About the same time when the official Model 3 “invasion” started to disrupt the European markets, we had the joy to offer test drives to our friends living in Sweden in Germany, during our trip from Livonia, Michigan, to Sibiu, Romania. All of them were first time EV drivers and their feedback makes me believe Model 3 will be a big success for Tesla in Europe too, as it was last year in US.
Coming from different backgrounds and with significant differences in automotive experience, they all have something in common as interest for the EV topic is getting more attention then ever in Europe. Some are skeptics, some enthusiasts, but we had a good time with all of them discovering the simple way of driving the Model 3, as we had before with our friends in US.
Positive feedback is dominant with highlights for design, interior space, smoothness, acceleration and regen braking, making the one pedal driving so easy to learn, even for drivers without automatic transmission experience, like Edith.
Our youngest test drivers, Victor in Sweden and Andreas in Munich, feel immediately at home, statements like “this feels like an Apple car” or “a car build around a tablet” being real praise for the intuitive menu of the big screen user interface in the center.
Infotainment IT experts, like Cristi, who designed devices for Continental projects in Romania, Singapore and Germany are not so sure, that customers will accept the minimalist approach Tesla adopted for Model 3.
Some critique for the stiff suspension comes from veteran Mercedes project engineer Ioan Peia, who over a 30 years career with Daimler had plenty of opportunities to drive most models made by the German premium brand. However, he compares favorably the smooth acceleration of our long range rear wheel car with that of V8 automatic transmission models made by Mercedes.
Some of the most memorable moments in Germany were sitting next to Autobahn speed junk Rudi, who was accelerating and braking the Model 3 as fast as the torrential rain in the Ruhr area was allowing.
We started our test drive with over 430 km range, based on long term average of 15.7 kWh / 100 km and reached within first 17 km an record high consumption of 25.5 kWh / 100 km, cutting the range to about the half (222km).
The conclusion of “Autobahnuntaugglichkeit” – this is just one (made up?) word, stating the EV crap is not good for maniac German speed driving – was quick to come, but smiles all over Rudi’s face let me guess he really enjoyed it.
Same day, same area, same rain, but a completely different experience with Markus, a very smooth driver, even if his garage tells a story, about a Porsche Lufftgekuhltemotoren (this is another fun German tongue twister for air cooled engines) petrol head.
He and his family are looking for a while now for an affordable EV to perform the daily chores, but Model 3 is anything but affordable for now in Europe, where only the LR dual motor and performance versions are sold.
Very high expectations came from Adi and Horst too. Their driving standard was established by the comfort of their daily rides, Mercedes and Jaguar, and the overall result for Model 3 was positive, with a plus for the instant acceleration, compared to ICE capabilities.
The general conclusion from the test drives offered so far in Europe, comes from Helmut, after a short ride in the Mainz area along the Rhein, who summarized it all stating “it is very easy to get used with something so good”.