“It’s the little things.”
“Stop to smell the roses.”
“Don’t forget to enjoy life.”
There are various phrases that try to remind us that big-picture topics don’t always dominate our lives, or don’t have to. The little things of daily life can influence us on a grand scale. Also, with many little things, it wouldn’t hurt us to pause and appreciate them a little more.
Some of the features below were little things I knew my family and I would like about the Tesla Model 3. Some were complete surprises. Generally speaking, none of them were huge vehicle selling points, but as it turns out, they are some of our favorite things about the car, features that we enjoy on a daily basis (so far).
This is #1 because this is #1. The view through the glass roof is beautiful. Sitting under palm trees, big cumulus clouds, or the moon and letting your state of mind both rise & calm is a priceless experience. Well, I’m sure an economist could put a price on it, and Tesla was on the verge of doing so until it decided to include the glass roof on all Model 3s (all trims), but you get the point.
One of my favorite things to do in the car, when I don’t have to focus on driving, is look up at the sky and let my other thoughts and rushed state of mind drop away.
Wobbly Autopilot Cars
This is a goofy one, but we absolutely love it. It’s been cracking us up. On the touchscreen, you can see nearby cars, bikers, trucks, etc. They are great representations of the people and things moving around you. This is cool enough as it is, but what’s hilarious is how the other cars will often wobble, spin around, shake, or act in other odd and unexpected ways. We may get over this quirk in time, but I think I will always enjoy it — it is so funny to watch.
Those visualizations, by the way, are also super useful. It is really nice to get an easy, quick glance at all the vehicles around you, including a half-decent visualization of the types of vehicles they are. (Admittedly, sometimes people become vans and bikes become motorcycles, but they’re useful nonetheless.) These kinds of visualizations were somewhat useful in our 2015 Model S, but the Model 3 (and new Model Ss and Xs) have much better visibility, so they see further and capture more vehicles to show the driver on the touchscreen.
Tesla’s approach to visualizing these nearby vehicles has also gotten much better in the past few years. Clearly, there are some bugs, but I’m happy to enjoy them. It won’t be long before these wobbly cars are behaving more properly, which will be fine, but certainly not as funny.
Autopilot Backup Driver
People often make a hard split in their minds between a human driving a vehicle and the vehicle driving itself. More in line with regulations and the necessary level of human responsibility we’re at right now, humans have to pay attention when the car is driving itself and be ready to take over at any given moment. However, even a bit different from that accurate way of describing this Autopilot phase, I often think about it in another way.
For me, Autopilot is a second driver that is driving the car in unison with me. I hold the wheel and sort of pretend I’m driving. I know that with Autopilot on I have an extra pair of eyes on the road (well, much more than one extra pair), extra invisible hands holding onto the steering wheel in case I get distracted in a dangerous way or can’t see something, and extra invisible feet ready to press the brakes or accelerate if the situation calls for it and I’m not responding quickly enough. The former doesn’t replace or take away from the latter, and vice versa. There are essentially two drivers controlling the car, and two drivers are better than one in this case!
I knew the sound system in the Model 3 was great, in part because Paul Fosse has spoken and written really highly of it. Nonetheless, it’s a daily joy that I appreciate greatly. It probably adds to the joy of the car more than I was willing to admit beforehand. When a song I love comes on, I can really blast it out for concert-like enjoyment. The same goes for the passengers in the car. Tesla’s superb options for adjusting the bass, treble, etc., also let you customize the sound perfectly for your preferences.
Yes, this is common, but it’s not super common, and we didn’t have it on our BMW i3. With kids, groceries, backpacks, water bottles, coffee cups, and more, it’s quite inconvenient having to dig through your pockets to find a little button to push to lock the car. The keyless locking and unlocking on the Model 3 works well (our phones are keys) and makes it so much easier to get going to school, unload from the store, or get inside our home. It’s the little things.
White + Black Combo
First of all, we’re super happy we chose the white seats. They were the last and most difficult decision (aside from buying the car), but now I can’t imagine having not chosen them. The white was shockingly bright to me when I first saw the seats, but now that clean white looks like an uplifting, psychologically light, gentle invitation into the car. In Florida especially, the white just fits.
Of course, as I wrote before, the white seats are also super soft. That doesn’t get old. Soft is nice.
As you can see, the whole interior isn’t white. There’s black trim on the doors, on the center console, and in some other places. The white-black-white combo looks really cool. Just as a wonderful piece of art or music is inspiring, seeing the artistic work of Franz von Holzhausen, Elon Musk, and others is a special experience. And it’s not just a daily experience — we are walking up to the car several times a day, and we are riding in the car … well, far too much every day.
Cabin Overheat Protection
The Florida summer heat is intense. It’s strong. It will melt and destroy things you wouldn’t expect. When you close up the car and leave your mobile greenhouse in the parking lot, it quickly turns into a cabin of destruction. And when you return to the car, you have to let the heat out in waves before attempting an entrance. Well, that’s normally the case. Teslas have something called “cabin overheat protection” in which they don’t let the interior temperature get above 105°F for 12 hours after you’ve left the car, unless the battery gets down to a 20% charge or lower. This clearly helps to keep the temperature inside the car moderate enough that it isn’t oppressive when you get back to it.
Actually, I expected to be using the pre-cool car option all the time, but I haven’t used it yet at all because the car is fine when we get to it. It also helps that the AC turns on immediately as I open the door, and works very well.
This is a nice improvement in livability compared to the temperature challenge we faced whenever we returned to the BMW i3. This is a huge improvement. It’s already something we are so used to that we don’t think about it, but not thinking about it is a big divergence from getting slammed with the heat and having to wait to get in the i3 on a regular basis.
If you’d like to buy a Tesla and get 1,000 miles (1,500 km) of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404. If I get enough free Supercharging miles, I’ll finally bring the girls to Disney World (even though I don’t need to Supercharge on the way to Disney World).
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