7 Flaws Tesla Must Fix in Model 3

Tesla still has room for improvement in 2023. Its cars excel in many areas and surprise most of the industry, but small flaws that are not noticeable in the first exciting minutes of driving can be easily fixed. Example with Model 3.

When you test drive a car, even for a few days and in situations as close to reality as possible, you can’t help but miss the everyday details that define a car’s personal use. Driving a vehicle for a long time allows you to pinpoint these overlooked qualities and flaws. After covering 9,000 km in the Tesla Model 3 since September 2022, we have exactly this background that allows us to list what the American manufacturer can develop in 2023.

Before getting to the heart of the matter, a small reminder is in order: these criticisms, countless and list effect Don’t question our overall opinion of the Tesla we’ve tested since 2016. With its autonomy, drivability, standard equipment, Autopilot, and simplified long-haul layout, the Tesla still flies. In 2023, the supply of electric cars will end.

But we can always do better, and Tesla, a leader in many areas, has room to improve in others. These 7 flaws of the Model 3 prove it to us.

Tesla Model 3 grips, puzzle

Tesla Model 3 upgrade at the end of 2020: black instead of chrome, but still the same handle // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama

As with the Model S and X, the Tesla Model 3’s handles are integrated into the doors. But unlike high-end cars, there’s no motorized system here: you have to press the back of the handle with your thumb to remove it, and then hold it with your fingers to open the door.

A helping hand for the driver and ordinary passenger is quickly and easily forgotten. Having people who have never climbed a Tesla climb is a whole different story. In recent months, I have had to explain how to open the car door more than fifteen times to every new person who got into the car. And for some people, multiple times. Most people don’t know what to do by looking at the thread (and no one can blame them). Those who try to let go of the thumb see the arm close before they have time to catch it. Others try two-handed operation while cursing.

It is not necessary to explain such a primitive system as the grip of a car — whatever the underlying reasons for design choices or drag coefficient optimization, never.

Door opener button that lowers the windows

New picto, but still not clear enough // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama
New icon on the handle, but still not clear enough // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama

Same comment from inside. The Tesla Model 3’s main unlock is a button with an illegible icon for most people who don’t know it. We start by saying that every time we have to press this button to open the door. Then the man squeezes it and pulls back because the windows are rolled down, logically believing that he has opened the window. We calm him down and tell him to push the door open…it’s closed again. Everything has to be done again. We do not count the number of times that strangers to the system tried to roll the window without pushing the door.

So yes, we totally understand the need to roll down the car’s windows by opening the door: all vehicles without window pillars go through this step, it’s just not designed for Tesla. But overall integration can be bad if no one understands the mechanism: does the icon explain enough? Is the window downloading too fast and too hard? Can we encourage people to open the door normally in a different way without having to worry about what happens when the door is opened? A mystery that Tesla has not solved anyway.

The vazification of GPS borders on the absurd

We’ve all had that moment when Waze takes us off a seemingly quiet highway to take us on a 5km drive to ZAC with its traffic lights, roundabouts and speed bumps. Two minutes less worthless adventures per hour. In Tesla’s six years of testing, the car’s GPS was always more visible fool More than Waze: for me, it was a joy, even if it meant losing some time, for the least effort.

After several updates, the GPS is showing more and more initiatives a la Waze. At one point, he suggests getting off the highway and driving twenty-five kilometers on the main road to avoid an accident that happened three hours ago and was completely cleared. Another is that it recalculates the route assuming that the Supercharger is too busy: by forcing the destination to the mentioned station, we realize that it is empty. I say again that he wants to avoid it at any cost by crossing a road of less than two kilometers. The boxes “Do not take another route in less than 15 minutes” and “Avoid tolls” are checked and unchecked, respectively.

Same story in Tesla owner groups: Updates at the end of 2022 messed something up. One can only hope that this is not a new philosophy, but a mistake.

Shame removers

Famous Bad Weather // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama
Famous Bad Weather // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama

For a long time, Tesla windshield wipers were a taboo subject. A certain Elon wanted to use machine vision developed for Autopilot to detect rain. He did not offer an alternative solution: the Tesla, which costs tens of thousands of euros, like any entry-level car, did not have automatic wiper activation.

The solution was found, but it brought another problem: the algorithm is often wrong and starts the wipers in vain. When it comes to leaves in the setting sun, followed by crazy intervals of rain, the wipers come on once or twice to no avail. But when the app detects drops of juice or dust, you’re in for a great time for your entire trip. On a bright day, I even saw a speed reduction warning on Autopilot.” bad weather conditions »

Perhaps worst of all, Tesla doesn’t allow you to manually turn off the wipers on Autopilot. The highway driver assistance tool is so efficient and convenient that it’s hard to do without it. If you have the misfortune to fantasize about rain, it will be associated with the screeching sound of windshield wipers on dry pavement. Or stopping at a gas station to clean the windshield – I’ve done it before.

Maybe we should face facts: Not everyone lives in California and it rains. You can have a simple and reliable system to detect it.

4G LTE connection

For €9.99 a month, in a car that claims to be futuristic, Tesla can do better than its Dutch-run “all operators roaming” plan. At the borders, the blackout is real before the modem finds the beginning of the network. And even on the highway, there are many white moments when nothing is available to the media player. We have these inconveniences in many vehicles with the interface of the last century. In the Tesla Model 3 and its huge and responsive center screen, drivers and passengers deserve better: 4G should not be the weak link in streaming.

Toybox or teenage Elon’s dreams

More personal and smaller, this flaw belongs to Toybox, which is embedded in Tesla’s brand image. We even did a tour in 2018 easter eggs Video Tesla Model X. But in the long run, jokes are cheap, and we tire very quickly of these few gadgets ingrained in the Tesla culture. Answer” oh yes, it’s a pillow… and it’s for lighting a chimney, ha ha Not too glorious for the brand, for the curious browsing the menus.

Unlicensed teenagers have fun with it. Adults wonder what these toys bring to the car. No one is going to switch to an electric car for that, and since Elon Musk is totally bent, his pre-pubescent humor isn’t so funny anymore. When will there be a No Elon mode where these gadgets won’t appear on the screen?

Autopilot navigation (not much in Europe)

This last point is not Tesla’s fault. Surprising as it may seem, autonomous driving used to be better in Europe. As I’ve been testing Teslas, I’ve noticed a paradox emerging on the Old Continent: the more reliable the technology, the less legal it is.

Year after year, Tesla’s Autopilot loses functionality due to road frame regulations. When navigating on autopilot, overtaking is slow even in the fastest mode and only happens for a short period of time. I activated the turn signal in the first Model S I tested, and the car picked the right moment for overtaking with agility and precision. Top speed on bends and freeway exits is also sacrificed by legislation (we had it in our last test): the car knows how to do it, it’s bolder in the US, but it doesn’t have the right to. Shame.

I will also say that despite its faults (random detection of maximum speeds, strange reactions to borderline situations, temporary suspension of functions due to Tesla Vision) and legal restrictions, Autopilot is safer and more convenient than traditional driving. In the Tesla Model 3, almost 90% of those 9,000 km were achieved with the software: that’s how useful and reliable it is. But the disappointment is great – he could do more and does less every year.

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