22 Mar

2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Review

Posted by Norman F

Last Update: 8/2/2018

Tesla Delivery Center – Fremont, CA

We recently received our Tesla Model 3 Long Range 2018 after a long wait.  We also own a Model S 70D, allowing us to get the 3 much earlier compared to the general public. Much has been written about this excellent electric car—instead of providing a more technical review, we will provide insight gleaned from daily driving this car in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Be sure to claim:

Tesla Fremont, California Delivery Center


Can you handle the Ludicrous Latte?


Our Tesla Model 3 Needs

  • Modern high tech car
  • Daily commute car 70 miles round trip
  • Green, save the world!
  • Get the newest toy

Model 3, S, X Accomplishments

  • Showed Electric Cars are easy to live with
  • Demonstrate their awesome performance and handling
  • Paradigm shift: Create a new software-based car platform
  • Over the air Updates to add new features
  • Autopilot and Future Autonomous capabilities

It is hard to start a new car company, let alone, one powered by alternative fuel. Tesla has achieved all this and more.  If they can produce the 3 in ample quantity, they will be very successful.

Differences between Model 3 and Model S

Having owned a Model S for 3 years, we found these differences.

  • Must Learn to glance in the middle
  • Screen is larger than we thought
  • Tesla App required for certain functions
  • Some functions require several clicks – IE open glove compartment
  • Interior roominess quite similar to an S
  • Steering wheel is smaller than S
  • Fewer button = lots of screen clicking,  multi function keys
  • Turn signals are operated differently
  • No wiper stalk control, Wipers default to automatic
  • Fit and finish appear excellent
  • Pay Per Use Supercharging
  • No factory deliveries, you need to schedule a Tour separately

Tesla Model 3 Quick Controls Screen

Tesla Model 3 GPS Map

Our Gray Tesla Model 3


Model 3 Factory Auto Pilot Settings

Interesting Notes

  • Autopilot is not enabled till the car drives roughly 60 miles (Calibration)
  • Autosteer needs to be manually enabled so you see the disclaimer
  • If you purchased the 3 for someone else, you can migrate it to a separate My Tesla account, 2 days after taking delivery
  • Aero wheels do not look as good in person but they are 5% more efficient. Panels may scratch up
  • The location had about 30 Model 3’s for delivery

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction

The amount of Greenhouse gas emissions that is connected to driving an electric car actually differs depending on where you live. Different power utilities employ different fuel for their power plants. The following list gives you a sample of how different the benefits of an electric car can be. The amount of money you save gas each year also varies depending on local electric utility rates. The Union of Concerned Scientists produced these statistics.

  • San Francisco, 79 mpg, Best emissions rating
  • Los Angeles, 79 mpg, Best emissions rating
  • Denver, 33 mpg, Good emissions rating
  • Chicago, 41 mpg, Better emissions rating
  • Houston, 46 mpg, Best emissions rating
  • New York, 74 mpg, Best emissions rating

As you can see, the benefits you receive depend on your particular location and can range widely. The amount of money you save on gas can vary from $1140 in San Francisco and Atlanta to only $840 in Washington DC.


No more Gas

No need to stop at gas stations. We save time every week by not having to fill up our tank at a gas station. No need to dash to the local gas station to fill up our tank, early in the morning! It takes a while to get used to this fact. Every night we just plug in the charger. Read more about how to install an Electric Car Charger. The only worry is forgetting to plug it in. Our gas station is now the power plug. A minor downside to this is that we have to wash our windows at home.



Power Bill

Thank goodness we have solar panels.  Adding the car more than doubled our energy consumption.  We estimate that it Tesla model S charging uses 800kWh more each month or about 9700kWh a year. Our normal energy use is about 5500kWh. This jacked up our power bill by almost $140 a month. Still it is cheaper than buying gas.  The Model 3 with its longer range battery and similar commute will achieve similar costs.

If your electric utility has an electric car plan, do the analysis and switch if the pricing is favorable.  With our utility, PG&E, they have an EV-A plan that would save us a $1000 a year over the normal E6 or E7 rate plan. PG&E was asked repeatedly and would not help us analyze what the change in rate plan would cost us.  It is not in their self interest.  Electric car plans typically require you to give the VIN number of your car as proof.

Tesla Range

The number question people ask is what the range of your electric car is. The EPA figure differs from what Tesla suggests you set your range limit to. Setting it too high will cause more wear and tear on the battery. 90% is what we have been told to target, although some say 70% is optimal.

Our Tesla Model S 70D has an EPA rated range of 240, but setting the range to about 210 is what Tesla suggests.  Frankly, even this figure is a little optimistic estimate. Due to hills and horrible traffic, we may get as low as 160. Regardless, this range is able to fulfill 99.99% of our daily driving. We can charge up at night and we’re ready to go again.

With the Model 3 Long Range is rated at 310 EPA range, which is quite long.  Tesla recommend we set it to about 280 for everyday charging.  This is plenty of range for several day’s use.

Vehicle Performance

Our last car was a high performance BMW 5 Series. The Tesla has instant acceleration of the line. Model 3 long range 0-60 is rated at 5.1 seconds. Not even a Ferrari can out do it off the line. We test drove a Porsche 911 Turbo and felt even this supercar lacked the punch of a Tesla. This car is perfect for stop light wars and navigating the heavy traffic of San Francisco.

Free Charging

There are several Tesla Supercharging stations near us. (You can quickly charge up your battery about twice as fast as at home)  Model 3’s need to pay for Supercharging, so we expect most people to charge up at home like we do.  Use the Superchargers for longer trips.

Research has shown that people save 500 minutes a year by not having to go gas up.


Having Tesla Model 3 is an experience distinct from owning any other car.  It is simply a great car.  The only issue is when can they make enough!

Posted on March 22nd, 2018
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