Social Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Are you interested in a Tesla Model 3?

Asked by gorillapaws (25517points) March 31st, 2016

So Tesla is going to unveil their Model 3 in a few hours. It’s their first car that a middle-class person could afford, with a starting price of $35k before tax credits (though it’s rumored to be significantly more will the bells/whistles). Is this something you’re interested in/curious about? Why/why not?

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25 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Curious yes, buy it not really. Don’t need another car right now.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Sounds interesting. keep us updated.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

35K for transportation?!! No thanks, that’s rich folk and “middle class poor” stuff.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Well in some states the tax credits can be pretty substantial, like $10,000 off that price. Plus you don’t have to pay for gas/oil changes, and there is so much less shit that can break on an electric car (no fuel system, exhaust system, ignition system, cooling system, serpentine belts, transmissions, differentials, etc.). It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s priced at a level that someone in the middle class could save up for if it were important to them. I also realize that an electric car won’t work for everyone’s needs, but it should be a pretty nice commuter car if it turns out to be similar to it’s Model S “big brother.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@gorillapaws I assure you there is more to break. I’m an electrical engineer and I worked on an electric car in grad school. These are new designs and there will be bugs and gremlins. The tax credits could make me bite though. $20k-25k is not unreasonable especially if the warranty is solid. I could totally geek out with one of those things.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Just to clarify, are you saying (1) there are more things that can break on an electric car than a traditional gas powered car? or (2) there are more things that can break on an electric car than what I implied, but still fewer things than on a gas car?

I agree that obviously the 1st generation of anything this technical will likely have hiccups/bugs/gremlins, although many would likely be able to be fixed via a software update, like they’ve done with Tesla’s other cars.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, electrically there is much, much more and they are harder to diagnose and work on. You can forget about help from your shade tree mechanic. Gas cars are actually simple and any moron can understand them. There will be a crossover period where qualified repair people will be hard to come by for electric. Early adopters will have a hard time. Ultimately though…it is the future. Eventually they are going to become simpler and extremely reliable.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Most cars are already beyond the shade tree mechanic’s capability for anything beyond batteries & brake jobs. What I find most interesting about the new Tesla is the projected 200 mile range of the batteries.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m very interested.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@stanleybmanly Cars are actually still simple machines. Easy cheesy. People instinctively understand mechanics. Electricity requires at least some training for people who don’t have the “knack”

zenvelo's avatar

Since this is a Tesla, I would be much more interested than I am with a Leaf or a Volt.

And, this isn’t the first generation by any means. Tesla has proven its ability at producing a quality car. They are now applying their expertise to produce an affordable car.

Rarebear's avatar

It’s genius. Do you know how many Tesla ads you’ve seen on television? Exactly zero. And they’ve managed to create this amazing buzz.

gorillapaws's avatar

I just watched the video stream of the event. Elon announced they’re up to 115,000 reservations (with $1k deposits) so far. I’m glad I convinced my parents to buy a bunch of tsla stock when it dropped below $150 back in Feb.

The model 3 looks beautiful to me.

cazzie's avatar

I’d take one if they were being handed out. My neighbours have a Tesla. I don’t have a car. We share a private drive. They want ME to pay to pave the drive to the end of my property line. I think my Tesla owning neighbours have a better chance of me being given a Tesla than paying for the paving of the driveway they use.

gorillapaws's avatar

I wonder why they went with so much glass on this thing? Could it save on weight or cost somehow (I’m under the impression that glass is heavier/more expensive than steel)? Or is it just for style?

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I’m curious to hear your thoughts now that the prototype has been revealed and we have a few more details? Also they’re up to 230k preorders with people putting up deposits.

jerv's avatar

I am about as interested as I am in any car that costs much over $1,500; worth looking at and knowing about but not something I will actually buy. The fact that they have lower drivetrain maintenance requirements is a plus though.

@ARE_you_kidding_me If you are comparing the EVs of the ‘90s with the cars of the ‘70s then I might agree. Or maybe if I didn’t get so many strange looks when explaining even the basics of a four-cycle engine. Hell, even people who know all about mechanics can’t work on many cars built since the mid-‘80s, and OBDII pretty much took the rest of the simplicity out. Changing the spark plugs on many is almost as involved as replacing the head gasket on my ‘86 Corolla. So I just cannot agree with you, especially not since I figured out electric motors and motor controllers before I left the sixth grade.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Let me rephrase there is no shortage of qualified people to work on standard cars there are not many people who will be able to help you with your electric one yet. Early adopters are going to be disappointed. Moving and small parts sure, much simpler. Even the energy conversions are simpler. There is no parts and service industry bult up around them yet though. You will only be able to take it back to the dealer if they even have qualified people to work on it. Electrically they are more complicated, but yes mechanically much, much simpler. People seem to be able to grasp mechanics but I always see people struggle more with electricity and electronics, not sure why. You may get it but you are a technical person so it comes naturally. Try explaining slip speed and rotating magnetic fields to a nontechnical person.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


While Teslas have spine crushing torque and weirdly excellent handling and roadholding they cannot make their way around one lap of a road course before the motor starts to overheat and the computers throttle back output. Well, that was fun for 90 seconds.

No problem, the model S is a large saloon with great creature comforts, a long wheelbase, and near spooky low noise levels. This will be GREAT for high speed interstate cruising. Wait, I can only go so far without recharging? Ugh.

Car with a high tech, clean, free revving gasoline engine mated to a manual gearbox please.

I’ll take two.

jerv's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Now that I can agree with… mostly. However, coming from a small town, I can say that the same applies to newer cars to a fair extent because there are some things that are proprietary and advanced enough that I’ve been forced to travel ~100 miles to a dealer before even in something that had pistons. You’d think that a Chevy/GM dealer would be able to handle a Saturn, but you’d be mistaken. And I’ve had the same problem in reverse with my ‘86 Corolla; some kids working in a garage cannot troubleshoot a car that lacks an OBDII port.

But yes, it will be harder finding help…. unless you are someplace like Seattle where there is already a pretty hefty infrastructure in place. I’ve been kind of spoiled since I moved out West.

As for electrical and mechanical knowledge, the people I’ve seen either got both or got neither. Maybe it’s because a lot of the people I know that know engines know how alternators and regulators work well enough to carry that knowledge over, maybe it’s because they have modern enough skills to know a bit about more advanced electronics, or maybe they are simply into R/C cars. (That’s actually where I first learned about motor controllers and why I got that knowledge at a young age, though when I was into it they still used brushed motors and NiCad packs with MOSFET speed controls in between instead of the LiPo/brushless setup more common in the hobby today. Anything resembling full-on electrical engineering skills came after EM A-school.)

In any event, different experience can lead to different conclusions and opinions, and it seems that I live a life almost totally unlike yours (or anyone else I’ve met online).

@SecondHandStoke Yeah, only about 300 miles on a charge. Then again, it’s not like a 20-gallon tank lasts a 15 MPG V-8 a million miles. True, we may not have the infrastructure yet, but we didn’t used to have gas stations either. Besides, after about 4 hours on the road, I’m ready for a rest stop myself. It boggles my mind that that the 90-second battery swap wasn’t a more popular option, but apparently it wasn’t. Most people drive 60 miles a day or less anyways. If you are one of those people who replaced the back seat of your car with a fuel tank so you can drive 1400 miles at a stretch and launches “trucker bombs” out the window instead of stopping to water a tree on the roadside then I could see it, but otherwise I think you’re just downplaying the weaknesses of the internal combustion engine.

You’re also forgetting many gassers would overheat if pushed to racing conditions for long, as anyone who has ever watched 24 Hours of Lemons knows, while it’s possible to build electric cars with something called “a cooling system”. Yes, there are some that do, in fact, have radiators! Maybe not the Teslas, but I’ve seen a fair number of non-Tesla EVs that did. Also, this.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SecondHandStoke 200+ mile range ain’t bad. They’ll make great commuting back and forth to work vehicles. The teslas use induction motors and not dc motors also so there is some sustained power there.

@jerv yeah the brushless DC systems are very simple but they are old school. Teslas are using AC induction motors. They have been around since the days of nikola tesla but you can do some sophisticated things with them in their control circuitry. The cost is more complexity. Where I live there is practically no infrastructure for them.

jerv's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think it’s that I recall what the early days of automotives were like. Electrics outnumbered gassers, the only drivers that didn’t have a mechanic in the passenger seat were those that were themselves mechanics, and 20-liter engines of the day had less power than some modern 2-liter engines.

I think we are still a ways from achieving parity between the two, but the fact that modern gassers are not really user-serviceable and many only have enough gas for about 300 miles which is still enough for most people to go a week or more between fill-ups makes an electric car with similar range that is cost-competitive and not appreciably harder to work on than something that requires training (seriously, many cars have things only dealers can handle) is a noteworthy evolutionary step.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m a little younger so cars have always been on the complex side. I did restore an old 70’s era motorcycle several years back and it was a joy because of the simplicity. A timing light was as high tech as it got. I get what you are saying though. Practically speaking they’ll be on par with each other in short order. I was just looking at EV conversion kits online and I think doing one may actually be practical if you choose the chassis wisely. It will have to wait until the wife and I move but I’m actually considering it.

jerv's avatar

Comparing working on my ‘86 Corolla to working on my wife’s ‘98 Escort is like night and day. I replaced the radiator in my car in about 20 minutes; quicker than I can replace a headlight bulb in hers.

gorillapaws's avatar

@SecondHandStoke “This will be GREAT for high speed interstate cruising. Wait, I can only go so far without recharging? Ugh.”

So I decided to put down a deposit for a model 3. It’s a bit beyond my means, but I’m under the impression that Tesla will start production with the fully-loaded Model 3s, delivering the bare-bones/smaller margin configurations significantly later, which buys me a lot of time to save up a sizable down payment (probably not until late 2018–2019). Also, who knows what the political landscape will look like then, there’s a chance the tax credits could get extended or even expanded. If my number comes up and I can’t afford one, I’ll just get my deposit back, and I’m just out the opportunity cost of the interest I could have been earning on my $1,000. I can live with that.

To your point, here’s my logic. I plan to drive this thing to and from work every day and run some errands on the weekends. I probably drive more than 100 miles in a 24-hour period less than 10 times a year. If I ever did need to take a +200 mile road trip I would either take my girlfriend’s Civic, rent a car to save on the wear/tear/milage of her car, or save myself the aggravation and simply take a flight. Long drives are miserable.

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