The other day I just test drove my friend Kevin’s Tesla Model 3 (Dual Motor) with the semi-autonomous driving function enabled. Some quick thoughts:
- Very fast: The torque and pickup on this thing is pretty insane. I do not envision actually needing or desiring a car any faster in terms of acceleration. When I gunned the gas pedal (or the “acceleration pedal”, considering it is an electric car), it went into hyper drive, and every time gave me a small heart attack from the speed.
- The semi autonomous driving function works very well: Just keep one hand on the steering wheel, and it knows how to drive very well! No hiccups here.
- Styling is great. Front of the car looks like a Porsche 911, the flush handles are cool, and the interior is fantastic. The “faux” (fake) black leather is actually very comfortable and feels premium. The minimalist spartan interior is very well designed — feels super spacious, the comfort of sitting in the driver seat is like you’re the captain of your own spaceship.
- The only thing I didn’t really like were the turn signals: When you activate the left or right turn signal (the handle on the left), it doesn’t really give you a satisfying clicking sound and feeling before you’re turning like you’d get on a Japanese car, a Toyota or Nissan/Honda, etc. Something as subtle as my unfamiliarity or dislike of the Tesla turning signal mechanism is probably enough to discourage me (or convincing myself) to *NOT* desire a Tesla vehicle for myself.
Perhaps I don’t want one?
I thought I always wanted a Tesla, or a Model 3– it seemed like an ideal dream car. But now that I’ve test drove one, I don’t really have any personal interest in owning or having one.
And this is the bizarre thing— the Model 3 is as great as I imagined. It met my expectations. But it didn’t *exceed* my expectations and it made me realize at the end of the day:
It is just a car— an automobile to get you from Point A to Point B.
The downsides of automation?
What are the downsides of automation? It makes driving a bit boring. Certainly nobody really likes to be stuck in stop-and-go traffic (especially on the 405 freeway in Southern California), but in today’s COVID world … do we really *need* to commute or be stuck in traffic?
Even my friend Kevin said:
Sometimes when I’m driving on the freeway, I get bored from the auto driving and actually re-enable driving myself.
Because this is the funny thing about driving — sometimes it can be very tedious, but sometimes it is really fun, to enjoy driving! To see the scenery, to feel engaged. Often when I drive (I don’t listen to music or podcast when driving) I get into a zen zone. I recently picked up a 2003 Subaru Outback (5 speed manual transmission) for only $800 on Craigslist, and I really enjoy driving manual! Which makes me think:
Perhaps there is a joy in doing more manual things?