Darwin's Theories Blog

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2018 Tesla Model 3: The Bloom Is Off The Rose

Still the best car ever BUT...

I love my Model 3, but the bloom is off the rose.

There is a growing sense of being an early adopter and being a bit left behind. I got my Model 3 in June of 2018, as part of the first bolus of Model 3’s delivered in Canada.

I’ve driven Toronto to Ottawa several times, Toronto to D.C. once, and have nothing but respect for the car and the company. On the D.C. trip my frunk unlocker failed and I needed to open it to add wiper fluid. Tesla Mobile Service found my car in the hotel garage while I was at work, fixed the problem, and left me a thank you note! This is not something that GM (for example) will ever do.

But there are a number of actual or implied promises that Tesla has not kept. Here are some of the issues:

  • CCS: ChaDeMo adapter rightly canned, but CCS not avail here yet. A few people have imported them from Korea, the only market in which Tesla currently sells them. These suddently started working with the 2021.40.6 software upgrade, and provide around double the charge rate of the ChaDeMo adapter. My 2018 car, alas, says "CCS Adapter Support: Not installed" in the "Additional Vehicle Information" panel. I do not yet know if this support can be field-installed by Tesla or if we have to melt the car down into scrap metal and get Elon to bake a new one. That ain’t gonna happen, sorry. And since there is a grand total of ZERO Superchargers all through one Canadian province that is on our vacation list, this counts as a major bummer! Newfoundland DOES have a network of CCS chargers, though, so the adapter is a must. [Update: the adapter retrofit for Model 3 became available mid-March of 2024].

  • A tow hitch for small trailers was promised by Elon before the car was on sale. It was not available with initial orders. Eventually it became an option, but only on European sales. Even there it’s not available to retrofit, only as a factory-installed option. Fortunately there are third-party suppliers who will install a tow hitch.

  • Basic AP (AutoPilot) software was not included with early cars; you had to pay a few thousand dollars extra for it. BAP only includes stay-in-lane and traffic-aware cruise control (automatic emergency braking is always included). Basic AP is now bundled free with new cars, but we got stuck paying for it.

  • AP Hardware 2.5: Tesla says that all cars are sold with the equipment needed for "full self-driving" (FSD), which is still a ways off in terms of the software development. After we bought the car, they announced AP Hardware 3.0 would be needed for FSD. You can get it for free by paying in advance for FSD, but if you want to trial FSD on the monthly plan, you (presumably) have to pay for the computer upgrade.

So there it is - a list of whinges about things that were promised or implicitly expectable, and which never came to pass, or did so pretty late in the day. That said, the car is still great; _far and away the best car I’ve ever owned..