2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test - New Updates

2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for August 2018

by Carlos Lago, Manager, Feature Content

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
Like last month, our long-term Tesla Model 3 spent most of August quietly covering miles under the stewardship of Brent Romans. Unlike last month, the experience wasn't flawless.

What happened? The switch on the passenger-seat recline broke during operation. Regular readers will remember this switch broke back in January, potentially due to user error. We had it repaired, but alas it's happened again.

Otherwise, Brent reports on getting used to the idea of leaving the physical key at home and using his phone to access the car. It's a neat process — when it works. Otherwise, we enjoyed the handling, though found the turning circle a bit larger than we expected.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for July 2018

by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
Besides the usual daily commutes, our long-term 2017 Tesla Model 3 spent some time in Central California with editor Brent Romans. And it also co-starred in a video where it performed flawlessly during a day spent touring L.A. in search of great food. In a rare instance, the Model 3 was trouble-free for all of July and didn't require any maintenance visits this month. That's right — seven months into ownership and it seems like the turbulence has cleared.

Have all the problems been fixed? We hope so.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for June 2018

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
In case you missed it last month, we returned to the Edmunds test track with our long-term2017 Tesla Model 3 to retest braking performance following an over-the-air software update that Tesla pushed out in late May. This software update was in response to various production Model 3s returning less-than-stellar emergency braking performance during instrumented testing. You can read all about it (and watch it!) by following the link above.

The rest of the month was spent mostly around the Los Angeles area, with a couple of short weekend trips north to the Ojai Valley. Thankfully, we encountered very few issues in June compared to months prior. Let's hope it's a sign of the times and more stable firmware.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Stopping Distance Retest After an ABS Firmware Update

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

We test 60-0 mph panic stops because it's an important safety criteria. Cars that can stop in a shorter distance are less likely to rear-end the car ahead. In cases where a crash is inevitable, they can bleed off more speed before contact is made. Besides the brakes themselves, three criteria affect braking performance: the grip available from the tires, the surface friction and quality of the road, and the proficiency of the antilock brake system (ABS).

Our initial 2017 Tesla Model 3 full-ABS panic-stop measurement of 133 feet was indeed below average. But it didn't seem outrageous, especially given the characteristics of the standard 18-inch tires. They're hard (with a treadwear rating of 500), they run at an abnormally high tire pressure (45 psi), and their 235 mm tread width isn't generous considering the car's 3,884 pounds of weight. It all seemed to fit, but that was before Consumer Reports reported a 60-0 mph stopping distance of 152 feet, nearly 20 feet longer than ours.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for May 2018

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
May was a light month for our 2017 Tesla Model 3 sedan. Our drivers only managed to add 752 miles to its odometer. We charged it just five times.

Part of the reason why is that our Model 3 spent four days in the shop getting the issues detailed in last month's update looked at. On three other occasions, it sat idle because no one chose to sign it out — over a three-day weekend, in one case. What's up with that? These added up to 10 days with absolutely zero driving miles.

Of those who did drive it, most were commuters. One staffer who drove it over Memorial Day — a person who was in the last-to-pick slot this month and saved it from another idle weekend — didn't stray too far from home. He did manage to add some 200 miles during his Memorial Day trip to the next county, though.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

You've probably heard the recent news that Consumer Reports tested its Tesla Model 3 and proclaimed it severely lacking in the brake department. This was based in large part on a 152-foot result it reported after conducting a series of 60-0 mph panic stops. We don't know the ins and outs of CR's test procedure or the condition and texture of the asphalt at its test facility in Connecticut. What we do know is that, like us, Consumer Reports privately bought its test car; it's no press loaner. Its car also has the standard 18-inch wheels and tires that we bought.

CR's ghastly result was a big surprise to us. We recorded a fairly normal 60-0 mph panic-stop distance of 133 feet when we tested our 2017 Tesla Model 3 on our own test track. While our result is perhaps a few feet longer than we typically see on mass-market cars with all-season tires, it's fairly typical of hybrids and electric vehicles fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires designed for maximum range and efficiency. Mildly disappointing, but not headline-worthy.

Our testing program does not stop at braking, if you'll pardon the pun. Our Tesla Model 3 accelerated to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, and it produced a respectable 0.85g of grip when orbiting our skidpad. We also feel out a car's handling by lapping it around our test track, and here the Model 3's front end displayed mediocre grip when entering corners, followed by subtle yet persistent traction control interventions on the way out.

This wasn't viewed as a huge liability, though, because a) it's natural to push a car harder on a closed track and b) no one — myself included — thought ill of the Model 3's brakes or handling after driving it on their favorite mountain road.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for April 2018

by Travis Langness, Staff Writer

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
Where we drove our long-term 2017 Tesla Model 3 in April is a bit less relevant than what happened while we were driving it. We did local commuting and a few freeway journeys, sure, but everywhere we went the car was fraught with problems. Sixteen weeks into ownership, we've had so many issues with our Model 3 that we started a shared Google Doc to catalog various warning messages, necessary screen resets and general failures.

Forget that this is a "cutting-edge" EV with a cult following. That's irrelevant if Tesla wants to be anything more than a footnote in automotive history. Our Model 3 cost us $56,000, and by that standard alone, the ownership experience so far has been unacceptable. But this is no ordinary $56K car. We put down a $1,000 deposit to get on a two-year waiting list for this car and it's falling apart.

Early adopters who could spend six figures on a car such as the Model S might've given Tesla a bit of extra leeway. Maybe they figure it's a small price to pay for such a technologically advanced car. Maybe it's a sacrifice they're willing to make to avoid using fossil fuels and get free access to the carpool lane. This far into its run, though, and with a car intended for mass appeal, Tesla should have the bugs worked out. It clearly doesn't.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for March 2018

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
It was a busy month of learning with our 2017 Tesla Model 3, which meant it was also a busy month for Vehicle Testing Technician Rex Tokeshi-Torres, who was its primary chaperone. Between vehicle repairs, software updates and learning what it takes to simply remove a wheel (news flash: it isn't simple), it's been an exciting few months so far.

Miles logged in March were mostly local, though we still managed to cover a decent amount of ground for an EV. Our Model 3 comparison test video is about to go live in just a couple weeks, so be sure to keep an eye on the YouTubes for it. Even better, subscribe to the Edmunds YouTube Channel and get notified the moment it's posted.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for February 2018

by Jason Kavanagh, Senior Road Test Engineer

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
February represents the first full month that we've owned and driven our long-term 2017 Tesla Model 3. We took delivery of it during the first week of January.

Beyond commuting between Orange County and our Santa Monica office throughout the month, our lozenge-shaped EV made a trek to Borrego Springs, California, to deliver some crappy car parts. It also took part in a comparison test that entailed a good chunk of miles. Mum's the word for now because we don't want to spoil the surprise, but we think you'll be interested in our findings. Stay tuned.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for January 2018

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

Where Did We Drive It?
We took possession of our 2017 Tesla Model 3 sedan on January 5, which left 27 days before the month ended. In that time we added 1,388 miles. That may not sound like much, but it does work out to a rate of nearly 1,600 miles per month, pretty much where it needs to be to achieve our nominal target of 20,000 miles in a year.

And we pulled it off despite a steady diet of local commuting and running around town. We haven't really gone anywhere, the lone exception my weekend drive into the local mountains to a place called Crystal Lake Cafe. You'll find it where Highway 39 dead-ends high up in the San Gabriel Mountains. Highway 39 is the sort of road that gets a lot of attention from motorcyclists and drivers of nimble-handling cars.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Will an XL-Size Mountain Bike Fit?

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

Maybe you've heard: I'm fairly tall. I'm nowhere near the tallest guy you've met, but a height of 6 feet 2 inches puts me in what statisticians call the 95th percentile. As a result, my mountain bike is pretty big. This all came to a head when I decided to go for a ride on a weekend when I was driving our 2017 Tesla Model 3 sedan.

My bike isn't the bulkiest one you've ever seen. For one, it's a hardtail, not a full suspension bike. And it doesn't have those cartoonishly fat tires that are starting to gain, ahem, traction. That said, it is quite literally a giant. Says so in 2-inch letters right on the frame. And it is Giant's XL-size mountain bike frame with 29-inch wheels, too. Call it an XL 29er in front of your biker friends and you'll get knowing nods.

As for the Model 3, it has an all-glass roof. All 3s built so far have one. It's part of the Premium Upgrades package, an option that is mandatory until further notice. Point is, the glass roof spans all the way to the seam where it meets the body sides, leaving no room for the kind of hidden rack receptacles you see on many other roofs. The owner's manual hints at the future existence of a Tesla accessory rack, but it hasn't yet hit the market. I can only imagine what it might mount to.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Introduction

by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

2017 Tesla Model 3

When we last left off in the 2017 Tesla Model 3 ordering process on December 20, 2017, I thought we'd be waiting four weeks for our car to be ready. But things went faster than anticipated. Before we get to the car's official introduction details, here's the rest of its order and delivery backstory.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Ordering Process and Timeline

by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

2017 Tesla Model 3

What is it like to order a Tesla? How does it feel to be on the cutting edge of electric car technology? The short answer is that it's a day of excitement, followed by a wait of many months as news and rumors trickle out.

As the designated car buyer for Edmunds' long-term cars, I went through the process of ordering our 2017 Tesla Model 3 and kept a diary of events, much as I did for the Model X. Here's what has happened so far.

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2017 Tesla Model 3: Pre-Introduction

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Tesla Model 3

The Buying Process Has Begun
We're doing something different. We have not yet taken delivery of what will be a 2017 Tesla Model 3 sedan, but the pre-ownership experience has just passed a critical milestone and we thought you'd want to follow along. As you can see, we have recently received an invitation to configure our Tesla Model 3 and begin the actual buying process.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests