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1 Month With Tesla Model 3 — $0 Charging, 0 Issues, 0 Fires, Tons Of Fun

As of today, we’ve had our Tesla Model 3 for one month. Is the thrill gone? Well, some of the early tingles and excitement have of course worn off, but the core point and core feeling is the same: this is the best car on the market. There are basically just four difficult things for me, which I’ll note at the end. First, though, I’ll run down the main items.

Tesla Model 3 supercharging

As of today, we’ve had our Tesla Model 3 for one month. Is the thrill gone? Well, some of the early tingles and excitement have of course worn off, but the core point and core feeling is the same: this is the best car on the market. There are basically just four difficult things for me, which I’ll note at the end. First, though, I’ll run down the main items.

Not having home charging, we charge at various destination chargers most of the time. I don’t know of any paid charging stations in the area. Instead, we have completely free charging stations at the grocery stores where we shop, parks where we go to play, and a nearby shopping mall. We also have a Tesla Supercharger station behind one of those grocery stores, which we use a bit when the destination charging hasn’t matched up enough with our driving. All in all, it’s very easy to keep charged, and all for $0 a day, week, month, and presumably year.

Tesla Model 3

A few days after getting our car, I published a piece that went a bit viral on “all the problems with our new Tesla Model 3.” It was just a fun little article that crossed my mind that day, which some people thought was hilarious and others thought was a horrible trick. If you somehow didn’t see it, I won’t make you click over — it was empty. Since then, nothing else has really popped up. We have no problems with our car and I can’t think of any excuse to go take it to the new Tesla service center in our city.

In other news, we have also had 0 battery fires. That may seem like a ridiculous point to make, but you’d be surprised at how many people bring this topic up when you mention Tesla or they see you got one. As CleanTechnica regulars know, there’s a much higher chance of being in a gasoline car that catches fire than in an electric car that catches fire — but that doesn’t stop people from hyperventilating about the super slim chance that an EV battery will go up in flames. The good news: in a battle between real-world experience and misinformation or misleading concerns, real-world experience usually wins. As people see more and more Teslas driving and parking around them, they should realize that the hype about battery fires is really a matter of deceitful smoke and mirrors, and just as they don’t expect their computer or phone batteries to catch fire, there’s no reason to expect an electric car’s batteries will catch fire. (By the way, those people probably also use flammable wooden chairs, flammable clothes, and flammable Q-tips, yet didn’t worry when buying them that they might catch fire.)

Tesla Model 3 fleetIs that a fire on the left?

While we haven’t faced any charging costs, any maintenance disasters, or any battery fires, we have had a ton of fun in the car. Everything from the Tesla games (Beach Buggy, Chess, etc.), to Autopilot, to funny visualizations on the touchscreen, to wonderful acceleration, to the charging port, to the glass roof, to driver profiles, to the air conditioning fans, to the sound system, to the frunk, to the white seats, to the door handles, to the buttons on the inside of the doors to pop the door open, to the drawing pad on the touchscreen, to the fart app, to Romance Mode, to the smart navigation system, to Summon — the car is just fun. Perhaps it is not the funnest car on the planet, since it can’t dance like the Tesla Model X, but it’s close.

Oh, but what about those four “difficult things” noted at the top?

Tesla Model 3

One problem is that, once upon a time, I drove a Tesla Model 3 Performance, and we previously co-owned a Model S 85D in Europe. The Model 3 Performance is so powerful and fun, and the Model S 85D has enough extra power, that our Model 3 SR+ generally feels like it’s missing a little something. The power is good and fun, no doubt about it, but it’s not as good and fun as more powerful Teslas. My foot is often tingling for a little more power.

Another problem is that I recently got to check out Tesla software V10. The new infotainment features as well as improvements to Autopilot make me wish every day that I had the new software. Netflix! YouTube! Joe Mode! Better Autopilot visualizations! Advanced Summon! Caraoke! Improvements to navigation! Feeling lucky! I want all of it! Now!

Okay, toning it down a little, I perhaps didn’t need to use exclamation marks on all of those, but it is somewhat annoying to experience these notable improvements and then go back to my poor, lowly Model 3 SR+ without V10 software. I know, I know — my own fault!

Tesla Model 3 fleet

Problem number three: As much as I love our Model 3, and prefer the handling and feel of the car compared to a Model S or Model X, there are certain times when I wish I had the huge amount of space in a Model X and the expansive, supersplendulous windshield (the largest windshield on any passenger automobile). The Model 3 is a driver’s car. The Model X is the perfect passenger’s vehicle — and sometimes I’m essentially a passenger even when I’m the driver. (But let’s not get into philosophy here.) Unfortunately, I barely have enough money for a Model 3 SR+, so there’s no chance any time soon for me to also have a Model X (unless I win a raffle — which would make me the 3rd CleanTechnica reader to win a Tesla raffle … hmm).

This is a separate matter, but I also envy the the fact that the Model X can dance. I understand it — the Model 3 doesn’t have falcon-wing doors (doesn’t even have self-opening doors) and would simply make a mess of things if it tried to dance. I guess Tesla software could pop the doors open a crack and move the windows up and down, but that would be a totally not cool dance performance. Alas, it looks like I have to settle for my non-dancing Model 3 or win that damn raffle.

If you’d like to buy a Tesla and get 2,000 miles (3,000 km) of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code by October 1: After October 1, it’s presumed that you will get 1,000 miles (1,500 km) of free Supercharging by using that referral code (or someone else’s).

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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