Podcast ep. #2-How I chose the Tesla Model 3 (part 1)

Hello and welcome to the Electric Vehicle Experience, this is our second episode.

If you haven’t watched the first one you can go ahead and check it out and you’ll get to know more about me.

If you already listened to the first one and know a bit about me, today you’ll get to know how I got to choose the Tesla Model 3. You might be surprised that I was actually planning on going for a diesel car, again.

Despite me being more and more keen on electric vehicles, in 2019 I was still considering going for a diesel Honda Civic.

In the EV realm, I really liked the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia eNiro. The eNiro looked like a great car with many qualities but not exactly my cup of tea. It’s the kind of car I’d easily recommend but crossovers and SUVs are something that… I get why people buy them but they’re not a passion of mine.

The Ioniq was closer to my personal tastes but not exactly there. Being a hatch instead of an SUV or crosser helped and the superb efficiency was a big pro. The refreshed version in 2019 brought improvements like a better infotainment system and a bigger battery but, to my great disappointment, the charging speed was actually considerably slower than before.

Before the facelift it would reach 69kW and the new version would peak at 44kW. We now had a bigger battery that would provide more range but would charge much more slowly.

As much as I liked the Ioniq, being stuck at 44kW (at best) seemed pretty bad in 2021.

I was inside both of them and tried test-driving both but for different reasons, they weren’t available.

And then, of course, there was the Model 3. I really, really, really liked this car and after the test drive, I was sold.

How did I end up doing the test drive?

Well, a bit by chance, really.

Somewhere around the beginning of July 2020, I came to know about a Tesla Tour that was going to take place in some cities here in Portugal where they were showing the Model 3 with the opportunity to test drive it. I decided to go and register.

About two weeks later, I test-drove a dark grey Model 3 Performance and I loved it.

But I was having conflicting thoughts.

I really loved those 20-inch wheels and for that price, there was no car with comparable power, by a long shot. But such big wheels come at a price, with a very very low-profile tire.

When the road is perfect, it’s fine. But when it’s not or even has big potholes, you can damage the tire or even the tire and the wheel at the same time.

I then noticed that some Youtubers had damaged their Performance 20-inch wheels and even more were not using them anymore, they opted for smaller 19-inch or even 18-inch aftermarket wheels.

I had fitted an optional sports suspension to my previous car and I’ve always heard that the Model 3 was a bit on the firmer side. And although it felt softer than my previous car at the time, yes, it was firm. I wanted a car that drove a little less… nervous.

For that reason, I thought that the 18-inch wheels were the best opinion. I’d say that they’re the best in everything except one matter: looks. The extra amount of tire sidewall between the rim and the road provides less chance of damaging the wheel, more comfort for the passengers, less road noise, and better efficiency.

Remember that it’d be my first EV so all the range I could get was welcome. By the way, 18-inch inch tires are also more affordable and there are more tire models available.

What about colors? Well, there were 5 to choose from: white (which was standard), the optional black, dark grey, and dark blue. And there was even another optional one, more expensive, which was the multilayer red.

White and black were excluded right from the start. I’m not the biggest fan of white cars and black cars look great when you have just washed them but after that, they clearly show off any dust or dirt. They are also tougher to live with during summertime.

Grey… I like it but my previous car was dark grey and I wanted a change. Besides that, I felt that the car would look too grey as both the 18-inch wheels and aero caps were also dark grey.

Then there comes blue and red. I like them both but I liked blue better and red would cost almost twice. The two reasons together helped to make the decision. At the time both red and blue were pretty rare on the roads here in Portugal.

So… the decision was made… or was it?

Although the idea of buying was a bit put to the side because of the pandemic, lockdowns, and restrictions to driving outside my city, the decision to go for a dark blue Long Range cemented fast.

Eventually, I did a 2nd test drive – Yes, I tested a Model 3 again. Why?

For the longest time, we heard that Teslas had insufficient sound insulation and poor build quality. At the time I heard that the Model 3 had gotten some improvements in those regards. I was also curious to test one with 18-inch wheels and see the overall comfort levels on highway driving. The previous test was on urban areas.

In the next episode, I’ll tell you how that went.

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Thank you for listening and I’ll talk to you soon