This past Sunday, I got my first chance to ride in Tesla's Model 3, the company's most affordable electric cars.
Once I loaded my luggage into the trunk and stepped inside, I immediately noticed how spacious the car was - especially in the back seat, where the sloping roof gives the impression of a much roomier car.
My wife mentioned to the driver that I had always been interested in the Model 3, so my gracious driver said I could ask him anything I wanted. (He may have regretted that.) So on our drive back from the airport, we spent the next 15 minutes or so talking about the various high and low points of owning a Model 3. I feel like I took a lot out of that brief car ride, so I wanted to share some of what I learned.
It can take about 30 to 45 minutes to recharge your car at a Supercharger station — but it's faster and usually best to charge your car to about 80% instead of the full 100%.
When the car is fully stopped, you can play games, or activate a digital fireplace to set the mood right.
Our Lyft driver said he uses the Autopilot feature "all the time," but that it's really ideal for the highway.
The map on the in-car display can show you the immediate area, or the entire country — and you can see every single Supercharger station quickly and easily. (There are a lot of them!)
Our driver liked having his touchscreen display default to showing rear-camera footage of the area around his car. It's a smart idea — so you can actually see your blind spots.
I asked my Lyft driver if there was anything he didn't like about owning a Model 3. He said the car is pretty much perfect, but mentioned a delay when it comes to unlocking your car. He said with your smartphone, or with the physical key card, it can take about 5 to 8 seconds for your car to register you're there, and unlock the door. That feels like a long time.
Even though you can use your phone as a key for the car, our driver suggested always carrying around the physical key in case your phone dies.
Tesla's algorithms will estimate you how much battery you'll have left when you arrive at your destination — and it's incredibly accurate.
The Model 3 takes longer to charge when it's cold outside.
My driver said he has his break alert set to turn on early, which is helpful for catching things he doesn't see, and has saved him from rear-ending.