Robin Gierse
Linux Enthusiast

Today I enjoyed

Tesla Model 3

4 min read

I am not a car person, far from it. But as I mentioned in a former post, I treated myself to a Tesla Model 3 for my trip to Starbase. And after covering quite some miles with the vehicle, I thought, I'd share my experience. This is far from a professional or even just objective review (which would be far too late to be relevant anyway), but just my personal impression.

As I never drove an electric car before, some of the aspects are certainly not specific to a Tesla and as it was a rental, I did not use the app, so I cannot speak to that experience as well. But boy did I like the driving experience itself. Pushing the pedal to the metal and just feeling the electric motors propel the vehicle forward is amazing, especially if you are at a red light on a highway, where you can actually accelerate to a relevant final speed. I also liked the recuperation brake, which takes literally only minutes to get used to, but once you did, you do not want to miss it. I rarely even had to use the conventional brake, as the recuperation brake brought the car to a stop just when I needed it to stop.

One thing, that I am indifferent about though, are the support systems. Sometimes I really liked the little helpers, for example making me aware of a red light turning green, or a car in front of me suddenly braking. For the latter one, it also automatically braked, which made it pretty safe, even your attention slipped. But it also enabled a very smooth ride, if you set the speedometer and just stayed behind a car. The Tesla will then track their speed for you. But then again, sometimes the car would brake out of nowhere and I cannot figure out why most of the time. Only once did it tell me, that it reduced speed due to poor visibility. Or sometimes another car would enter the road, causing the Tesla to brake strongly, even if I saw the car and could tell, that there was plenty of space left, even without braking.

Regarding the (in)famous autopilot feature, I only tested it for a short while on one of those endless straight Texas highways, and it was a pretty good experience. But even if the car had not forced me to keep my hands on the wheel, I would not (yet) be comfortable letting the car do the driving. It was a very limited test in a very easy environment, mind you. As soon as other cars came into the equation, I felt way less comfortable with it.

What was actually a surprisingly pleasant experience, was the charging. I was driving from Houston down to Boca Chica, right at the Mexican border on the Gulf of Mexico and however long a single trip was, the Tesla always planned for a charging stop at a good time, giving me a short break to stretch my legs, drink something and get some air. And even when I stayed on South Padre Island and just drove rather short distances, it was never an inconvenience to find a Supercharger and refill the batteries within 30 minutes tops. You can charge longer, but Tesla recommends to charge when the battery is at around 20%, and they encourage you to charge only to 80% most of the time. And a Supercharger can stuff those 60% into the batteries in under 30 minutes.

To conclude: I do not know if I would want to own a Tesla, especially, as I am uncertain about the Supercharger situation in Germany, but: I loved the overall driving experience in Texas. It was good fun, I did not have any problems with the vehicle, and it got me wherever I wanted to go. So I can definitely recommend, taking a Tesla for a spin if you get a chance.