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Model 3 FAQ

There are several FAQ’s for the Model 3, but this one is my own and I think it’s the best one. Trust me, I’m not biased. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

A few items were adapted or partly borrowed from an older FAQ on Facebook.

List
What is the Model 3?
Model 3 is Tesla's fourth car model, after the Roadster, Model S and Model X. It is the third mass-production Tesla, hence the 3. It is also observed that, after S and X, put the 3 backwards and it becomes an E (fanboys will sometimes write the model line as S3X). Add the just-unveiled Model Y and you have a word that Tesla's founder likes. Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla to date, though it is still more expensive than the tiny economy cars that you can buy from most car companies.
Great. Where can I buy a Model 3?
Depends where you live. Tesla is a Silicon Valley-style car company, so you will probably buy your Model 3 online, at Tesla.com. In many jurisdictions, particularly many states of the the "free market" United States, established car companies use force of law to prevent Tesla from selling cars directly, so Tesla locations can only function as educational services. In jurisdictions that actually allow free trade in vehicles, Tesla Stores can help you buy and take delivery of your new Tesla.
How much does a Tesla Model 3 cost?
When people ask "how much does X cost" they are often thinking just of the purchase cost. A better measure, one that's used in business all the time, is "total cost of ownership" (TCO).l TCO for a vehicle purchase includes not just purchase cost but also fuel and maintenance. The latter two are drastically lower for EVs and mean that TCO is already less than a comparable ICE car for most EVs if you keep them for a few years. And the purchase component of TCO will continue downward as batteries get cheaper due to massive volume scaling.
For the list of Model 3 prices, please see the Model 3 Pricing Page.
As mentioned, the purchase costs don't tell the whole story. EVs in general, and Teslas in particular, cost much less to power, and have much less maintenance. With a Tesla you will never need to change oil, transmission fluid, replace muffler, spark plugs/igniters, transmission or any of a vast range of other components that are generally believed to be "engineered to fail" on ICE cars. It's also generally known that traditional car-dealers make fairly thin margins on selling cars, because they know they will make it up on repairs over the course of your car ownership. Because Tesla doesn't have separate dealers per se, it does not have to support them with repairs.
This is the reason that many dealers actively down-sell their electric vehicles.
When can I get my hands on one?
You should be able to test drive a Model 3 at a Tesla Store near you now, if you live in North America. They are available to buy either from inventory or custom-built. The car is shipping to customers now, so if you place new an order now, your delivery time will vary depending on where you live and what options you choose, but should be a matter of days or weeks.
Who is Tesla, anyway?
Nikola Tesla was one of the pioneers of electricity. You should read up on him. His name inspired Tesla Inc., the electric car and energy company, which makes sedans and SUVs, are starting to make semi tractors, and also make battery-based power storage systems, from home size up to grid size. Some would say that Tesla is THE electric car company, as in, the company that made them practical again.
What do you mean "again"?
Electric cars actually preceded gasoline-powered cars; Henry Ford even bought several for his own family! See this history.
Who is Elon Musk?
He's been compared to fictional entrepreneur Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man in the Marvel Comics Universe); Musk is serial entrepreneur who founded and/or made major contributions to PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and several other companies, as well as founding OpenAI and publicizing the idea of the Hyperloop transportation system. He is concerned about the sustainability of human life on earth, so he works on clean transport and establishing human habitation on other planets.
What is an ICE Car? Are they cool?
ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engine. Most of the "cool car" models from the twentieth century were ICE cars. ICE cars actually run very hot, as you will know if you've ever touched an ICE cars' engine or exhaust system after it's been running for a while. They run on fuel that is carcinogenic; check the warnings on the pump next time you fill up at a gasoline/petrol station. They also stink and pollute, as you'll know if you've ever breathed near an exhaust pipe or "tailpipe". They also emit poisonous gases; people die every year from suicide/murder/accidental death by car exhaust in a garage. They also wreck the climate by emitting a lot of CO2, according to most climate science.
How could I drive an EV without an extension cord? Or recharge it?
Like most electric cars, the Model 3 has a large battery under the floor. If you're doing a daily commute, you recharge it on a daily basis. Let me ask you another question in return: how could you use your cell phone without a cord? Sounds crazy, but a generation ago every telephone had a cord. Today's smartphones are cordless because they have a large battery under the display. And most people recharge their cell phones on the bed table overnight. Well, you recharge your EV the same way, by plugging it in.
Where and how will I charge my Model 3?
Where do you charge your cell phone or laptop? Anyplace you can plug it in, right? Same here!
  • Home; "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." Best place. At least for commuting or local driving. Plug your car in overnight, like you do your cell phone, your laptop, etc. While you can plug it into a normal North American ("110V" or "117V") outlet, it may not fully charge overnight. You can get faster current draw by using a 220V-240V "dryer" outlet; if you're not a trained electrician then just hire one to do this installation.
  • You can also use a home "charging station" or "EVSE" to increase the charging rate; these provide a thicker cable that can safely carry more current.
  • Destination chargers; Tesla gives HPWC's to select hotels, restaurants, and other tourist destinations, specifically so Tesla owners can charge up while visiting; the destination is supposed to install them at a parking space with a "Reserved for Tesla Charging" sign.
  • Superchargers; Unique among EV vendors, Tesla runs its own network of high-speed chargers. These use a special plug and some electronics to ensure that only Teslas can charge here. Use of these was free for most Model S and X purchasers up until 2018 (though it may still be on-again/off-again) but Model 3 users have to pay a nominal fee to charge. This is fair both because the Model 3 is the budget version, and to stop people from using a supercharger near their house when they could just charge up at home.
  • Tesla gives you an adapter that lets you use the widely-available "J1772" chargers. Your car also comes with a Mobile Connector and a series of adapters, with more available, to charges from a variety of electrical outlets. You will find a list of all types of chargers across North America at PlugShare.com as well as information on new/forthcoming superchargers

Tell me more about home Level 2 EVSE charging stations
Tesla makes a fine home EVSE (the HPWC, High Power Wall Connector), as do numerous other companies. The Tesla HPWC is among the lowest priced units from any reputable vendor, and only fits Teslas, although other cars can charge from a Tesla HPWC with a third-party adapter.

That said, many aftermarket (J-1772) compliant EVSEs offer features not available with the Tesla models including real-time data, persistent data storage, and the ability to query the grid and charge your car only when the grid is “clean,” such as eMoterWerks’ JuiceBox.

Tell me more about SuperChargers
Tesla's proprietery SuperCharger network is one of their greatest commercial assets. You can charge your Tesla at any of some 10,000 locations worldwide. Originally Tesla offered free supercharging to Model S and Model X owners, and Model 3 Performance edition (recently: only if you purchased with a referral fee). Model 3 owners pay a small amount for charging. Note that the plugs used in Europe are different from those in North America, so don't put your Tesla on a plane or ship and expect to use it on the other side of the pond.
Tell me more about Other Level 3 Solutions
In North America, several companies including Flo and ChargePoint offer commercial networks of L3 charging. Most of these charge points offer one CCS connector and one ChaDeMo connector. Tesla Models S and X can also charge at ChaDeMo, with an optional $500 adapter. As of today, this adapter does not work on Model 3, though it is listed in the Model 3 Parts Catalog so it should work "soon".
Why do people buy Teslas?
There are many reasons to buy a Tesla. People buy Teslas for some or all of these reasons; choose the ones you like!
  • best car ever
  • made in America
  • crazy acceleration
  • cheaper in the long run!
  • low cost of electricity
  • gasoline cars use more electricity than electric cars!
  • ICE cars contribute to millions of deaths yearly due to soot, fires, transporting fuel,
  • wars to safeguard fuel supplies, etc.
  • accept the scientific evidence that ICE cars contribute to global climate change);

Why do people buy the Tesla Model 3 in particular?
The Model 3 is more affordable than the Model S and X (see below). It is a bit smaller than Model S, and has an 8-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty. What's not to like?
It's December, it's snowing, and I need snow tires fast!
If you buy a new car in the spring or summer, and you live where it snows and you know you need snow tires, you should order them in August or September to be sure of having them when you need them. You have many choices:
  • Buy tires and rims, or just tires (you should buy tires and rims, as the wear and tear on the tires from swapping rims is bad for them).
  • Buy from Tesla or from third parties. This year, in our area, both were out of stock (Tesla Canada was taking orders in November for January delivery!).
If you buy from Tesla the price includes installation; others may or may not. If you go 3rd party, be sure they have TPMS sensors that work with Tesla and that they know the correct way to lift a Tesla Model 3 - it's in the manual, but who reads those?
Lots of discussion about this on the forums and FB groups; do your research! If you work at a dealer, be prepared (winter is coming), or this will happen: Discussion on Tesla Owners Club of Ontario, November, 2018.
Why does the Model 3 not have a front grille?
ICE engines are constantly gasping for breath; they need a flow of fresh air both to mix with gasoline to make the explosive mixture whose combustion is their core, and to carry off the crazy amounts of heat that are generated. Model 3 has neither problem so it eliminates the grille to improve aerodynamic performance in aid of better range.
Does the Model 3 have enough range? Will I develop "range anxiety"?
Yes. No. The Long Range battery has a range just under 500KM and the "standard" battery has a range of 300km. Plenty.
Should I buy the standard or extended ("long range") battery?
If you can afford it you should get the LR battery as it will give you more flexibility. OTOH the SR battery gives you 300km of range, which is plenty for the vast majority of daily commuters, and you can use the Supercharger network or other networks for the occasional road trip. You will love either version!
Is it safe to buy a car from a company that doesn't make a profit?
More false news. Tesla does make a profit on each car sold. They don't appear profitable because they plow so much of that revenue back into the business to fund both R&D and the ever-growing networks of supercharger and destination chargers (see below). Tesla is in it for the long haul, not for short-term "profit" payouts to Wall Street.
I heard there's no speedometer or other indicators, just the touch screen
True, but you won't need one; everything will display on the screen, with the most important information nearest you. See this video.
How will I lock/unlock/summon/etc my Model 3.
You get two RFID-based "keycards" (RFID is how tap-to-pay cards work). You can use these to lock/unlock the vehicle but, more importantly, you can use them to authorize your smartphone, and then the car will unlock just by your walking into range with the phone in possession, and lock when you walk away (but only if you unlocked it by walking in with your smartphone, not if you unlocked it with a key card). There is an optional key fob which you can order from Tesla.
Does the Model 3 have a heads-up display?
No. If you need one, try navdy.com.
Does the Model 3 have a dashcam?
Yes, as of software gets V9 (2018-10 release). The software will record the front camera view onto a USB stick, and there's a button on the touchscreen to save the last 10 minutes of video, which will also be done in the event of a crash. Like less-expensive dashcams, it only operates when the car is powered on. If you park in places where cars get vandalized or stolen, maybe invest in a more expensive unit that features motion detection. Many Tesla owners use and recommend BlackVue dashcams.
Does Model 3 have a tow hitch / tow bar?
No. Not initially. It was promised, but got dropped. It has not re-appeared on the configuration. There are some third-party tow hitches, but Tesla says not to use them.
Don't EV batteries take up a lot of space in landfill?
How much old gold jewelry have you thrown into landfill lately? Me neither. No sensible person would landfill an EV battery. There is way too much valuable and recyclable material in them.
Sounds perfect? What's the catch?
There is none. No major problems have surfaced with the design of the Model 3 in its first year of use. There are, of course, minor nitpicks, most of which I track in my separate Model 3 Wish List document.
Where can I get more info?
  • https://tesla.com/model3
  • https://electrek.co
  • https://model3ownersclub.com/
  • https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/

What if I still have another question?
Use The Search, Luke! Then submit the question and its answer here.