- Earlier this week, I took my first-ever ride in a Tesla Model 3 when I hailed a car via Lyft.
- On the long drive back from the airport, I learned a ton about the Model 3, and why it’s one of the best cars you can buy right now.
- After my Lyft ride, I feel way more compelled to buy a Model 3 if and when it becomes the right time to buy a car.
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This past Sunday, I got my first chance to ride in Tesla’s Model 3, the company’s most affordable electric cars.
Once I loaded my luggage into the trunk and stepped inside, I immediately noticed how spacious the car was — especially in the back seat, where the sloping roof gives the impression of a much roomier car.
My wife mentioned to the driver that I had always been interested in the Model 3, so my gracious driver said I could ask him anything I wanted. (He may have regretted that.) So on our drive back from the airport, we spent the next 15 minutes or so talking about the various high and low points of owning a Model 3. I feel like I took a lot out of that brief car ride, so I wanted to share some of what I learned.
It can take about 30 to 45 minutes to recharge your car at a Supercharger station — but it’s faster and usually best to charge your car to about 80% instead of the full 100%.
The Model 3 features tons of little batteries, and filling them all up to 100% takes time. That’s why my driver recommended charging your Tesla to about 80% when you’re stopped at a Supercharger, but letting the car fill all the way up to 100% when you’re stopped for the night, assuming you’re at your destination.
Getting those batteries all the way to 100% takes longer because the car is still trying to keep the batteries cool, so it charges more slowly for the sake of safety. A lot of Tesla customers say it takes the same amount of time to get from 80% to 100% as it takes to get from 15% to 80%.
When the car is fully stopped, you can play games, or activate a digital fireplace to set the mood right.
Our driver demonstrated this feature while we were parked in front of a stoplight. When he chose a game to play, his seat started automatically adjusting itself as if this was the predetermined "game mode." He also showed us a crackling digital fireplace, which got a laugh out of us — as if you need more bells and whistles to showcase when you’re already driving your date around in a Tesla.
Our Lyft driver said he uses the Autopilot feature "all the time," but that it’s really ideal for the highway.
He said Tesla’s Autopilot had "saved" him on a few occasions — he wasn’t close to any kind of serious accident, but the car has helped him brake when it senses other cars far ahead have also slowed down, and it’s great for changing lanes and navigating the highway. I asked him if he’s ever fallen asleep while Autopilot was on; thankfully, he said no.
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