Having the Model 3 as your sole car?

Having the Model 3 as your sole car?

Of course with the Nissan Leaf that answer would be a resounding "NO!" but what about the 3? Would you have it as your one vehicle? Running out of charge shouldn't be an issue (unless there is a massive black out for a long period of time).

mntlvr23 | October 25, 2017

It will be my sole car and my soulmate

prsist | October 25, 2017

One and only thanks to supercharging availability.

chihuahua31 | October 25, 2017

My wife does not drive. The model 3 will be our only car. This is only an option because of supercharging. It is a true differentiator. Without supercharging, EVs would be a difficult choice. Our daily commute is very short (5 miles), but we also have a cabin 100+ miles from our house that we visit regularly. The LR model 3 is a great option for our situation. Chargers at both houses cover that trip. Superchargers cover the once or twice a year we need to drive 300+ miles. I can't wait for my car!

Syruspicarus2016 | October 25, 2017

Please understand you have lot of Tesla fanboys posting promptly here. So you may not get an unbiased answer.
According to my co-worker who owns a Tesla 75 and like me, he has a life besides driving in the city, here are the challenges he has reported. Coming from a horrible Leaf car, I can see his point. You can decide by yourself. I decided to order the 310 miles version and observe. If the thing doesn't work, I will buy myself a BMW X3 diesel or 500xd to visit ski resorts etc on the weekend. Here it is:
a) When driving to visit relatives in city 200 miles away, a 40 minutes stop in a supercharging station is very inconvenient. Also the supercharging is wide open without a roof top and it rains during winter. All those things that we take for granted become very apparent.

b) In heavy snow, highway driving and risk to hit a road that is blocked, you could face serious challenges. I know people here can post a route that has a supercharger. But what happens if you have to drive a certain route to get to your destination? In my use cases I can see the supercharger could work, but there is a limitation going on when compared to an ICE car.

c) Co-worker reports that a day you forget to plug in at home, it is a very, very tough day.

d) Interior craftsmanship is definitely not there yet when compared to a Benz or beamer.
Apparently the Model 3 interior has improved though.

chihuahua31 | October 25, 2017

To elaborate a little more, I've wanted an EV for a long time. I could have bought a model s, but it's too big and too expensive to justify purchasing one. Currently, I drive a 10 year old Prius. I was waiting for Toyota to release a true EV. But truth be told, if they had, I am not sure I would buy it. The range issue would have given me pause. Explaining to my wife that we couldn't visit family 300 miles away because we couldn't get back to the house to recharge was not an option. With a model 3 explaining that we needed to stop for 30 minutes on the way back is much more palatable. This is the genius of Elon. He understood this niche case. Honestly, I think if my family situation can work with a model 3 most, if not all, single car families can.

vmulla | October 25, 2017

NO PROBLEM. Let me start off by saying I've been all electric for about a year. I have a Model S 60, and a Nissan Leaf.
If you have a commute that is less than 100miles/day you're more than covered with a Model 3.

My family uses both our cars on a daily basis, and Model S 60KWh is my only car for long distance travels. My MS charge lasts for 2 full commutes 100miles/day, so even if I forget to charge one day life doesn't come to a standstill. Keep in mind MS60 has only 220 miles of range, so I'm giving an apples to apples comparison with a lower battery pack Model 3.
I put in 23000 miles on my MS. Plenty of trips from Washington DC to the beaches in Carolinas, trips to UpState NY and Connecticut, one trip all the way to Key West FL (yes its possible, and its fun)
In short - YES M3 can be your only car.
About being a fanboy, yes I'm a fanboy - for a reason :)

LA-Fohlen | October 25, 2017

If I would be single there is no question that I would take it as the only car. Especially, the LR model would be more than enough.

ACDC 2GO | October 25, 2017

My wife and I have two cars although we could get by with just one car about 80% of the time. The model 3 will be our first EV but I may go all EV when the model Y comes out.

Patronus | October 25, 2017

The M3 will be our second EV, a Bolt EV was our first and we will keep that (its my wife's). We will have an EV-only garage. By the time the M3 arrives I will also kick the gas lawnmower to the curb and go with an electric one. Totally giving the finger to the oil companies.

pat777campbell | October 25, 2017

We ditched our Subaru and have been using our Leaf as our sole vehicle for several months now. It gets a bit tiresome on long trips. Looking forward to the arrival of our T3.

Frank99 | October 25, 2017

For a lot of years, my sole vehicle was a Motorcycle. That really wasn't too difficult, and a Model 3 would be a walk in the park compared to that.

I recognize that an EV is going to have different characteristics than an ICE - long distance travel (350 miles to visit family) is going to be a bit more of a hassle a couple of times a year, but having a full tank every morning is a mighty attractive alternative. I'll have no problem with an EV, because 100% of the time I'll plug my car in when I get home - that's just the way I am. My wife might have a problem - she's not nearly as attentive to such things, and is likely to only plug in half the time. Statistically, that means several times a year she's going to be short on battery charge for what she wants to do.

ebmcs03 | October 25, 2017

Everyone seems to say it is do able as a sole car due to supercharing... but with so many model 3s... is there actually enough superchargers? I looked at the future plans of supercharging site and even in Los Angeles area... theres not that many super charging stations without having to go out of your way... and then when you arrive you assume theres going to be open stations?

cascadiadesign | October 25, 2017

I'm semi-retired and Model 3 will be my sole car. If I had any concerns about that at all I wouldn't be spending $50k.

eeb9 | October 25, 2017

It took me some time to work out what my use case really is. For me, the LR version makes sense and will cover well north of 95% of my driving. The only times it will be a challenge is in trips to New Mexico and Arizona where the SC network still needs to fill-in a bit. Some less-travelled routes will require creative use of PlugShare, patience and the ability to convince business owners to let me “borrow” their outdoor outlets.

My “normal” work commute these days is a comfortable 15-mile round trip. BUT... I regularly (once a week-ish) have 250+ mile days where stopping for a mid-day charge would be more than a bit problematic, and 100+-mile days happen with surprising frequency. In those instances, a 300-mile range becomes very handy. Even then, given Atlanta freeways and traffic, 300 miles of nominal range may be a very tight squeeze...

I certainly will have to pay close attention, and either drastically change my driving habits or just bite the bullet and work a SuperCharger stop into the routine. It will be interesting to see my real-world range given my *enthusiastic* driving style...

But still, yes, I expect my Model 3 to be my only car.

johnmann | October 25, 2017

A Nissan Leaf has been our only vehicle for the past six years, so I think we’ll get by just fine with the LR M3! The Leaf has been a great car, although a little limiting in range. We’ve taken a couple 500+ mile road trips, but from Seattle we can really only go north or south. The charging infrastructure (non Supercharger) is lacking in other directions. The M3 is going to bring some welcome freedom to roam far and wide.

Azred50 | October 26, 2017

My S is rated at 249 and seldom do I experience range anxiety. I would be fine with that range for my primary car. (My wife works for Southwest so we normally fly free for long distances anyway.) When I get my 3, I’ll probably break the bank and go LR. It’s a lot of extra coin but 220 v. 310 is a huge difference for someone who prefers not to take chances with range. Fortunately, I believe resale in the 5-10 year timeframe that I plan to keep the 3 will be much in favor of the LR. By that time I think any EV with less than 300 mile range will not look very good in the marketplace.

KP in NPT | October 26, 2017

Syruspicarus2016 - 40 minutes of supercharging for a 200 mile trip is your first mistake. I look forward to your revelation the first time you do it.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017

Model 3 as my own car poses an inconvenience to charge. I don't own a home, and unless my complex installs on-site charging stations, I'll have to drive to a place for regular charging. I'm a person that does road trips. The fact that I have to spend 30-40 minutes charging is going to be a hassle, but not impossible. I typically can drive until my tank is almost empty, like 450 miles. So this will be a limiting factor.

I may be a Tesla fanboy, but I'm not afraid to point out what is not great. Although this is exclusively lack of charging infrastructure.

brian | October 26, 2017

So, the OP isn't clear on having the Model 3 as the sole FAMILY car... or as my sole INDIVIDUAL car. We as a family will always need two cars. My wife and I both work, and her commute is 50 minutes each way. Sharing one car is not ever going to be an option until retirement. (we're 45)

My plan all along was to have the Model 3 be MY SOLE CAR however. 90-95% of my driving is for work, at client sites, within 30 miles of my house. I have a few clients as far away as 100 miles... but even for those, I could easily get there and probably most of the way back... plus I'd be sure to pass at least one or more SCs. Sure, on those rarer travels, it would add time... not ideal since I bill by the hour... but also not frequent enough to let it sway me from buying the car.

davem2421 | October 26, 2017

the 3 will be my sole primary daily driver.

round trip I drive 100 miles a day to and from work and, at least, once a month I drive from south florida to mt dora (hour north of orlando) and have no concerns with using the 3 to make that drive.

Once Tesla gets to a point were battery tech increases and they make a car that can travel 400 miles on one charge I'll upgrade to that.

as from all the things that I am excited about with Tesla the thing I'm looking forward to the most is EAP as my drive to work and home is all Turnpike

chihuahua31 | October 26, 2017

@andy.connor.e I expect charging options to increase exponentially in the next 3-5 years. Look at how many automakers are now announcing EVs to be released by 2020. Cities, apartment complexes and business parking lots alike will have such demand from consumers that it will be a necessary amenity to draw in customers. I see Superchargers as merely a bridge to the point when people don't need to worry about finding an open charger. While there are currently only a couple hundred thousand EVs on the road today, by the end of next year, there are likely going to be double that (assuming Elon's estimates aren't too far off the mark). Any with other car-makers getting in the fray, it will only snowball from there. A very similar thing happened when ICE vehicles were first adopted as well. But, the rate of expansion of gas stations was exponential as well.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017

I agree. I've gone to my complex's management and asked them to inquire about putting in a charging station on premises in the next year. I should go back and talk about how it would give people an incentive to live here, since most complexes do not offer them. Even just a receptacle to plug into in the detached garages they offer. Otherwise, i'll probably be throwing an extension chord out my window.

Fredbob711 | October 26, 2017

As with others here, my wife and I need two cars. We work in opposite directions from our house and our schedules don't line up. However the M3 will be my sole car, and I'll try and convince my wife it can be our sole car for longer trips too, she's not keen on the longer stops for charging, but I think I can get her to overcome that.
Right now I switch between our two cars, I enjoy my manual Ford Fusion, but sometimes when it's shorter trips to the store it's just easier to take her Rogue (as much as I dislike it). Once we have the M3, I think her Rogue will more likely transition to the 'we need the second car today' role.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017

If you have 2 cars, its probably not a bad idea to keep one of each fuel. Just in case, and just until the infrastructure adjusts to EVs.

carlk | October 26, 2017

We've been a (two) Tesla only family for a year and half now. Zero problems. Not even a slightest anxiety ever. After driving the EV you really hate to get behind steering wheel of a dirty and rough ICE car. There is always the thinking that we can rent a car in case the EV will not do but that has never happened yet.

Azred50 | October 26, 2017

andy.conner, my son in San Diego is also a renter. Extension cord is much too slow for their S to be of much use, so they use Supercharger that is not far away but extremely busy. Personally, I would wait until I had a 240 home solution. But we live in S Phoenix metro area and nearest Supercharger is a 50 mile round trip in a direction we seldom travel (in Casa Grande).

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017

Thats quite a distance. Regular charging is not too much of an issue for me. Its more or less, when i need a 100% charge for the morning, that may be more complicated as i dont have a means to charge overnight. Say if im at 80% and i need the 100%, thats when the "extension chord out the window" would suffice. But in no means would that be a 0-100% solution. That would take like 3 days!

jsanford | October 26, 2017

No. We have a base Toyota Tacoma. My spouse needs it for work; I’m glad Tesla is planning for a pickup down the line as no one else is. A pickup would be the true vehicle for the masses. We also ride motorcycles.

KP in NPT | October 26, 2017

We will be a Tesla only household after we get our 3.

My ICE only gets driven when necessary. In fact I had to replace the battery last winter because it sat so long.

We only take our S on road trips and wouldn't even consider taking our ICE.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017


Why wouldnt you ever consider taking your ICE on road trips. Just being that you have both.

vmulla | October 26, 2017

Here are circumstances under which I would choose a gas fuel car:
1. Your home cannot support charging the car
2. Your commute required 100s of miles of driving away from the highways (Where superchargers are located)
3. You cannot afford to take a 30-minute break over a 500-mile trip

Under all other circumstances, I would recommend a TESLA as a sole car for a family.BTW, this is from experience of being a pure EV family for over a year.

As far as the anticipated overcrowding at chargers is concerned, Tesla is proactive - just take a look at the map of new charging stations planned to be released soon.
About taking long (25min) breaks on a day trip, I'm finding that I'm doing more night driving thanks to auto-pilot, there is less traffic and the system does beautifully in night conditions - so I'm actually spending more time at my destination despite charging stops and slower pace.
As far as 40 min+ charging stops at superchargers, that's hardly ever the case - the car helps you charge enough to get you to the next stop. So, unless you're doing more than 500miles in one go, you're not spending 40mins at a supercharger - most of my stops are 25mins.
I hope that's helpful info,

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017

every bit of advice based on experience is helpful. Ultimately, its up to the EV owner to figure out how to make it work.

eeb9 | October 26, 2017

@andy - when I was looking for an apartment over the summer, I made it very clear to each complex I called or visited that on-site EV chargers were a make/break issue for me.

Some of them were really surprised at that - including some newly-constructed properties that really should have known better. On the other hand, I found (and ultimately rented from) a company that proactively installed multiple EV chargers at every one of their properties. And not only do they provide them, they are free for residents to use.

Talk to your management company, tell them about Tesla Destination chargers and the competitive benefit that they or even standard EV chargers can provide - if there's anything resembling a competitive market in your area, that will get attention.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017


Thanks i definitely plan on returning again soon. Problem is that my area does not have ANY EVs. So the argument is sort of not relevant because i have no facts to show them. BUT, the "make or break" example you have given is something that i can pose to them. In the sense that i want to stay here, but if i find another complex that has on-site chargers, i'll most likely leave. But the overall position i will end up posing to them, is that EVs are coming, and its better to have them before everyone else instead of deciding to install them after everyone is already in need of them. But its all relatively theoretical. And a company is probably not going to spend money based off a good, well-developed theory.

KP in NPT | October 26, 2017

@andy - because driving the Tesla is 100x more enjoyable than our Lexus. We have autopilot so the difference in how you feel mentally after a long trip is night and day because of that. While many here seem to think supercharger stops are onerous, they actually allow for short driving breaks every couple of hours which also helps to feel more relaxed at the end of the trip. And the cost of fuel is tough to swallow over supercharging.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017


I dont think the cost of gas vs charging for 1 trip is enough to be a deal breaker. BUT,
If you did not have autopilot, it would still be worth it? Even if whatever trip you might take would require 4 charging stops?

PhillyGal | October 26, 2017

We need two cars but yes, Teslas will be our only cars. Undoubtedly not only doable but desirable.

@andy - For the 3ish years where we will have had a Model S and an ICE, we've taken the ICE together (eg: not out of necessity for work or whatever) precisely 2 times. One, after detailing the MS because of a car show in the morning. The second time, after detailing the MS for another car show the next day.

@Syruspicarus2016 - So very false. Please subscribe to Electric Jen on YouTube or follow me on Twitter. In the next week or two I will be detailing my latest trip (1,200 miles in total) and the actual time it took to charge at each stop. (Spoiler alert: we never once waited for the car and our shortest charge was 4 minutes. Literally 4.)

finman100 | October 26, 2017

a pickup is a true vehicle for the masses? THAT is what is wrong with our American motoring public. wow. Let's use a pickup for grocery getting and road trips. yeah, that'll work out well for all people.

andy.connor.e | October 26, 2017


Whats wrong is that statement is not true. A $35,000 sedan would not be a car for the masses, if the majority of people drove trucks. Please drive anywhere and tell me where there are more trucks than sedans driven.

chienfangchen1688 | October 26, 2017

Very much, ya!

jordanrichard | October 26, 2017

Here is your answer, there are literally thousands upon thousands of MS and MX Tesla owners that only have a MS/MX for a car. The range of the Model 3 is the same and in some cases more than those MS/MX's. What your real question is, does the Model 3 have the range to be the sole car in a household? Yes!!

Syruspicarus2016, as for us "fanboys" giving biased answers, what we have to gain by coming up with BS answers? We are talking from experience versus handing out armchair advice.

JAD | October 26, 2017

I currently have an ICE that NEVER gets driven. The Tesla is the only car I would consider for a long trip and has been since I got my first about 4 years and 50k miles ago. You can try to make up scenarios that an ICE works better, and if you need to go cross country non-stop, an ICE is better, but never thinking about refueling for your normal life and enjoying the breaks on a vacation drives make the Tesla better for both situations in my opinion. So much so, the ICE is being replaced by the Model 3 next month with any luck.

Humans fear change, and an EV with superchargers is different, but easily adjusted to.

n2scuba | October 26, 2017

It will be my one and only — until I can trade it in for a Model Y.

KP in NPT | October 26, 2017

As has been the case for so many tesla owners - once you get the car, you don't want to drive anything else. It's that much better. With or without autopilot. You'll see. ;-)

Haggy | October 26, 2017

I have more than two cars, but I've never driven one anywhere specifically because I thought I'd have range issues or time issues or other issues with a Model S. There are some things that fit better in other vehicles.

If you do need to make a 400 mile round trip, assuming that the Model 3 gets rated miles (see then I'd need a charge closer to 20 minutes than to 40 minutes.

I haven't taken a trip of more than about 400 miles of driving in a single day in my Model S, and am not likely to, and I certainly wouldn't go more than 500 miles, but it would be easy in a Model 3 with a single meal stop. I'd take a second stop for a restroom break and charge at the same time if possible, primarily because I'd want to use a restroom. My feeling is that it's likely that T(start of trip)+T(charge while eating)+T(finish trip) would equal T(do all driving nonstop) +T(eat once I get there exhausted and with a headache).

On a 500 mile trip, assuming that your other car gets 5 mpg and gasoline costs $4/gallon, then you'd spend $400 in gasoline compared to maybe $30 to supercharge. You can adjust your own numbers, but chances are that if you stay at a hotel with a destination charger, even if the room is marginally more expensive, the overall price would be cheaper than if you used an ICE. If you get 66 mpg, your savings would be minimal. It's safe to assume that the number would be somewhere in between.

Taking a trip that involves 400 miles of driving in a single day without autopilot would be more than I would want to handle.

Frank99 | October 26, 2017

>>>Taking a trip that involves 400 miles of driving in a single day without autopilot would be more than I would want to handle.

Wimp. I used to drive 350 miles on Thanksgiving morning to mom's house, have some turkey and say hi, then drive 350 miles home. On my Honda 700 motorcycle with no fairing.
I'm not saying it was a smart thing to do though....350 miles after all that Tryptophan in the turkey was, at times, difficult.

vmulla | October 26, 2017

For everyones benefit here - there are 3 things at play
1. Electric Driving
2. Tesla Superchargering
3. Autopilot
Each provides independent advantages, but together they're a potent combination.

Now to discuss the long road trip situation - IF you wanted to be electric and do not plan on getting the autopilot, then a Model 3 as an only car isn't very attractive. Dollar for Dollar you'll probably be better off with an efficient ICE car (Considering lifetime costs)

If you're looking to get autopilot (Which I highly recommend) - Model 3 as the only car is not only possible - it is fun and will transform your road-trip experience

If you can't find a place with a charging station - SAVE YOUR MONEY and wait for the right time to go all electric. I see no merit in buying a new ice car. Again: NO NEW ICE CAR

Frank99 | October 26, 2017

>>> Dollar for Dollar you'll probably be better off with an efficient ICE car
Well, it depends on the ICE car. Your statement would likely be true for a Honda Civic, but is unlikely to be true for a well-equipped BMW 3-series. Being a cheap bastard and pretty much insensitive to the "luxury" aspects of the BMW, I'd agree with you because I'd do the comparison with the Civic. Those who wouldn't be caught dead in the Civic because it's a cheap econo-box, and doesn't even have contrasting stitching around the seat panels or 14 spearkers, would probably find that the Model 3 would win the comparison.

bj | October 27, 2017

@vmulla - "You cannot afford to take a 30-minute break over a 500-mile trip"

If that's the case, then that driver is a danger to themselves and every other driver on the road and should be stripped of their driving licence. Permanently.

"Stop. Revive. Survive"

noleaf4me | October 27, 2017

@bj -- with autopilot -- who needs a break ;-)