Tesla Model 3 Long Range laps with my dad for charity, safely exceeding 100+ mph on our first track run ever!
Tesla makes EVs that are fun. Crazy fun. On regular roads, accelerating to the speed limit effortlessly and quietly without any of that attention-getting tire screech almost feels illegal. This fun factor is a big part of the reason that over a million of the more-affordable Model 3s have been sold already, right up there with the top safety and Superchargers.
Tesla could have gone with merely matching the specs of existing compact sedans. But wisely, Tesla went further. Much further, including building out the required charging infrastructure to make it practical as a daily driver. I think Ian Pavelko captures this quite well in the recent Tesla Owners Online Podcast Episode 108 - European Electric Cannonball at this spot:
they could have built an electric Accord or an electric Toyota Camry and it would have suited the job for most of the population perfectly, but they didn't, they smashed it out of the park, they built one of the most fun sedans at any price point. Model 3 are currently between $39.9K to $56.9K USD, plus usual taxes and fees, minus any applicable rebates or incentives.
This post and the accompanying video are not sponsored content. All items used in the production of this stable and smooth 4K 60 frames-per-second video were purchased. Some of the links in the equipment list below are income-earning affiliate links.
The thing is, I couldn't really learn about what a Tesla is really capable of unless I had a taste of it on the track. Our 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD is incredibly sure-footed on all surfaces in nearly any condition. It quickly gained my trust it's ability to stay safe and stay in control. Take a look at this video clip to see what I mean.
So a track provides an optimal environment to up the fun factor even further: no other cars, animals, or meatbag humans around. Only a pace car to follow at a safe distance.
Our car is not a race car, and it's my daily-driver in all seasons. I'm not a professional driver. Is it safe to go fast? Given how wide this track is and how incredibly poorly I'd have to drive to somehow lose control here, I'd say yes. Quite safe. Of course I checked my tire pressure of my 186 mph rated tires before setting out, as a blowout would pose the biggest danger to me, and my precious passenger, my dad.
Like many drivers, I needed to convince my skeptical and concerned significant other that I wouldn't endanger myself or anybody else, nor our car. This includes assurances I wouldn't be prematurely wearing the brakes, tires, motors, or main battery. Given the wide gentle curves, and plenty of room to brake fairly gently from high speeds, the oval track made more sense than the curvy road course.
When the opportunity to test on the track came up recently, arranged by the nascent Tesla Owners Club of (Eastern) New England, I jumped at the chance and registered. Dave and Mark helped make this fun weekend activity happen, a mere 3-hour drive away at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. What better excuse to hang out with my dad than this, even better that 100% of my $100 for 6 VIP laps went to New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children's Charity!
Having flown in a glider that sustained 3G of force, I was actually skeptical about whether the 6 minutes of fun would be worth the 3-hours-each-way drive. Would it be fun enough for my dad and I to justify the drive? The answer will be pretty evident by the time you're done enjoying the 10 minute video I put together for you below.
Why did I go with the VIP option, and not just $40 for laps with several other cars? In the video, you'll see exactly why I needed to have no other cars around, keeping things even safer. This was also my chance to safely test out 0-60 and 0-100 mph acceleration measured on two GoPro cameras and my Dragy, in a controlled manner.
Speeds above 80 were only momentary, and braking was only for a few seconds for each lap, although a little harder than normal driving of course. These 10 laps were far easier on the car than I thought it would be. Simply no big deal. Good clean fun.
The thrill of seeing the joy my dad experienced turned out to be the surprise delight of this beautiful day, which was already super-fun anyway. How was seeing my mom and dad smile the next day as I showed them footage on their TV? Priceless.
Special thanks go out to the wonderful staff at New Hampshire Motor Speedway including Danielle and Mike. What fun it was to chat with both of you!
- TechSmith Camtasia 2021
Video editor handles 4K/60fps, uses proxy files for better playback.
- Telemetry Overlay
Uses GPS telemetry data embedded in GoPro footage to create overlays. I was offered pre-release version 1.2.4 by the author, and I paid for full license.
- tes•LAX - CAN Bus Explorer
An app that displays realtime telemetry gathered from my OBDLink MX+ via Bluetooth.
A website that leverages the Tesla API to provide rich views of telemetry data including automatic drive logging, charge speeds, battery degradation, and more.
- OBDLink MX+ Module & Cables
Detailed in this TinkerTry article.
- Dragy GPS Performance Box
Wireless device precisely measures 0-60 and 0-100 acceleration, connects to app via Bluetooth.
- GoPro HERO7
Mounted on windshield aimed at our faces, set to 4K 30 fps.
- GoPro HERO8
Suction cup mounted on inside of glass roof aimed at track ahead, set to 4K 60 fps.
- CableCreation USB C to USB C Cable Right Angle 60W 3A Fast Charge 6.6ft
Wired power used instead of a battery for the GoPro HERO8 to avoid overheating at 4K/60fps settings.
- SCOSCHE CPDC8C8 Powervolt USB Type-C Car Charger
- Ram Suction Cup Mount
On glass roof.
- Ram Mount Double Socket Arm Long
- GoPro Suction Cup Mount
- GoPro Frame Mount Housing for GoPro HERO7
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- How to use iOS/Android devices as “Stats for nerds” gauges in your Tesla Model 3 with an easy DIY OBDLink MX+ install
May 18 2020
This article captures the fun of driving up and down Mount Washington in my EV, with my short, fun 4K video below. Now imagine how effortless, quiet, and smell-free it will be to climb up steep grades in your EV pickup, even when towing!
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Altered Reality: When is a performance model not?
Jun 04 2019 by Jade Nelson at MotorTrend
Like sitting in the first car of a roller coaster, you have fewer reference points around you and a better view of the world coming at you. Rather than sitting in a midsize sedan, the view out is more akin to sitting in a McLaren even if the seating position isn't. Combine this with a low center of gravity and linear, zero-lag acceleration, and the Model 3 feels faster than it is every time you punch the accelerator or turn the steering wheel.
Free Supercharging: If you find this article of value and decide to order a Tesla, please consider using this ts.la/paul68544 referral link when placing your order so you and I both get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging. If you order Solar, it's a $250 award after system activation.
Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We financed the purchase of two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!