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The New Tesla Model 3

The New Tesla Model 3

March 23, 2018

The Model 3 is a smaller variant of the Model S. Tesla started production of the smaller electric car in 2017 and continues to make improvements. The 2018 Model 3 gets even better mileage than the 2017 Model 3, which is great, but there are still a couple of much-needed upgrades required to achieve perfection. Fortunately, they are working on correcting the problems and will soon have them ironed out. Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about the new Tesla Model 3.


Does a new Tesla Model 3 really only cost $35,000?


Well, you can get a base Model 3 in black for $35,000. That is the starting MSRP. If you want a different color, it will cost another $1,000. The base Model 3 has a 220-mile range and goes from 0 to 60 mph in just over 5.5 seconds.

The long-range Model 3 has a 310-mile range and costs a little more. That Model 3 has a base MSRP of $44,000. The Premium Upgrade Package, which includes heated seats, upgraded cabin materials, two USB ports in the back seat, 12-way power adjustable front seats, a premium audio system, a tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection and more will bring that price up by $5,000.


Is the Tesla Model 3 a four-passenger car?


The Model 3 is a roomy, five-passenger sedan. Unfortunately, the touchscreen is so large that a long-legged front-seat passenger might bump it with his or her knees. There is lots of head-room with the glass roof, though, even in the back seat.

The interior of the car is so nicely designed, though, that your long-legged passengers won’t mind having to be careful not to bump the touchscreen. The dash is uncluttered by vents and knobs, giving it a very calming aesthetic. The center console is similarly designed.


Is the Tesla Model 3 one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market?


Yes, it really is. The 2018 Model 3 is even more fuel efficient than the 2017 Model 3. According to the EPA, the 2018 Model 3 gets 136 mpge in the city and 123 mpge on the highway. That’s more fuel efficient than the Tesla Model S and Model X. The 2017 Model 3 gets 131 mpge in the city and 120 mpge on the highway. The 2018 Model 3 has a range of 220 or 310 miles, depending on the model.


How long does it take to charge the Tesla Model 3 battery?


A quick and dirty 20-minute charge at a Supercharger station will give you a half-charged battery. The remaining half will take another hour or so. The Model 3 only comes with pay per use supercharging, as opposed to the Model S’ free unlimited supercharging. Rates vary, of course, depending on your location, but you can usually get a full charge for about $15 to $20.


Are there lots of charging stations for the Model 3?


There are, but most charging stations are located in more densely populated areas. The Model 3 will show you where they are if you enter your destination or location in the Trip Planner screen on the touchscreen.


Can the Tesla Model 3 be charged at home?


Yes, and it is recommended. Have a Wall Connector installed where you normally leave your car parked overnight. When you get home, plug it in. The battery will be fully charged by morning. Charging this way is much more convenient, of course, and cheaper. Rates for electricity drop at night, so you’ll be paying a much lower rate than if you go to a Supercharger station during the day.


Is the Tesla Model 3 a front-wheel-drive car?


The early 2018 Model 3’s are only available with rear-wheel drive and one motor. Tesla is currently working on an all-wheel-drive model and a dual-motor model.


Does the Model 3 come with a good infotainment system?


The infotainment system software is very responsive, but it does not include Android Auto and AppleCar Play. It also doesn’t include AM radio. It does include Slacker, TuneIn, and Bluetooth A2DP streaming capabilities, WiFi and LTE internet connectivity.


Are there electric vehicles that are better than the Tesla Model 3?


No, there really aren’t. The Chevrolet Bolt EV comes close, though. It is a five-passenger hatchback with a range of 238 miles that gets 110 mpge on the highway and 128 mpge in the city. It’s just not the same quality, though. The Model 3 is more in the realm of the BMW 330e, as far as quality goes. Unfortunately, the 330e is a hybrid, not an all-electric-powered vehicle. It gets a combined mpge of 71 when both the electric motor and gas engine are used. The gas engine only gets a combined 30 mpg.


Are the latest active-assist safety features standard on the 2018 Model 3?


The Model 3 comes equipped with automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance with forward radar, eight cameras, and 12 ultrasonic sensors as well as electronic stability and traction control. Optional additional safety features include lane-keep assist, automatic lane changing and freeway exiting, active cruise control, and self-parking. Tesla will also be adding new features that will be offered to owners as they become available.

A couple of drawbacks for the new Model 3 could become serious safety issues. The car unlocks and starts with a card, similar to a hotel key card. You have to touch the pillar with the card to unlock the car, which means it doesn’t unlock until you get right up to it. You have to touch the center console with the card to start the vehicle. The car can be synced up with your smartphone so you can use it to get into the car, but you still have to get right next to the car to unlock it.

Another potential problem has to do with the touchscreen. Everything, and I mean everything, is controlled through the touchscreen. If you have to turn on the wipers, you have to use the touchscreen. This could be an inconvenient distraction that may cause problems in heavy traffic. Fortunately, Tesla is working hard to eliminate this potential hazard with more advanced voice command technology.

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