May 20, 2022

Five things I don’t like about my Tesla Model 3

I’ve had my Tesla Model 3 now for about a month, and done about 1,900 kms in it. Overall I’m still enjoying owning it and the honeymoon period hasn’t quite worn off yet. However, there are a few things about this car that I don’t like, and I’m happy to be pretty open and honest about them:

  1. The in-built navigation is not up to par. There is no way to create a route with multiple way points; rather you have to put in your first destination, then once you get there, put in your next one and so on. Given the tech available in the car, it would be so easy to create a function (armchair programmer hat on) where you store your roadtrip route and it picks up where you left off when you are ready to continue. This is all made worse because you are stuck with the car’s in-built navigation as there is no Apple Carplay or Android Auto integration.
  2. Third party charging points aren’t in the default system and you can’t manually precondition. What I mean by this is when you go into map mode, and select charging, it will show you the superchargers and some Tesla destination chargers. However, it won’t show you any third party chargers, fast chargers or otherwise. More annoyingly, the car will therefore not pre-condition its battery (that is heat it up to optimise charge speed) unless you are navigating to one of those Tesla chargers, which means the first 20 minutes of your charge at a third-party one will be slow. Please Tesla, if you’re not going to partner with the third-party networks to get them on your system, please at least give us a manual battery pre-conditioning switch (just like we have for climate control).
  3. The car is loud. I know people harp on how about how great it is to have a completely silent EV, but that is only true of the Model 3 on a smooth road and under 80 km/h. Over this, and particularly on the hard-wearing coarse-chip style bitumen we get on country roads in Australia, the car is seriously noisy, to the point where it becomes difficult to have a conversation without raising your voice quite significantly, and the stereo becomes hard to hear. It is not just because you can’t hear the engine that everything else feels louder. The cars NVH is not up to par with most other mainstream cars, let alone luxury marques’.
  4. The sound system is underwhelming. Maybe I’m getting old or my ears are just weird. I don’t like the sound system set up in the SR+ model (the LR/P might be different). The soundbar is a cool set-up in the front, but the sound coming out feels too forward biased – I feel like I would enjoy it coming from the side of me as well. The cabin also doesn’t feel well acoustically set up…it’s almost echoey? (You can tell I am totally NOT an audiophile here.) I’ve adjusted the EQ and it sounds a bit better, but sometimes the sound still comes across tinny. Perhaps I don’t know what is wrong with it, but I know I don’t like it that much. It’s much better in the back though.
  5. You do need to optimise for range limiting what you can do with the car. And let me caveat this by saying I fully knew what I was getting into with an EV and that I am nitpicking here. In Australia at least, the charging infrastructure is still not perfect and it does mean you need to be more aware of where you are going, and also what you are carrying. For example, we went down to Portsea on the edge of the Mornington Peninsula this weekend which is about 110 kms from where we are. The trip itself was fine, with range declining from 90% to 30% there and back which is not bad. But had I wanted to install a bike rack or cargo box on the top, or even wanted to go for a side trip somewhere, it may have required some time in ABRP to work out the right route. Perhaps the LR version would have solved this for me, but this is not a long or unusual trip in Australia at all.

The good news is 3 of the 5 of the these can be resolved over time through software updates or ecosystem changes. The other two (NVH and sound system) I might just have to live with.

Take care,

NG

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