Tesla 3 owner’s review

Keren Schlomy, an environmental law expert here in Cambridge, wrote on Facebook…

I was asked how I like my Tesla 3. This is how I replied:

Imagine meeting a prospective partner on a dating site. Or mail order bride. Their picture is really hot. They write about all the things they can do and how they’d love to do them with you. You are interested but it turns out they need a lot more money than originally promised to come be with you.

They arrive and are as beautiful as they look, but you find it is a fragile beauty. Their paint is easily pocked by the littlest nits of daily driving. You wish you had invested in that expensive ceramic coat protector product right up front but you didn’t. Now she (our car is named Joules) doesn’t look so hot. She tells you she’s too fragile to take a shower, you have to wash her by hand every time if you don’t want to damage her looks even more.

She said she could go all the way, whenever you wanted, wherever you wanted. But you learn that is not true. You were hoping she could keep you warm on cold winter days and nights, and she can, but only if you let her stay in bed. If you want her to go all the way she is cold to you, or makes you stop and juice her up before she will get you there.

She’s a fast ride, as promised, but take her out if the city and she’s just a little buggy. She promised smooth cruising but she’s a distracted driver and brakes frequently and unexpectedly to look at the scenery. Sometimes she doesn’t know where she is and thinks the highway speed limit is 30 and won’t go faster, so you frequently assume control. And she is easily blinded by the sun or reflections. If she is blinded in front or on the sides she refuses to cruise control, even if on a highway in the middle of cruising, so be prepared to take over.

She’s a showhorse but it’s difficult to get her to do basic things like wipe her windows or change her temperature. She demands you look at her and won’t let you do it by feeling her up. In fact, there is nothing to feel up. No tactile experience of knobs, dials or buttons. And she demands you look at her several times instead of the road to get her to change her behavior.

Her profile said she could drive herself on the highway but she seems to be missing knowledge and it’s scary to let her do so, be ready to take control back any time. She said she could park herself, but in the real world she’s not so good at it. If you want her to fit in a tight space and not damage herself or others, it’s best to do it yourself. In fact, a lot of things she said she could do herself .. well let’s say her résumé is inflated.

You have to really love her to forgive all of this. Me, I learned to live with her but if she wanted me to bring her sister home I wouldn’t do it. Maybe her older brother, but he doesn’t come cheap.


8 thoughts on “Tesla 3 owner’s review

  1. Electric vehicles for everyone else but we’ll take gas, preaches the environmental law expert. You’d think she’d preach about it being a friggin zero emissions vehicle. Most of the complaining applies to all cars. They all turn to junk, get scratched in carwashes, shed their clearcoat. It’s like listening to democrats complain about how high their taxes are.

  2. I’m surprised to read about the fragility of the paint. California law notwithstanding, one would think that given the price, how image-conscious Musk is, and how this car is supposed to impress the masses and convince them to make the switch, Tesla would do everything in its power to make sure the paint keeps looking great without a lot of fuss. Having to wash a daily driver by hand every time just to protect the paint from damage is a dumb on a lot of levels. If the owner/evangelist has to apologize for the flaky paint job, it defeats the purpose. Part of owning a Tesla is supposed to be the “look at me!” aspect.

    Having a heater that doesn’t work well in cold weather isn’t very good either. Even if it takes several kilowatts to do it, that should have been a priority. What’s the point of having one of these when the neighbor’s Toyota Corolla Hybrid can do a better job, probably with better paint (I like the Classic Silver Metallic) for under $24 grand? The hybrid gets 53/52 est. mpg., and you can get the gas-powered model as a hatchback (way convenient) for under $25 grand with a 168 horsepower engine.


    • I also see that Tesla offers a Model S/X/3 Paint Repair Kit, so they understand that their paint sucketh:

      “This new paint system is a two stage process of applying paint to cover the defect and then blending the excess paint to smooth the finish. This process can be repeated multiple times to build layers of paint and fill in chips of varying depth per the desired results.”


      Uh huh, OK. I’d rather not. And if you need major repairs, I hope you can find a paint shop that understands Tesla’s water-based pain process and can match it up.

      This fellow tested the paint repair kit, and it sucketh, too:


      Granted, the Tesla is AWD but it also weighs more than 2 tons (4,036 lbs.) Man, that’s a heavy little car, even though it carries its weight low. The Corolla Hybrid LE weighs in at 2850. On the plus side, I guess the Tesla is very structurally robust and safe. It had better be with a 162 mile per hour top speed.

      I don’t know. I guess you’ve got to really like it and be into it, and then you’ll put up with the quirks, rationalize the eccentricities, and rhapsodize the stuff you dig, as is true with most things that appeal to people looking for something different.

  3. On the plus side, if she’s got kids she can play a game my friends play called “use the Summon feature in your child’s elementary school parking lot and see how long you can wait before the car does something dangerous and you hit Panic”.

    I’m not recommending this game, just reporting its existence.

    Also, I’m told the heater works fine… Oh, wait, she’s not trying to drive it outside of northern California, is she?

    • Steve: My friend who recently bought one is now Facebragging about the ability to schedule a warm-up to 70 degrees every weekday morning at 7:40 am when the kids must be driven to school (saving the planet is not compatible with putting children on a school bus). I asked “Isn’t your garage heated in that palazzo?” and the answer turned out to be yes, to 55 degrees. In other words, the big excitement was the car warming itself up from 55 to 70.

  4. Tesla has the build quality matching what other companies did in 60’s & 70’s and apparently some people love them, just like some like oldtimers.

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