Tesla Model 3
Here's my view of having gone electric to a Tesla model 3. Do not cut or quote this on the main OVO site or anywhere else without my consent please!
If anyone has any Tesla questions I'm more than happy to try and answer what I can!
Buying my Tesla
I put a deposit down at the start of 2019 and took delivery in September, without actually seeing one in person before then! It was quite risky if I didn’t like it but all of the reviews I read before then were great. Tesla were also offering a seven day free returns period if you drove less than 1000 miles and didn’t like the car, which was reassuring.
I did research online, mainly through YouTube watching clips from America as the car hadn’t arrived over here yet. There’s also loads of online reviews and if there was anything in particular you wanted to find out you can ask from real owners in Forums and owners groups.
When researching I’d seen the Tesla Model S and Model X but they were too large and expensive for me. However, when the Model 3 launched the timing was right with needing to change my old car and I was looking for something a bit more fun to drive.
The Tesla software system in the car is absolutely amazing. They’re continuously improving and rolling out updates to your car all the time.
Major updates I’ve had so far include things like Dashcam and Sentry mode, where 4 of the cameras are used to record videos covering most angles of the car when you’re driving it or when it’s parked. There’s also Pin to drive which uses Bluetooth from my phone as the car key but now has the option to add a manual pin code before you drive to help reduce thefts, with a similar update for access to the glovebox added last week. Everything is displayed on a big widescreen in the centre of the car and you can even use it to watch Netflix and play games when it’s parked.
The app is also great as it allows the ability to control most things like honking the horn to closing the windows. It’s able to save all of your settings like seat position, mirror settings, steering wheel adjustment etc. on your profile which it recognises from Bluetooth on your phone when you get in the car and the speakers in the sound system are fantastic.
There’s a lot of storage as it has extra areas to put things under the boot and under the bonnet (as there’s no engine there).
All EVs are automatic which is great for me and the performance is also there when you want it, without any lag, whilst also having one of the best 5* safety ratings. It’s really cheap to run as I plug it in at home and so has also been great not having to go to a petrol station to fill up.
The car was more expensive to buy but overall I’ve definitely saved money by having an EV:
Maintenance costs – Road tax is free and as there’s no oil changes and less moving bits, service costs are much cheaper as well. Things like brake wear is also less as there’s regenerative braking which means you’ll have to change the brakes less often and also the car gets less dirty from brake dust.
Fuel – There are also a lot of supermarkets or places where you can charge for free and from home it costs hardly anything to fill up the whole battery, whereas filling up my old car costed about £75. Even if I assume that I would have double the range from the old car, I’m still saving a lot.
Insurance – Unfortunately there aren’t as many insurers offering cover for EVs as typical cars, however the price I ended up paying after shopping around was similar to if it had been a non-EV.
Depreciation – It’s held its value astonishingly well, definitely much better than a comparative petrol or diesel car would have done if I do come to sell it.
Using my Tesla
I did use it to commute to work and back in my old job but now it’s just used for visiting friends and family, going to the supermarket and UK based holidays.
I have heard some people use them to go camping in as there is a dedicated mode which keeps the aircon on and you can put the back seats down, fit in a double mattress and stare through the glass roof into the stars…
Main issues with having an EV are Rapid chargers – Tesla have one of the best networks for rapid charging on the go where you just stop off and plug in. The car’s charged in about 20 mins or so and communicates with the Supercharger to sort out billing, but if you don’t have a Tesla or aren’t near a Tesla Supercharger the other options aren’t quite as easy.
There are a lot of different companies which all have their own different apps or fobs and aren’t as well maintained or reliable. Using apps like zapmap or plugshare are good to show where the best chargers are, but you still need to have the other apps installed to communicate with the charger to sort out billing. A new law was passed to help this issue which required all new chargers to accept contactless card payment but it doesn’t apply to existing chargers.
Fortunately I don’t often travel more than 300 miles, but when I have there have been enough options that I’m able to charge quite easily. However if you need to use a rapid charger it’s often a good idea to plan your journey with a backup option in case you need it.
After going electric I don’t think that I could every go back to an old petrol or diesel car and I’ve convinced my dad to get the fully electric Kia E-Niro rather than the plugin hybrid he was considering. Try shopping around for cheap electricity rates as you’ll be using a lot more.
If you have any questions about EVs or Tesla feel free to send me an email, I’m happy to talk about them all day long!
Some urban myths I usually get asked about include:
You’re stuck if it stops working – Most EVs come with a seven year warranty, for the battery and powertrain, which is longer than most cars. They also have fewer components to go wrong, so are generally more reliable.
There’s not enough range – It’s less than you’d currently get in a petrol or diesel car but I can get over 300 miles from mine. Also, if you’re driving that far then you probably want to stop at some services along the way which usually have a fast charger.
It won’t do the claimed range – the range will be less in winter but still reasonably close if you’re driving sensibly.
Charging is very slow – There are so many different charging options and not all of them are slow. The slowest is using a normal 3 pin plug and does take many hours to charge, however you can just plug in and leave it (which I did before I got my charge point installed which is now 3 times faster). If you do need super-fast charging then DC chargers like the Tesla Supercharger are much faster than this and will charge your car in about 20 mins, which was quicker than I could grab a sandwich and coffee at the services on my last trip!
What do you do if it runs out of charge – The car will display how much charge you have left when you’re driving and mine even reroutes me via a charger if it thinks that I might not get somewhere I put on the satnav.
They’re dangerous because they accelerate too fast – most of us tend to drive reasonably sensibly