If you were around in 2016, 2017, and 2018 (which is quite likely since you can already read), you probably remember reading or hearing about a bunch of inherent “problems” with the Tesla Model 3. Let’s revisit some of those.
We’ll skip the ones about you supposedly “not being able to get a Model 3 for years” because of the order backlog and production problems. Oh, well, I guess I just covered almost all you need to know about that. The only other important point on that topic is you can now get a Model 3 within a couple of weeks in the US.
Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
Speedometer. I think the first topic people were freaking out about — for more than a year — after the Model 3 was revealed was the touchscreen — or, more importantly, the lack of a traditional speedometer and instrument cluster in front of the driver. People were spooked. The main concern, which I actually think was logical and legitimate, was that it would be distracting to look over at the touchscreen to check your speed. There were countless debates about this and endless conjecture. Was it a disaster? Would it destroy the Model 3’s market viability? Was it an epic fail that would lead to crashes, bad press, and limited appeal? Or was it no big deal, perhaps even — gasp — better? Again, before answering that question (I’m sure you have no idea what my answer will be), I’ll emphasize that I did think this was an honest, genuine, and logical concern. However, I also immediately expected that Tesla’s fabulous vehicle development team, including Elon Musk and Jerome Guillen, had thorough considered this and tested it out. They couldn’t have let something go through to production if it was genuinely so flawed.
Indeed, with hundreds of thousands of Model 3s now on the road, how often do you hear about this being a problem? Never. Elon was right. The nonstop concerns and concern trolling were a waste of thought and energy. Driving a Model 3 every day myself, it is genuinely so easy and natural you don’t think about it. Actually, I was often annoyed in cars where I had to bend or raise my neck in order to see the speedometer. It is nice it drive a car where I never have to do that.
Photos by Marika Shahan, CleanTechnica
Trunk. Ah, yes, the disaster of the Model 3 having a trunk, not being a hatchback. It was a deal breaker for many people — I’m not putting “deal breaker” in quotation marks, because it really was for some people. So many were concerned about a small trunk opening or not enough cargo space. How often do you hear about it being a problem now? How often do you see owners complaining about it?
If you haven’t noticed, I have never been a big fan about that concern. Trunks used to be extremely common. They worked. It was fine. Families were even bigger. A hatchback is slightly nicer, but it’s not really a big deal at all in my opinion. I just stuffed a bunch of groceries, other shoppings, laptop and personal bags, refillable water jugs, cleaning bucket and supplies for washing the car, a camcorder, and other stuff in the trunk — it all fit easily and I could have put much more in. Plus, I have an empty frunk and an empty cabin/cubby under the main portion of the trunk I could use. Would I have slightly preferred a hatchback opening? Yeah. Is it a big difference? No.
Anyway, my point isn’t that the Model 3 trunk works for me. My point is that this is something it seemed like a ton of people were hyperventilating about, but it ended up being a non-issue and you almost never hear about it any more. Further, the Model 3 has more cargo space than most of the cars it competes against. Here’s a sampling:
Panel gaps. Ah, yes, panel gaps. Can you see them in the pictures below?
Not sure what panel gaps are? That’s probably because they don’t really matter. In any case, the claim for years — with merit for a while at least — has been that Tesla’s a novice carmaker and the spaces between body panels, doors, hoods, etc. are not even, too wide, and so on. I think the criticism was valid enough for a while, and especially at the beginning of production for new vehicles. However, even so, the imperfections were often things I think the vast majority of people wouldn’t even notice. Nowadays, I find it quite difficult to find any problems with panels gaps on a Tesla.
But, again, what does my opinion matter? How about the opinion of a top Tesla critic who was a top executive in the auto industry for decades? A certain Bob Lutz said earlier this year, after criticizing Tesla for this in the past, that Tesla’s panel gaps are now “world class.” More broadly, I almost never see complaints about this any more. The people who do comment on it seem to have a clear agenda and bias, and seem to be basing their claims on years-old information.
Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica
Seat Nazis. I should be careful joking with the term “Nazi,” since we have legitimate Nazis feeling more and more emboldened in the US and Europe these days, but it’s still fun to allude to the hilarious soup Nazis of Seinfeld. Again, yes, Tesla didn’t have the best seats years ago. Customers complained about them and Tesla improved the seats several times. Eventually, Tesla brought seat production in-house and is essentially now one of the 4 automotive seat producers in the world.
While there were initial claims by some that Model 3 seats weren’t good, I think actual experience with them and some slight improvements on Tesla’s end have made people realize Tesla’s seats are freakin’ wonderful. I’ve driven several BMW and Mercedes vehicles. Aside from S-Class seats that can give you a back massage, I’ve experienced no automotive seats better than what we have in our Model 3. The surface is super soft, the support is superb, the overall design is practically flawless. Everyone may not share the enthusiasm for Tesla’s seats that I do, but this is certainly an initial “problem” with the Model 3 that has faded away. (My cynical side wants to say: It’s just too hard to mislead people when hundreds of thousands of cars are on the road.)
Only $50,000 and up. It may be hard to remember now since it seems we are so far from that, but before the Model 3 went into production and then for months afterward when Tesla was only producing the higher-trim versions of the car, many people claimed that Tesla couldn’t produce and sell a Model 3 for less than $50,000 or or $45,000 or [insert baseless claim]. Terms like “fraud” and “lying” were thrown around loosely. However, after getting high-trim Model 3s into the hands of early buyers in the US, and right after starting deliveries to Europe and China, Tesla started pumping out its sub-$40,000 Model 3 trims.
Unfortunately, many people still don’t realize you can get a Tesla for less than $40,000, and even fewer understand that the cost of ownership of a Model 3 could compare to a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry in many circumstances. The good news is that more people learn both of these things every day, perhaps every hour.
If you’d like to buy a Tesla — whether you believe it exists or is simply elaborate vaporware — and also get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404.
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