by Robert Hunt, with some editing by David Waterworth
After a year of owning my Tesla Model 3 Long Range, I thought I’d write down a few points … but from the experiential angle rather than the technical — for new people and for a bit of fun. This is about Tesla pleasure driving, if you like.
The getting used to it period was surprisingly short, as everything seemed to be quite intuitive. I found myself for a while reaching for the key on the steering column just after I got in. Muscle memory I guess. The rapid and quiet acceleration was addictive and exhilarating, but now I mostly drive more for personal comfort rather than subjecting myself to a rollercoaster of inertia.
I thought I’d keep mine totally factory standard. The only extras I have are a centre console tray, rubber mats which I rarely use, and ceramic coating. I delayed the decision for tinting and acceleration boost, and after a year I have no desire for either. Well, maybe the acceleration boost just to feel what it‘s like, but my partner banned me from it!
Sometimes, when accelerating, fast people think you’re dragging (drag racing). … I’ve had people catch up to me after I’ve reached the speed limit, overtaking me while doing 90–100 km/h in a 60 km/h zone just to prove some kind of point. Oops!
The reaction people generally have is really nice. Often kids will have to be dragged across pedestrian crossings as they gawk — it really fascinates them. I’ve had a lot of people give me a thumbs up or “nice one” or that kind of thing, which is cool.
The “Tesla wave club” is very real and alive, which builds a good sense of community. There’s a small percentage who don’t, and that’s fine, too. It reminds me of a country town vibe where everyone’s friendly. Sometimes it’s difficult to get out of the car and you have to run if someone has you in their sights and wants to ask you a million questions.
I’ve met so many nice people at chargers and have had some great conversations and friendly chats.
The trolls you get online don’t seem to exist in real life. Soon after I got the car, I took it to a Tesla fast charger. I was standing there figuring out which cable to use, then nervously asked a guy nearby expecting him to shout at me “Have you read THE MANUAL!” before walking off … but he was super helpful and friendly. It took me a while to ask anything online because of this, so if that’s you, don’t hesitate in person! Most people are super friendly and helpful.
I hired an ICE car about 6 months into ownership of my Tesla and I was totally incompetent! I kept forgetting to brake, parked the car without putting on the handbrake, and then started to walk off while it was still running and unlocked. … My muscle memory reset itself pretty fast!
Lastly, it’s never gotten old. I love driving the Tesla just as much as I did a year ago. I’ve never really been a car person and have driven through necessity, but the pleasure of driving the Tesla is still strong.