Published on September 11th, 2018 | by Jake Richardson0
Tesla Model 3 Racer Beats Gas-Powered Cars (#CleanTechnica Interview)
September 11th, 2018 by Jake Richardson
In this YouTube video, you see a Tesla Model 3 easily beating a number of gas-powered cars in several races, but who is the driver? The Model 3 was referred to on Teslarati as being “rather mysterious,” but with a little help from YouTube and Twitter, it’s clear the driver was Alex Munoz, who is from San Diego. Recently, he purchased a Model 3 Performance. He answered some questions for CleanTechnica about owning and driving the Model 3.
1. Where did those races take place?
The races took place at the 1/8th mile track at Qualcomm during a Racelegal event. Best time was 7.532s at 93.74 mph.
2. Is your Model 3 the performance version?
Yes, the Model 3 Performance with the performance upgrade package.
3. Is it all stock, or are there any modifications?
Currently all stock. There are future plans to modify, but I took possession of the car on August 7th, so it’s still early on. Mods will be the usual — lightweight wheels/tires, and adjustable suspension. Still looking into my options, as this is a new market with not a whole lot of aftermarket support. (Related: Check out our Mountain Pass Performance archives.)
4. Why were you interested in the Model 3, instead of the Model S or a gas-powered car?
The Model 3 allows me to have my cake and eat it too. By this, I mean that I can continue to drive a sporty (and fast) car, but also feel good that I’m contributing less to global greenhouse gas emissions. I’ve been long interested in the Model S, but the lower price point of the Model 3 Performance vs the Model S performance variants meant that we still had room in the budget for a PHEV family vehicle (currently averaging 35+ mpg in an SUV). Once the Model 3 was announced, and then released, I was no longer interested in gas-powered performance vehicles. As a lifelong motorsports fan, I still appreciate high-powered gas-powered cars, but no longer have the desire to own one.
5. How long have you had the 3, and how do you like it so far?
I took delivery on August 7th, and, so far, have absolutely loved owning it. I’m glad I waited for the Performance version!
6. What do you like about it most and least so far?
There’s quite a bit that I really like about the car, and very little that I don’t. What I like most about the car, is that I have a high-performing vehicle with zero emissions while driving. What I like least about the car, is the fear and uncertainty surrounding what will happen if/when something goes wrong (accident/failed part/recall etc.). I’ve followed Tesla closely for the past 3 years, including on various car forums and social media pages, and I’ve read plenty of instances of longer than usual wait times for simple to complex repairs. Obviously, I opted to take my chances by following through with my purchase, but it’s what I consider my least favorite part about the car.
7. Do strangers sometimes see it and ask you questions when you are driving?
In my area (San Diego), there are enough of them on the road that I haven’t been asked anything by strangers. I do, however, get plenty of questions at work, or in my circle of friends and family, since many of these same people don’t know anyone that actually owns one, and are enthusiastic enough to talk about it. I’ve given a few rides to friends and family that otherwise wouldn’t really care about which car I’m driving.
8. Are you part of an EV or Tesla club?
I’m a new member of the San Diego Tesla club, and if it counts, a couple of online forums (Tesla Motors Club, Model 3 Owners Club). I’ve subscribed to local EV groups/events so that I can participate and attend whenever possible. I’m looking forward to National Drive Electric Week.
9. After driving the Model 3, would you ever own a gas-powered car again?
I still currently own 2 gas-powered cars, and 1 PHEV. One of the gas-powered cars is up for sale, since it has been replaced by the Model 3, and the other is a low-mileage project car that I’m torn on selling. I don’t believe I will ever purchase another gas-powered car.
10. Does the fact that it’s better for the environment appeal to you, or is that not as much of a factor?
It is the primary reason I considered it. The fact that it is a great looking car, has awesome performance, and the charging infrastructure sold me over other available EV options.
11. In the video, it appears that you easily beat every car you raced. Was there any car there that night which could have beaten you?
Yes, in the races that were filmed, I easily beat the cars I faced. However, they weren’t all in the same class, so it’s not a fair comparison. The closest race was against a Jeep Trackhawk that got the jump at the light, but I passed him at about halfway and beat him by 0.276s. I’m not sure how that happened, because that’s quite a capable vehicle. I’m also not sure why that one wasn’t on video. Besides that, there are always quite a range of vehicles there, and I suspect there were a couple of cars there that night that could have beat me. But, due to my late arrival, and then family obligations, I only had an opportunity to race 4 times (this was a spur of the moment thing). I plan to go back on September 14th, and hope to get in more than 4 races, and against more cars in the same class.
12. How happy are you with the Model 3 and the process of buying and picking it up?
I’m still early into ownership, but I’m very happy with it overall. The process to pick it up could have gone much better, because they had a contract snafu that caused a delay. We waited for over an hour and a half before we had to leave without the car. This was less than ideal, because it was an outdoor delivery on a really warm day, we had the kids with us, I didn’t have a car to get back to work (or home from work), and I didn’t get the “Tesla delivery experience” that I’ve seen others get. Thus, my delivery experience was one to be forgotten. I do have to say that the delivery team did what they could to help out — gave me a loaner, delivered the car to my home that evening, and even managed to address a couple of cosmetic issues before delivering it to me. As for a process in general, I think that once the kinks get worked out, it will exceed the traditional method of buying a car.