Interesting Ars Technica article on current state of Model 3 according to new owners

Interesting Ars Technica article on current state of Model 3 according to new owners

There's an article over at Ars Technica about the Model 3. It gives some information about the current state of the Model 3 and points out some potential inconveniences (such as needing to use the touchscreen to change cruise control speed or windshield wiper speed).


Musavviradam | 25. September 2017

Interesting read, that is something that never crossed my mind.

PhillyGal | 25. September 2017

Interesting read but I'd like to think that some of the "lack of" complaints are akin to the lack of a floppy drive on a Mac. Tesla may just be ahead of the curve on buttons and levers disappearing. I for one welcome it. The car should be easy to keep clean ;)

hoffmannjames | 25. September 2017

This report should not surprise us. We know that Tesla skipped the beta stage and went straight to production. We also know that Tesla is releasing cars to Tesla employees first. Basically, Tesla appears to be using Tesla employees as beta testers before the regular public get their car. So we should not be surprised that the car lacks some features. In software development terms, think of the car as in "early release". It is being produced and released but is still in beta. The good news is that by the time, most of us get the car, these issues will be solved and we will get the finished version that will be much better than the Model 3s being produced now. Remember that Tesla cars are a lot like software. They have bugs in them but they also get periodic software patches to fix the bugs and make them better.

KP in NPT | 25. September 2017

It's pretty clear that the software isn't 100% ready - and since deliveries are only going to employees or their family, I'd think they are told in advance they are beta testers. The first owners who take delivery would similarly be patient with these issues. But it explains why no cars are being given to publications/groups for review yet. I would imagine that before the car goes on sale to the general public, things like wipers and media would have been addressed with a OTA update.

hoffmannjames | 25. September 2017

@PhillyGal I would agree. In terms of setting your TAAC max speed from the screen instead of a cruise control stalk, it seems odd at first but I think we may get used to it pretty quickly.

jefjes | 25. September 2017

I thought the PUP includes all seats being heated. How does the UI control those rear seat air vents when they appear pretty manual from the pictures?

ReD eXiLe ms us | 25. September 2017


OP: So nice of you to post yet another link to highly informative and not at all particularly inspiring or uplifting material regarding Tesla. I'm sure you actually think of this as being... 'helpful'. Here, have a 'Tesla Fan of the Day' cookie.

"OMIGOSH! I actually have to use the touchscreen in a car that features a prominent 15" diagonal measure touchscreen as the centerpiece of its design! My, the sheer inconvenience of spending the whole five minutes it takes in my whole life to learn to do something new! Oh, the calamity of it all! If only I had an IQ at least an order of magnitude above my sneaker size! It's so unfair!"

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Over-the-Top OptimisticTesla Certified Apologist Fanboy [AKA I AM NOR A ROBOT]

PhillyGal | 25. September 2017

@hoffman - Oh I'll definitely miss controlling TACC/AP from the stalk. I wrote a Teslarati piece on how seamless it was to go from TACC to AP to nothing and back depending on traffic conditions. The short tap for 1mph, the larger tap for 5mph - everything was so intuitive.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 25. September 2017

jefjes: Seems the direction of rear vents may be manual, but the speed and temperature controls would still be from the screen in front.

jefjes | 25. September 2017

ReD- I asked a question about the dual zone climate control in another post about whether it is front and back or just left and right. The response was that it is only left and right which I found odd but like so many things in the Model 3, I've resigned myself to a wait and see approach.

SamO | 25. September 2017


Funny thing, the article never mentions the software and features Tesla adds to their cars over time. Just reading the article, the software is locked, as-is, forever.

Tropopause | 25. September 2017

I imagine the first automobile owners were asking, "Where are the reins for steering and moving? How inconvenient to have to steer with this round wheel thing AND use my feet on these pedels!"

ron369 | 25. September 2017

The Tesla model 3 page definitely implies that the rear seats will have heating with the PUP, although the wording is slightly ambiguous.

The article also mentions no rain sensing wipers, although I thought that Tesla was trying to get rain sensing wipers to work using the front cameras. I would figure that you would need at least some level of rain sensing wipers for FSD ... if the windshield is covered with rain, I would think that the cameras would not work as well.

Coastal Cruiser. | 25. September 2017

oy vey

Shock | 25. September 2017

That mentions a software unlock for rear seat heat. That would only work if the hardware is there. Is it?

Frank99 | 25. September 2017

Are you suggesting that one of the first owners disassemble their rear seat to see?

KP in NPT | 25. September 2017

The wording is slightly ambiguous but the way I read it, rear seats will be heated if you get the PUP. It appears (based on lack of controllers for rear sets in photos posted so far) that like the S/X, the rear seat heating controls will be done on the center screen.

Carl Thompson | 25. September 2017

Personally I don't really have an issue if the software isn't quite there on delivery. Tesla regularly updates their software so it might be an annoyance to wait for some features but not a deal breaker.

I definitely hope that in the final version I'll be able to control cruise control with the steering wheel buttons. Having to take my eyes off the road and and my hands off the road for every adjustment seems like a very bad idea. It should be obvious to everyone that that would be worse from a safety point of view.

@ReD eXiLe ms us
Thanks for trolling the thread. Your rants are just as helpful as always.


hoffmannjames | 25. September 2017

I'm optimistic that Tesla will allow the scroll wheels on the steering wheel to adjust the max speed of TAAC. Just seems like such a natural and obvious use for the scroll wheels.

avanti5010 | 25. September 2017

To me having to take my eyes off the road for only a second or two - especially at high speeds, is an accident waiting to happen. I firmly believe sound system volume, cruise control, heater fan and temp should be controlled by knobs that you can feel and control without taking your eyes off the road. Screen touch controls at times don't register properly and that becomes another reason to remove your eyes from driving. Traffic is getting worse by the day and until cars are have impeccable voice controls or are fully self-driving I will feel that way.

Frank99 | 25. September 2017

I take my eyes off the road ahead for a second or two all the time - looking at my side mirrors, or in the rear view, or just out the side window at the scenery. It's just not a big deal, and as long as the UI makes it a 1-2 second operation, I'm fine with it.
On the other hand, I've tried to dial my phone while driving, and I become a clear and present danger to every other driver on the road. I don't do that anymore.

PhillyGal | 25. September 2017

@Frank - There's a legitimate amount of time that's considered safe to look away, which is how automakers try to design controls for radio and the like. 1-2 seconds I think falls under this and I agree, you can safely look away at your mirror and probably do all the time.

Though that made me really nervous when I first started driving. I didn't understand how/why I was going to check my mirrors or worse, my blind spot while moving to switch lanes.

hoffmannjames | 25. September 2017

Let's also remember that the portion of the screen that has driver info like the TAAC speed is close to the steering wheel. It is most likely in the driver's peripheral vision so with practice, you will probably be able to use it without really taking your eyes off the road.

dsvick | 25. September 2017

Changing cruise speed on the screen will not be as easy as doing it with a stalk. I'm hoping that that is changed in a software update or is just mis-reported for now. I'm withholding final judgment on most features until I can read the actual user manual to see what things are really like.

Coastal Cruiser. | 25. September 2017

And not a word of mention in the article about Voice Control?

It seemed there was earlier evidence indicating so.

Which presumably would ease the pressure a bit about steering wheel controls.

Not that flicking a steering wheel control isn't the most logical way to change the car speed. I mean, if my wife was driving and I heard her say "Faster, faster, faster", I might get confused.

95dawg | 25. September 2017

@Coastal_Cruiser We strongly recommend FSD for your M3. :)

jefjes | 25. September 2017

If the owners manual becomes available before my decision to purchase and it describes a function/feature that I plan to pay for that doesn't work, hopefully Tesla will fix it. If I get the PUP and it says all the seats are heated when I turn on that function by doing such and such, then they all better heat or they'll need to make it so. If the manual says I control the wipers by doing such and such or another number of things then they better work that way of make it so. Same goes for the TACC if I have that feature etc. etc. etc. I'll wait to see the features and how they operate when I read the manual. I'm sure as the software evolves, some things will change but initially the features should work as described in the original owners/operators manual or they should fix it so it will. Not too worried about it.

PhillyGal | 25. September 2017

@dsvick - Withholding judgement for now is wise. Imagine if there was someone who forewent (is that a word?) the Model S in 2012 because it didn't open the garage door automatically. Who'da thunk 3 years later that feature would come free of charge to all cars?!

Haggy | 25. September 2017

Some of that seems almost nonsensical. Does anybody expect the steering wheel controls to be connected to cables that turn when you push buttons or turn a wheel, resulting in a cable pushing a mechanical switch somewhere?

All the buttons and knobs on the steering wheel do is let a computer know what button or knob somebody used on the steering wheel. That's it. It's up to the car to decide what to do with that information. Whatever it does now has nothing to do with what it will do when the software is available for general release.

On the Model S, what the buttons on the steering wheel do now and what they did when I first got the car aren't the same thing. They do far more now.

dsvick | 25. September 2017

@PG - exactly. Not only that but I see no point in bemoaning all the short comings of something until you know for sure that it really is a short coming. If the user manual says that in order to change the speed while in EAP or TACC you need to use the screen then you can complain that that is an issue. It doesn't do any good to complain right now when you have no idea if it is by design or simply unfinished software.

deemo | 25. September 2017

Remember these comments are based on 2 people that currently have the car and are still getting used to it.

As I recall, currently no Model S or X AP v2 cars have automatic wipers, this is something that is expected to be added soon. It was something to do with a sensor update that that should be on the model 3. My AP1 car has auto wipers, only use stalk if cleaning windshield and adjust wiper sensitivity. The sensitivity settings could move to the screen very easily since rarely change that. My car has automatic headlights and auto high beam, mainly use the stalk to flash high beams.

The TACC controls via screen is going to take some getting used to, hopefully that is just a temporary implementation but apparently no one knows for sure yet - the distance setting done by turning the stalk knob could easily move to the screen. The comment from the user "....not been able to activate AP yet but this is possibly because still in the new car sensor calibration stage."

If I read correctly from the user and info from Tesla, the Model 3 has FM radio, just not implemented yet.
Actual comment from user "There's no terrestrial radio - FM or AM - it's all streaming. I suspect this could change, but it might not really because many terrestrial stations stream content too. Sound quality is HD - it's very good"

You do get used to using the screen for setting most things pretty quickly and with automatic temperature settings, you don't really control the fan speed or amount of heat/ac, you just adjust temp up and down. Tesla touch screen has been much better than most other cars screens both in display and touch sensitivity (and I use a lot of rental cars so have seen many). The expectation is also to use voice for many of these controls eventually.

I would hope that the 2 scroll wheels become much more configurable in the future.

carlk | 25. September 2017

Let me say this. I wouldn't take serious what said in an internet article where the author has never even touched the car. Everything was what he/she read on an internet forum from people with different experiences and technical know how posting "issues" for the car they probably have owned for just a few days. I'd wait for pros to review the car or when a lot of experienced owners got a chance to experience it for at least a couple of weeks. This is an iPhone not your $5 handheld calculator. Anyone posting "issues" without actually had a chance to go through an extensive user experience is just spreading FUD.

carlk | 25. September 2017

I replied without reading any of those replies but it turned out pretty much everyone is thinking what I am thinking. We should just flag this thread to death so not to create more unnecessary confusions. Otherwise what said here maybe quoted by another internet article which will in turn come back here to be a real "issue".

Carl Thompson | 25. September 2017

Some people here won't buy the car until it delivers all the features promised and that's fine. At some point Tesla may become big enough that they will enforce this and not sell a car until all the features are fully baked.

But for now I hope that Tesla continues to do things the way they do things and lets people buy the cars even if all the features aren't ready yet. It allows we enthusiasts to get the car sooner and provide feedback on how things should work when completed. If when I buy the 3 I can't control the cruise control with the scroll wheel I'll complain about it here but I'll still be very happy to have the car!


Carl Thompson | 25. September 2017


The information in the article comes from actual Tesla Model 3 owners, right? If we can't trust them to give us accurate information who can we trust?


carlk | 25. September 2017

@Carl Thompson Maybe or maybe not. Maybe from seasoned users or maybe from not too smart ones too. If you've been here long enough you should know there were plenty of clueless users when S first came out or even today. Anyone who say I got the car yesterday and I find this or that does not work the we I thought it should work most likely it's user error. I've seen enough of them to know. After driving S and X for many years I have no doubt Tesla engineers know how to design a great car with great UI although there indeed could be a steep learning curve for some. Drive the car for a few weeks, or more if you're a slow learner, I'm sure you will find out how nice and intuitive the Tesla UI is. No one else, with all those knobs and switches, has anything that is even close.

deemo | 25. September 2017

This comes from 2 that just got the car with some features not available - if want actual source of info:

Yodrak. | 25. September 2017

I'm amazed at the number of people who drive without ever taking their eyes off the road ahead, and fear death at having to look to the right rather than down to see how fast they're going. I fear even more that those same people apparently don't look to their side before they cut me off making a lane change.

Carl Thompson | 25. September 2017


Glancing to the right is one thing. But it is another matter entirely having to remove your hand from the wheel, move it to the touchscreen and possibly click through menus all while using your eyes to give you the visual feedback necessary to be sure you're clicking the screen in the right place.


phil | 25. September 2017

Coastal_Cruiser | September 25, 2017 "And not a word of mention in the article about Voice Control?"

Yes, I've been expecting comprehensive voice controls, as the obvious way to get around the limitations of the ipad control interface. You might even suggest that a 'spaceship' would use voice commands.

I think it's unlikely Tesla will widely distribute the Model 3 with controls as bad as described in this article. Seems more likely that the car really is unfinished at this time, and solid voice commands are coming. Hope they finish the development work soon...

Yodrak. | 25. September 2017


I've got two hands and can spare one for the touch screen just as I can spare it for knobs, buttons, and switches. But I admit, those people with only one hand will need a specially designed arrangement no matter what car they drive

As for those times when one may have to go through several screens to reach the function they want, I know that with the touchscreen in my current car my eyes go back and forth from the screen to the road with each touch. Not a good idea, and not necessary, to stare at the screen continuously.

Your comment about going through multiple menus does make me wonder how many menus deep different functions might be in the Model 3. The videos that have been posted don't that clear, I hope that the Model 3 menus don't require more than 1 or 2 touches to get where one wants to go.

cascadiadesign | 25. September 2017

Having to use the screen to increase wiper speed is troubling.

I've had semi-trucks with inadequate mud flaps pass me in heavy rain, flooding my windshield to the point I was driving blind for a second until my wipers caught up. Scary when it happens on the highway.

JAD | 25. September 2017

I also get the feeling a lot of these people are not use to fancier cars that do things for you most of the time. You set the climate control to 70 degrees, not turn a knob from blue to red constantly adjusting the temperature. When it rains, the wipers automatically turn on, when a truck splashes you, the wipers automatically speed up. I have not used FM radio in the 4 years since I got my first Tesla, streaming, whether it is NPR, podcasts or a local radio station in the country of your choice is SO much nicer, that on rare occasions when there is no cell signal, I simply bluetooth music from my phone. FM with commercials, bad receptions, etc is unbearable now.

deemo | 25. September 2017

I agree with JAD,

Things such as lights, wiper speed and temperature is expected will be controlled automatically. Most things you use on a regular basis should be on the first level of screens (icons at bottom). Settings you set and forget such as wiper sensitivity may be a layer deeper.

I do use FM HD some but use streaming most of the time - do not miss XM, many more choices streaming not just one channel of a genre such as 60's 70's or classical but several and some you never thought of such as a Mannheim Steamroller channel.

dyefrog | 26. September 2017

"Glancing to the right is one thing. But it is another matter entirely having to remove your hand from the wheel, move it to the touchscreen and possibly click through menus all while using your eyes to give you the visual feedback necessary to be sure you're clicking the screen in the right place."

Once you've experienced it, you'll find it's no big deal unless you're a marginal driver. I have a Leaf with a center screen and go through menus all the time, no problem.
I think a lot of the hand wringing with this and the radio and the HVAC, and the trunk, and the frunk release, and the key card, and the Bluetooth, and the wipers, and the....... will all fade away once you've spent 30 minutes in the car. As Aaron Rogers said, "relax"

KP in NPT | 26. September 2017

+1000 dyefrog.

Bdscott80 | 26. September 2017

Stupid question here, so apologies in advance. Is the cars LTE cellular connection provided by Tesla or do owners have to pay a monthly premium for cellular connectivity?

dsvick | 26. September 2017

@Bdscott80 - no one knows yet. And, if the owners do need to pay for it, no one knows what the rate will be. It is assumed that, even if you have no connectivity, all you would lose would be streaming radio and on the fly map updates. Supposedly there are model S owners that should have to start paying for it this January, wait and see if that happens and what it costs and that may answer part of the question for you.

slasher0016 | 26. September 2017

I'm sure the wipers will be automatic at some point... they're just on the screen as a backup. 99% of the time you probably won't even think about it. The auto wipers work fantastic on my current Audi, I don't remember the last time I manually used the wipers. They just need to get the sensor/cameras configured and the software updated.

Carl Thompson | 26. September 2017

"Stupid question here, so apologies in advance. Is the cars LTE cellular connection provided by Tesla or do owners have to pay a monthly premium for cellular connectivity?"

Not a stupid question at all. We do know that if you opt for the premium interior package it comes with 2 years of free data connectivity.

We don't know what the options are after the 2 years or if you don't get the premium package. Presumably we'll have to pay for it.