2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for February 2018
by Jason Kavanagh, Senior Road Test Engineer
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.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In February, the Model 3 traveled 1,690 miles and sat on the charger 16 times. As mentioned last month, we use the Normal range mode as often as possible, which is Tesla's recommendation. Only two of February's charges were in Max range mode.
Ten of the Tesla's 16 charges were done in our parking garage using our high-power wall connector. The remaining six charges were on Superchargers to the tune of $28.20 for the month. As for energy consumption, here's how February penciled out:
Current odometer: 2,922 miles
Average lifetime consumption: 30.9 kWh/100 miles (108.7 miles per gallon equivalent)
EPA consumption rating: 27 kWh/100 combined (126 mpge)
Best fill: 25.6 kWh/100 (131.5 mpge)
We're consuming energy at a rate roughly 14 percent higher than the EPA estimate.
Maintenance and Upkeep
February was also the first month our Model 3 visited the dealer for the repairs described last month. We received a call from the Tesla service center that our parts had arrived and drove over to drop off the car. When we arrived, however, we were told that only some of the parts had arrived.
Slightly annoyed, we wheeled the Model 3 out of the Tesla service center and headed back to the office. Within five minutes, the Model 3's touchscreen blacked out again. By our current count, the screen has crashed 15 times, and a few of these occurred after the latest over-the-air update (version 2018.4).
In the following days, we received three calls from the Tesla service center saying our parts had arrived. But these calls seemed to originate from the parts department, so we wised up and asked to be connected to the service writer. The service writer, in turn, told us to hold off bringing the car in until we received a call from him confirming that all the parts were in.
tl;dr — maybe Tesla's service center will be ready for us in March.
Also, you might notice that some of the photos of our Model 3 show it rolling on 19-inch wheels instead of its original 18-inchers. In February we swapped out the wheels and tires to quantify the impact on performance and range and to see the effect, if any, on the ride quality. We'll post a stand-alone piece on the results of that test in the coming weeks.
"I love adaptive cruise control. The ability to consistently maintain the distance to the car in front is such a blessing. When there's a slight uphill and the vehicle in front crests the hill, however, the Model 3's adaptive cruise thinks that there's no vehicle present and speeds up! It made for a close call for me. Luckily, I was able to jump on the brakes fast enough to avoid hitting the rear of the vehicle in front. Yikes. A good reminder that no technology is perfect; you still have a responsibility to control your vehicle." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"The Model 3 definitely steers and handles better than, well, any other EV, frankly. Feels more satisfying to drive than a Bolt, Leaf, etc. The ride's a bit too busy, however, in a way that makes me think they need to make another pass at the damping. It's not harsh, but it's not spot-on, either. Still, thumbs-up for making an EV that doesn't mind a fun road." — Jason Kavanagh, senior road test engineer
"Not loving the one-screen-to-do-everything approach. It inherently requires much 'glance time' to use. Try operating the Model 3's wipers, cruise, headlights, climate control, etc., without looking at the controls. Now do the same thing in any other car. Guess which one requires less (or zero) time spent with your eyes averted from the road. Hard controls exist for a reason, people." — Jason Kavanagh
"The Model 3 charges really fast at Superchargers. Its 420 'miles per hour' peak rate is way quicker than the Model S or X rate. Why? It's a more efficient vehicle for a given unit of electricity, so the recharging rate will appear faster from a miles perspective even if it isn't any faster from a kWh perspective. The charging rate peters out as the battery fills, naturally, but I feel confident in saying that no Model S (you can forget about the X entirely) can beat a Model 3 in an L.A.-to-NYC cross-country race. I bet each stop would be 5-10 minutes quicker in the Model 3. Multiply this by a dozen stops and you'd win by an hour or two." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"Supercharger-ing costs money, but in California, it's only 20 cents per kWh — a good bit less than I would pay at home. The rates are not uniform across the country, so lower rates will probably be found in states with cheaper electricity. But I've charged at four different locations in SoCal, and it's 20 cents everywhere I've checked. The cool part is that we can log in to our Tesla account to get a receipt, and that receipt includes data that lets us measure Supercharger consumption and charging losses. Never had that with our S or X." — Dan Edmunds