Tesla m3d review split decision – laguna edition – rennlist – porsche discussion forums

apologies to Petevb – I thought long and hard about where to post this review. Pete’s review of his Model 3 was one of the best reviews of the car I’ve seen on the internet, balanced, fair, and takes multiple perspectives into account and really captures the "I’m happy and sad for you" nature of Tesla for most people. I’ll agree with Petevb perspective on Tesla that you can simultaneously praise and slam them and they can make excellent cars with low reliability (for some) and still be good -it’s an infuriating cocktail of contradictions that is difficult to sort out – there is no one correct perspective regarding Tesla or it’s product, and virtually everything said about them is true (all of it!! good and bad) – On the whole I see Elon/Tesla as chaotic-good with a clear vision, but poor execution, but the vision is so compelling that you’re willing to overlook the execution flaws, because even in their flawed state Tesla’s products can still be good…

I have no regrets with my Tesla patronage and any long time readers of this forum know I’m a passionate advocate for the vision and the products. Tesla produces the best EV’s you can actually purchase today with the most capabilities and are the most complete EV products you can buy, all other manufactures today are still missing the total solutions picture (product, software, charging, service, even technical approach). Tesla is far from flawless, but they are trying to do things differently and pushing pushing pushing this whole thing forward. Love them or hate them they have changed the industry…

It is therefore with humility that I’m posting my Model 3 track review by liberally stealing Petevb excellent observation – cause my experience at the track with my Model 3 is again a split decisions – a glimpse of what is possible for an EV but some frustrating limitations that mean we’re still not quite there yet.

• The performance brakes would overheat going in turn 2 by lap #3 or #4 – this was accompanied by a pedal feel loss and greater effort/distance for stopping – it was manageable but disconcerting – confidence post this point on track was low and a wise driver will take a few 10th off the table because now you have to feel out what the car can do rather than just blindly slamming the brakes as the last sec in your braking zone

• The car will still reduce maximum power under battery overheat conditions, but it takes 3 or more laps to encounter this condition – reduction is very very subtle, and it’s just “muted” coming off an apex, or slightly slower uphill or on the straight, nothing overt, but really it’s just not quite as crisp as it used to be…but still mostly fun – you could stay out and still have fun, but see item #1 the brakes have robbed you of your confidence…good thing the car is a bit slower.

• Stablity control in track mode is looser, slight drifting is possible, going to full throttle is easy, fun and nearly consequence free, super fun bits of oversteer for that out of corner rotation we all love – if you haven’t experience EV stability/traction control it’s nothing like an ICE, it’s just a very very subtle assist and very non-invasive – very very hard to detect – and again a thing of beauty – I look forward to the future.

• Battery consumption was extreme even with my short sessions (5 laps or less) consuming 30% or more battery – charging infrastructure on site at Laguna is insufficient to sustain the car for a typical 5 session HDPE day (or any track that I’m currently aware of)

I can either be really negative or really positive on my experience. I can’t help but be disappointed given that I choose to never complete a full 25 minute session. The positive is this car is wonderful for the 1st 3.5 hot laps, fast, quick, easy to drive, ample power really really fun with virtually nothing little to complain about – it’s really really good – you can easily pass other cars and moving it around the track is effortless – it’s a real joy and I was giddy, and it has no problem making sound at Laguna on a 90DB day – after lap 3.5 lap at full pace however it starts to unravel with both power limiting and and braking limitation contributing. After lap 3 or 4 at laguna you begin dealing with multiple stamina issues…

• 5 laps at laguna is 30% or more battery consumption, even if issues 1 and 2 didn’t exist the consumption for a full 25 minute session is untested by me, but I just couldn’t do it knowing I had to manage enough battery for the rest of the day

I could live with the power reductions (car still handles great) – but the brakes overheating with an in car warning and accompanied pedal feel and great stopping distance is a real confidence robber – you have to change driving modes cause now you no longer know what your braking situation is – again I can live with the power throttling…car still handled great and was still fun…but I have to be able to trust my brakes…that’s a deal breaker for me.

The car is really really really good for the 1st 3 laps – nothing to complain about – you might be able to recover it and do another 2 laps if you did a 3/10th pace after the 3rd lap – go out do 3 hot laps, do one full 3/10th lap – go do another full pace 2 hot laps? I didn’t try that. But even so I was consuming more than 30% battery for the 5 laps I was doing, staying out another 3-5 laps would consume another 30% battery? I’ll never know.

• If you want to track this car it will need a brake upgrade – the braking inconsistencies mid session really rob confidence and invite an “off” if you don’t adjust your driving – after they overheat it becomes a cautious guessing game as to how hard you want to push the car

• Anyone claiming a lap record in this car, please ask them if they can do it 4 or 6 times back to back to back – I don’t see how that’s possible with the current production car, but I could be wrong – I often do 6 or 10 laps with in 1/10th of each other in my GT3 back to back to back

• Off track this car’s range is impressive – 21% battery – getting home from Laguna to San Jose – no problem – put on autopilot have a stress free easy drive home, stop briefly at the Gilroy supercharger – grab an in/out burger, have more charge than you know what to do with in the time it takes to eat the burger – really really back in this car’s wheel house, street driving it’s masterful and really really good car.

At the end of the day I’m both pleased and disappointed. I’m 100% confident the stamina issues can be overcome and will be overcome, but I doubt the Model 3 will be the car that does that. It’s possible to build a really spectacular track on EV platform and the Model 3 is spectacular, some minor tweaks and this car could be seriously quick. If you grant the brakes and thermal problem can be overcome and you can target a 30 minute HPDE session – we’re then left with the consumption problem – by my estimate a full 25 minute session at 8-9/10th would be a 45-50 kWh affair…(based on my muted 4-6 lap sessions doing 30% consumption damage, or about 25 kWh).

The car is great, but it’s no track car even with track mode software. Based on my abbreviated 3 sessions at laguna – when Elon claims a track record – I can almost guarantee the car can only do it 2 to 3 times back to back – and then needs a healthy rest before it can do it again – and they will have depleted the battery quite a bit.

The stamina issues can be overcome, and they will be overcome and ICE’s have something to fear…EV cars can and will be very very good, among the best in terms of performance…but the consumption rate will need to be considered if you want to do a track day or weekend – infrastructure at the track will be required to run these cars all day, once they can stay out for a full session.

This car is still an excellent daily driver and I have no regrets, it’s one of the best cars you can buy as as street car – it’s a master of it’s class in this role – and even road tripping with the supercharger network – and it shows the potential of EV’s as a track car, but it is no track car, and won’t be for quite some time, and even it was ready to be a track cars, the tracks don’t have the infrastructure to support it. Some missing pieces still needs to be slotted into place to track this particular EV and enjoy it’s full potential – but the glimpse of what is possible (oh those first 3 laps) gives me hope, and wow it can be sooooo good. Let’s push to get there, but we are by no means done and the Model 3 as some real factual limitation in this role.

The best of both worlds is to drive to the track in your Model 3, and drive your GT3 on track (having it brought there by trailing – hey even tow it with a Model X) – but to go out for 20 minutes or more – I’ve done 45 min in my GT3 – I just don’t see that happening for the current Model 3, even with brake upgrades.

Are you using the Tesla 10-30 adapter? It should automatically set 24 amps.my bad – it’s not a 10-30 – it’s very very strange plug – NEMA 6-30 plug – I built a NEMA 6-30 to NEMA 14-50 specially for Laguna – and labeled it 24 amps ONLY…I haven’t checked recently but Tesla didn’t have a 6-30 adapter when I was making the adapter for my first visit to Laguna – to be fair I never intended to use the plug to support a track event, rather just charge my EV at laguna while driving my track car…

I’ve given up on the Tesla forums – they can’t handle any truth that is remotely critical…don’t want to wade through the hater postings to find morsels of truth…quite frankly I’d rather Porsche see this review – I’ll expect more for the Taycan – and it will probably be twice the price of the Model 3 – a similar review for the Taycan would be a failure in my opinion – I’ll spot Porsche (any EV) the consumption issue and note the tracks are going to need infrastructure (CSS chargers seems to be the path forward).

we will see if the Taycan fairs any better when it’s available to drive, but there is a high bar for handling with the Model 3 – but I’m confident Porsche has that one covered. I’m more concerned Porsche is chasing Model S rather than the more current Model 3…