
    My wife and I arrived about 10 minutes early. There was another couple taking delivery of a blue M3 at the same time. Soon after the delivery guy started the paperwork, we were stuck with the insurance because the car was registered under my wife’s name (for tax reasons) and the insurance was under my name. (In my state, the insurance card only shows the name of the primary insured, not the spouse.) It took almost an hour to get Liberty Mutual to issue an insurance evidence showing my wife’s name.

    After the paperwork, we got less than 15 minutes to examine the car because we had to pick up our daughter from the daycare. Also we were assured by the delivery guy that any of our concerns would be taken care of by the Service Center after delivery. I abandoned the 3-page checklist downloaded from a Tesla 3 forum and just did a common-sense check. Finding no major issues, we just drove it away, leaving behind the other couple still complaining about rough edges on the tail lights.

    The after-delivery experience
    Cars are no longer something that bring me and my family from point A to B. The M3 absolutely changed my driving experience. The lag-free responsiveness due to fast acceleration and instant torque is at a different level above Leaf, or even those powerful gas cars claimed to run 0-60 in 5 seconds. The TACC and auto steering, applied when safety allows, make my drive on both freeways and back roads so smooth that I feel like riding on a cloud. Despite its beta status and imperfection, EAP is a huge help to my wife who’s a lousy driver and easily gets exhausted after getting behind the wheel for 30 minutes. She hated driving. Now she just hates driving any other cars. In comparison, the $2000 optional driver assistance package on my Kia seems to be a waste of money. One day I got stuck in a traffic jam for 20 minutes. Watching other drivers laboring forward inch by inch, I felt like living in the future.

    Above all, the new car excitement never dies. I get bored with almost everything quickly and easily. But it hasn’t happened after +1k miles with my M3. With each new feature rolled out, I felt like owning a new car again. Even though there is nothing from the $3000 investment in FSD, I don’t regret the decision. There are simply too many levers Tesla can easily pull to make us happy: more voice commands, more infotainment apps (even Android Auto or Apply CarPlay), video games, camera live streaming, more EAP and even FSD feature... the list never ends. Tesla is currently still a car company. But it’s underestimated by everyone as a technology and AI company.

    In the meanwhile, I didn’t stop nitpicking like most cheap guys. I sent my car to the SC twice, each time with a list of about 10 minor issues. I don’t believe that any other dealership would give a damn to those concerns. However, Tesla SC technicians took even my trivial concerns seriously and addressed all of them, including those marked low priority. Admittedly, there were some delays with the third-party body shop and the third-party guys caused 5 of the 2nd SC visit issues by forgetting to plug in one of the ultrasonic sensors. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s imperfectly perfect. This exactly sums up my Tesla experience.
    • Like x 15
    • Informative x 2
    • Love x 2
  2. woodisgood

    woodisgood It's walnut, beech

    Jul 26, 2018
    San Francisco
    Well said! I’d echo so much of what you wrote. It’s going to be a fun journey with this car over the next several years, and you can’t say that about any other vehicle on the road.
    • Like x 3
  3. Gavyne

    Gavyne Member

    Jul 27, 2018
    Good read, thanks for sharing!
    • Like x 1

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

    May 3, 2015
    Snohomish, WA
    Just wait till the night before an expected firmware update that changes the OS or adds an extra feature for EAP/FSD.

    You'll be like a kid the night before Christmas.
    • Like x 1
  5. ww73

    ww73 Member

    Oct 3, 2014
    Sammamish, WA
    Congrats on the car! It's true that Teslas ruin driving experiences for regular gas cars!.
    • Like x 1
  6. EnrgyNDpndnce

    EnrgyNDpndnce Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Charleston, SC
    Great post, thanks for sharing. Glad you are enjoying the car despite the imperfections (which as anyone knows, all cars have). Can’t wait to get my AWD one day soon!

    Yep, I’m patiently waiting. Very, very patiently. Not checking my Tesla page multiple times a day, nope, not me. Just waiting. Very patiently. Still...
    • Like x 1
    • Funny x 1
  7. Raechris

    Raechris Member

    Nov 21, 2017
    Congratulations on your M3 and welcome to the family!
    • Like x 1

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