It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here!
After ordering my Tesla Model 3 back in June when Australian order books opened, I waited patiently until my estimated delivery date of August came around.
August came and went, so did September, October and virtually all of November. Yep that should give you a small window into the painful process of ordering a Tesla Model 3.
Before I run you through the difficulties in ordering the car, I want to quickly recap why I decided to buy this car and why this particular colour combination and specification appealed to me.
Around this time last year, I were wrapping up a drive in the United States from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for SEMA. I did the road trip in a Tesla Model 3 Performance and I finished up genuinely blown away by the experience and the EV network in the United States.
This followed an opportunity I had to attend the first media drive of the Model 3 in Fremont a couple of years ago, where we had the chance to chat with engineers behind the Model 3 program and get a first steer of the entry-level rear-wheel drive variant.
After a positive experience with the Jaguar I-Pace SE that I lived with for around six months, my wife and I decided that an EV would be our next car.
We were looking at the I-Pace, but it made more sense to go with a top-specification Model 3 and have some money left over to play with on the side.
So we decided on the Model 3 Performance and we opted for a grey one (Tesla calls the colour Midnight Silver metallic) with the black interior. So we paid our deposit and received an estimated delivery date of August.
The Model 3 Performance uses a twin motor setup that runs one motor on the front axle and one on the rear. The front axle motor produces 147kW of peak power, while the rear motor peaks at 211kW of power.
With a kerb weight of 1860kg, the Tesla Model 3 Performance is capable of moving from 0-100km/h in around 3.4 seconds.
The 79.5kWh battery pack offers a driving range of 560km (NEDC) or 530km (WLTP).
About two weeks after we ordered, Tesla introduced the option for a white interior. We loved the idea of the white because it's a material that's easy to keep clean and, after having tested three other Teslas with this interior, it looks great in person and is a bit different from a black-on-black interior.
So we switched our order to Pearl White with the white interior. The estimated order delivery date remained as August.
From there we didn't really hear anything from Tesla until September. We received a text message saying Tesla was getting delivery ready, so we thought it wouldn't be too far away.
September came and went, and we were in mid-October when we started to lose patience with the process. We heard nothing at all from Tesla and, despite people getting vehicles delivered, there was no update on our delivery estimate.
At this point we tried contacting Tesla through the email address listed within the account section and didn't receive a reply. It was at this point that my wife and I started discussing other options.
We finally heard from Tesla in October with news that a car had been allocated to us and was on a ship heading to Australia.
While this was good news, there still wasn't an estimated date to expect the car. We decided that if we didn't have a car by the end of November, we'd simply pull the pin and buy something else.
Tesla zealots may find this type of service fine, but we certainly didn't. It's not an insignificant amount of money to part with and I don't deal with companies that show such little interest in their customers.
By mid-November we finally had a delivery date locked in. And then, just as we were expecting to head in to collect our car, we get a call to say the delivery team had identified issues with the paint that needed fixing – seriously?
Sure, it's great that they've identified paint issues before I did, but how this wasn't detected at the factory, when being unloaded from the ship or the countless other touch points along the way, is beyond us.
Anyway, after some more toing and froing, we finally had the car delivered at the end of November.
All of that above is very, very poor customer service. To the point where we were happy to just walk away from it if the car wasn't in our hands by the end of November. Without losing the significance of how frustrating that is, everything from this point onwards has been excellent.
The car itself is excellent. It drives incredibly well, the interior is minimalistic but loaded with technology and best of all it does the whole EV thing almost perfectly.
There's an established charging network, the phone application is the best on the market and there are constantly new features being added with over-the-air updates.
I'm not a paint expert, but I've been over every inch of the car and the paint fixes are imperceptible and the fit and finish on our car is also excellent.
Most importantly, my wife is confident driving the car. She doesn't feel overwhelmed with the technology and the way the car operates. She's not a car person and is intimidated by the Supra, so this is the car she spends most of her time in.
It's a shame the customer service element of the purchase process was handled so badly. If we had known we wouldn't have a car until the end of November it wouldn't have been an issue – but when you're told it will arrive in August and then don't hear anything or don't have any person to contact, it ruins the whole experience.
We are keen to spend more time with the car to get to know it better and see what it's like spending more time with an electric vehicle.
Oh, the number plates. What do they mean? I don't want to give it away just yet, so shoot your guesses through in the comments below. I wanted to get a set of custom plates for our Tesla too, so we went with a set of USA-style plates from VPlates that are the same size as a US registration plate.
They fit nicely in the number plate holders and give the car a homely feel. If you're struggling with what the plates mean, here's a hint – it has something to do with the type of drivetrain.