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Tesla Model 3 News Roundup: Keycard For Entry, Design Studio Screenshots, & Steering Wheel Controls

Now that the first Model 3s are out in the wild and it has officially beEN shared with the world media, the floodgates of fun details have opened up.

Now that the first Model 3s are out in the wild and it has officially been shared with the world media, the floodgates of fun details have opened up.

Keycard, Not Key Fob

Rumors were running rampant that the Model 3 would use a keycard for entry instead of its iconic mini-Tesla key fob. That news has been confirmed, as longtime Tesla evangelist Bonnie Norman has confirmed via Twitter that Model 3 will indeed utilize a keycard.

The move is controversial, as many claim to prefer the key fob to a keycard, but the benefits are also rather impressive. Keeping the card in one’s wallet allows for the keychain to be slimmed down. Even Tesla’s key fobs are bulky and clutter up pockets, requiring yet one more thing to be carried around.

On the other hand, the fob brought extra functionality with it, like locking/unlocking the vehicle, opening/closing the trunk, and popping the frunk. Tesla has built this very same functionality and more into the Tesla app, so owners retain all of that functionality in some way. Though, it does feel a bit strange to many new owners to pull out a smartphone to manage their cars.

Model 3 Steering Wheel Controls

One early curiosity with Model 3 was related to the new steering wheel controls. The design shifts away from single-purpose buttons to new multi-directional scroll knobs that were a bit of a mystery when first spotted. A video posted by “The Tesla Show” from the Model 3 test drive reveals what they do and how they work, and I have to say, I’m impressed.

Not tying these buttons to a single purpose allows Tesla to utilize them much like the scroll wheels in the Model S, which could be used to fine-tune the position of the sunroof, adjust the temperature, etc. The wheels in Model 3 will be similarly flexible but also tie into other functions, like precisely positioning the mirrors and adjusting the steering wheel position. Take a look at the video for a quick view of what the future holds for the in-vehicle user experience.

Model 3 Design Studio

Tesla busted open the list of options for Model 3 on Friday when it handed over keys to the first 30 Model 3s that it sent out into the wild. Now it appears that Tesla has officially opened up the online design studio to the next wave of customers. The studio itself doesn’t give us any new information, but it presents the first look at what will keep reservation holders hungry and chomping at the bit for their chance to configure, order, and receive their very own Model 3.

The screenshots come as Tesla has updated the Model 3 Delivery Estimator in My Tesla to reflect the prioritization of features at launch. It appears that the first production run will not be simply the base model, but rather, the Long Range Model 3 with a few options. Buyers looking to get into a Model 3 as early as possible will have to part with at least $49,000 or wait a few months for a base model.

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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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