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New Model 3 LR Buying, Waiting, and Road Trip Experience

Mosby

Member
Mar 10, 2020
26
217
Fairfax, VA
As I was considering buying a Tesla, I appreciated the folks who took the time to relate their experiences. So, here is my Model 3 LR buying, waiting, and first road trip experience:

-The buying process was great. We went in for a test drive at the Tyson's Corner Tesla dealership and they let me take it out twice for test drives without any supervision. The test drive will make a believer out of you. It also inspires such confidence that Tesla is confident that their product largely sells itself, so there's no need for a salesperson to follow along with you. After that, we went online and ordered. The only part of the buying process which was challenging was uncertainty deciding between the Model 3 and the Model Y, particularly given the uncertainty around Model Y delivery times. But that's totally expected in my book. I was moving from a Subaru Crosstrek, so the big factors for me were space and AWD. The Model 3 has a surprising amount of cargo space (much bigger usable storage area than the Crosstrek, IMO), and that sealed the deal for us. And if you are under 5'5", you can sleep in the back comfortably with the seats down (not that I have done this, but should the need arise...).

-The waiting is the hardest part. Our estimated wait was five to eight weeks, and we got it in four. Tesla sent two text messages updating me on status. Then I started calling the dealership (not sure if this is an option for those who don't have a regional dealership). I did not receive a text with my VIN from Tesla, and had to bug them for it so I could get my insurance updated. Once I was notified that the vehicle was en route for delivery, I called about every 48 hours for a status update. How the car makes its way from California to the east coast seems pretty opaque, so don't count on being able to ascertain anything about your delivery date from general location information. Out of a personal desire to avoid air travel for a business trip, I was actually in a big time crunch for the delivery. So even once I had scheduled my pickup date, I called to see if the car had arrived early. Each time I called, they told me that if the car arrived early they would contact me to schedule an earlier pickup. Well, I couldn't suppress my child like enthusiasm and kept calling to see if it had arrived. And lo and behold, five days before my scheduled pickup date they said "Oh, your car is here. Would you like to move your pickup date to tomorrow?" This isn't a knock on the dealership-I think they actually would have called me to move the pickup date up. Every Tesla customer relations person I spoke to was friendly and very helpful. It's like they shared my enthusiasm for what was coming. So the waiting and delivery part was not a bad experience at all. Watch lots of videos on YouTube. Also, search "what I hate about my Model 3". The trivial nonsense folks find to complain about actually reinforces how good a car the Model 3 is.

-Home charging: We had the Tesla wall charger installed and it was worth every penny. There's something incredibly liberating about knowing you'll never have to stop at a gas station on the way to/from work. 44 miles/hour is a great speed for charging.

-Performance: I don't know enough about how to evaluate a car's performance to say anything competent here. I just know there's no denying the fun you can have in the Model 3. Even though I bought the car for reasons other than pure performance, the instant torque and acceleration are incredible. I've never been in a car which makes passing on a two lane road so effortless (and quiet!).

-Efficiency: When I am commuting, I've been able to average ~190 wH/mile in 50-70 degree weather (car is garaged, which helps). On a road trip from Virginia to Texas, my efficiency plummeted (as expected) based on lots of 70-79 mph time. Climbing, temperature, head winds, and fast acceleration have a significant influence on efficiency.

-The touch screen display is phenomenal. It takes some getting used to, but I'm in love. While having to open the glove box via a touch screen may slow you down, the time you save by having most functions done via touch screen more than makes up for it. Being able to toggle between efficiency, entertainment, a web browser, and basic function controls with just a few touches (all while safely parked, of course) is remarkable, and truly reduces your cognitive load once you get used to it.

-Comfort: I'm not a luxury car guy, so I don't have a great sense of what makes a car "comfortable". I'll just say that the Model 3 is the first car I've driven for three days straight with zero discomfort.

Speaking of driving for three days straight, let's talk about the Tesla Superchargers. Access to these chargers is, of course, a huge differentiator between Tesla and any other EV. These things are strategically spaced out on virtually every interstate so that you can hop from one to another. Tesla's navigation system is built to plan trips around the chargers, and does a really good job. Just plan your route carefully to figure out what is around each charger, how much time you'll have there, and how you plan to use that time. I did this trip alone, but I would have had to put much more thought into things if I was traveling with a family. I also did the trip in spring time-if the weather had been hot it would have changed the dynamic. You can find ways to make the charging waits bearable, but you need to plan ahead! I also ran into some "slow" chargers, which tapered off in their charging speed after a few minutes. So keep an eye on your charging state if you go to do something else. I came back after 30 minutes expecting a near full charge, only to find that my rate had dropped to 50 mph and I still had 50% left to charge. I fixed this by switching chargers. I also found that the Tesla navigation system was good, but not perfect, when it came to planning for SuperChargers. In west Texas, I was 20 miles from my final charging point (Fort Stockton) and down to 50 miles of range when the navigation system showed that the Tesla Supercharger there was "not available". I called Tesla emergency roadside assistance, prepared to run out of battery and have to await a tow. Thankfully, the Tesla rep explained that it was just a few of the chargers which had been damaged, and that I should be able to charge. He also vectored me to PlugShare app, which would have provided me with the location of alternate Tesla compatible chargers in the area. That was a huge relief and a great customer service experience overall. Get the PlugShare app!

-The adaptive cruise control was really good, except in several circumstances where at high speed hitting a bridge at the bottom of a hill it seemed to perceive an object in front of me and rapidly decelerated, throwing me forward. That was really unpleasant. On the other side of the coin, it probably prevented me from rear ending a truck at high speed too. So, a good experience, just be prepared that it doesn't always get it right.

-Wow factor: I didn't buy this car to get attention, but it sure is fun to have conversations with strangers asking about the car. There are plenty of Model 3s out there, but it's still a conversation starter (I love the spontaneous kid exclamations of "cool car!").

Hope this run down is helpful for some folks deciding whether to make the plunge. After one week of ownership which involved several daily commutes and an 1850 mile roadtrip, I am very happy with the decision I've made.
 

hashoshi

Member
Mar 18, 2020
12
14
An AI Simulation
As I was considering buying a Tesla, I appreciated the folks who took the time to relate their experiences. So, here is my Model 3 LR buying, waiting, and first road trip experience:

-The buying process was great. We went in for a test drive at the Tyson's Corner Tesla dealership and they let me take it out twice for test drives without any supervision. The test drive will make a believer out of you. It also inspires such confidence that Tesla is confident that their product largely sells itself, so there's no need for a salesperson to follow along with you. After that, we went online and ordered. The only part of the buying process which was challenging was uncertainty deciding between the Model 3 and the Model Y, particularly given the uncertainty around Model Y delivery times. But that's totally expected in my book. I was moving from a Subaru Crosstrek, so the big factors for me were space and AWD. The Model 3 has a surprising amount of cargo space (much bigger usable storage area than the Crosstrek, IMO), and that sealed the deal for us. And if you are under 5'5", you can sleep in the back comfortably with the seats down (not that I have done this, but should the need arise...).

-The waiting is the hardest part. Our estimated wait was five to eight weeks, and we got it in four. Tesla sent two text messages updating me on status. Then I started calling the dealership (not sure if this is an option for those who don't have a regional dealership). I did not receive a text with my VIN from Tesla, and had to bug them for it so I could get my insurance updated. Once I was notified that the vehicle was en route for delivery, I called about every 48 hours for a status update. How the car makes its way from California to the east coast seems pretty opaque, so don't count on being able to ascertain anything about your delivery date from general location information. Out of a personal desire to avoid air travel for a business trip, I was actually in a big time crunch for the delivery. So even once I had scheduled my pickup date, I called to see if the car had arrived early. Each time I called, they told me that if the car arrived early they would contact me to schedule an earlier pickup. Well, I couldn't suppress my child like enthusiasm and kept calling to see if it had arrived. And lo and behold, five days before my scheduled pickup date they said "Oh, your car is here. Would you like to move your pickup date to tomorrow?" This isn't a knock on the dealership-I think they actually would have called me to move the pickup date up. Every Tesla customer relations person I spoke to was friendly and very helpful. It's like they shared my enthusiasm for what was coming. So the waiting and delivery part was not a bad experience at all. Watch lots of videos on YouTube. Also, search "what I hate about my Model 3". The trivial nonsense folks find to complain about actually reinforces how good a car the Model 3 is.

-Home charging: We had the Tesla wall charger installed and it was worth every penny. There's something incredibly liberating about knowing you'll never have to stop at a gas station on the way to/from work. 44 miles/hour is a great speed for charging.

-Performance: I don't know enough about how to evaluate a car's performance to say anything competent here. I just know there's no denying the fun you can have in the Model 3. Even though I bought the car for reasons other than pure performance, the instant torque and acceleration are incredible. I've never been in a car which makes passing on a two lane road so effortless (and quiet!).

-Efficiency: When I am commuting, I've been able to average ~190 wH/mile in 50-70 degree weather (car is garaged, which helps). On a road trip from Virginia to Texas, my efficiency plummeted (as expected) based on lots of 70-79 mph time. Climbing, temperature, head winds, and fast acceleration have a significant influence on efficiency.

-The touch screen display is phenomenal. It takes some getting used to, but I'm in love. While having to open the glove box via a touch screen may slow you down, the time you save by having most functions done via touch screen more than makes up for it. Being able to toggle between efficiency, entertainment, a web browser, and basic function controls with just a few touches (all while safely parked, of course) is remarkable, and truly reduces your cognitive load once you get used to it.

-Comfort: I'm not a luxury car guy, so I don't have a great sense of what makes a car "comfortable". I'll just say that the Model 3 is the first car I've driven for three days straight with zero discomfort.

Speaking of driving for three days straight, let's talk about the Tesla Superchargers. Access to these chargers is, of course, a huge differentiator between Tesla and any other EV. These things are strategically spaced out on virtually every interstate so that you can hop from one to another. Tesla's navigation system is built to plan trips around the chargers, and does a really good job. Just plan your route carefully to figure out what is around each charger, how much time you'll have there, and how you plan to use that time. I did this trip alone, but I would have had to put much more thought into things if I was traveling with a family. I also did the trip in spring time-if the weather had been hot it would have changed the dynamic. You can find ways to make the charging waits bearable, but you need to plan ahead! I also ran into some "slow" chargers, which tapered off in their charging speed after a few minutes. So keep an eye on your charging state if you go to do something else. I came back after 30 minutes expecting a near full charge, only to find that my rate had dropped to 50 mph and I still had 50% left to charge. I fixed this by switching chargers. I also found that the Tesla navigation system was good, but not perfect, when it came to planning for SuperChargers. In west Texas, I was 20 miles from my final charging point (Fort Stockton) and down to 50 miles of range when the navigation system showed that the Tesla Supercharger there was "not available". I called Tesla emergency roadside assistance, prepared to run out of battery and have to await a tow. Thankfully, the Tesla rep explained that it was just a few of the chargers which had been damaged, and that I should be able to charge. He also vectored me to PlugShare app, which would have provided me with the location of alternate Tesla compatible chargers in the area. That was a huge relief and a great customer service experience overall. Get the PlugShare app!

-The adaptive cruise control was really good, except in several circumstances where at high speed hitting a bridge at the bottom of a hill it seemed to perceive an object in front of me and rapidly decelerated, throwing me forward. That was really unpleasant. On the other side of the coin, it probably prevented me from rear ending a truck at high speed too. So, a good experience, just be prepared that it doesn't always get it right.

-Wow factor: I didn't buy this car to get attention, but it sure is fun to have conversations with strangers asking about the car. There are plenty of Model 3s out there, but it's still a conversation starter (I love the spontaneous kid exclamations of "cool car!").

Hope this run down is helpful for some folks deciding whether to make the plunge. After one week of ownership which involved several daily commutes and an 1850 mile roadtrip, I am very happy with the decision I've made.


Great post, thanks!
 

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