Model 3 – Ken’s 3 day review

On our recent trip to California for the Tesla Owners Group meetup, Harald and I hired a pair of matching Model 3s through Turo.  They were both from the initial production run and therefore had the long-range battery, premium interior, single motor and in basic black.

We are unlikely to see this model in Australia in the initial release, as like Europe, we’ll probably get the two dual-motor options – the long-range, premium dual-motor and the performance dual-motor.

The conference was in Milpitas, and we flew into San Francisco, so there was a nice combination of interstate driving and local roads.  After getting my head around 4-way stops in San Francisco, I headed out onto I-280.  If you’ve driven a Model S, the Model 3 feels very familiar.  The single-motor Model 3 feels a little slower than my uncorked S75D, but snappy enough for easy acceleration.  The regenerative brakes feel similar also.

The main standout was the feeling that the 3 was much more nimble.  This is not really a surprise given the reduced weight and wheelbase, but it was nice in unfamiliar road conditions to feel like you could point it and go.  The suspension felt a little firmer than the S, but again, this is likely mostly related to the difference in weight.

The single screen was a novelty for about the first hour, and then I stopped noticing that it was any different.  The vehicle I had was running a late v8 software version, but those who’ve upgraded to v9 will notice some similarities that we’ve inherited from the Model 3 software design.  I don’t have any driving shots as I was by myself, but this image was taken while supercharging.

The third of the screen closest to the driver contains items that would appear on the Model S/X driver display and the remainder of the screen is laid out very similarly to the main display.  One key difference is that because it’s all touchscreen, you can interact with the drivers display in a few ways.  The steering wheel controls were also different with the scroll wheel and paired buttons replaced by a scrollwheel which could be pushed side-to-side as well.  I had mine set up for the cruise speed and for audio control, and both options were intuative.  It was sometimes tricky to advance the music track without also clicking pause, but I’m sure I would have got more used to it over time.

Annoyingly, the vehicles we hired did not have Autopilot enabled, so I wasn’t able to test that, but I assume it will respond much the same as any other Tesla with Autopilot.

Interior appointment was excellent.  The seats were firm and comfortable and I think the rear seats were a little nicer than those in the Model S.  Because there is no hatch, and therefore no need for hinge structure in the roof, the rear headroom felt better, and it was a perfectly fine place for two adults to sit.  The Model 3 is narrower, and this would make it tight for three adults in the back, but certainly workable for shorter trips.  The front ventilation is amazing, with the touchscreen controlling where the air is directed for driver and passenger – you can move the stream up and down, as well as set it as a single stream, or split.  There are no moving parts in this system as I understand it – the air is directed by varying the amount at the top and bottom edges of the vent channel.

Luggage space is obviously much smaller than an S or X, but still very usable.  The frunk is similar in size to that on a dual-motor S (I’m not sure how much smaller it gets when you have a dual-motor 3)

The rear space is quite different as the Model 3 is a sedan rather than a hatch.  The boot lid opens high and the lip is small

The main difference in practicality is that it is somewhat narrower, and therefore can restrict some types of cargo.  I routinely put my road bike, with both wheels still attached into the S with the seats folded down with little fuss.  Testing this on a  Model 3 required removal of one bike wheel to fit through the opening to the back seat area.

That said – it was still quite doable, and I doubt it would present much of a challenge – It felt similar to the space in my previous Audi A6, for which I needed to do the same thing.

Over the few days I used the car, I loved it more and more.  Its smaller overall size made it much nicer to drive, and easier to park and manouvre.  Whether the smaller storage spaces would bother me is hard to gauge.  While in California, I was able to ride in the then-new dual-motor performance Model 3

This was an eye-opening experience.  The acceleration felt on par with a P-series S, although on the spec-sheet it’s *only* 3.5 seconds to 60mph.  I walked away from that experience seriously considering replacing my S75D with a performance 3 – it’s likely to land in Australia around $A100,000 which is quite a bit less than I paid for my S.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments below, and I’ll try and answer as many as I can.

EV charging with diesel powered ChargePod skid – a solution for locations with inadequate power


Several electric vehicle drivers in Australia have made the long journeys away from the isolated City of Perth travelling to Darwin, Adelaide and even all the way around Australia. A few keen enthusiasts in the EV community have done an excellent job arranging 3-phase power points to be installed along these routes. While these have been much appreciated by those that have followed, many places are not well connected to the grid and the power supply is inadequate or more to the point not as reliable as required – phases are often not balanced and access is sometimes restricted. The ChargePod was developed to service these locations, with a simple easily installed skid with 50kW DC charging capability. A keen AEVA member has built a prototype unit and a fuel consumption and endurance test was undertaken.

Objectives of the test

  • Check the reliability of the ChargePod over an extended multiple EV charging session
  • Evaluate the equivalent diesel fuel consumption for each model of car charged

Test Outline

The test consisted of 10 electric cars being charged consecutively at roughly 1 hour intervals utilizing a 50kW DC charger powered by a diesel generator (ChargePod). The cars were predominately Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X which arrived with around 35% battery with a view to charging to around 85% to ensure the optimum charging range. The ChargePod was not stopped between charges but allowed to idle for the few minutes while cars changed representing what would happen in a real situation. The charge sessions were all started and stopped using the ChargeFox App.

Equipment used

  • 10 full electric vehicles consisting of 6 Tesla Model S, 3 Tesla Model X and a 2018 BMW i3
  • A Tritium Veefil 50kW DC charger with a Chademo and CCS2 connector
  • A near new (23h) 75kVA Cummins powered generator set.

Test sequence

  • ChargePod fuel tank topped up to 38mm from filler neck.
  • Start charging car – record start and finish battery %, car’s average kWh consumption rate, kWh added to car, session start and finish times.
  • Change subsequent cars and repeat recordings.
  • Complete all 10 cars then shut down.
  • Leave skid overnight to cool.
  • Use mobile fuel truck with calibrated meter to refuel ChargePod to 38mm from filler neck.
  • Record total fuel consumption for the test.

Calculation method

Using total kWh added to all cars divided by the total fuel consumed an average kilowatt hour per litre diesel consumed is established – this is 3.392 kWh per litre which is the ChargePod performance.

Using the lifetime average kWh per kilometre for each car (this depends on the car and the driving style and is recorded continually by the car) an individual litres diesel equivalent per kilometre for each car tested can be established


  • The ChargePod ran continuously for 9 hours 15 minutes and charged 10 cars without stopping.
  • the generator consumed 108.6 litres of diesel.
  • the total energy recorded as received by the cars battery packs was 368.4 kWh.
  • the average kwhr per litre delivered to the cars by ChargePod was 3.392 kWh/l.

Diesel fuel consumption equivalents :

  • BMW I3 is 4.392 L/100km
  • Tesla Model S range 5.011 to 6.014 L/100km
  • Tesla Model X range 5.689 to 6.957 L/100km

Conclusion :

A stand alone DC EV-charging skid powered by diesel generator for remote locations with inadequate power delivers fuel consumption results are very comparable but on most occasions better than equivalent diesel powered passenger vehicles.

Thanks to all the EV drivers who volunteered their cars  on the day and most importantly to Jon Edwards who provided the venue, equipment, knowledge and can-do attitude to build the Chargepod and complete the test.