Finally Finally, finally, finally After years of waiting, not only for the customers to be. But also for the press. The Tesla Model 3. I can’t remember that there has ever been… …a car that has been this discussed this much. This car should be ‘the Savior’. The car that makes electric driving accessible… …for the whole humanity But also a car that makes driving electric fun to do. Maybe you see more in a car than just a thing that brings you form A to B, just like me. Then, is this Tesla really the alternative for the established order? Let’s begin with a little disappointment This version is not the car that will make driving electric possible for everybody. It is the Tesla Model 3 that is announced… …as the 35.000 dollar car. But the version we are driving already costs 72.500 euro. Some versions are more expensive. And since Tesla needs money. Is it not that surprising… …that they start off with production of the more expensive models. Because that will be the models that you will make more money. And that is why we are driving the Tesla Model 3 Performance. The one with the bigger battery (75 kwh) and two electric engines. One in the front and another in the back. Combined they produce 450 horsepower and 639 Newton meter of torque. Because of that performance, this car is on the level… …of very serious sport saloons. And from 0 to 100 km/h, he is even faster. According to Tesla it lasts only 3.5 seconds. And a maximum speed of 250 km/h. We are driving the Tesla in the rain and on winter tires. And measured the 0-100 km/h time at 3.7 seconds and it was not that hard to do. The 75 kwh engine is not only giving the Tesla not only gives you 450 horsepower… …but also gives you a long range. It’s cold outside, it snows and it is a bit windy. But even under these circumstances you can reach at least 250 kilometer. And during the summer… …when the temperature is a bit higher and the battery performs a bit better, and you don’t drive to much on the highway. You can easily drive 500 kilometers, is my estimate. Than it begins to sound interesting. Charging the car is as important as battery capacity, so of course we tested that as well. At a regular charging station 11 kW. At the ‘Fastned’ 120 kW. Than the car will be charged in the blink of an eye. And of course there is the Tesla Supercharger. At this moment the Supercharger does not work properly, but… …there seems to be an update coming. After the update supercharging should be possible with more than 100 kW. By now this car starts to get very useful. The disadvantages of electric cars begin to disappear because of the positive stats. The advantages are still there and are getting even stronger. Just like any electric car, the Tesla is build on a kind of skateboard of batteries. With a compact engine in the front and back. That’s why there are two luggage rooms. Apart from each other they are not that big, but combined they offer enough space. In the back there is just enough room for me to sit. The ‘skateboard construction’ has a little disadvantage. Your position in the car is a bit higher because of the batteries you sit on. When you are a bit taller it is recommended to test the hight. The batteries are the most expensive parts on the Tesla. So, when you are planning on selling your electric car for a good price and also a good range.. …you will have to cut costs elsewhere. So there are only a few options on the car. Also in the interior there is not much of anything. Not much to personalise. although it is dressed up in a nice way. Some of you will say it looks scanty. But others will say it looks just minimalistic. It depends on how you look at it. We heard a lot of stories about ‘production hell’ at Tesla… …about disappointing quality experiences with their cars. Of course we took a critical look and overall it is not that bad. The details look a little cheap. Especially the plastic over here and the sharp edges. But you don’t have to feel betrayed when you buy this car and it’s finished this way. You can say it’s a very bare interior, but on the other hand is it a different way of looking at it. Two buttons on the steering wheel, two stems on each side which… …are not designed by Mercedes anymore, but an own design. And the rest is accommodated in your smartphone… … and this screen just like the other Tesla’s. The screen also has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The screen itself it works really good. Even though we had a few fall out errors. With consequences like a lot of resets on weird moments. Maybe that’s because of preproduction issues. But when it works, it is really nice: It works fast and has a nice interface. Though is does mean that when you want to control the windscreen wipers, you can’t… …just tick the lever or push a button. You always have to mess in the menus to make it work. You have to fully understand the screen to control the car intuïtively. Maybe it comes with time, but I have to get to know the car in only a short period of time. And you might doubt if the functionality of the screen is the right way to go. But, when it comes to reading the speed of the screen or anything like that. They have done a really good job. For the rest, An electric car with all the advantages that come with it. The weight is placed at the bottom of the car because of the huge batteries you are sitting on. That means the roadholding is way better than petrol driven cars. There is no other way to put it. It has a low center of gravity, so won’t roll very fast. And that means they can suspend the car really comfortable. Despite that, the car reacts lightening fast in handling. Let’s put it this way: the roadholding and flat behavior of a sportscar… …with a lot of comfort. Even in this stiff performance version with 20 inch rims. Despite that it feels like a really pleasant car to drive. That’s what electric cars electric cars are known for… …and also as a nice extra, I will pull over for a second. I will kick in the electric throttle! Are you okay Patrick? You will notice that Tesla collected a lot of ‘know how’… …about how to control electric engines. Not only for the range, but also a solid roadholding. We were so lucky it snowed today, so we could test the car in winter conditions. The car has done an amazing job under that circumstances. The computer knows exactly what needs to be done at the right moment. In corner the computer controls the power every wheel has to decrease the chance of drifting. When you kick down the throttle, the right amount of power is sent to the front to… …go through corners the right way. That’s why you will always have a beautiful and secure roadholding. Unless, on this performance version, you go to the menu en find the button ‘track mode’. Select track mode. This mode is meant for experienced drivers. Never use this mode on public roads. Experienced driver is maybe a bit overdone, but I think I know what to do with a car… You are asking for it, let’s take the car to the track! The first signals I am getting are really not that bad. Of course this car has enormous acceleration at the beginning. Which any electric car has, but… …now for the first time, software that controls… …the electric engines and produces more options than just a quick acceleration. Of course we had the Tesla Model S in our ‘supertest’ on track at Assen. There it was just as fast… …as an Honda Civic Type R. Which is a respected performance car. But in the second lap we were 5 seconds faster and in the third 11 seconds. In the fourth we had an error, but the car was really fast although it is not produced… …for much driving pleasure. This is the Tesla Model 3 Performance… With a Track mode! That mode promises to be more interesting… …and it is! We are driving on Pirelli Sottozeros, which are winter tires. So I have to be a bit careful with this car that weighs 1850 kilos When we are kicking the throttle down right here… Look at that! This thing wants to go sideways. But it’s not that intuitive as a normal four wheel or rear wheel driven car, because… Because there is not that mechanical character. It’s only the software that decides how much power each engine produces. And very important, decreasing speed is done by the engine itself. That causes a lot of manipulation when you leave your foot off the throttle. The front engine is braking heavily and that causes a weight transfer towards the front. And that’s why you feel the back getting lighter which improves turn-in. Of course it is a heavy weight, but the weight is in the front and back is in perfect balance. And of course the center of gravity is very low which causes much grip. This really is a lot of fun! The car is a very pure way of… …driving fast on track. This is so awesome, I enjoy it so much! I won’t say it is more fun than normal performance cars, but… …it’s new, it’s different and there is something fun about it. That instant torque is impressing. There is no delay you just kick in the throttle. Our conclusion: it’s not the car that makes electric driving accessible for everyone. But it is a big step forward in accepting and developing electric cars. Also for critics like me. Okay, the steering is still a bit synthetic. The feedback from the brake pedal and chassis can improve a little. But I can imagine that there are people that settle with… …that outrageous acceleration. That solid, secure roadholding. And the fact that it’s something completely different. If I had to choose a private car at this very moment, because I still miss that bit of communication and feeling, I would still pick a car from another well respected brand, of course a performance car. But that’s my opinion. I think that even the majority of people that are looking for a performance car in the 70.000 euro range… …will pick the Tesla blind. We reached an important moment with each other. I said people could say they have the Jaguar I-Pace over an XJ. After all, this is a drivers car. An electric drivers car. Which is in the eyes of more people than I expected… better than a normal petrol driven car in the same price range. That means they need very little to convince even a critic like me. A bit scary when you call yourself a petrolhead, but on the other side very comforting to know that the electric car… does not mean the end… …of driving pleasure in general. Okay, just one more time. Fast!