My current car is a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer ES 2.4L Manual sedan that’s served me well for the last 13 years, but now it’s nearing the time where I enter the market for a new car to replace it.
When I first got the car, I knew I wanted to modify it, improving the stock features and personalising the vehicle to make it one of a kind, while suiting my needs for the next decade or more.
I started by replacing the seats with Recaro’s from an Evo 8, upgraded the rims, replaced the stock airbox with an AEM cold air intake, upgraded the extractors, added a high-flow cat, Varex muffler, upgraded to a short shiftier and replaced the head unit. The look and feel were completed with lowered coilover suspension and tinted windows.
While the car still performs well, it lacks the modern technology available in new cars and with a 130,000 on the clock, it’s time to consider the future. I’m also 36 now and in a very different place in life than my first vehicle purchase at 23.
For some time now I’ve been keen on my next vehicle being electric, after having positive experiences in reviewing the fully electric vehicles.
After upgrading the wife’s car earlier this year, it’s now time to get serious about a post-lancer life and that got me thinking, what car would I actually buy?
I’ve driven a lot of cars and some fantastic vehicles, just not right for me. They just don’t do what an electric vehicle does. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a 6-bay Supercharger about 5 minutes down the road.
The problem I have is that I drove a Tesla and was absolutely spoilt. That ruined me and changed how I look at every other candidate. The Model S and Model X are brilliant cars, but they are in a price bracket my budget isn’t, so the planned Australian release of the cheaper Model 3, starting in 2019, really opened the door to owning a Tesla, being a possibility.
If you find yourself in a similar position in life and considering the purchase of a Model 3, then you have some serious decisions to make, not all of which we have the answers too just yet.
While we think of the Model 3 as a single vehicle, the reality is there’s a number of Model 3’s available. There’s the standard version with a single electric motor and standard range). For some extra dollars, you can add the long-range, or larger battery capacity.
Then there’s a dual-motor option which offers better performance, this again comes in a standard or longer-range options.
Finally, there’s also the top of the line Performance Model with the best performance and best range.
After you get on top of those two options, then you have to select if you want Enhanced Autopilot – you do. I think this is a massive part of why you buy a Tesla in the first place.
This is maybe the most difficult choice as it comes with some pretty fine print. Full autonomy, where the car doesn’t require a driver to take over at any point during the journey is the dream we all have for the future of transport. The big asterisk on this is that it may not be available in all markets, meaning the local laws need to catch up with technology before it’s allowed and in Australia, there’s some way to go on that.
Paint, wheels and interior
The paint, wheels and interior are all options you’ll be asked to select from. Again this isn’t easy as these choices make the car personal to you, but do add up quickly. If you’re after the luxurious white interior, you’ll have to pony up for the Performance model, at least currently it’s a Model 3 P75D exclusive.
Personally, I’d love the top of the line Performance model, but given the maths of the USD to AUD plus import duties, plus the ridiculous luxury car tax. While official prices aren’t out, I expect it’ll be disappointingly out of my budget.
Given I live in the regional city of Albury Wodonga, the long-range makes the most sense as I’ll have some 350kms to get to Melbourne and to ensure I have plenty when I get there, the 500km range of the long-range version would be a must-have. Could I get away with the rear-wheel only version, maybe, but I want two and yes, I’d probably get it in red.
Unlike many, my focus on buying an electric car has little to do with the environment (that’s a nice fringe benefit), but far more about the technology available, the opportunity to drive a high-performance car when you want to and have it drive itself when you don’t.
I hope that Tesla gets some competition in this space, but right now, there’s Tesla and everyone else’s R&D departments, not an actual competitor to what Tesla is shipping.