23Aug, 2018

Tesla Model 3 – in Brisbane!

This morning, current owners had an opportunity to preview a (left hand drive) top of the line, dual-motor, performance + long range version of the long awaited Tesla Model 3.

Plagued with production issues (mainly relating to quantity projects) the Model 3 represents the more affordable baby brother to the industry changing Model S. Taking design hints from the S, the Model 3 is still a fairly long wheel-base, but compared with the S it feels compact. Elon always said this car would be available @ $35k US. This model will set you back $57,000 US as it includes All-Wheel Drive, Premium Interior, and the long range battery. It will get you to 100 km/h in a neck snapping 3.5 seconds, more than enough to burn the Range Rovers.

Initial thoughts are that the space has been stolen even parts from the boot and bonnet – so the internals feel quite spacious still. The door handles have significantly changed from the Model S – no more presenting on approach, rather a more manual counter-intuitive lever action.

The charge port opens totally differently to the S, with the whole panel hinging upwards. (Obviously the one displayed here is the US plug – which is slightly different to our AU one.)

The main display has changed from portrait to landscape, and sits proud of the dash rather than flush as in the Model S. The hardware behind it feels far snappier, and even more controls have been moved into the screen. The only remaining physical buttons are the two scroll-wheels on the steering wheel, and the stalks on the steering wheel (autopilot, indicator and drive).

The Model 3 will sport the AP2 hardware, which includes more cameras than the car can even process at this stage.

The long range Model 3 is advertised as 480km range.  There are two types of range prediction settings in the Model S – typical and rated. Rated seems to represent the range if you were drafting behind a semi-trailer, down-hill, with no climate control on a perfect day at 25 degrees Celsius. Typical represents a more realistic range, and is generally about 50km less than the rated. All-in-all the range is impressive at almost the same as the larger Model S.

The interior is well finished and minimal. The air vents have been replaced with a single grill running the whole width of the car. The premium model we saw here had the wood veneer which went beautifully with the leather of the interior and dash.
The door handles have been removed and replaced with a small button, pictured here at the top of the door handle, illuminated with a slim white line. A satisfying click opens the door which shuts with a light but solid clunk. The internal storage in the door has been drastically improved from zero on the Model S, to a large pocket that would comfortably handle a 1.5 Litre Water Bottle or a tallie of Stone and Wood.
The storage in the front and rear boots have been slightly reduced in the Model 3 (technically halved), but still enough to handle the smaller lighter stuff that would normally fly around in the boot.
All in all, the car looks amazing, and the build quality is excellent. Skeptics were doubtful that it would match the Model S – but it is hard to fault. If they can get the right hand drive versions under production fast enough, they’ll make an amazing car for Australia.

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