First of all I’d like to say I have a huge respect for the guys at Tesla Motors. They grew (with investments of course, but that’s not the point) on a simple idea of a better electric car and looking at their progress, I think they have a bright future ahead of them.
That said, I don’t see many reasons for all the hype around their Model 3 launch. While it may be as good as they say, but it’s just too early for “epic intros” in Apple style (see their recent presentation). First of all they don’t have what it takes for really big production volumes so if you ordered your Model 3 today, chances are you’ll probably get to drive it in 2-3 years and that’s a life of a modern sedan. You may argue that it’s not, but many people nowadays just use the car for 3 years while on warranty, then trade-in for the next model.
Another problem with Tesla products is what I call “beta-test” for your money. They can claim whatever they want about having the cars tested in various conditions, but nothing beats what real consumers face in their daily lives. There are stories all over the Internet about different problems, from automatic doors that open and hit cars parked next to them to fires breaking out after a collision on some models and so on, list is huge. It’s a normal process, by the way, but one has to really understand, that in terms of EVERYTHING except those fancy engines, Tesla in decades behind most decent car manufacturers. They can claim whatever they like about safety and tech they use, but facts are facts.
First, we have rolled out an over-the-air update to the air suspension that will result in greater ground clearance at highway speeds. To be clear, this is about reducing the chances of underbody impact damage, not improving safety.
When they have to adjust air suspension through their firmware on cars that are already on public roads to increase ground clearance and reduce the chance of collision impact under the car… well, you know it’s not right. And it is just one example, do some googling of Tesla cars problems – you’ll find lots of such stuff. Tesla is still a car for enthusiast and will be for years.
And how do you feel about you car going up in flames after a collision? Problem solved on consumer cars ages ago, unless you severely damage the tank, but in Tesla case we’re talking about stuff like this:
I’m not trying to say that it’s a bad car, after all, they’re pretty much pioneering this stuff, first time in history the electro-car is for real, you know what I mean? No one took those previous “toy” cars seriously. My concern here is that it might be just a bigger version.
I’m not a fan of the interior either. Having everything on one touchscreen is pretty stupid. There are folks who drive around with an iPad strapped to their torpedo and on Tesla Model 3 it looks like those folks wet dream. It looks awful and really stupid. The thing glows in the dark OMG. Imagine the night driving. And it’s not AMOLED either as far as I know, so no true black for your dark background, it will still glow like… well, like a huge glowing thing. You know I have a Mazda 6, restyled 2015 (or 16?) version with a touch pad for part of the controls like radio and lights and nav and calls and so on, it’s pretty handy actually, but at least I got fast buttons and knobs for climate, phone, voice control, volume and other important things and some buttons even duplicate the touchpad’s functionality and I can press and turn all this stuff without even looking – hard to image you’ll be able to do it all with a touchpad that is the size of a small TV, yet everything is clumped on it to show you all the cool stuff at once. And obviously – it’s just easier to find the right button and only THEN press it with your hand (and eyes on the road) than to try to find something on a flat screen without looking. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s the way to go. I’m not anti-tech or anti-progress, I’m just anti-stupid-stuff. If it proves to be good and safe – well I’ll be happy to say I was wrong, but for now it looks like just a fancy gadget to draw potential buyers.
As for the exterior… well, I’ll just say that it looks like old Toyota Celica and Porsche 911 had a baby.
Maybe I’ll add some more thoughts to this article later.