Thursday, January 2, 2020

About my Tesla Model 3 - A Quest for the thin Red Line.

Upon finally completing test drives, as a family, of both the Model S and Model 3 back-to-back, we unanimously liked the 3 way more than the S (though I was the only one who truly appreciated Ludicrous mode).
All the Tesla models that we test drove.
I had a difficult purchase decision to make in order to fulfill both my driving desires and daily (snowy winter) necessities. Should I:

  1. purchase a Model 3 Performance trim level and maintain a second set of winter tires & wheels as I do for my GT-R. This meant extra cost, extra space, and extra effort twice a year to swap wheels.
  2. purchase a Model 3 Long Range trim level and forgo all the performance and acceleration desires, and always regret in awe when I encounter another P3D.
Fortunately for me, when I was griping about this to the very knowledgeable and very nice Tesla Advisor - Alvin from Oakbrook,  he immediately understood my predicament, asked me to hold on for a few minutes before responding. He performed a quick inventory search (which turned out was not the same an online search on the website) and said he could get me a Model 3 Performance trim with the performance motor and drive specifications, but without any the additional performance body specifications - i.e. no summer wheels in the Blue color that I wanted. I have since come to learn that this model is affectionately known within Tesla as the "Go, No Show" Model 3. It was approximately an 8 second decision which lead to this screen being produced:

My order confirmation page!
So basically my Model has the following interesting specs:
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 All Wheel Drive Long Range (performance motor and battery capacity)
  • Range of 310 miles
  • 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds
  • Top speed of 162 mph
  • Track Mode
  • 19" Sport Wheels with all season tires
  • the Little RED LINE under the DUAL MOTOR badge :-)
That little red line - alleluia!
However, what it does not have is:
  • Performance brakes - not needed for daily driving because of regeneration and I would rather get aftermarket 2-piece rotors to reduce un-sprung mass as I have done on other sports cars.
  • Carbon fiber spoiler - generally agreed upon as an aesthetic more than functional feature, can be added for $250 or so, but really don't want it as I prefer the clean monotone look.
  • Lowered suspension - this would make a huge difference on track, but can also be done aftermarket. For daily driving, I would rather have a normal suspension. Having a GT-R with very low suspension does make for an interesting in-town adventure with parking curbs, deep driveway and speed bumps. Already my Model 3 scraps a few frequented places.
  • Aluminum alloy pedal finishers- can be added for $25 or so and did that.
I placed the order on the spot immediately and proudly took delivery in September 2019. This approach saved me a chunk of change since the full performance trim was $8000 more than long-range trim at the time, and I paid $2000 for the performance upgrade. I also saved myself the cost of a second set of wheels and became free to choose how and when I upgrade components. I'd imagine that upgrading the motors, and whatever electronics and software are needed for the performance trim is not an easy or cheap feat.

So there you have it! Is it a frankenstein? a unicorn? an untimely sales/marketing experiment by Tesla? or just a causality of the parts available in inventory when my car was being built? Whatever it was, I am extremely happy with this configuration and I would not change it for the world.

The lesson that I learned in simply observing the way the Tesla Model 3 configurations options and costs have subtly changed since first launch is that it is best not be an early or late adopter, buy during a model's teenage year, just before full model maturity.

Next step ... Accessorizing!