2023 03 10 CCC Blog Post – “A Long Weekend with a TESLA”
Today, our blog strays from the collector car realm. But we believe it suits the site during our off-season because its followers are drivers and we all hear about electric cars on a near-daily basis. Now that we have driven one, we wanted to share some of the experience. We look forward to comments, both from those who have driven them – where our experience might not be reflective – and those who have not – and how our experience might influence their thinking to try one.
An opportunity came up recently for us to try an electric car, a 2023 Tesla Model 3, for a weekend. This was not supplied to us based on any industry-insider relationship. We recently had to make a road trip from downtown Toronto to downtown Ottawa and back, all in one day, and did as many do – checked rates for rentals and found a rate we thought reasonable, with Hertz. We knew about the phenomenon of range anxiety – where the user of an electric car frets that his/her vehicle may not have enough charge to make it to the destination because of expiring batteries– but we have made this journey many times before, were familiar with charging stations along the way and were reassured by others who advised that charging stations are plentiful.
First, the car’s appearance – “our” Tesla was finished in Pearl White Multi-Coat. If you ever notice a preponderance of white Model 3s, it is likely no coincidence. Tesla charges more for other colours. We are not sure if Elon Musk would be flattered or horrified when we say that this reminds us of Henry Ford’s famous quote “any colour the customer wants, as long as it’s black”. In Tesla’s case, one can procure its most basic model in other colours, but it comes at a cost: here is the order form damage, sourced from the Tesla web site: Midnight Silver Metallic (we would call it “dark grey metallic”) $1,300; Deep Blue Metallic $1,300; Solid Black $2,000 (WWHS – what would Henry say?); and Red Multi-Coat checks in at $2,600. The ”Aero Wheels” are 18” and the base offering, on the white car they yield a utilitarian look. There are also 19” sport wheels available for an extra $500 per corner, a not-cheap $2,000 option, and they do give off a look slightly less of that of an appliance.
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On the inside, the look is dominated by the large centre-mounted flat panel monitor – from the driver’s view, no gauges beyond the steering wheel, all systems are displayed on the monitor. Not all are obvious from the first use. Most were reasonably easy to get used to, though finding others was a challenge. As with other touch-screens, we are a little apprehensive compared to traditional tactile buttons – consider that a cottage industry has emerged for gloves compatible with smart phones! We found seating and outward visibility good, excepting for the small view obstruction provided by the monitor.
Next, the driving experience. As we had been promised, the Tesla does have snappy acceleration. Our Hertz reservation noted our booking for a Tesla Model 3 LR – LR for “long-range”. Our rental was definitely a Model 3. However, there were a few indications to suggest that we did not get an “LR”. We note that the Canadian Tesla web site precludes placing an order for an “LR” at time of writing – “Available 2023”. Of course, commercial buyers procure under fleet programs so this is not bulletproof refutability. There are other factors relating to trim and range which also led us to believe that we did not have an LR – more on range later. The Tesla site claims a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds for the base Model 3 – quick, to be sure, but not outlandish for a modern car. (We acknowledge that other Teslas make faster 0-60 jaunts.) When “gunning it” from a stop, we did feel sudden acceleration but, of course, 0-60 experiences are best left to a closed track.
Frogpond why would Jim be jealous? What do you think he would be jealous of?
So it would take my explorer 2 takes of gas at roughly 85 per tank (double the cost to charge. However, I can go there and back in 9 hours or less, My question would be how much time in total was spent charging and how much is an hour of your time worth to you? Not against electric, just not ready for it especially when the car is so blah!
Fantastic description of the experience the famous auto writer Jim Kenzie will be jealous of the story