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Checkpoint: Tesla Model 3 Edition

I felt a brief moment of regret after laying eyes on the Tesla Model 3. For approximately 5 seconds, I thought the car that Elon Musk unveiled late Thursday night was the ideal fit and that perhaps I should have waited for his latest product. But then I gathered my senses and went back to playing The Division.

I didn’t make a reservation. I’ve prodded people in hopes that they would but realistically, the Tesla Model 3 isn’t what I was hoping for.

The specification are sound:

  • 215 miles on a single charge
  • Starts at $35 000 USD before government incentives
  • 0 – 60 MPH in 6 seconds
  • Seats 5

It sounds all well in good but what they’ve shown so far makes me question who this is for. I think it’s for the Tesla fan that can’t afford a Model S or Model X; it’s not for the everyday person just yet and all the interior design decisions point to that fact.

But let’s talk about the exterior first. Outside of the weird grill-less front, I really like the look of the Model 3’s exterior. That single piece of glass for the windshield, roof and rear window is a source of envy. It makes me wonder why we haven’t seen car manufacturers try this kind of design though. Is it cost thing? A potential safety issue? I have no idea but I’d like to see this idea take off.

There are plenty of exterior shots of the car on Tesla’s website but the interior is absent. They’re not hiding it — they showed it off during that reveal — but it’s probably not final and they didn’t want many people studying it too closely.

The giant touch screen is an eye catching centre piece. However, once I was done being wowed and thought about what it would be like to live with that as the only means of input. I thought I would be fine with the first generation Volt’s capacitive touch controls but as soon as I got into one and had look at where I was tapping, I realized that not everything should be touch based. Basic functions like volume and climate control are fine as knobs. Just look at the Nest which pushed for simplicity and brought back the classic knob based thermostat.

According to Elon, not every detail in the Model 3 is set in stone and it’s all subject to change before actual manufacturing begins. One area, I would like for them to address is the lack of speedometer. There’s a widget on the top left that will display the speed but I don’t want to glance to the right, I would like to see it in front of me. I don’t need it in a traditional dashboard set up; I will be happy if they projected on the windshield.

Other decisions that made me question the appeal of the car for the masses is the trunk opening. My brother and I thought it was going to be a hatchback but that single piece of glass setup meant it’s the exact opposite of a hatchback with one of the dinkiest of trunk entrances I’ve ever seen.

There still may be too many concessions for people to go full electric but efforts like the Model 3 are very promising. I look forward to seeing the car on the road.

I finished Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. I didn’t like it very much and I’ll elaborate why later this week. I also finished the main content in The Division but I’m not done with it yet. I’m curious what the upcoming Incurision (or “raid”) is like and there are still a handful of enemies to thwart in the Dark Zone.

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