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Can you drive a Tesla like a regular car?

3 Things I Learned Driving a Tesla Model 3 Performance

I had the opportunity to drive a Tesla Model 3 Performance on and off for about a month. It’s the one with the long-range 75 kWh battery pack, the dual motors, a fancy carbon fiber spoiler on the trunk, and Tesla’s special sauce firmware that makes it go fast. It also had Autopilot (and the Full-Self Driving package).

For background information, my “normal” car is a pretty old 2000 BMW 3-Series coupe.

1. Most electric cars are slow, but Teslas are not slow

The Model 3 is incredibly quick. Tesla claims that the 0–60 MPH time is 3.2 seconds. However, it’s actually quicker than what Tesla says. 3.1 seconds isn’t uncommon.

It’s supercar fast. It’s definitely quick enough to scare some people. But everyone usually ends up having a really great time. Check out some 0–60 launch reactions that Forrest’s Auto Reviews posted on YouTube:

2. Range anxiety isn’t a thing.

I have a really bad 90 mile commute for work (45 miles each way). But the Model 3 has 310 miles of range and that’s more than plenty.

Side note: A cheaper model (Long Range AWD) has 322 miles of range. And the “base” model (Standard Range Plus) has 250 miles of range. Even the Standard Range Plus model’s range would have been enough.

I’ve never had to go out of my way to charge (like you have to for a “regular” internal combustion car (i.e. go to a gas station)). I just plugged in when I got home and occasionally when at work. It’s just like charging my phone.

Though people tell you that needing to charge an electric car is a huge hassle, in actuality, going to a gas station is more inconvenient. In my experience, charging has never required me to take any extra time. Whereas going to a gas station necessitates me having to plan at least 10 minutes being taken out of my day.

3. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic parking isn’t new, but Autopilot is game changing.

The first true adaptive cruise control was available in 1999 by Mercedes on the S-Class and CL-Class. It acted as regular cruise control, but it also made sure to maintain a safe distance (measured by radar) from the car in front of it.

Similarly, Honda released the first lane keep assist in 2003 on the Inspire. And Toyota released the first automatic parking assist in 2003 on the Prius.

Tesla’s Autopilot is a game changer. Autopilot (standard on all Model 3 vehicles) is a suite of driver assist functions: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, Autopark, and Auto Lane Change as of the time of writing.

My particular Model 3 had the Full-Self Driving package, so it also has Navigate on Autopilot and Enhanced Summon as of the time of writing.

The integration of all of these systems is seamless, making for a great experience. It’s basically magic.

Driving in traffic with Autopilot engaged removes all of the stress of driving. Auto Lane Change will make sure that you’re always in the quickest lane. And Navigate on Autopilot literally drove me on highway/freeway interchanges, to make sure that I got to my destination.

When I got to work or when I came home (after 1 to 1.5 hours of driving), I didn’t feel stressed. I felt “refreshed” comparatively speaking, because most of my commute was looking at the surroundings enjoying the view and listening to my music.

Check out a video by Scott Kubo of a Model 3 with Autopilot (and Navigate on Autopilot) engaged maneuver around a lot of vehicles on the road:

I got my Model 3 a few weeks later, and I couldn’t be happier!

Driving a Tesla: Thoughts after 5 years

Photo by @namzo /

In 2016, I was driving a nice European car. It was a regular car, nothing fancy. Then we got the idea with my brother that perhaps we could afford to buy a Tesla Model S together. This way, we’d each get to drive the car a few weeks per month.

We purchased a Tesla Model S 90D and got the car in January 2017. It has a 90kWh battery, which allowed for about 415 km (~257 miles) of range on a good day. It was gunmetal grey, and it was the most fun I’ve had driving a car.

Then, in 2018, we contemplated that perhaps the Tesla Model X would be nice to drive, so we sold the remaining cars we had, kept the Model S, and got the Model X.

Last Monday was the last day for me to own and drive these Tesla cars. I wanted to write a few thoughts on how those five years went.

Driving an electric car is great

I was lucky to get a third-party EV charging station in the garage where I park my car. Once a week, I would plug in the vehicle (Model S or Model X, depending on which one I drove on a given week) and charge the car to 90%. Sometimes to 100%. We don’t drive massively in my family, so one charge would usually last for 7-10 days for us. A warm garage helps.

Funnily enough, someone saw me in the garage with the Model S – years ago – and tipped off the local news. We ended up doing a short interview on my then-experience with the car.

This is me, showing how to charge the car. It felt futuristic back then.

Jussi Roine laittaa sähköauton latukseen

Acceleration is simply fantastic. Both cars were speedy, and with four-wheel drive driving in the winter conditions was hilarious. I try to drive carefully, especially when I usually had between 3 to 5 kids in the car on their way home from soccer practice. That’s the beauty of the Model X – it has seven seats! At first, I wasn’t sure I’d need so many seats, but with three kids, plus one or two loaner kids on any given weekend, the seven seats were almost always in use.

What were the challenges when driving a Tesla?

Winter conditions were not usually a problem for the battery or range. Perhaps I’d get 430 km with one of the cars on a sunny day, and maybe 350 km during winter months. The problem was everything else – windshield wipers were the worst I’ve seen in any car. And I’ve driven a 1970 Volkswagen Kleinbus. Windows’ would fog far too quickly. Sometimes the front trunk (“frunk”) wouldn’t open because the locking mechanism froze. Small things, in the big picture, but still frustrating when you factor in the price of these cars.

Charging outside the SuperCharging network was a bit of a hassle. Each charging station required a new app, or a new tag, or a new something to allow you to charge. The local IKEA prominently installed two charging spots. They were so slow that I could charge about 8 km of range during my 90-minute visit to the store. At first, I thought I was showing a sign of support by utilizing these ad-hoc charging stations, but I just gave up on using them after a year.

The SuperCharging system is fabulous. It just works. Before you arrive, you can see free charging spots on the map. And there always is. You plug the car in, and that’s it. No tags, no apps, just charging. Sadly, these Tesla-owned charging points are few and far between. The closest one to me, living in Helsinki, is about 90 minutes away. Certain parts of the country do not have them. I’ve sat in a cold car for hours, charging it on the only station in the village after midnight to ensure our family can drive home the following day. You start thinking about your life choices at 2:30 am, cleaning email with your laptop, and drinking cold coffee from a disposable cup – and the charging still takes 95 minutes more!

The Model S is fast, sporty, and modern. It also isn’t well suited for a family with three kids. My youngest sits in a safety seat, so the two older kids are cramped in the back seat next to him. It’s more of a driver’s car, less so for the passengers. I couldn’t sit in the back seat myself, as I’d have to keep my head tilted to fit inside (I’m 192 cm/6ft3). Jokingly, a few people I interacted with regularly this year would often ask when they called me, “are you now inside that noisy Tesla?” as the background noise is so loud when taking calls.

The Model X is much easier to use with kids with the famous falcon doors. The falcon doors are super slow to open, so dropping someone quickly off in the traffic lights was not a good idea. It drives well, and it fits everyone nicely. I liked it a magnitude more than the Model S.

The interface on the main display on the car is so-so. The core things are navigation, Spotify, calls, and rear camera. Navigation is so poor, though. You couldn’t do waypoints for years (I think they’ve added that now recently). I would often use my phone and Google Maps instead. Spotify was very slow, even if I used my phone with a 5G connection as a hotspot for the car. Switching the Spotify account to another user was practically impossible. Radio was often choppy, and it had so many little UX quirks I just gave up on the radio altogether. As an example, I’d add five radio stations in favorites. One of them is stuck and doesn’t disappear if I unfavorite it. Then if I’d hop through each favorite station, it would rotate between just the first and second station, discarding the rest.

Perhaps all of these issues I’ve listed are something you might experience on any car. And that’s fine. I wouldn’t say it was somehow displeasure to drive either of the Teslas. I quite liked a lot about the cars. And I was not too fond of an equal amount of things in the vehicles. What frustrates me is that you end up paying quite a bit for the car, and you end up having more than you bargained for in the battery and much less with the interior and usability of the other aspects of the vehicle. It’s imbalanced.

Also, everything is made of plastic inside the cars. After a year of use, everything starts rattling.

Tesla only has one service point in Finland. It isn’t too far away, but still a healthy 25-30 minute drive. The service has been subpar, and I never looked forward to going there. Far too often, they’d ask you to wait for 90 minutes for the maintenance, only to find you in the waiting area after an hour to tell you they’ve run out of spare parts. “Can you come back tomorrow?”. Well, yeah, but it’s frustrating to burn hours like this. I’m glad I won’t be needing to visit their site in the coming years.

What next?

I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to live in the future. Countless people have stopped me in a parking hall or when I’ve pulled over to charge the car to ask about getting a Tesla. People who drive a Tesla in Finland wave at each other when in traffic. There is much to like about these cars. I didn’t bother factoring in the cost of charging vs. the price of petrol over the years. Admittedly, charging might have been cheaper.

When the five-year mark was approaching, I agreed with my brother he could keep them and maintain the cars from now on. The deal with Tesla is fantastic in the way that it gives you options to either “throw the keys over the marble counter,” purchase the contract out or sell the car to someone else. It remains to be seen what the result will be.

I visited the Audi dealership in September this year. I was interested to see the Audi Q8 (I guess it’s a hybrid model), as it has enough seats to fit the family and friends, and it would fit my budget. Sadly, delivery times are excessive – 14 to 18 months! So if I’d order one in September, I’d perhaps get it by Christmas 2022. Next, I walked into the Volvo dealership. Delivery times 2-3 months for the Volvo XC90 hybrid. Seven seats, also.

So, I’ll be driving a hybrid Volvo XC90 for a few years next. I’ll revisit the idea of an EV by 2024.

But why not get an EV from a different vendor? Perhaps the main reason is the lack of charging capabilities (akin to the Tesla SuperCharging network) and the lack of larger EVs that do not look like a minibus. I’ve also realized that driving a fully electric car isn’t the only aspect of owning and operating a car.

I work with Azure and frequently write about my experiences. I’m a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, ex-MSFT. Based in Helsinki, Finland.

Tesla Test Drives: What To Know & How To Schedule One

Tesla charging station

CoPilot Compare makes it easy to compare Tesla trim packages & features across year models. See exactly what features vehicles’ have — and which they lack.

Over the past decade, no car manufacturer has lit the industry on fire better than Tesla Motors. While almost all car brands have their EV lineups, one could say that Tesla single-handedly ushered in the rise of electric vehicles and made them more mainstream. Nowadays, driving on the freeway is relatively hard without seeing a Tesla model or three.

With that said, if you’re interested in buying a Tesla or electric vehicles in general, you’re probably wondering what it’s like to drive one. Well, there’s no need to wonder because if you have a dealership within a reasonable distance, you can schedule Tesla test drives and find out for yourself.

For today’s post, we will walk you through the process of scheduling Tesla test drives, what you can expect from the experience and everything else you need to know. Let’s get to it!


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How to Test Drive a Tesla

The best way to test drive a Tesla is from the company itself. Fortunately, you can conveniently schedule an appointment for a test drive over the web. Although some Tesla dealerships can accommodate walk-ins, the EV company encourages patrons to plan in advance since appointments are limited.


  • A valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Must be 18 years of age or older

How to Schedule a Tesla Test Drive

Follow the steps below to schedule a test drive for a Tesla:

  1. Visit to schedule an appointment. This will take you to a page where you can select which model to test drive. You can choose from Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y.
  2. Complete the form below with your personal information, including name, contact number, email address, country, and zip code.
  3. Once you complete the form, click “Submit and Continue.”
  4. Next, you select the nearest Tesla dealership by clicking “choose a Tesla test drive near me.” The site will now use your location data to determine the closest Tesla showroom.
  5. After choosing your preferred Tesla location, pick a date and time for your test drive.
  6. Afterward, Tesla will assign a representative who will reach out to you via email or phone to confirm your appointment and answer other questions. The representative will also remind you of your upcoming appointment once your preferred date closes in.


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Tesla Test Drives: What to Expect

Keep in mind that you need a valid driver’s license to participate in the test drive. Also, you can sign and complete all the paperwork digitally, so you may not even have to enter the showroom. You may even bring a passenger to experience the Tesla with you. Below are some key steps for Tesla test drives:

  • Tesla encourages drivers to show up 10 minutes before their drive. Test drives are limited but are in high demand, so showing up late will likely result in the cancellation of your appointment. Show up early and check in to be verified.
  • Upon checking in with a Tesla advisor, they will walk you through the car with a sales pitch. The salesperson will provide you with everything you need to know about the Tesla vehicle you’re about to drive. Get the most out of your test drive experience by paying close attention to the pitch.
  • You will have 30 minutes to test drive the Tesla. Get behind the wheel and check out the interior design and features. Look into the touchscreen at the center of the dash for instructions, tutorials, and functions you need to know before you depart.


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  • Enjoy the test drive and get a feel for how to drive a Tesla. Make a mental note if you have questions. NOTE: Since we’re emerging from the pandemic with loosened regulations, the advisor will likely be with you in the car, unlike during the pandemic, when you only drive alone.
  • Once the 30 minutes are up, return the Tesla to the dealership, and the advisor will follow up with your driving experience. If you have questions about the drive or the vehicle in general, feel free to ask your Tesla advisor.
  • If the test drive is enough to make up your mind and buy a Tesla, your advisor will walk you through the process of designing and ordering your electric vehicle.

What If There’s No Tesla Showroom Near You?

Not a problem since several alternatives will let you get behind the wheel of a Tesla.

  • Test Drive Events: Tesla often holds test drive events in locations with no showrooms nearby. Check out this page for upcoming Tesla events in your area:
  • Rent a Tesla Using the Turo App: If you live in California, you can use the Turo rental service to rent a Tesla. Depending on the model, you could spend as much as $47 to $225 daily to drive a Tesla. This is a great way to have a more in-depth driving experience with a Tesla since a 30-min demo is not exactly ideal.
  • Rent One Via Major Rental Companies: Teslas are so prevalent nowadays that even the largest rental companies, such as Hertz and Enterprise, have them on their fleet. However, expect that daily rates are more expensive than your typical rental.
  • Borrow From a Friend or Relative: One of the better ways to drive a Tesla is to ask a friend or relative who owns one. Tesla owners can be very passionate about their shiny, electric vehicles and will be more than happy to share what it’s like to drive one. Conversely, many wouldn’t be so thrilled to lend you the key especially considering the high price tags of these vehicles.

While Teslas can help you get from point A to B, they offer a unique driving experience, unlike their gas-guzzling counterparts. One of the most common feedback about driving a Tesla is its blazing acceleration. Another widespread comment is that Teslas offer a smooth and enjoyable driving experience. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to book Tesla test drives. Considering how expensive these electric vehicles are, it’s always good if you can take them out for a spin first.


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Get a Curated List of the Best Used Cars Near You

The CoPilot car shopping app is the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.

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The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out our About Us page to see how CoPilot works.

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