Tesla Model 3 vs Chevy Bolt – The fight is on! Or is it?

This has to be the battle Chevy has been waiting for.  So without further ado, lets compare and judge this EV prize fight.

Pricing

Tesla has stated from the beginning that the Model 3 would cost the consumer $35,000.00 before federal and state tax credits. They delivered on that promise at the recent unveiling.  Chevy’s Bolt will cost $37,500 before federal and state tax credits.  Let’s stop here for a second and make sure everyone understands what a tax credit is.  The tax credit does not mean everyone will get it.  It will depend on multiple factors when filling your taxes.  So we need to measure these cars by the MSRP without calculating the tax credit.  If you decide to lease either car, then you don’t get the tax credit at all.  Now, I know there could be an argument between which car will have the most technology in the base price, but I have to say with Tesla’s track record on delivering technology in their cars, they will crush Chevy.  The winner is Tesla!

Winner:  Tesla Model 3

Range

Chevy’s website states that the Bolt’s range will be more than 200 miles per charge.  Tesla is stating their Model 3 will have 215 miles per charge.  Since Tesla is telling us that 215 miles per charge is just the beginning, one would think there will be options to get the car up to 300 miles per charge maybe even higher.  The Internet rumors have been saying Chevy might hit the 240 miles per charge range, which would be very nice but the one thing most can all agree on is both cars will not hit their EPA stated numbers.  There are just too many factors that can hinder range on electric vehicles. I have to give this round to Tesla as they have better battery technology to date.

Winner:  Tesla Model 3

Technology

With three vehicles in the Tesla line-up, we know what to expect from Tesla in regards to their technology from AutoPilot to the big computer screen that runs the whole car (there are only 2 buttons/switches on the dash). With Chevy, we really just don’t have a lot to go on yet other than what’s on their website.  So far, from everything I have read about the Bolt’s technology, it seems they have a lot crammed into their base car, but they are going up against Tesla who really is a technology company first.  Technology goes to Tesla!

Winner:  Telsa Model 3

Performance

This will be a quick one.  Tesla is faster than the Bolt.  Elon said it best “We do not build slow cars” Tesla wins!

Winner:  Tesla Model 3

The Look

Now here is where we come to the fork in the road.  I assume Chevy’s design engineers want to wow us with their design capabilities, but the powers to be at Chevy are traditionally old school guys who think a car should look a certain way.  Really guys? Why don’t you listen to the consumer?  We want edgy in-your- face cars. Cars that will wow people as they pass by.  Cars with such a wow factor they fly off the lots. That’s the space where Tesla lives.  More wow factor in every design. You go Tesla!  We know who wins this one don’t we?  All you have to do is look at both cars side by side.

Winner:  Tesla Model 3

Delivery Schedule

I have to admit; Tesla has not been the most punctual car manufacture as it relates to keeping a delivery date.  Chevy has many more people and money to throw at production issues to make sure they hit their delivery dates.  I just hope that Tesla has really learned from their past mistakes and can prove everyone wrong.  Crossing my fingers……  The winner of this category goes to Chevy.

Winner:  Chevy Bolt

Charging

One word ‘Supercharger”  Enough said.  Tesla kills Chevy.  Chevy has no charging infrastructure and they rely on others to build it.  That’s going to work, right?  I blogged recently on this topic. It was called  “Range anxiety – The Electric Highway”  Please read that blog.

Winner:  Tesla Model 3

 

Well there you go.  I really feel with all the information we have so far on both cars; Tesla wins hands down over Chevy.  Tesla might be a young car company, but they are truly reshaping the automotive industry like it or not.

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Tesla Model 3, what we know before the official unveiling

With the media attention focused on the unveiling of Tesla’s Model 3, we know everyone has a few questions. These 3 came to mind.

  1. The first question: When is the unveiling of the Model S? The unveiling is scheduled for March 31st at 8:30 PT in Los Angeles, CA The lucky ones will get a front row seat to see the Model 3 live and in color.  For the rest of us unlucky Tesla lovers, we can tune into tesla.com to watch the unveiling live.
  1. The second question is addresses the production schedule. Tesla’s production schedule will begin in late 2017. Tesla has stated that once production begins, they will begin deliveries in North America starting on the west coast, moving east.  As their production ramps up they will begin deliveries in Europe, APAC and right-hand driving markets.  Tesla feels staggering deliveries in this way will allow them to provide the best possible customer experiences.
  1. The final question that comes to mind is, when can I order one? Reservations start on March 31st. There seem to be two ways to reserve your Model 3.  The first, which Tesla suggests may be your best chance to get a better spot in the queue, will be to visit your local Tesla showroom when it opens on March 31st.  The second option is to make a reservation online at tesla.com when the live event begins at 8:30pm PT.

I’m not sure I’ve listed all the questions people may have right now, such as what does it look like, or what’s the range? To me, the three above should be the best place to start. Hey, if I knew everything then they wouldn’t need an unveiling!

I’ve listened to other car manufacturers talk down the event and the car in general, but can anyone give me a better example of a car company that knows how to market their product so effectively?  A car manufacture that generates so much hype around their brand?  I only know of one other company that does that kind of marketing ….. You got it… Apple!  So tune-in to the event and let the blogging and coveting begin.

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Will Tesla need car dealers? Well, it depends.

No doubt Tesla’s go to market strategy is very different from the other car manufacturers.  They are opening up their own stores (showrooms) in states to sell their cars direct.  Which means they are bypassing the dealerships/middle man to sell their cars.  Car dealers and their lobbyist don’t like the fact that they are being cut-out. So what do they do? Why they start crying to the states saying “it’s not fair” in an attempt to ban Tesla from selling cars direct.  Existing laws state that car manufacturers must sell through dealerships or middle men in order to protect the consumer. So why is there such a fight between the dealers and Tesla?

If you start peeling back the layers of the onion you will see that dealers aren’t really scared of Tesla, they’re afraid that if they approve unrestricted direct sales for Tesla, then that will allow all manufacturers to sell directly to the consumer.  I personally feel we would be much better off buying direct from the manufacturers than the dealer network.  First off, the dealers are never there for the consumer.  They will lie, cheat and steal to get a “deal” done.  Secondly the car manufacturers can do a better job explaining the car brand than the dealer due to high employee turnover and or the lack of money they want to spend to train their sales people.  I promise you 100% of the time I can walk into a dealership and know more than their so called “top salesman” does about any of the cars they represent.  I get it, dealers have invested millions in their market to have the right to sell certain manufacturers car brands along with marketing and training expenses.  If manufacturers decided to sell direct, the dealers would be out of business overnight.  Dealers listen up, this is called “COMPETITION” suck it up and do a better job with the customers.  This means the customer has to come first, not your pocket book!  None of this was a problem until Tesla started overtaking car sales from competing manufacturers.

So what does the future hold for Tesla v’s dealers.  I know this will be hurtful or might even be a disappointment to those hoping Tesla will disrupt the traditional car-buying experience, but Elon Musk has hinted on record saying “that there is a time when Tesla might need to sell cars through franchise dealers”.  I tend to agree even though I think the franchise dealer system needs to go away or do a complete reboot.  Here’s my crazy thought process and it really isn’t that difficult to understand.  When Tesla starts selling a high-volume vehicle, lets say the Model 3, it’s going to make a lot more sense to place a large amount of cars at once with a franchise dealer that to sell them one by one as Tesla does now.  Now if Tesla wants to just sell a couple of models then build to order makes more since and a dealer is not needed. The questions that really needs an answer: If Tesla entered into the franchise model, what would they do differently?

 

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Range Anxiety – The Electric Highway

For the full electric vehicle (EV) movement to gain a lot of traction I believe we must develop the “Electric Highway”, an extensive network of EV DC fast charging stations every 50 – 150 miles.  Tesla Motors has done a great job with their “Supercharger Network” but it’s only for their cars.  Being an owner of a Model S, it’s reassuring that I can travel the US knowing that there are plenty of Superchargers available on any route I take.  What Tesla has accomplished in a short time is remarkable.  The Supercharger network is strategically placed anywhere from 80 – 150 miles apart (give or take).  Tesla Motors could be a huge template for success with the other car manufacturers.

The Nissan Leaf has been around for a while and seems to be the leader in short range EV market as of now.  It’s really not a bad car but the biggest issue with the Leaf is the range.  We are all starting to notice other car manufacturers developing their own EV’s as well.  So with that, why aren’t they looking at developing or improving the charging network. Sure when you buy an EV you first think I have to have a charger at my house and you are correct, but what about trips?  Car manufacturers want us to think the “average” miles driven is around 25 miles per day.  I think they only say this to keep from building long range EV cars because it would hurt the sales of their other models.  So instead, they want you to buy this for a commuter car not a car to take on long trips like Tesla.  If they would get their head out of the sand and develop their own Electric EV Highway or work together, it could be a game changer for all manufacturers.

In my opinion we need multiple ways of thinking to get the Electric Highway built.  First look at Tesla with their Supercharger network.  The other manufacturers could license their technology or just use it as their building block to develop a charging network.  If they don’t want to license Tesla’s technology, I would say they need to require their dealers to have 4 – 8 charging stalls with DC fast chargers.  This would allow the consumer to purchase their EV’s with confidence that they can travel around the US without range anxiety.  This to me is the best way to develop their version of the “Electric Highway” without a lot of time and cost.  I know what you are thinking.  Dealerships already have charging stations on their property and you are correct but have you ever tried to use them without asking someone if they could move one of their ICE cars out of the way.  Also you might see at most, two chargers on the property.   I know, at dealerships space is at a premium, but if they want true success they need to be forward thinking.

This is just an average Joe’s simplified version of the Electric Highway. It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It just needs to work.

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Tesla Model S P90DL Review

 

A couple of months ago I took delivery of my Tesla Model S 70D.  Last week I noticed an issue with the car and called Tesla to schedule a service appointment.  Here is the link to that blog “Tesla Customer Service Setting the Standards High” .

This blog is not a review of my service experience but a review of the Model S 90DL (an awesome car).  In this review I will breakdown the options of the Tesla Model S P90DL (Ludicrous mode).  This review is my opinion so I hope I don’t offend anyone.

Software:
Let’s get this out of the way first, the Model S has incredible software controlling the car.  Car manufactures for the most part do a good job with hardware, but in my opinion, software engineers they are not.  Many of the issues with other car manufactures are the integration or lack of integrating software to match hardware; like Bluetooth, smartphone apps, etc.  Tesla wins this category because I truly think of Tesla as a technology company that builds cars and batteries.  Just think of your car like a smartphone.  It gets better with every over-the-air update.

Cost:
The second thing to mention is the cost.  Tesla is a premium car brand that is going up against the high end guys like BMW & Audi. You bet, the cost is going to be very high.  Tesla’s Model S price ranges from $70K – $145K USD depending on the options you choose.  This review is for their most expensive model the P90DL.

The Look:
The Model S is arguably one of the sharpest looking cars with incredible lines on the road today.  From the headlights to the tail lights I notice people looking at the car trying to figure out what it is.  The Model S is constructed mostly of aluminum to keep the weight down.  It comes in a variety of colors ranging from their base black and white colors to the upgraded Pearl White and Red Multi-Coat that will cost you an extra $1500.00 USD.  The Model S I am driving is their Obsidian Black Metallic color that’ll run an extra $1000.00 USD too.  The rims and tires also range in price. There are three tire package options to choose from.  Mine has the 21” Silver Turbine Wheels which is an extra $4500.00 USD.  You can also get that same tire package in powder coated grey.  Also you can choose from there standard 19” wheel package or upgraded 19” Silver Cyclone wheel package that cost an extra $2500.00 USD.  My opinion is if you do not need the 21” wheels then just get the standard 19” wheels.  The ride is better and you have smaller chance of bending a rim or blowing out a tire when you come across a pothole.  Also the ride is much softer.  I’d like to point out that I haven’t noticed any big difference in handling between the 19” standard wheels and the 21” wheel package. The P90DL loaner has the All Glass Panoramic Roof option priced at $1500.00 USD. Love the look of it from the inside and out.  Great way to top off the look of the car.

Inside this fighter jet that we call a Model S P90DL:
Once you get past the outside beauty of the car, I want to place your attention on the inside of the Model S.  First I would like to say the interior of this Model S has tan leather with the white Alcantara Headliner.  It’s not my first choice of color as my Model S is black leather and black Alcantara Headliner (show less dirt due to my 3 active boys).  Once you sit down in the Model S your eyes tend to focus on the large center screen and WOW it is very large.  I mean this screen looks like two IPads!  It controls most of the cars functions and is very easy to use.  There is zero lag in the touch part of the screen as well.  The only issue I’ve noticed is that the web browser is very slow even with the LTE cellular upgrade.  Now, about the seats.  I love the way the new Next Generation seats feel.  They are much better than the original ones.  I feel they hold you in the seat as you are taking the curves fast.  The All Glass Panoramic Roof is incredible.  I ordered it on my Model S, but I have to tell you I was a little scared with all black interior that it would be too hot which turns out to be far from the truth.  The roof blocks most of the heat and when you open the roof it’s like a convertible.  I absolutely love it and would recommend it to anyone.  You’ll be glad to know about storage. Well, I can tell you there is ample room for my wife and three boys in the Model S as well as luggage.  This car is really roomy.  The loaner has the optional rear facing seats.  My 7 year old loves to ride in them.  He just waves at everyone we pass and they look at him like he is crazy or perhaps his parents are crazy.  I am surprised that I haven’t been stopped by the police for letting a child ride in the “trunk” of a car.  Getting around to the premium interior and lighting package, when I ordered my S 70D I wasn’t going to get it. I was really on the fence about it thinking it might be a waste of money but it’s proven to be really nice in both cars. I love the power lift-gate, Nappa leather armrest and dashboard as well as the lighted door handles to the interior accent lighting.  I really have no complaints with the interior of the car. Okay…..well maybe just one.  And I think it might be an OCD thing.  When you open the car doors you noticed the black rubber gaskets around the door seals and pillars.  The rubber gasket seems to get rolled up a little and I have to straighten it out.  I wish Tesla could have used some type of adhesive or made the rubber gaskets a little larger.  Really I think it’s my OCD but I have never seen a high end car with that issue before.  Oh, one more thing, it lacks an adequate amount of cup holders.  Tesla we are Americans and you are an American company, more cup holders please.

 

Autopilot Convenience Features
Tesla has set it’s self apart when it comes to autonomous driving technology and it seems no one is getting closer.  I’ve had a chance to use this technology a lot, while not perfect yet, Tesla is getting better and better as the updates roll out.  I feel the best place to use this technology is on the Interstate and not back roads.  Don’t get me wrong, it works good on the back roads but just not as good than if it’s on the Interstate.  We have extremely heavy morning traffic where I live and I always used Autopilot in the stop and go traffic. It makes my commute stress free. From a technical point of view, the system consists of a dozen ultrasonic sensors, half of which wrap discreetly around each end of the car in the bumper fascias; one forward-looking camera positioned behind the windshield between the rear-view mirror and the roof header; and a radar sensor located in a low-center position in the grille. Servos and controllers steer the front wheels, apply the brakes, and command the drive motor(s). I can hear my wife saying “Mwa-Mwa-Mwa”.  If you are on the fence about this technology, I would say get it.  You will regret it if you don’t.

Smart Air Suspension
I did not purchase this option for my 70D because as I thought down the road it could cause problems.  I like the smart part about it using GPS to raise and lower the car.  Other than that I really can’t tell a difference between my Model S and this loaner from Tesla.  Maybe it has more to do with my car having the 19” tires v’s the P90DL having the 21” tires.   I could take it or leave it.

Ultra High Fidelity Sound
Ok I am not a big audiophile guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to music but never thought having an upgraded sound system really matter that much to me.  Until I took possession of this P90DL.  I have to say there is a big difference between my standard audio system and the Ultra High Fidelity one.  The biggest difference is I can hear more from the dash than my system as well as everything is crisper and precise and more bass.  This is one option I wish I would have purchased.  Tesla can you swap it out for me?

Subzero Weather Package
I live in Alabama so to me this is not really an option I would have chosen in my car.  We just do not see a lot of cold weather to justify this option.  As long as my seat heats up on occasion, I could care less if everyone else in the car is cold.  It’s all about me.  Now if Tesla would come out with a Heat Weather Package with cooled seats, I am all over it.  Seriously Tesla why can’t I have cooled seats?

 All Wheel Drive
Outside of a Jeep Wrangler, this is my very first car with all-wheel drive.  I bought my Model S with it because I purchased the 70 model and wanted a little more efficiency/range in the car, where have you been all my life all-wheel drive?  I can’t make the P90DL break loose at all (you did not hear that Tesla).  I have tried in the rain, dry roads and taking off turning a corner; it just will not break loose.  I feel so much safer in this car than any other car I have been in.  If you are buying a Model S 70 get the all-wheel drive option, you will not regret it on bit.

Ludicrous Speed Upgrade
Ok I saved the best for last.  I want to first say, this is “Jesus take the wheel” speed.  I have had the opportunity to drive and ride in some very very fast cars in my life, cars that I thought were the quickest cars I will ever drive or ride in until I received the P90DL loaner from Tesla.   I have taken many people for a ride in this loaner and told them they have never been in a car as quick as the P90DL.  At the end of the ride, they are all laughing and saying how fast the car is.  I like to say if you are in a bad mood or sad get in one of these cars and they will put a smile on your face. Seriously the car just hooks up and goes with no smoking of the tires, no sliding, no stress and delivers the power without making you fight the steering wheel.  It is so buttery smooth at launch.  I’m really glad this feature is out of my price range or I would stay in trouble.

Recap:
I would not trade my Model S 70D for anything.  I know I have been talking about how cool the P90DL is and it really is a very cool car with tons more options than mine, but I really really love my setup.  If you have the $145K to spend on a four door super car, then the Tesla Model S P90DL is the car for you. Not only is it the quickest car in the world but it requires no gas.  How cool is that?  If you can only get the 70D, then buy it.  At the end of the day no matter which version of the Tesla Model S you can afford to buy, you are purchasing THE most technological advanced car on the plant and it’s MADE in America.  Thanks Elon and Tesla for giving the world a car that others said could not be done.  I look forward to the advancements you have up your sleeve.

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Tesla Customer Service

Setting the Standards High!

I have had my Tesla Model S for two months now.  I can tell you it is the best car I have ever owned and for people that know me, they know I have owned a lot of cars (bad habit).  I started noticing the other day a popping and creaking sound in the steering wheel when turning the wheel full lock left to right while sitting still or at a very low speeds.  It didn’t seem to cause a problem other than a noise that was really bothering me.  So I decided to call the Tesla service center in Marietta, GA.  I spoke with a service tech who at first told me that it was a known issue and would be a quick fixed.  He then wanted to schedule me a service appointment and asked when I could stop by.  I told him I did not want to drive that far for something I felt should have been corrected at the service center prior to deliver or really should not have left the factory with this known problem.  He then went on to tell me they could pick up the car but they would have to charge a pickup and delivery fee.  I told him I did not want to pay to have my car picked up and trailered to Georgia for repair at my cost.  I would like to say this tech was very professional and was only instructing me of the options I had for the repair.  So I left it with him to have the service manager call me so we could work something out.

Of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It just bothered me (Car OCD). I thought to myself, what do most consumers do these days when a product or service doesn’t seem to deliver on its promise? Well, they turn to social media so, I decided to tweet Elon Musk (in the evening) telling him about my problem with my new Model S. Why not? It’s his company. Within minutes I received a phone call from a high ranking service manager at Tesla.  He apologized for the issue and assured me that the problem would be taken care of at no cost to me.  I thanked him and he told me that the service manager at the Marietta, GA service center would be calling me to work out the details.  Only 20 minutes had passed when Anthony called me from the service center in Marietta, GA apologizing for the issue too.  I told him an apology wasn’t necessary that it really was not a big deal and I knew Tesla would ultimately fix my problem.  At this point he was telling me that Tesla had decided to bring me a loaner Model S P90DL while they take my car to the service center for repair.  Now, who does that? What kind of company goes to all the trouble and expense for a customer? Ummmmm, Tesla does that’s who!  No other car manufacture that I know of would ever do anything like that for a customer.  Heck, they wouldn’t pick up my car if I was stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere let alone loan me a car that’s above and beyond anyone’s expectations of a loaner. They could have offered me a rental from Hertz, but they didn’t.

To sum it up, sure Tesla’s service tech didn’t quite handle the call the way they would have wanted him to, but at the end of the day they nailed it.  Thank you Elon Musk for doing something the other car manufactures said couldn’t be done in America again. Thank you for creating a better car brand that goes against the other car manufacturer’s ideas of how things should be done. Also thank you for creating this awesome company in America.  Now let’s hope our crazy politicians don’t decide to tax you to death or cause you to move operations out of the US. We love having you here!

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