2017 Tesla Model 3: Monthly Update for March 2018
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager
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.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In March, our Model 3 covered 1,015 miles over nine charges, seven done at Edmunds' high-power wall charger and the other two at standard 240-volt stations. Our month's energy consumption stats follow:
Current odometer: 3,937 miles
Average lifetime consumption: 31.7 kWh/100 miles (106.4 miles per gallon equivalent)
EPA consumption rating: 27 kWh/100 combined (126 mpge)
Best fill: 25.6 kWh/100 (131.5 mpge)
Our average kilowatt-hours used per 100 miles increased from the previous month's 30.9 kWh/100 miles, meaning we're driving less efficiently. This is 17.4 percent higher than the EPA's estimated consumption, which is atypical of EVs (other than Teslas) we've previously tested.
Maintenance and Upkeep
When we took delivery of our Model 3, there were a few items broken or damaged at the outset. This month we had several of them fixed or replaced at no cost. The repairs included a cracked driver vanity mirror (goodwill), broken trim on the driver seat bottom (warranty), a broken front passenger seat adjuster (warranty), driver-side door trim by the speaker (warranty), and front passenger-side door trim (warranty).
The service center also replaced our front stabilizer bar links due to a service bulletin warning of the possibility of the ball joint studs cracking.
"Just updated the software last night. The wiper function has been improved. I like the new setup with four speed settings and an auto mode. The auto mode is also less erratic." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"Seems like the unlock door function takes a little while to get going right after a software update. Even though the phone app was on and I had the key card with me, the door would not unlock until after I restarted the phone app. Once I did that, the car audibly fired up (I heard the soft humming of the power unit) and the doors unlocked." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"I haven't yet worked up the courage to leave the Model 3 key card at home and rely solely on the 'key' stored in my phone. The walk-up unlock/walk-away lock feature works only on occasion, and usually when you're not intending to go anywhere. Stand near the car and it will sometimes continue to lock and unlock itself until you move out of key proximity. Trusting that the car is going to lock when you walk out of Bluetooth range is another thing. I often just use the key card to lock it manually; that way there's no question. I'm probably better off disabling my phone key at this point since it causes more headaches than it is a convenience." — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager
"I really appreciate the Model 3's sound system. I'm no audiophile, but it sounds really clear. It works well with all the music I listen to and doesn't distort." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"On today's episode of 'Adventures in Model 3 Land,' we find out what it takes to remove a wheel. It turns out that's not an easy thing to do. We recently received a set of 19-inch factory wheels and summer tires from Tesla in order to do some back-to-back evaluation with our stock 18-inch wheels with all-season tires. Looking underneath the car for the proper spot to place the jack, I found a few holes that looked like jacking points, but they were very small and nearly flush with the body. It didn't appear like any standard jack would fit, so I rummaged through the Model 3's frunk and trunk areas for anything resembling an adapter. Nothing. A quick online search turned this up.
"Like a mine technician trying to clear a field, the tiny jack points are surrounded by a sea of red 'do NOT jack' points. There is no adapter that comes with the car, likely because Tesla would prefer to have any repair or maintenance work, including wheel removals, done at a Tesla service center. There are third-party companies making adapters such as this, which is something even the basic do-it-yourselfer may want to invest in." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"A 19-inch upgraded performance wheel-and-tire combo only weighs 1 pound more than our stock 18-inch combo. That's pretty cool, and worth it." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"I'm with others on the subpar performance of Enhanced Autopilot. This weekend I experienced a couple fails. One was the system failing to recognize that it changed lanes around a slight bend in the highway. It kept wanting to travel over another lane. The second was not recognizing a car in the adjacent lane, and it nearly pulled a [jerk] maneuver on my behalf when I asked it for a lane change in autosteer mode. The moral here is you can't yet trust this system to do all the thinking for you because you never know what it's going to do, or not do, next." — Jonathan Elfalan
"Had to pick up a couple sets of king-size bed slats. At the purchase counter I hesitated a bit after I saw how long the boxes were since I wasn't sure they'd fit in the Model 3. Turns out they fit with zero issue, and might've even accommodated the longer Cal-King-length slats. That's pretty awesome." — Jonathan Elfalan