I finally found the time and space to try out Track Mode on my Model 3 Performance yesterday. It’s a game I need to play some more, to discount any expectation bias that I might have been displaying, but – so far – I’m impressed: Track Mode adds an extra layer to the fundamental characteristics of the Model 3, turning it into a willing and eager accomplice to the art of driving. Continue reading
Category: The Eco-petrolhead
I’ve a long history of owning, using and enjoying moderately brisk cars and bikes. I’m also by background an ecologist and climate change activist. It’s now time to try and reconcile the contradictions inherent in that, so here is the story of my journey from dinosaur-burning machines to those that ride the lightning.
I drove my 911 today, for the first time since we bought our Tesla. And it was everything that I’ve always valued a 911 for: it‘s hugely tactile, fairly noisy and thoroughly interactive, with its slick manual gearbox, delicious feel and sublime feedback from the steering. And, once wound up and pointed in the right direction, it’s really rather quick, albeit limited entirely by my own skill (or lack of) in juggling all the judgements required in the process, however enjoyable I may find it. A decade ago, I’d have pointed to such machines as the apotheosis of development of the motor car, despite my ever-present concern about their environmental impact. And yet…
The adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the UK is still at the stage where their mere presence creates interest, ranging from the reasonable – questions about range, infrastructure and charging times – to the incredulous, “An electric car, in Scotland – are you f***ing mad?!”. So this is where we find out if the latter is in fact correct, or if our own judgement in buying the thing has stood up to the test of the real world. By which I mean a month-and-a-bit and 2,000 miles so far.
Firstly then, how far does the beast take us before running out of electrons? Continue reading
So, in changing both how we live and what we do, and after trying out pretty much all of the alternatives, we’ve bought a Tesla – a Model 3 Performance – and this, after six weeks and 2,000 miles is a real world review of just how well reality matches both hype and expectation.
If you’re even mildly interested in electric cars, you’ve probably been exposed to numbingly tedious videos of Teslas blasting down drag strips, crushing the bellowing internal combustion-engined (ICE) opposition in imperious silence. That part of any Tesla’s performance we can pretty much take for granted, and the Model 3 doesn’t let us down. Ours – and the only Model 3 variant I’ve driven – is the Model 3 Performance, which covers the traditional 0-60mph measure in 3.2 seconds, the more real-world relevant 30-70mph increment in around 2.7 seconds and a standing start 1/4 mile in 11.5 seconds.
For reference, those acceleration figures are in the same ball park as those of the hallowed superstars of the 1990s, the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40, but from a zero-emission family saloon. Yes, a high-end ICE sports car will catch – and ultimately despatch – a Tesla at the top end, but there we’re talking about 130mph+, which isn’t entirely relevant to day-to-day driving, whereas low-medium speed responsiveness most certainly is. The Model 3 then, is not a slow car. Continue reading
…to buy a car? I may have mentioned this before, but I hate buying cars. Or rather, I love the process, spending way too long playing with online configurators and researching deals, to the point where I feel sufficiently equipped for the really negative part of the process: dealing with car sales people, a sub-species whose means of sustenance I have never quite managed to understand as, like the Chameleon of antiquity, they appear to exist on air alone. They certainly don’t do so by selling cars.
The future is accelerating towards us – silently – as the age of the internal combustion engine comes to a close. That’s after 130 years of mobilising, democratising, suffocating and poisoning society (rearrange those to suit your personal priorities). And it looks as though, of the available technologies, battery-based electric vehicles (BEVs) are going to win the day. I don’t want to get into a VHS/Betamax argument – in fact, I do, but I’ll be posting that separately – other than to note that the most viable alternative, the hydrogen fuel cell, is in the process of missing the boat.