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Newbie - 12 Months ownership review

Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
Specification: Tesla Model 3 Performance, pearl white multicoat, black interior

Overall rating: 8/10

Mileage covered in first Year: 15,413miles

(I hope that this review is helpful. Obviously these are my views and honest opinions on the first 12 Months ownership.)

Enjoyable first 12 Months despite niggles and build quality issues

This is overall a really good car. It’s the first electric car that is a good car in it’s own right and compares favourably with other ICE vehicles.

Driving an electric car like this one is addictive. The instant power and acceleration is something that never fails to put a smile on my face. The handling is also brilliant, there’s an immense amount of fun to be had squirting along twisty lanes or powering through sweeping turns. Even just normal driving is so smooth and relaxing.

This is a car that not only performs sensationally and is great fun, but also works as an all rounder and is a well sorted car in it’s own right.


It’s not perfect of course...


Niggles and irritations


Heating and ventilation

The heating and ventilation system seems to struggle to get to and maintain temperature. The heating system blows cold air at times when you want some heat. It would also be nice to have an automatic setting with air conditioning turned off, as most ICE cars seem to have. I can’t seem to find a happy medium for the heating for my preference. I understand that the Model Y now uses a heat pump instead of the electric system on the Model 3. Perhaps this will improve performance.

Tesla service centre visits - build quality is still not up to competitors standard at this price

Like some owners that I’ve spoken to, I’ve been back to the Tesla service centre quite a few times. Mostly getting misaligned body trims and panels sorted and a few relatively minor issues rectified. I’ve also had water leaks in the boot area and charge port that required the seam sealer to be rectified and the car was off the road for nearly 3 weeks to have this done. Whilst there have been quite a few items that needed rectification, Tesla has eventually sorted these out. It will be interesting to see how these cars stand the test of time for both body and mechanical areas. The Tesla courtesy cars that I’ve used while my car has been in service are generally very tired and show considerable battery degradation although the oldest car was just 3 years old and had covered 50k miles. My experience of the service centre is that although always friendly, they’re not that hot on product knowledge - particularly where bodywork is concerned and have a weak customer updating process. I would guess that they have to withstand a lot of stress from less tolerant owners. They do try though.

Seat belt adjustment

I find that the seat belt sliding adjustment on the B-pillar does not provide sufficient movement to get it in the right position for me, when I’m in my usual driving position, which is a minor annoyance.

Auto Wipers were terrible - now ok

When I first had the car the automatic wipers were virtually unusable. They would not turn on with rain at the right time and had to be constantly manually overridden.

Tesla have gradually improved this with over the air updates and they’re now much better.

Autopilot - improving but still work in progress...

Autopilot is also improving with each OTA update. As well as numerous other updates, it now has speed sign recognition which is great (although it still doesn’t pick up motorway overhead speed signs or temporary roadwork speed limit signs). Cruise control has improved and tends to be less nervous and jerky than it was.

I do wonder why engaging cruise control can’t simply hold at the speed that the car is travelling when the system is engaged. It will always speed up to the speed limit - which tends to be fine if the speed limit is correct. So for example, if travelling on a motorway with 70mph limit and entering roadworks - say 50mph limit. If the sign recognition does not detect this (which it doesn’t tend to), when engaging cruise it will try to speed up to 70mph. No other car I’ve had works this way around.

I have experienced phantom braking when using cruise control a number of times too, where random heavy breaking has occurred, and it’s quite frightening. I can see how this would scare the life out of drivers. Still some work in progress on Autopilot for Tesla.

Ride and refinement

The ride though firm, is never unacceptably so. Given the 35 profile tyres, on 20inch wheels and lowered performance suspension, Tesla has done a good job.

I’ve read quite a few comments about the Model 3 having excessive road and wind noise. Whilst it is not the most refined car, it really isn’t an issue for me. Yes, on some roads it can be quite noisy, but so can most cars. Like ride quality, this is obviously a very subjective area. Overall I think the refinement is at an acceptable level and any higher levels of noise are only noticeable on certain road surfaces at certain speeds.

I understand the Model Y has additions like double glazed glass and improved sound insulation which may improve things further.


Charging and range.


Supercharger network. No range anxiety issues.

Although I haven’t used the supercharger network extensively. When I have used it, the chargers are always working and super fast. The exception to this has been supercharging in courtesy cars, they charge really slowly - I think this is Tesla trying to preserve the batteries.

Some locations are quite poorly lit and out of the way - which can make you feel slightly concerned about sitting there while charging.

The supercharger network is a big advantage Tesla has over other EV’s, and a major benefit for Tesla owners.

I’ve not experienced any real range anxiety issues. Using the Tesla satellite navigation and energy prediction graphs provides useful information on predicted battery levels. It does require planning, compared to just fill up and go in an ICE car, but this has not been a problem for me.

I would like to see a ‘round trip’ function as well as the functionality to add waypoints to a journey - maybe this will come in future OTA updates.

More on range

I’ve found that in cold weather the range can be as low as half that in warmer times.

I typically charge at home using a PodPoint 7kw charger to around an indicated 180-200miles (more on this below) which tends to suit my daily needs. Using the air conditioning also has a major impact on battery range as you would expect.

200mile real world range

I find real world range on a full battery in summer when using the car on motorways to be around 200miles from a full charge. As an example from my home to a destination in Kent is exactly 200miles (mostly all motorway). On a full charge (currently indicating a 305 mile range) as soon as I get on the motorway I’m advised to keep below 70mph in order to just reach my destination. There’s no charging at the destination so a stop is needed on the way.

I tend to get around 3miles/KWh - sometimes less. (As a rule of thumb using around 65kw/h of the battery capacity - this gives me the approximate 200 range without going very low on the battery).

Display a realistic range

It would be much more useful if the battery range indicator was based on a more realistic figure, rather than showing a range of say 300 miles when this is rarely even closely achievable in real world use - it seems pointless to even display it. It would be nice to display a range based on driving history and actual achievable distance.

A much more realistic range is shown on the onboard graph - it would be nice to choose this range estimate for the main battery display.

Range is ok for me but may not suit some

Overall the car with this range performance is perfectly usable for me. someone who is travelling a lot, for business for example, might find the range a little frustrating, especially in cold weather.

Hard driving - tyre wear

I’ve driven pretty hard during this first 12 months. The car came with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tyres fitted. I’ve found these to be super grippy.

The rear tyres did just over 15k miles. The fronts still have around 4mm remaining.

There has been quite a bit of fast twisty roads during this time. I think more power goes through the rear wheels (I believe that the motor is also more powerful at the back compared to the front). I’m sure that the tyre life could be improved with gentler driving...


Always fun and a great looking car too

Not only is this a good car to own and use but it looks great too. It’s unmistakably a Tesla and apart from the front-on view (It does look a bit like a mix between a frog a fish and a VW Beetle from the front) it’s a pretty car to look at, especially with the 20inch wheels. It gets lots of attention when out and about.

Fun each time you drive

So overall, a car that I still enjoy every time I jump in it. Here’s to the next 12 months.


Summary of Likes and dislikes/niggles

The best bits

  1. The performance!
  2. The handling!
  3. Ease of use - e.g. home charging/no fuel stations/pre-heating before journey etc
  4. The in car technology/software OTA updates
  5. Phone as a key/Tesla app.
  6. The way it looks
  7. Reduced servicing costs
  8. Reduced fuel costs
  9. Nil road tax
  10. Tesla Supercharger network
  11. Space in boot and additional front boot storage area
  12. The wheels stay nice and clean - free from brake dust due to regenerative braking
Niggles/nice to haves

  1. Heating and ventilation system not the best
  2. No heated steering wheel
  3. Large A-pillars sometimes impair visibility
  4. Lack of adequate seat belt adjustment (for me)
  5. Autopilot is still a long way from where it needs to be
  6. No powered boot lid (I think the latest M3 now has one)
  7. Voice recognition is still hit and miss
  8. Tyres don’t last long (driving style obviously a big factor)
  9. Froggy/fishy full frontal styling (sorry Dolores)
  10. 50k miles/4 years Tesla limited warranty (would have liked at least 60k miles - Tesla give 120k miles/8years on drivetrain and battery)
  11. No apple carplay and limitations on phone tethering for streaming
  12. Gloss black centre console is easily marked
  13. Driver profile is not linked to phone
  14. Optimistic range calculation shown on battery adds little value
  15. Tesla build quality not up to competitors - raises concerns of how these cars might stand the test of time

12 months Costs (excluding cost of home charger installation, insurance and depreciation)

  • Two new tyres £300 (Falken)
  • Charging costs £737
  • Total first year costs £1037
12 months Benefits

  • I estimate that I’ve saved around £1053 in the first year in fuel cost (I’ve compared this to a diesel doing 45mpg - being conservative...)
  • I’ve done mostly home charging. Home cost £0.16/kwhr - compared to Supercharger £0.24/kwhr
  • (The road fund licence is now zero. I estimate a saving of around £470/year compared to a >£40k new ICE car with RFL £150+£320. This saving will be in the following years as this year would have been free for a ICE as well. So not included in first year savings.)
  • Service cost savings estimated at £250
  • Overall annual savings £1303
Tip

  • Worth a look at Falken tyres when it’s time to change 235/35 ZR20 92Y. They’re approximately £80 per tyre cheaper than the OEM Michelins and in my opinion equally as quiet (if not quieter). I haven’t had them long enough yet to comment on all round handling or longevity, but first impression is good.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,377
2,557
Scotland
I do wonder why engaging cruise control can’t simply hold at the speed that the car is travelling when the system is engaged. It will always speed up to the speed limit - which tends to be fine if the speed limit is correct. So for example, if travelling on a motorway with 70mph limit and entering roadworks - say 50mph limit. If the sign recognition does not detect this (which it doesn’t tend to), when engaging cruise it will try to speed up to 70mph. No other car I’ve had works this way around.

You're out of date on that one ... you can set the behaviour for cruise to stick with you current speed as of software 2020.44.10.x
 
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Medved_77

TM3 SR+ | MSM+Black | No FSD
Jan 20, 2020
1,954
1,921
Scotland
Really? I thought that I was getting a good deal! My supplier is Bulb...
Suggest looking at Octopus Go for 14p daytime rates at 5p for 4 hours at night for car charging.

There's a referral code in my profile if you fancy switching with £50 bill credit. You'll need a smart meter though, which can complicate the switch.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,377
2,557
Scotland
Thats good news! How does that work exactly please?

You should follow this forum more I think! Most of us were jumping up and down with delight when this option came in! There's a setting (announced with the release notes) ... you can keep the original version of setting to speed limit or at current speed. It's in the Driving section I think ... you only change it once so can't remember without looking at the screen.
 
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Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
You should follow this forum more I think! Most of us were jumping up and down with delight when this option came in! There's a setting (announced with the release notes) ... you can keep the original version of setting to speed limit or at current speed. It's in the Driving section I think ... you only change it once so can't remember without looking at the screen.
Brilliant! Thank you. I’ll have a look tomorrow.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,377
2,557
Scotland
Worth a look at Falken tyres when it’s time to change 235/35 ZR20 92Y. They’re approximately £80 per tyre cheaper than the OEM Michelins and in my opinion equally as quiet (if not quieter). I haven’t had them long enough yet to comment on all round handling or longevity, but first impression is good.

Now that some Model 3s will be changing tyres that's a good idea for a new thread ... which tyres work well, wear well, aren't noisey, and are cheap!
 

Chrisgillett

Member
Aug 22, 2020
66
43
Bristol, UK
Really excellent write-up and interesting to see your one-year experiences. I agree with what those have said above, you’re paying too much for your electricity and some of those quibbles have been updated in recent software.

It will be very interesting to see how these cars are performing at 3 to 4 years old. We might all feel slightly less smug about our environmentally conscious choice if they don’t last!

I’ve had mine just about 1000 miles, also on bulb at 16p per kW/h. I have been obsessive with recording diesel fill ups for the last 25,000 miles on my BMW and the Tesla ‘fuel’ cost currently is approximately half. Once I transition to octopus next week that will drop by 2/3 more. My commuting fuel cost was £10 per day in a 330d, it’s looking like the Tesla will cost approx £1.50 with octopus Go night rate.
Win.
My previous car was an Audi S5 costing £20 a day! That had to go, not sustainable... :eek:
 

Medved_77

TM3 SR+ | MSM+Black | No FSD
Jan 20, 2020
1,954
1,921
Scotland
Yep, that's one of reasons I'm changing to Tesla. Saving myself just over £300/month just in fuel which is insane really when I thought about it haha
I've been tracking my electricity spend since the first week of ownership. Done 4800 miles since March.

£2.02 isn't too shabby per 100 miles :)

SmartSelect_20201204-195416_Chrome.jpg
 

Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,168
6,244
TX
3 miles / Kwh is around 333 wh/mile. That is terrible even for highway driving. I am hard pressed to go above 280 wh/mile on highway at 65 or above and usually I am below 250 wh/mile on slower speeds. 333 wh/mile is bad even for UK winters.

What tire size? and you need to learn to drive a bit gentle.
 

init6

Member
Oct 16, 2020
364
204
Scotland
Octopus normal rate is over 16p in some parts of the country. You need to see what the prices are in your location. You also need to see what difference those 5p hours will make to your overall cost.
 
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Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
Really excellent write-up and interesting to see your one-year experiences. I agree with what those have said above, you’re paying too much for your electricity and some of those quibbles have been updated in recent software.

It will be very interesting to see how these cars are performing at 3 to 4 years old. We might all feel slightly less smug about our environmentally conscious choice if they don’t last!

I’ve had mine just about 1000 miles, also on bulb at 16p per kW/h. I have been obsessive with recording diesel fill ups for the last 25,000 miles on my BMW and the Tesla ‘fuel’ cost currently is approximately half. Once I transition to octopus next week that will drop by 2/3 more. My commuting fuel cost was £10 per day in a 330d, it’s looking like the Tesla will cost approx £1.50 with octopus Go night rate.
Win.
My previous car was an Audi S5 costing £20 a day! That had to go, not sustainable... :eek:
Thank you for your comments
 
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Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
Octopus normal rate is over 16p in some parts of the country. You need to see what the prices are in your location. You also need to see what difference those 5p hours will make to your overall cost.
Yes. I agree. I tend to plug in randomly as and when I need to. The daily standing charge from supplier, mileage travelled - hence consumption requirements, location, and if you have a smart meter fitted as well as the kw/hr charges are all factors to consider. It’s not always as straightforward as just looking at how much per kw/hr.
 
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