11 September 2023

Canberra's second favourite EV gets a facelift, but not everyone is sold

| James Coleman
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man with Tesla

Kingston resident Stephen Ning and his 2021 Tesla Model 3. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Tesla Model 3 is more than the third best-selling EV in the country and the second best-selling car of any drivetrain type here in the ACT. It was a game-changer. The Tesla Model S made EVs cool, but the Model 3 made them accessible.

In the hopes of keeping a good thing going, the US company has revealed a new version after months of teasers and leaked images.

But already, there are mixed thoughts from Canberra’s many Tesla enthusiasts.

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The upgrades start with sharper front lights and a larger rear diffuser, designed to help lower drag and boost the range from 491 km to 513 km for the base model and 602 km to 629 km for the Model 3 Long Range.

Inside, the 15.4-inch main touchscreen clearly wasn’t enough, so they’ve added another 8-inch one for passengers in the rear to control climate and entertainment options.

The boot opening also includes the rear window, just like a hatchback.

Perhaps most controversially, however, the indicator stalk has been replaced by buttons on the steering wheel, while the gear selector stalk – also previously mounted to the steering wheel – has been ditched in favour of a slider on the touchscreen for switching between Drive, Reverse and Park.

In a straw poll of the Canberra Tesla Owners Group on Facebook conducted by Region, this was described as a “retrograde step”.

“Don’t rate the stalk removal, front end doesn’t look as good, interior upgrades look decent, more efficiency is good,” one commenter wrote.

“Overall, I have no buyer’s remorse for buying a Model 3 RWD a few months ago.”

Another said: “The fact the boot actually has an opening larger than an envelope makes me think the thing is finally worth considering”, while others had placed their order for the new model “today”.

READ ALSO Tesla owners more likely to vote Labor or teal, new data on ACT’s car choices confirms

Prices are up by $4500 for the entry-level variant and $1500 for the long-range version, so driveaway pricing in the ACT will start at $61,900 when it arrives in the first quarter of next year.

According to the latest national sales data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Model 3 was the third best-selling EV for July. It racked up 604 sales, bested by the Tesla Model Y (3320 sales) and BYD Atto 3 (1005).

Closer to home, Tesla is second only to Toyota for total sales in the ACT so far this year. The Model Y has scored 753 sales, followed by the Model 3 with 622.

Tesla car

The Tesla Model 3 is the second best-selling car in the ACT so far this year. Photo: James Coleman.

Kingston resident Stephen Ning bought his Model 3 in June 2021, motivated by the performance, sustainability and the fact he “hated petrol stations”.

“It was the perfect size and mix of what I wanted and needed,” he says.

Tesla car

Inside the current Model 3. Photo: James Coleman.

Since then, he’s made some playful cosmetic modifications, such as adding red trim and carbon-fibre wrap to parts of the body. But there is at least one other, more serious change, he’s glad to see made it to the updated model.

“A hatch rather than a boot would be good,” he says.

He also names the removal of the indicator and drive stalks from the steering wheel as, in fact, safer.

“The drive stalk was dangerous for new drivers. For example, you might be at some lights and put the indicator on but actually change into reverse.”

So, is he upgrading? Not yet.

“There aren’t enough changes in the new one to warrant swapping over.”

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Michael Pless12:16 pm 12 Sep 23

It’s a great car, but this “minimalism at all costs, including user-friendliness” is unnecessary, IMO. Removing the stalks might help those who also drive cars with the indicators on the right-hand side of the steering column, but Citroen and others tried individual switches years ago without success. It still needs essential information such as speed in front of the driver and not on a screen that requires you to look down. Sadly, these changes are likely to also be put into the Model Y. A hideously expensive upgrade will further distance it from the likes of the BYD Atto (and other Chinese competitors when they arrive) in terms of popularity. And for those who like to hedge their bets, there is the Outlander PHEV…

Johnny Mikic7:27 am 12 Sep 23

Hates petrol stations hahaha go hang out at majura maccas for half a day

Such an ugly car

Tesla’s, what the Volvo drivers of yesterday are now driving.

Alex Heracleous7:20 pm 09 Sep 23

Forget the stalk, the price increase or the front end look. It STILL doesn’t have a dashboard, so no sale for me

I give them 6 months to swallow their hubris and 6 more to return them.
Best of luck trying to sell the update later.

Hahaha .. yup ok expert .. I’ll give it 12 months before it’s 1 in 20 cars sold are an Ev .. when it costs $700 to charge a man EV to travel the avg 15k kms ir becomes a no brainer

John Schwazer5:54 am 08 Sep 23

1. The carbon footprint of making EVs is 70% more than ordinary vehicles. 2. Environmentally friendly synthetic fuel is not far away – see developments in formula 1 racing. If people were serious about their man-made climate change beliefs and wanted to stop carbon emissions, they’d be pushing for ordinary cars to be made to last for 50 years (which they kind of are anyway), for people to keep them that long and for those cars to be run on said synthetic fuel. And none of this has anything to say about the totally unchecked planned obsolescence of nearly all products we use today. But because none of this ever comes close to rating a mention, what else is there to think except that people – especially the social engineers – do not really believe in man-made climate change (but have ulterior motives) or that they’re dumber than what was initially thought.

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