As a former Telsa owner (2017 Model S75) I had no hesitation ordering a Model 3 Standard Range Plus (SR +) when they became available in Australia. I have had the car for over a year and have racked up 23000km, so thought now would be a good time to provide an ownership update.
Why a Model 3? I had always wanted a Model 3 and purchased a Model S to tide me over until the Model 3 arrived. Having experience with the range with my Model S (which is the same as the SR+) I decided to order the base Model 3 in the free colour which was white. I did cross shop the Model 3 with the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C Class but each of those cars was slower, had higher servicing costs, and more expensive (I paid $71,358 OTR in Brisbane in December 2019).
Performance and Efficiency
The SR+ is not fast at 5.6 seconds in the 0-100km/h run but I wouldn't call it slow either. It has a good spread of power and torque. My lifetime electrical consumption for the car is 136 Wh/km or 13.6 kWh/100 km which is very good for a car of its size and performance.
Build Quality, Running Costs and Maintenance
There is a lot of commentary about Tesla build quality. I am sure, like a number of brands, that some owners get cars that are below par in this area. All I can say is that my Model 3 is well built, has good quality paint and the car has no squeaks or rattles. In fact the car is better built than my 2017 Model S, so on my sample size of two I would assess that Tesla is continuing to improve quality as they scale production.
Running costs on the car are dirt cheap. I pay 20 cents for a kWh of electricity so the Model 3 costs me about $2.70 in electricity for every 100 km driven or $27 for every 1000 km. The cars I cross-shopped would all cost about $120 to fuel for every 1000 km driven (assuming 8L/100km). Over 100,000 km that works out to about $2700 for the Model 3 versus $12,000 for the equivalent ICE. I know some might say my battery will fail and the car will be worthless but the 8 year/160,000km battery warranty guarantees that the battery will be replaced if the battery degrades below 70 percent capacity. Given the performance of Tesla's batteries since 2012 I have no concerns with the battery failing.
In over a year of ownership I have had the tyres rotated once through Tesla Mobile Service (scheduled through the app) at a cost of $50. At the two year mark I will get the brake fluid checked and the wiper blades changed. Since owning the car I have had no need to address any warranty issues.
Road Trips and Driving
I have travelled pretty extensively in the car, including return trips from Brisbane to Newcastle and Melbourne. The Supercharger Network makes these trips pretty simple. These trips didn't cost me anything as I had two referrals that gave me 3000km worth of free supercharging when I purchased the car. Even in the shortest range Model 3 these trips are very doable and on my Melbourne trip I drove Brisbane to Goulburn (1100 km) in one day. The car is easy to drive, comfortable to spend a lot of time in and the one pedal driving is addictive once you get used to it.
All Electric Garage
Recently I took the leap and changed out my wife's car for a Mini Cooper Electric that I purchased as an ex demo at a considerable saving off the new price. Again its purchase price was very comparable to its ICE equivalent. It's a great little car that is proving very efficient as well (12.5 kWh/100 km).
I have family members who have V8's (Lexus LC500 and another brother has a Mustang Mach 1 on order) so if I need my V8 noise fix I go and visit them. For my families use-case, budget and lifestyle EVs are the perfect fit. I look forward to the increasing range of EVs coming to Australia and hopefully prices will continue to fall as competition increases.