Tesla Model 3 Wish List


I love my Model 3. I really do. But just as you can love someone while wishing they’d change certain habits or style, there are a few things I don’t like about my car. One or two of these may be "things I have missed", but most are verified problems.

The list is organized into these sections:

Recently Fixed

These are left here to reinforce the fact that, while most cars get worse as they age, Teslas actually get better with age due to continuous integration and rapid over-the-air dissemination of bug fixes and whole new features. All of these come free as software updates except where indicated.

  • More Voice Commands: My spouse thought there was too much touch-screen touching required to operate the vehicle, e.g., change temperature, change wipers speed, etc. With a physical knob-based dashboard you can build up "muscle memory" of where the controls are so you can adjust them without looking; with all-touchscreen you often have to look down. Distracted driving anyone? Although I’ve gotten used to it, there’s still some truth in it. There are now (with the 2019.40.50 update) a lot more voice commands; so many that you should now rarely have to touch the screen while driving. And remember: the car was designed for mostly autonomous driving; when FSD is enabled, you won’t need to keep your focus on the road at all times. Even with basic autopilot engaged, a half-second distraction will not have you veering into oncoming traffic like manual steering does all too often.

  • ChaDeMo, the Level 3 ("DC fast") charging standard used by Japanese and some North American EVs. Tesla uses their own connector for DC fast charging - the Supercharger - but sells a ChaDeMo adapter for people driving where Superchargers aren’t installed yet. This somehow only worked for Model S and X until about a year after the Model 3 was shipping; it was announced by Electrek.co that it works on Model 3 after a software update..

  • But that said, the EV world is moving increasingly to CCS, the American-European "Combined Charging System" standard. We’ve also learned that Model 3s sold in Europe will have combined CCS and Supercharger access without needing an adapter; there, a CCS-to-car adapter will be sold to Model S and X owners. Apparently Euro and North American Model 3’s use different sockets so that adapter won’t work here. The article claims that Tesla "weirdly didn’t confirm the availability of the same adapter for the NA market, but they say that they are committed to owners having access to all “compelling networks”. It should mean that they will make a CCS adapter available in NA, but they could claim that there’s no other “compelling” network."

  • New DashCam feature added in V9, recording to your USB flash drive. A few months later, "Sentry Mode" was added - if somebody touches your car, the cameras begin recording; if they break a window, it plays music really loud. And notifies you by the phone app. And a few months later, the rear camera got included in what gets recorded (previously only the front cam and two rear-facing side cams were recorded).

  • Autosteer to navigation was missing feature: Added in a V9 update. Changes lanes to exit freeway to keep on your navigation route (requires FSD).

  • Key Fob. There was no conventional key fob (for Model3; there was for S and X). You can use either your smartphone (Android or iOS) or a credit-card-sized badge key card. The key card is meant mainly as a backup and to give to parking lot valet attendants; the smartphone will auto-unlock and auto-lock the doors. Key fob support was added in a V9 software update, and key fobs became available soon after, as of 2018-11. Cost C$200.

  • Tesla historically made it hard for do-it-yourselfers, but recently released the complete parts catalog for all models of their cars. Bravo!

  • Web Browser is supported in V9 on Model 3 (always supported on Model S and X), Yay! Its sporadically-tortoise-speed performance made it unusable in the first release, but that’s fixed long ago.

  • Nav turn directions were on far right, V9 moves them closer to driver.

  • The clock display on the touchscreen was too small; since it’s in the far corner of the screen it should be in a bigger font, or moved to the driver’s side (the latter was done in V9).

  • The on-screen display of vehicles didn’t show cars beside you, only when they are in front, where you can probably already see them. Weird. Fixed in V10.

General Issues

  • The door handles, and the window moving down when you open the door, can have issues in cold weather, like any car that doesn’t have framed windows. If the window is frozen to the rubber trim, it can’t come down half an inch and avoid scraping the metal trim above the window. A partial fix was downloaded OTA in November 2018, just a week or so after the problem was first reported: the windows stop a little bit short on the way up, so they never hit the trim. A little silicon lubricant on the rubber prevents the windows from sticking to it - again, this isn’t Tesla-specific.

  • Features that should work the same on all models somehow appear sooner, or only, on the Model S and X (although the "new UI" appeared first on the Model 3). Examples:

    • Security feature: optional Anti-theft sensor.

    • HEPA air filtration option (for pollen, pollution, etc), only on Model X

  • Frunk security. You can open the frunk with nothing more than a strong finger and a 9 volt battery. This is intentional, to let you rescue your ice cream if the car has a complete electrical failure while you’re driving home from the grocery store on a hot day. There’s even a Youtube video showing how to do this if you need it. But hmmm, thieves watch Youtube too, so never leave valuables in the frunk.

  • The base model at US$35,000/C$46,500 was not available when we ordered. This is the price the car was initially promised at, and which we put our original deposit down on. To get the car in reasonable time we had to order our car with the long range battery and the premium interior, both expensive. The battery boost is nice, but the premium interior we could have done without. The base model opened for ordering on 2019-02-28. There is a low-end Canadian model offered at $44,999 but its range is permanently software-locked at 150 KM, which is pathetic; this is a compliance car, to get the "real" versions listed in the Canadian government rebate program.

  • Because of the previous item, we didn’t have the money for EAP (Autopilot, now called "Basic Autopilot"), which is actually a useful feature package (it includes lane-hold (when lane markings are visible; meant for highway use only, for now) and "traffic aware cruise control", which you really need if you drive a lot in stop-and-go highway traffic). Then in 2019 they started including these parts of autopilot for free with new cars, but didn’t make that available to past purchasers (in fact the price has gone up). Autopilot is a pre-requisite for purchasing "Full Self Driving", which you can buy now (before its price goes up again) although it isn’t ready for use yet but will be "soon" (on "Tesla Time").

  • Interior color - at the time we ordered, you could get the interior "in any color you wanted, as long as you wanted black". Maybe Elon really is the reincarnation of Henry Ford. Of course, soon after we took delivery, the white interior became available. Simple solution - seat covers? Not so fast! The manual warns you not to put seat covers on as they will block the side-cushion airbags. Serious safety problem! Solution: EVannex.com has white seat covers that have cutouts for the airbags, but they cost US$500 and require professional installation.

  • Occasional randomness. My car said "Power reduced. Exit and restart vehicle may clear this". Once. No reason given. Another driver reported that the frunk came partly open while driving. My fear is that, since the software for the display/control computer is written in a programming language called C++, it is more prone to randomness bugs such as memory leaks, pointer errors, etc. The language I develop in, Java, was designed to be used in the same kind of applications as C++ but to avoid these problems.

  • Sound System: Sound quality is great, but there’s an issue with USB Music. When you try to work around the lack of CD player by ripping a favorite legacy CD to USB, it works. BUT: When you park the car, go for coffee, and come back, it doesn’t just lose your place, it forgets that you were playing USB at all, and for no reason switches to trying to get music from your phone. Which it can do, but it’s not what I wanted!

Spousal Test Failures

This list gets shorter as time goes by.

  • Sound System: No Sirius/XM; no CD player. You don’t really need these, because you get free Internet-based music streaming as well as FM radio. Unless you’re driving in the middle of nowhere. Unless, like my wife, you frequently borrow books on CD from the library to listen to while commuting. Please don’t suggest putting them on USB, because of the problem above.

  • Sound System: not having the radio, a/c, shut down when you turn the car off (e.g., open the driver’s door from inside). "I guess it may be a bonus to some, but I want everything off when I leave the car. I don’t want it yacking at me when I’m getting out, because that’s when I may be talking to someone."

  • Trunks do not pop up when unlocked (fixable by replacing the struts with 3rd-party ones with springs).

Nitpicks

  • Open Glovebox button should be on main screen, should not have to select Driving menu. Put it opposite the Unlock Charge Port button?

  • TPMS takes too long to initialize, and forgets Tire Pressure readings too quickly. Our Chevy Cruze that cost 1/3 of the Model 3 shows its TPMS readings instantly, even when the physical key (remember those?) is set to the ACC position. Model 3 will not display TPMS readings until after you start driving, which is annoying if you want to top up your tires before driving, on a day when the temperature plummeted.

  • Nav can’t change route nor add waypoints (intermediate stops) to route (e.g. Google nav can do both). Elon has not promised this; in one Twitter thread he said "No." :-(

Promises, Promises

This list also shrinks as time goes by. The following were committed to and we would love to see them soon.

Noted by others

Hive Mind: Collected from an April, 2020 FB post by Mathews Chebron

Note that I only include the first person to mention each item, have removed items that were already on my wishlist, and have trimmed/edited these comments ruthlessly in moving from FB to a more permanent web page format. Apologies if I mis-quoted you. If you want your name removed for privacy, PM me on Facebook.

Mathews Chebron: A stereo aux input for external sources to connect your macbook and soundcard for listening and recording

Frank J. Perricone: Smart adaptive volume control. Reliable in-car hotspot. Heated steering wheel. Camera-based rear-view mirror.

Jon Clark: Unlock passenger door from the outside with your key card.

Ryan Grimes: Better music controls and USB-C PD ports. Apple music integration.

Rolf Brandes: Heads-up display, surround top-down view, option to engage cruise control at current speed instead of speed limit. Option to engage cruise control without distance control. Always-on head and tail lights.

Bryan Yu: Self healing paint 🙂

Todd William Thompson: Ease of adding my own amp and subwoofer.

Krupal Rewanwar: Auto trunk and frunk. Heads-up Display.

Chris Clewett: Connect your laptop to bluetooth

Richard Voelkers: Convertible.

Justin Berg: Seat cooling. Better onscreen iPhone integration.

Luis Alicea: Inside camera (on rear-view mirror) connected to the screen to have videoconference meetings in the car.

Eric Sisouvanh: Use of the side cameras when in reverse.

Howard Savage: Tesla voice recognition for Internet searches.

Rich Brown: Turn signal activate the camera for that side.

Emil Gnasso: Remote trunk and frunk open and closure.

Mark Huntley: Cross traffic alert while backing up

Bruce Weertman: Cruise control that automatically adjusts as the speed limit changes.

Keahon Rodriguez: Sentry mode access on my phone (remote access to cameras).

Jeffery N. MacDonald: Heat pump for winter heating.

Chris Ferraro: Model X BioWeapon Defense Mode.

Azeem Tajani: Better outside sound dampening.

Albert Stroberg: Adjustable driver’s seat cushion length.

Janice Parks: Audible alert to let you know your text message was sent.

Nancy Knupfer: Option so unlocking the driver’s door open doesn’t unlock all doors.

Jon Groth: USB 5.0.

Emil Gnasso: Frunk hooks to hold grocery bags upright (were on original Model 3, now gone from some models)

Mark Irizarry: Oscillating air vents. Subscription access to FSD.

Dorian Creber: Rear cross traffic radar.

Mark Edelman: Sirius/XM via hardware rather than a phone app.

Summary

I love my Model 3, but there always things that can be improved. Some never will now that we bought the car, but - unlike most cars - many of these minor issues are quite likely to get fixed in the near future via Tesla’s continuous deployment of over-the-air upgrades to the car’s software. For this we and most Tesla owners are truly grateful.