2 years ago I went through Tesla delivery hell to get my Model 3. Through a hilarious turn of events, that led to Tesla giving me control of their forums, with access to 1.5 million accounts. You can read about that saga here.
In the end, Tesla paid me a $1,000 bounty for reporting the forums issue. My local store also gave me free lifetime LTE data, 2 full car servicings, and a Tesla home charging wall connector as compensation for the delivery issues.
I’ve had my Tesla Model 3 for 2 years now and some DDF members have asked me to update how it’s going. Is it worth the $37.9K (before state incentives, the $7.5K federal incentive I got is now long gone) to buy one?
Things certainly haven’t been flawless for me since my original delivery issues and the ensuing forums hilarity.
Last year, Tesla replaced my driver’s seat twice after they had squeaking issues. They also had to replace the seatbelt that was damaged when they replaced the seat and they replaced the steering wheel that had some loose stitches. Those services were completed via Tesla Mobile Service at my house, so it was all fairly convenient.
The full self drive mode is nowhere near what Elon had promised it would be doing by now. Yet, the price on that feature keeps going up and is now an insane $10,000. They are beta testing a more robust full self drive mode, but I haven’t been invited to that as of yet. As I paid $3,000 for my full self driving, Tesla did upgrade my car’s computer and loaned me a Model S while they made that upgrade. The Model S loaner felt ancient and drove like a boat compared to my Model 3, which made me happy to have the Model 3. The jury is still out as to whether Tesla can deliver on the promise that their cars will be able to earn passive income for owners by driving people around with no driver, but the new full self drive beta test does look neat.
One upgrade I certainly don’t regret, given that I live in snowy Cleveland, is the dual motor/all wheel drive. The car performs marvelously in the snow. I did not splurge for the pricey performance version of the car as it comes with 20″ wheels that do not perform well in the winter and are miserable on potholes.
I also ran into issues with my promised free lifetime LTE when the system required a credit card payment. At first Tesla offered to send me a monthly check to cover the cost of the service, but they said that would end if I sold the car. Then, Tesla decided to send me a $520 check to cover the cost of 4 years of LTE service and promised further checks after 4 years, but still said the payments would end if I sold the car. Tesla released a feature called Acceleration Boost for $2,000 which I asked for as compensation for these issues. They countered by offering to reduce the cost of that upgrade by 50%, which I turned down, but in the end that feature was somehow enabled on my car anyway without paying for it, making the ridiculously fast acceleration even faster than it was previously. Shortly after that, they finally were able to correctly configure my car to have lifetime LTE. Go figure.
Thanks to referring people to Tesla I also got perks like a Kids Model S, priority software updates, a Tesla unveiling, driving the Boring Machine underground, and a free reservation with a hefty purchase price discount on the future Roadster. I also got a set of forged performance wheels for the Model 3, which I sold off for a few thousand dollars to someone who drove in from Chicago to pick them up! Alas the referral program only gives free supercharging these days. My Boring machine reward is still vaporware with no estimated date when I can actually use it.
Maya enjoying her Model S:
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The craziest thing about the car though is that it’s significantly better than the day I got it. That’s the opposite of just about every other tech item and certainly every other car out there. Every week it gets a software update that gives it new features.
Since I got the car, it now has Sentry Mode to protect the car and records dashcam video, it has a new “hold” driving mode that makes driving and braking a true pleasure, it can charge faster, it can detect stop signs and lights, it gives a chime when the light or even the turning arrow turns green, it can play all sorts of arcade games, it has more remote controls available via the app, it has more functions available via voice control, it has more media options, etc.
They even added some features I suggested via Twitter like the option to have the car autolock when you’re not at home and not autolock when at home, and the ability to watch Sentry Mode and Dashcam clips from the car’s screen.
And then there’s the driving itself, which is even more than the day I got it as it’s faster than ever. Pressing down on the “gas” truly feels like the launch of a rocketship! Thrilling like nothing I’ve ever experienced before!
I’ve taken the Tesla on road trips and the difference between it and a conventional car is just astounding. The standard Tesla autopilot functionality means that you arrive at your destination without feeling fatigued. Sure, you need to pay attention to the road, but it allows your brain to relax and arrive in a completely different state of mind than in a regular car. The supercharging network means you won’t have any sort of electric range anxiety. I just wish they made an affordable minivan so that I could take the family on a road trip without the driving fatigue!
Perhaps best of all, I never have to search for lost keys again thanks to the incredible Tesla app.
No matter what car I rent when on the road these days, it feels like I just traded in my Galaxy Note10 for a Motorola StarTAC or my Model 3 for a horse and buggy.
Plus, there are practically no maintenance costs!
Despite service which can be downright frustrating, there’s no doubt that electric cars are the future.
Other companies may eventually figure out that secret sauce and have better service, but Tesla truly has a massive lead over everyone else. Clearly the market agrees, Tesla’s stock is up 1,100% since I got my car in October 2018, which has more than paid for my car 😀
Do you own a Tesla? Share your thoughts in the comments!