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Don’t Buy a Tesla Model 3 Until You Read This

white Tesla Model 3 parked under a bridge

Don’t Buy a Tesla Model 3 Until You Read This

Key Points

  • The Tesla Model 3 is a popular EV with impressive performance and a long range.
  • Maintenance for the Model 3 is minimal, but repairs must be done at a Tesla Service Center.
  • The large display used for vehicle controls may take some getting used to for traditional combustion engine drivers.
  • Tesla has a growing network of public charging stations, but the Model 3 does not adhere to charging standards.
  • The Model 3 is a great choice for first-time EV owners, but requires some adjustment to operation.

Tesla has been the gold standard for EVs in the United States for over a decade. Some models in their lineup, like the Model 3, have been a popular mainstay for potential EV buyers. If you’re in the market for an EV, going with the flow and picking the most popular option can be rather tempting.

Before you commit to a financing contract, take time to learn more about the Model 3. We’ll explore some salient things in this guide so you can decide whether to buy a Tesla Model 3.

Model 3 Overview

Credit: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most popular EVs. It couples together excellent performance with a long operational range. The Model 3 has been the EV to beat for any manufacturer just entering the market. While this EV isn’t flawless, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks. Model 3 is undoubtedly the EV to beat. Unfortunately, Tesla’s tax credits have almost been depleted, so the savings some customers received won’t be as universally applicable going forward.

Despite this, the Tesla Model 3 is still a great purchase if you want an EV. It doesn’t precisely conform to the structure of most automobiles and has no trim packages. The vehicle’s base price is $41,880 for the suggested retail price. This gets you all the lauded features of a Tesla without having the Model S or Model X price tag behind it.

Specs

Tesla Model 3
Range325 miles
DrivetrainAll-wheel drive
Horsepower455 hp
Wheelbase113.2 inches
Height56.4 inches
Width72.8 inches
Length184.8 inches
Cargo capacity19.8 cubic feet

Controls

The Tesla Model 3, and by extension all Tesla EVs, uses a large display to function as the heart of the vehicle’s controls. This can be quite an adjustment if you’re coming from a traditional combustion engine vehicle. The infotainment panel handles all the car’s vital functions and lets you control the climate. Switching gears and managing the windows also happens from the infotainment panel.

Now, you’ll find analogs to the traditional instrument cluster present on the vehicle. You’ll, of course, have relevant gauges for things like tire pressure, battery capacity, range, and your current speed. However, you aren’t going to have a physical shifter to handle. It takes quite a bit of adjustment to get used to the Tesla Model 3. As such, view videos on the user experience before buying this EV.

Maintenance

Owning an EV means you likely aren’t going to have much in the way of maintenance. Standard routine maintenance procedures will typically revolve around tires and brakes. This is true for the Model 3, but you need to know a few things about maintenance and mechanical work. If you need some work done on your Model 3, your only option is to send it back to a Tesla Service Center. They are all around the country but expect a bit of travel time. Find out the nearest service center.

EVs won’t have the same considerations a regular gasoline-powered car might have. You aren’t going to schedule fluid changes or routine maintenance. If you’ve got a problem-free vehicle, you could quickly expect it to have 25 to 30 years of consistent performance. It might need care for things like window seals and upholstery. As such, it is something to remember, especially if you are new to electric vehicles.

Charger Compatibility

How to install Tesla Wall charger
Tesla now has many public charging stations; you can charge your EV home.

Tesla EVs don’t use standard charging ports. While this isn’t so much an issue if you plan on using the Tesla charging infrastructure around the country, it is a consideration to keep in mind. To use any number of the more common J1772 and CHAdeMO chargers, you’ll need to purchase a separate adapter. Thankfully, a compatible adapter isn’t a massive investment and is likely a worthy purchase for your Tesla. However, the Model 3 and the rest of the Tesla line won’t adhere to charging standards anytime soon.

The Tesla Model 3 uses the Type 2 charger, proprietary to Tesla EVs. To take full advantage of a charger, it’ll help to have something with a compatible port. Thankfully, the aftermarket for Tesla adapters is quite robust. If you are the traveling type, it only makes sense to maximize the ability to use available charging infrastructure. Adapters are relatively inexpensive, running around $100 to $300, depending on the features you’re after.

Infrastructural Support

The support system that makes EVs a viable option for a method of transport has come a long way since their initial introduction a decade or so ago. Where Tesla originally had the edge was in providing charging stations across much of the country, making things like cross-country trips a reality. In the intervening years, there, of course, have been some changes. New initiatives targeting alternative and ecologically friendly fuel sources have caught on in a big way. As such, there is even more support than you might initially think when using an EV as your daily driver.

Tesla has spearheaded a lot of this by making Superchargers and other charging stations widely available nationwide. In addition to the Supercharger network found nationwide, Model 3 owners can use ChargePoint and Electrify America charging stations, among others. As you might expect, tens of thousands of charging stations are outside the Tesla network. If you’ve got the correct adapter, you’re ready to go anywhere, anytime.

Final Thoughts on the Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 is an excellent choice for any first-time EV owner. It has retained a huge degree of popularity for good reason. If you’re looking for a dependable driver with exceptional range while also preceding more overt concerns like routine maintenance, then the Model 3 is the way to go. However, you will have to adjust to the actual operation of the vehicle. This popular EV isn’t a rugged vehicle to use by any means. That said, it does take some adjustment to get into the day-to-day operation of a Tesla EV.

If you’re on the fence about getting into EVs, there hasn’t been a better point to jump in. Infrastructure across the country is rapidly growing to meet the wants and needs of EV owners. Getting into one of the most popular EVs might be the way to go.

As with any purchase, it pays to know what you’re getting with Model 3. It’s unlike the typical gasoline-powered vehicle and requires some adjustment. However, it is a great purchase and will provide service for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I charge the Model 3 at home?

You certainly can using home chargers designed exclusively for the Tesla line of vehicles.

Is the Model 3 the best buy you can make for EVs?

That’s debatable. However, the Model 3 does present a great midpoint between operational range, features, and affordability. It might not have the full bells and whistles of the Model S, but there is plenty to love about the vehicle.

Is the Model 3 self-driving?

Yes, the Model 3 has Tesla Autopilot. This feature works best on the highway, so be careful not to engage it within city streets.

Is the Model 3 reliable?

Yes, most EVs are generally reliable. The Tesla line of EVs has had a number of recalls, but those are more production issues rather than a reflection of the overall operation of the vehicle.

Is the Model 3 safe to drive in the rain?

Yes, the Model 3 can operate just fine in the rain. The battery pack powering the vehicle is sealed and protected from the elements. As such, no matter if it’s snowing, raining, or just a sunny day, you should be fine to drive no matter what.

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