In September, the Model 3 will be in Australia for three years, and one of the first owners of a Tesla Model 3 in Australia has now driven 150,000 km and says he was pleasantly surprised by its reliability and low running cost.
In one Facebook post“Dev Raga” (not his real name) said: “I treat him like shit. Yes, I treat him like shit. He’s my daily driver. He rode on highways, rural roads , dirty roads and occasional burns when I blitz other “normal” cars.
Speaking later to The Driven, Dev goes into more detail about why he chose a Tesla Model 3, and what his ownership experience and costs have been.
In a job that required 50,000 to 60,000 miles a year on the road, he says he decided an electric car would make sense because it would be cheaper to run than an ICE (internal combustion engine) car. ): he would be able to charge it at home, and he would not have the same maintenance requirements.
In 2019, there were only a few electric models available for less than $70,000, and against its main competitors at the time, he describes the Model 3 as “tremendous”.
“It was (relatively) cheap when I bought it,” he says (he says he paid $60,000 plus GST for the Standard Range Plus.)
“I like cars, but I also like investing – I wouldn’t buy an expensive car right now, I’m in my 30s, so I want to build wealth and accumulate. Cars depreciate assets. main reason I bought the Model 3 SR+ is that for me it was cost effective, and I will save money in the long run, and it’s just easier to drive and use.
After doing extensive research on the electric vehicles on offer at the time, he had decided that he needed at least 180 to 250 km of range. And with the majority of his driving on the highways, he says with Autopilot as a standard feature, it made sense.
He was also impressed with the basic features – even the “entry level” Standard Plus range comes with eight cameras for safety and reverse parking, electronic seats and tailgate, seat memory, a touchscreen with Spotify built-in (not to mention a whole host of fun add-ons like Caraoke, video games and “emissions testing” (fart mode), remote climate control and a panoramic glass roof.
“Basic Model 3 specs were above standard compared to comparable ICE cars like Mercedes, BMW and Audi,” he says.
Now that he’s been an owner for nearly three years, he says there are still a lot of things he loves about the car. In no particular order, it lists:
- Ease of use – most things work.
- Basic characteristics above the norm for comparable cars
- Software updates – like driving a new car every month. I get almost monthly updates.
- Sat nav is excellent with live traffic.
- Storage – I can fit 12 large pizzas, 4 drink bottles and 3 garlic breads in the frunk. Huge storage capacity compared to almost all ICE cars.
- The charging infrastructure and free boosting was useful for long-distance driving.
- The whole concept of a car has changed. For me it is a digital camera.
- The screen – it’s clear, easy to use, and all that fuss about its off-center – that’s not an issue for me. I like the clear vision while driving (or when it’s rolling).
- Reliability, I’m pretty surprised I’ve only serviced it once all the time for $400. It’s so reliable, which is a pleasant surprise.
That said, there are some things he didn’t like about the car.
“The autopilot has phantom braking,” he says. “It can be daunting at first, but it doesn’t happen too often.”
He’s also not a fan of automatic high beams. “The automatic high beams are the worst I’ve ever used. I can’t believe Tesla can’t get this basic feature right,” he says, adding that he feels the same way about the wipers. -automatic windows, which he says are “a load of garbage. I’ve never driven a car with wipers this bad.”
While there’s been a lot of talk about Tesla’s build quality, he’s neutral: “Some people complain about the build quality,” he says. “I don’t mind, I think it’s okay.”
Keeping the car charged wasn’t difficult, he says. Charging the car daily mostly at home to 90% (it’s a Fremont-made vehicle with NCA battery), he says he also uses free public fast chargers near his place of work.
“My off-peak rates are low and he has scheduled overnight charging. I plug it in every day. This maintains battery health.
He adds: “I only overfed him twice. When I was on long trips, I was amazed at how quickly it charges. The fastest it charged was 20-80% in 10 minutes at the Geelong Compressor.
These days, with fuel prices soaring, Dev says, “Every time I pass a gas station, I laugh now. I didn’t realize how expensive fuel was until recently. It’s not something I think about a lot.
His opinion is that anyone looking to spend around $60,000 on a car “must consider an electric vehicle. It is obvious. I save about $6,000 a year in running costs.
In 150,000 miles of driving he did a $1500 tire change on all 4 tires with high spec Michelins.
“They are expensive. The cost of tires is standard for all cars, and I (chosen a) premium product due to my driving habits. I need good, reliable all-condition tires.
Driving up to 1,000km a week, we also asked Dev why he hadn’t considered Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package, which currently costs an extra $10,100 in Australia.
“I don’t think the FSD is worth it for what it is,” is his response. “I don’t think it’s ready yet, and the (price is) so high. They need a subscription model and offer more value if not for the price – it’s very expensive for what it offers, which is pretty basic.
Bridie Schmidt is Associate Editor for The conduitsister site of Renew the economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018 and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emission transport must play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is a co-organizer of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and offers it for rent on evee.com.au.