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Tesla Model 3 LR – long-term experience

The Tesla Model 3 LR – in my long-term experience. In line with the YouTube video a few weeks ago, I wanted to give you a more detailed description of my impressions and also answer some of the questions I’ve received about my Tesla Model 3 LR over the last...

Tesla Model 3 LR – long-term experience

Tesla Model 3 LR – long-term experience

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This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

The Tesla Model 3 LR – in my long-term experience. In line with the YouTube video a few weeks ago, I wanted to give you a more detailed description of my impressions and also answer some of the questions I’ve received about my Tesla Model 3 LR over the last few weeks.

Long-term experience with my Tesla Model 3 LR

In the last 24 months, I have driven more than 20,000 kilometers with various Tesla models in the USA and Europe, including over 10,000 kilometers with my Tesla Model 3 LR during my time in Germany. The experiences therefore still relate to the regular Tesla Model 3 LR and not yet to the facelifted model with the additional title “Highland”, which was launched at the end of 2023.

Background

Of course, a car is always a special object for many male readers, but for me it was supposed to be a good alternative during my stay in Germany – and above all electric. At the time, Tesla was well ahead of other manufacturers in terms of range, availability and ease of charging.

Many impressions in videos and blog posts describe the long-term experience after three months or even six months. I used the Tesla Model 3 LR as a car for around 15 months and primarily drove it in Germany and neighbouring countries.

Tesla Model 3 LR - Langzeiterfahrung - Verarbeitung - Vorteile und Nachteile

Impressions and experiences – Shanghai or Fremont

At the time of my order, it was not yet clear whether my Tesla Model 3 would come from American production (Fremont) or from Chinese production (Shanghai). The Model 3 LR described in this review still comes from Fremont, my Model Y, which I subsequently received, came from Shanghai and not from Grünheide.

This gives a good overview of the standards and how well the work was done.

Basically, of course, you’ve already read a lot about gaps, poor color flow, etc., but at least I couldn’t find any serious defects in my vehicle from Fremont. The gaps were within reasonable limits and it was generally very neatly finished.

Even though I will write detailed feedback about the Tesla Model Y in the future, my Model Y LR was fortunately even more neatly finished, the gap dimensions and the workmanship from Shanghai was very good.

Tesla Model 3 LR design and aesthetic aspects

Basically, the design of cars is of course always an opinion in itself and it suited my taste at the time. It was flat, sporty and looked different from the usual vehicles that were available as electric cars. Even though you often heard warnings, I deliberately opted for white seats. White car, white seats and regular rims. So almost a standard model.

After a short time, however, I could already tell that the white seats stood out and I was asked about them countless times. I was already familiar with light-colored leather seats from other manufacturers, but my experience with Tesla was completely different. Where you often see the first darker discolorations on jeans and jackets after just a few months, the condition of my Tesla Model 3 was still perfect even after 12 months.

If there was a small stain on the seats, you could easily remove it with the eraser sponges from the drugstore. The seats still looked perfect when I returned the car and I opted for white seats again for my Model Y LR.

However, if you travel a lot with children and want to take the dog with you in the rear seats, I would also recommend dark seats and a dark interior.

Tesla Model 3 LR - Langzeiterfahrung - Verarbeitung - Vorteile und Nachteile

Range and mileage

The question that has come up most frequently in recent months – what about the range of your Tesla Model 3 LR? A range of 630 km on a single charge was specified for my model and it was clear to me that this value would not fit, just as it is for cars with combustion engines (e.g. BMW X6, BMW M6). A lot always depends on your own driving style, but also on the weather, tires and use of air conditioning and other consumers.

I was able to calculate a realistic 500-520 km in the summer months, with a mixture of highway, country road and city traffic. In the winter months with winter tires, the range then dropped to 450-500km.

Display and operation of the vehicle

In the first week, it was a clear change for me that there was no longer an information panel in front of the steering wheel, but then you get used to it. The concern that you have less control over the speed also quickly evaporated and you got used to the position.

Even if you hear from Elon Musk and Tesla that a head-up display in the windshield is not worthwhile because all cars will drive autonomously in the future anyway, I would find it very pleasant, especially when you are driving in unfamiliar cities and are guided by the navigation system or are allowed to drive through complex highway intersections (especially in the USA).

Basically, the display in the middle offers everything you need and even the charging stops can be used for a break with Netflix thanks to the display.

However, I still see room for optimization here, at least with an additional display, as in the Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X.

Autopilot function

You certainly shouldn’t be confused by the term “autopilot” at Tesla, as with other brands. It is a pleasant support for driving on the highway, very helpful when changing lanes, but absolutely not recommended for exits.

Especially the comparison of the Autopilot in the Tesla Model 3 LR in Germany (and Europe) and the USA is serious. I had the “Enhanced Autopilot” package for my vehicle for 15 months and it’s nice, but not absolutely necessary.

If you want to take a leisurely drive on a quiet German highway on a quiet Sunday, the autopilot can be very relaxing, but if you want to rely on the autopilot on the highways around Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin, you should not have too great expectations of relief here.

Tesla Model 3 LR - Langzeiterfahrung - Verarbeitung - Vorteile und Nachteile

Parking and size of the vehicle

Even though I am used to larger cars due to my life in the USA, I would have imagined the Tesla Model 3 LR to be more compact and manageable at the beginning.

The vehicle is 472cm long, 185cm wide and 144.1cm high. While the driver’s seat and passenger seat are adequately sized, the rear seats, which are relatively low, are not comfortable in the long term, especially for older people or tall people, and are also difficult to reach when getting in and out (and also for women who like to wear high heels) 🙂 .

Anyone who frequently has to use the vehicle in narrow parking garages, has to choose low driveways and exits or also uses ferries will always have a bad feeling that the ground clearance is relatively low due to the low ground clearance (and the battery at the bottom).

Practical functions of the Tesla Model 3 LR

One option I loved on my Tesla Model 3 LR, and even more so on my Tesla Model Y LR, was the front frunk. While I still used the front trunk relatively infrequently in the Model 3, it became very useful in my Model Y, especially on longer trips.

People like to use the front trunk with its 56-liter capacity for drinks or jackets, an additional charging cable or even accessories.

The electric opening of the trunk via the display (or via smartphone) is very practical, especially when the shopping was a little larger, but is also almost standard with many other manufacturers today.

Trunk of the Tesla Model 3 LR

In the Tesla Model 3, as in other Tesla models, there is actually a second trunk, which is located under the upper panel and offers a further 58 liters of storage space in addition to the 385 liters of trunk space. If the rear seat bench is folded down, the trunk volume increases to 1200+ liters.

Certainly a very good size and perfectly adequate, but the problem lies with the tailgate, which only allows a height of 46 cm due to the large panoramic rear window. Visually, it certainly looks very nice, but anyone who frequently travels with suitcases or wants to take a baby carriage or dog with them will not enjoy this solution in the Tesla Model 3 LR in the long term.

Charging experience of the Tesla Model 3 LR

Certainly one of the biggest advantages of driving a Tesla – the charging infrastructure. Even though I have a private charging connection, the Tesla charging stations in Europe and the USA are simply fantastic.

If you talk to friends and family who drive other manufacturers, the experience with the charging stations at Tesla is perfectly solved and sufficient.

At the beginning of my Tesla experience, I was still a little cautious, especially in Germany, about whether there were really enough charging stations for long distances, but this concern never materialized and, if necessary, I also had charging cards from other providers in my car via the ADAC (AAA in the USA), but have never used them.

In the USA, the experience with the charging stations is completely different and even more dense, but it is perfectly adequate.

In contrast to other manufacturers, with Tesla you can drive the vehicle directly to the charging station and plug in the cable straight away. Charging takes place automatically via the credit card stored in the vehicle account. So there is no need to scan a QR code or hold a card or token in front of the device. This makes it really simple and effective.

Tesla Model 3 LR - Langzeiterfahrung - Verarbeitung - Vorteile und Nachteile

Waiting time, delivery, service center

Due to the corona epidemic, the waiting time for my Tesla was longer than originally planned at the time and the waiting time for the Model Y LR, which I subsequently received, was also significantly longer due to corona.

However, it was still well below the waiting times that some German and European manufacturers announce and then fail to meet.

If you look at the current waiting times for a Tesla Model 3 LR or a Tesla Model Y, they can be delivered relatively quickly.

The delivery of my Tesla Model 3 was absolutely hassle-free and was simply implemented. My vehicle was delivered directly to my front door and could then be inspected at my leisure. The most important documents had already been sent in advance and so I was able to quickly gain my first experience right in front of my home address.

Only the service workshops at Tesla seem to be a big gamble, especially in Germany. Anyone who has ever had a minor problem with their vehicle or had to change from summer tires to winter tires will probably be familiar with the problems.

During my three appointments to change the tires on my Tesla Model 3 LR, the processing time was never less than 2.5 hours. According to the app, only 45 minutes to 75 minutes were announced in each case – but the actual figures were completely different. In addition, there are fees for storage and replacement, which are absolutely at the upper end of the manufacturers’ range. It is advisable to look for alternatives in the region or well-known tire dealers.

As long as there is no problem with the vehicle and you just want to pick up the new vehicle, everything is very good, but once you need a service center, there is a lot of room for improvement.

Tesla Community

However, the close connection of the Tesla community is also worth mentioning. Whether at a charging point, in the waiting area of the above-mentioned service center or on the Internet, you will find a very lively exchange with lots of useful information.

Before reading through the manuals, I can only recommend taking a look at a Tesla group. You can find help and really good tips for almost every one of the five models.

It’s a good place to go, especially for users who are thinking about buying a Tesla car for the first time, and many questions can be clarified before ordering and delivery.

Environmental aspect and electric driving

I’ve been driving exclusively electric for a few years now, both when I’m in Germany and primarily in the USA, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Of course, I’m not going to please the motorsport fans, but the smooth glide along the roads in my vehicle is absolutely relaxing and reassuring, as well as being environmentally friendly.

It’s almost surprising how quickly you forget about filling stations in general and are only reminded of the smell of gasoline, diesel and exhaust fumes when you have to return a rental car.

Summary and conclusion – Tesla Model 3 LR – long-term experience

First of all, the experience with my Tesla Model 3 LR during my stay in Germany was very pleasant, considering factors such as range, charging times and charging infrastructure.

The finish is certainly slightly below the premium brands and at the time was also somewhat dependent on the production facility. For many of the models delivered by Tesla from Shanghai, the quality control was slightly better than with the models from Fremont.

However, I was lucky with my Tesla Model 3 LR from Fremont and the workmanship was good.

Basically, I can recommend a Tesla Model 3 LR to many people who are looking for a sporty electric car with a good range at a good price. The care of the vehicle is very good, my vehicle still looked like new after 15 months.

However, if you are looking for a vehicle with more ground clearance, if you have to drive into parking garages with steep slopes and driveways more often or if you want more trunk space, I would recommend the Tesla Model Y LR.

I have never regretted switching from the Tesla Model 3 LR to the Tesla Model Y LR and have had many positive experiences.

Tesla outlook

The big question – where is Tesla headed and would I choose a Tesla again? It’s a difficult question and basically I would answer “YES”. Even if I find some functions of other manufacturers much better and currently have the feeling that Tesla is resting a little on the success of the last few years and thus reminds me a little of Apple, I could imagine ordering a Tesla again in the future.

I would no longer choose a Tesla Model 3 LR for my requirements, I still think the design is very nice, but the smaller trunk and the lower ground clearance are a minus point for me.

It is not without reason that the Tesla Model Y LR is currently the car with the best sales figures and it will probably be 2025 before the next – necessary – facelift (Model “Juniper”). Even though the first models with the new Hardware 4 (HW4) have been delivered in recent weeks, some things are missing that are already available in the new Tesla Model 3 LR.

Personally, I would still like the Tesla Model X, but it has to be said quite clearly that problems with ultrasonic sensors over months and a lack of support are simply unacceptable for a vehicle in this price class. As long as the vehicle with its size and dimensions does not provide reliable distance values or even have a front camera, there are definitely electric vehicles from other manufacturers that are much more interesting for the price, even if you still have to make significant compromises in terms of charging infrastructure and range.

It will be an interesting journey to see where Tesla goes in the next two to five years, but if you are looking for a good price/performance ratio with a long range, you can’t go far wrong with the Tesla Model 3 LR.

Tesla Model 3 LR in YouTube video

In line with the long review on my lifestyle blog, there was already a YouTube Video (in German language) a few months ago, which briefly summarized a few impressions before I had to return the vehicle and was able to pick up my new Model Y LR.

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….​

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….​

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