First Time Behind the Wheel
(Click to enlarge)
Our Telsa Model 3

April 28, 2018

Mark D Larsen

For the past six years I thoroughly loved driving our Nissan LEAF. In fact, I have become so spoiled to driving on electricity that I can no longer stand to get behind the wheel of a gasmobile to take roadtrips beyond the LEAF’s limited range. I therefore decided to hedge my bets and put down a deposit to reserve a Tesla Model 3 the first day it was revealed over two years ago.

On April 6, I finally received an e-mail from Tesla, informing me that it was time to choose my options and place my order. I had originally thought that perhaps I would hold off for the AWD version, but after Tamara and I discussed it further, we decided to just go ahead and order. After all, we live in the desert Southwest, and rarely —if ever— see snow. Moreover, we already knew that we wanted the more expensive top-of-the-line long range battery, premium package, and enhanced Autopilot, so it didn't make much sense to spend even more money for an unnecessary dual motor drivetrain.

I went ahead and placed the order and provided Tesla our documentation for insurance, registration, and licenses. The only options we could choose were the wheels and the color. I had originally wanted white, like our LEAF, as I think it is the most practical color in a hot climate. However, a neighbor had already taken delivery of his Model 3, and once Tamara saw it... nothing else would cut it for her except the same Midnight Silver Metallic. And that’s fine with me: practicalities aside, I agree that it truly is the most unique, elegant, classy, even sexy of the six colors currently available. She also preferred the more expensive 19" wheels, rather than the 18" aeros, especially with the Midnight Silver Metallic color, so those are the options we chose.

I then ordered a Tesla High Power Wall Connector (HPWC) to install in our garage prior to delivery. Only 10 days later, on April 16, our Tesla sales advisor in Las Vegas contacted me to let me know that we now had a VIN number for our Model 3 and to provide instructions to pay for the vehicle. I had considered trading in our LEAF, but when I saw how low the quoted value was, I decided to try to sell it myself. It was a prudent decision: because it has a new battery replaced under warranty, we managed to sell it for more than twice the offer from Tesla’s trade-in partner, CarMax.

After four more days, our sales advisor let us know that our delivery appointment was set for Saturday, April 28, at 2:00 pm at the store on West Sahara Avenue. I submitted to Tesla the necessary banking information to finalize the purchase, so all our ducks were now in a row. Tamara recently had shoulder surgery and had not yet been cleared to drive, so we arranged to take an airport shuttle to Las Vegas that day and then drive the Model 3 home together.

At this point, I'll simply continue the narration with comments on the following photos.

Click to enlarge any photo:

After arriving at the airport, we took a taxi to the Tesla store, getting there about 10 minutes before our appointment. It was the first time I had visited the store, and asked Tamara to take this photo before we entered.

After a few minutes, our delivery advisor had us and two other couples enter the showroom to see our three cars for the first time. Here you can see Tamara checking out our new baby, with a white model for one of the other couples to the left of ours.

I took this photo from the rear while Tamara continued giving our Model 3 a close inspection. The third couple's red model is to the right. The two of us glibly, but quietly, agreed that we really had picked the most gorgeous color.

A delivery advisor asked if one of us would agree to use our car to demonstrate the features to all three couples. I gladly volunteered, and so we all got in our Model 3, with me and the advisor in the front and the other couples' primary drivers in the rear.

The other partners could also listen to the explanations and instructions from the outside, as you can see in this photo and the one at the top of the page. Tamara knew that I would convey all the information to her later, so instead of looking over others’ shoulders she continued to take these photos during the delivery advisor’s presentation.

This is a one that she took from the back. It’s difficult to see in this picture unless you look very closely, but we did find one serious flaw that needed fixing. There was a definite “scoured” circle scratched onto the truck lid, about the size of one’s fist.

When we pointed out the problem to the main delivery advisor, she took a photo with me standing next to the car and pointing at the location so that her colleagues in service could later arrange with me to fix the damage.

She also took a close up photo with my finger still pointing at the spot to give perspective to the size of the “scrubbed” circle. The overhead lights in the photo make it hard to see, but if you look closely, you can see that it seems like someone had scrubbed on that spot with a brillo pad or sandpaper.

The entire orientation session hardly took more than a hour, so we signed the final delivery papers and... drove off in our brand new Model 3 for the first time. Before leaving Vegas we stopped for a bite to eat and contemplated how gorgeous it looked in the sunlight.

I must say that I was absolutely blown away at how wonderfully it drove: so comfortable, quiet, powerful, nimble! Here you can see it from the side and appreciate how the 19" wheels add to its striking appearance.

I had Tamara stand next to it, happy and proud of what is unquestionably the most incredible car we have ever owned. She really does have excellent taste, doesn’t she?

She then reciprocated and took a matching photo of me next to it. Thank goodness the car is the real head-turner.

A couple of hours later we arrived home and backed it into our garage so that its charging port was next to the HPWC on the wall.

We plugged it in for the first time, and gleefully observed that the HPWC and the Model 3 were truly made for each other.

Because I had reserved a Model 3 on the very first day it was revealed, Tesla gave me a token gift of appreciation: a diecast model which I will proudly display next to the other diecast EVs I have on a bookshelf in my office.

The next morning I went out to the garage to take some interior photos to share with family and friends. Here you might be able to see that I had configured the settings to charge overnight to 50% —which is actually more than enough for our daily driving needs around our community.

I am enthralled with the minimalist, simple design of the interior. Why in the world other automakers continue to clutter their dashboards with buttons, knobs, switches, dials, and vents with louvers is beyond me. The touchscreen and the two scroll buttons on the steering wheel more than suffice for any and all functions.

When we were getting that bite to eat on the way home, a women parked next to us and was perplexed that we were putting a doggybag... under the hood! We had to chuckle as we explained that our EV had a frunk. It will be marvelous to now have that compartment to carry smaller items that would otherwise roll around in the trunk.

And that trunk truly is huge! The cubby hole underneath it will also prove very useful for storing the Mobile Charging Unit, plug adapters, an extension cord, a Tesla tire repair kit, waterless spray washes, cloths, and other paraphenalia.

The following week, the service technicians contacted me to bring the Model 3 back to the store so that they could fix the damage on the trunk lid. Here it is, in the service area, waiting to be taken to the body shop because the scratches were so deep into the paint that mere buffing wouldn’t correct the problem. Tsk.

And, finally, this was the result, 10 days later. I am again pointing my finger at the same spot to compare how it looks before (above) and after (here). Tesla did a good job repainting the trunk lid to help cover the damage, which is now barely noticeable.

It seems like transitions in life are always bittersweet. I am very sad to have sold our LEAF, Ohm My, as I had never grown so emotionally attached to a material possession before. It was part of our family, a reliable friend who never let us down in our quest to help build a better world. However, we are also thrilled, elated, euphoric to have upgraded to such a refined, futuristic, superior EV as our new Model 3. For years we have suppressed our longing to regularly visit the numerous national parks in our area, simply because we didn’t want to add pollution to their pristine environments with a tailpipe. Now we can enjoy roadtrips to contemplate such natural wonders guilt free. We can also visit family and friends whom we haven’t seen for years in California, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, the Northwest, and Canada. We foresee many roadtrips on the horizon, which is why this Spanish professor has decided to name our Model 3... Correcaminos.