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The Tesla Model 3 From A Female European Perspective

Traditionally, the domain of cars has been mostly one of males, guys, men, dudes, hombres, etc. Guys working on cars was, and perhaps remains, a familiar enough scenario that it’s assumed this kind of mechanical interest and ability is masculine.

Traditionally, the domain of cars has been mostly one of males, guys, men, dudes, hombres, etc. Guys working on cars was, and perhaps remains, a familiar enough scenario that it’s assumed this kind of mechanical interest and ability is masculine.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with males enjoying mechanized personal transportation, but viewing it as male-only territory has obviously been a biased perspective for a very long time. Electric vehicles generate interest from many people across different categories for a variety of reasons.

Highlighting that a bit more personally via an individual story, we took this opportunity to interview a female Tesla owner and driver about her personal experiences. Austrian Elisabeth Soechting answered some questions about her new Model 3 for CleanTechnica, which you can now enjoy below.

Image Credit: Elisabeth Soechting

1. Why did you decide to buy a Tesla Model 3 instead of another EV, like a Model S, Audi e-tron, Nissan Leaf, or Renault Zoe?

For me, Tesla is the epitome of an EV. It made EVs desirable. Teslas were desirable for me at first sight. When I saw the first Model S in the streets, I was immediately in awe of their silhouette, the elegant and sporty design with the dynamic lines that you find throughout the car, and most of all the elegance when they soundlessly glide away. It was always clear, though, that I would never have the money to buy a Model S. Shortly after our first day in a rented Model S, I learned about the opportunity to place reservation for Model 3, and I did. That was in December 2016.

2. What was your research process like leading up to the purchase? Do you regularly read online about EVs, watch videos, or talk to people you know offline, like within a local EV club, or your friends or neighbors?

I started following Tesla and Elon Musk more actively in summer 2018 and became an active member of the Tesla Twitter community. I never sought technical information about the car actively, but being part of groups and reading threads, I learned a lot about EVs — and the stock market. I am the first in my building, in my family, and among my friends to own an EV. So, if anything, they were slightly discouraging me to spend so much money on such a vehicle.

3. You live in Austria, what was the buying process like for you? Did you test drive a Model 3 or any other EVs before the purchase?

I did get my first test drive in a beautiful white Model 3 from a Twitter friend in California and rented one for the following couple days during my vacation in California. So I was a bit spoiled with all the Superchargers but also saw how Superchargers with 15 or more stalls can be crowded.

The buying process was the easiest thing you could imagine if you are used to purchasing things online. The morning I read on Twitter that Model 3 was available in Europe, I jumped to the Austrian Tesla website, and there was the order page, like an online catalogue. Purchasing my Tesla was basically the same as ordering something from Amazon. You just chose the color, interior color, type of wheels, etc. Then you come to the final page where you sign a contract over tens of thousands of dollars with one click. You hesitate for a moment, think it through again, and pull the trigger. You feel overwhelmed by excitement and then the waiting begins.

4. Does Austria have any EV incentives like tax credits or rebates and does Vienna have any too?

We do have moderate incentives. There is a €3,600 incentive that you can claim — surprisingly for me, that’s for all Model 3s, even if their base price is higher than €50,000. What also helps is the exemption of taxes for emissions, which saves me around €700 per year compared to my previous car. One of the greatest incentives is that EVs are exempted from certain speed limits that are for reducing noise and emissions. Feels great to overtake two lanes of regular ICE cars because you have a vehicle with zero emissions and engine noise!

5. Do you charge mostly at home, and how is the Tesla charger access in your area?

I live in an apartment building as most people in Austrian cities do. I don’t have street parking, but am lucky to have a rented parking spot in our parking garage. I made an agreement with the owner that I could install a wallbox. However, I haven’t done so and don’t feel any urgency. When I am only driving in the city, I only need to charge once to twice a week. I use a SuperCharger that is 10 minutes from my work. For longer trips, I charge at the Superchargers that the car suggests. With my Long Range Model 3 I don’t have range anxiety but I am not a risk taker either when it comes to reaching a Supercharger. For example, when the car suggests to use a SuperCharger that I should reach at 6% battery, I prefer to take an earlier one.

6. Have you taken any long trips yet, and, if so, how were they from the standpoints of comfort and charging?

When a flight to Zurich was canceled, I had to take the car instead. This was a week after delivery that I went on an unintended road trip through the middle of the night. It was the most relaxed drive through the night. I usually dislike driving in the dark, but I used Autopilot for 90% of the freeway and I felt much less tired than usually, especially my eyes were not dry and tired as they normally are from staring. The lights of the Model 3 are very strong and give you extremely good sight — and I just let the car do the driving and monitored it closely.

Contrary to what many outsiders think, Supercharging on trips is very pleasant and relaxing. It’s the necessary break after 3 hours of driving that everyone should take anyway. I walk my dog, often have coffee, and sometimes even find hidden gems like the beautiful, privately funded and maintained Tesla Lounge in Kapfenberg, Austria.

7. How long have you had your Model 3, how many miles or kilometers have you driven, and what are your impressions so far?

I have my Model 3 for almost two months now, and I have driven almost 4,000 km. This is much more than I usually drove (about 18,000 km per year). As you will hear from all other Model 3 owners, it is pure joy to drive the car. The climate in the car is wonderful because no vent blows the ice cold air into your face. The sound system is wonderful. The seats are the most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat in. And the car does most of the work, and you monitor.

My overall impression is this is an excellent car that changes the way we drive and we experience driving. As so many before me said, you need to experience it to know what you are talking about.

8. Is it your first EV or hybrid and what do you like about it the most and least?

Yes, the Model 3 is my first EV. Stumbling upon Tesla and Elon made me much more aware of my environmental concerns, one of them being CO2 emissions and ICE (internal combustion engine) cars.

9. Since the purchase, did your work colleagues, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, or family members show interest and want to talk about the vehicle?

I want to talk about it!! The interest among my friends is moderate. The concept is too new for them, and they probably never want to spend so much money on a car. But I could clarify some misconceptions. I feel like every drive through the city is a big advertisement for Tesla. I often see people turn their heads!

Image Credit: Elisabeth Soechting

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