Tesla test drive: Round the ‘burbs, in a jam and down the highway in a Model 3

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After the showboating, how does the Tesla Model 3 stack up as the regular form of transport, sharing the roads with mere mortals and the diesel and petrol mob?

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The Driven

A few weeks ago, I was one of a lucky group of people to take first test drives of the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan in Australia – on a private track north of Sydney. For four laps we got to throw the car around as quick as we dared.

It was enough time to discover the Model 3 performance version is bloody quick, has unbelievable acceleration, and  great handling. And it was enough time to underline the fact that two of these attributes – acceleration and handling – are direct benefits of electric vehicles.

The batteries provide instant torque, so when Tesla says the Model 3 performance can go from 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds, that is exactly what it can do. And because of the positioning of those same batteries, the car’s centre of gravity is low, and that means the handling is great.

EVs have other great attributes too: They have lower greenhouse emissions, they do not pollute the air with particulates, fumes, or noise. And in the case of the Model 3 and other Tesla vehicles, they have extremely high safety ratings.

And, just to top it off, they look good too,  inside and out.

Granted, this is a subjective assessment – and I even know of people who say they like the look of modern SUVs. Although I do have a question for them: How the hell do you tell the difference between models?

The other day I saw a Hyundai/Mazda/Nissan type thing with an MG label on the back. What’s the point, I wondered. That’s not what I understood an MG to be.

Tesla has introduced some new lines with the Model 3. I like that it is distinctive. You see, there were some advantages to growing up in the 60s and 70s. The car-makers didn’t follow each other like clams.

And Tesla is no clam. It’s taken vision and some corporate guts to challenge and upturn the cosy incumbency of two trillion dollar industries, car making and transport fuels. The Model 3 is the next phase in that revolution.

So, having given it a tick for performance, handling and looks, it was time to find out what the Model 3 was like in real life, and driven over a few days.

The question to be posed was this: Would it still be as much fun stuck in endless Sydney traffic jams, going around suburban streets, ducking down to the shops for a bottle of milk, picking people up at the airport, and hopping on to the freeway to Canberra and back?

After the showboating, how did it stack up as the regular form of transport, sharing the roadway with the mere mortals, the diesel and petrol mob?

To read the rest of this story, please click here to go to the original on our EV-focused sister site The Driven.

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