After 2 Months
in our Model 3
Mark D Larsen
(Click to enlarge)
After 2 months, 4,000 miles, and a long-distance roadtrip, I can state unequivocally that I truly adore our Tesla Model 3. I thought our previous Nissan LEAF was great, but there is no comparison with Correcaminos’s superb handling, power, comfort, convenience, features, styling. There are simply not enough superlatives to adequately praise it.
With those months, miles, and roadtrip now behind me, I would like to offer a few suggestions that perhaps Tesla might consider for future software updates. Other owners may or may not agree with them, but there’s no harm in sharing the feedback, for whatever it’s worth.
- Disengaging Autopilot
There are 3 ways to cancel Autopilot functions:
- Flip the shift lever up.
- Apply the brake pedal.
- Manually turn the steering wheel.
However, only the first two methods disengage both Autosteer and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control. The last one merely cancels Autosteer —not Cruise Control!
I deem this a mistake. For the sake of consistency —and safety!— all 3 methods should produce the very same result: disengage both functions. If an unexpected encounter on the road prompts drivers to swerve the wheel and take control of steering, you can bet that in the vast majority of instances they should also resume control of the car’s speed. Having to then use one of the other two methods above to also disengage cruise control results in a delayed reaction —which could prove dangerous. This happened several times on our roadtrip, and it was always very disconcerting, if not scary. Besides, once the mishap is in your rear view mirror, reengaging Autosteer by flipping the shift lever down twice also reengages Cruise Control, so cancelling both by swerving the wheel is no big deal.
- Shifting into Neutral
I would suggest that shifting into Neutral should require pushing the lever for at least 3 seconds —not just 1 second. Such a short amount of time is too easily confused with merely attempting to cancel Autosteer and Cruise Control. There were times on our roadtrip when I was so distracted by what suddenly appeared on the road ahead that I clumsily pushed the level up for longer than necessary to cancel Autopilot, only to find that I no longer had any regen and needed to apply the physical brakes to slow or stop the car. Nor could I use the accelerator to drive around the obstacle. In short, it should not be so easy to inadvertently shift into Neutral while driving down the road.
- Regen Settings
I am sure that using the moderate regen in our previous LEAF helped me adapt to the more aggressive version in the Model 3 more quickly than other new owners. I love how it makes it possible to slow down with one-pedal driving! However, I wish Tesla would add an even more aggressive “High” setting that would fully stop the car when pulling up to a stop sign or traffic light. I guess I have become so happily conditioned to using only one pedal that it now irks me to ever have to use the brake in such instances. I mean, since the regen in other EVs like the Bolt and the new LEAF already do that, surely Tesla can add a third regen setting to do the same.
- Driver Profiles
When on a long distance roadtrip, there are times when you want to just stretch your back a bit by increasing the lumbar support. I have found that, when I make that adjustment, the touchscreen displays options to “Restore” or “Save” my driver profile. Of course, the lumbar increase is only temporary, so I never “Save” it, but the “Restore” button does not restore the previous lumbar position. I therefore have to decrease the lumbar manually. Surely that button should be able to restore all such adjustments for a driver’s saved profile (seat angle, height, distance, steering wheel, mirrors, and lumbar position, etc.).
- Climate Control
Tamara has complained repeatedly that, whenever I exit the vehicle to, say, go into a store, and she remains in the passenger seat, the climate control turns off when the car locks automatically. Yes, either she or I can open the Tesla app on our phones to turn it back on in the car, but it is inconvenient and sometimes impossible, depending upon the cell phone reception at a given location. I could also leave my phone in the car, but then we cannot call each other if needed. I would consequently suggest that Tesla put a button on the “Quick Controls” screen to keep the Climate Control on after exiting the car. That setting could then cancel as soon as the driver returns, presses the brake, and the previous settings resume.
- Homelink Settings
I wish that there were an option when configuring a Homelink setting to temporarily enable “Creep Mode” until you are back in the garage and shift into Park. I opine that it is much easier —and, again, safer— to use one-pedal in such instances, but in this case... the brake pedal. Moving back-and-forth from one pedal to the other when trying to negotiate your way into a garage can prove cumbersome, even confusing to some drivers. Indeed, it might explain those instances in the news when people have tried to brake and pressed the wrong pedal instead, crashing through walls and over curbs. Yes, I’m sure that there are numerous Tesla owners who have no problem pulling in at home without engaging “Creep Mode,” but it would be nice to at least have that option in a Homelink setting, especially when backing into a garage like I need to do. Those who wouldn’t use it, don’t need to select it, of course.
My 2¢ worth, anyway. And I'm sure that, with more time and miles, I’ll have a few more pennies to add to the bowl.
Thank you, Tesla, for a truly amazing car!
I was flattered and humbled that Elon Musk tweeted that my suggestions had been “noted.” I was even more surprised to see how many Tesla owners, fans, and critics then also tweeted reactions to them. As anticipated, many agreed with my feedback, but there were some who expressed adamant objections.
I will admit to the latter group that I should have clarified above that any such changes could certainly be accomplished as optional settings so that owners could choose whether or not they wished to implement them. For example, here are some edited photos of control screens in the Model 3 that illustrate possible buttons with the options I suggest:
Regen Settings and Shifting into Neutral
It seems to me that, as long as suggested changes are optional, everyone’s a winner. No worries!
By the way, many helpful owners explained that, to keep climate control on when the driver exits the vehicle, a passenger simply needs to touch the touchscreen. My wife and I went out to the garage to test out this tip, and... it works! Many thanks to all those who passed it along! I had searched through the Owners Manual for such a solution, but couldn’t find one. Good to know!