We are often criticised for being hypocrites with our #LayanEverything culture. More often than not, we tend to focus on what people like the most, which usually happens to be Japanese cars. But let’s be honest because JDMs in Malaysia are arguably some of the best around and day-by-day we find some hidden gems. That being said, Porsches are also something that we adore religiously. We love them so much that we dedicated a whole week to just celebrate the existence of the Porsche 911. However, ever since I joined the NoEqual.co team just more than a year ago, I wanted to embrace the culture even more to the extent of that I wanted to #LayanEVerything instead because we have never really gotten a chance to check out an electric vehicle. When I was asked what I’d actually wanted to review, I just told everyone I’d like to have a go at an EV. While it may be confusing to some why I’d rather have a go at an EV instead of JDMs and Porsches, I personally think we need to embrace the future rather than ignore it.
While the EV infrastructure in Malaysia is still rather weak, I really wanted to know if it was feasible. So, I got in touch with Zero to Sixty Garage who imports Teslas into Malaysia and it just so happens that they had a Tesla Model 3 on sale and was willing to let me have a go as long as I kept the mileage low. However, trying to review a brand-new unsold Tesla was harder than I thought because I needed a location that’s rather fitting for a Tesla without it being too far.
Somehow, I ended up in Cyberjaya, basically the technological hub of Malaysia. If you think about it, Cyberjaya is just like a heavily-discounted version of Silicon Valley. And to my surprise, there is actually an abundance of charging locations scattered around Cyberjaya. While my video review is actually more focused on the fun part of the Tesla while trying to answer absurd questions, this writeup will be more in-depth focusing on the car and lifestyle itself.
But back to the Model 3, it comes in as a rival to Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class as well as BMW’s 3-Series but to be honest, it’s not what I would call a fair comparison anyway but we’ll get back to that later on. The Model 3 is the smallest Tesla on sale alongside the Model S, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck and the Roadster but the Model 3 is the one that caters to the mass market.
The interior does require some getting used to which I’m not particularly annoyed by. I still prefer the traditional knobs and buttons to control the essentials such as the air-conditioning. However, everything is laid out nicely on the screen so that you don’t have to spend minutes just to find Spotify and the lock button. The buttons on the steering wheel itself is unlabeled but it does however control a few things depending on the settings, one of which is the side mirror angles.
Don’t get me wrong, the Tesla is a lovely car to drive, a no-frills kinda thing that remains fun without being overly exciting. Fast without being dangerous. And for something that I can just charge like a phone, it’s the type of car I’d wanna do a grocery run before picking up the kids from school instead of doing hot laps around Sepang or uphill runs on your favourite hills. But then again, I doubt anybody with a Tesla (unless it’s the Plaid) plans on setting a lap record around Sepang.
For now, the Tesla isn’t really for me despite it being a great car from a young manufacturer. It’s a brilliant piece of tech that functions as a smart device. Think of it as a smartphone, it’s more of a mini computer rather than a phone. That’s what a Tesla is, it’s a “smartcar”. It’s everything a car can be, for people who want a car that can do everything.
Maybe, one day, if I were to grow up and was looking for an electric car, I don’t think I could look elsewhere but the Model 3, especially now that there’s a tax incentive. Why go for something unproven when the Model 3 has already made a mark in history.
Thanks again to Zero To Sixty Garage for providing us the Tesla Model 3 Long Range and you can visit their website and Instagram page.
Written by | Danial Malek
Photos by | Chua Chung Zhi
First ImpressionsWhat I tested was a blue 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range, the mid-range spec of the three available variants. Even though I’ve always wanted to try a Tesla out, I’ve never actually been that fond of how it looks. Personally, I think the design is rather mundane and a bit too simple. However, Tesla does adopt a very minimalistic approach on cars. Tesla is a bit like IKEA in that sense where everything is designed to serve its purpose. But I personally think that’s why Tesla is appealing to a lot of people. Because beyond the styling, it’s something brilliantly fascinating. It’s faster than most cars on sale today and you can charge it at home while you sleep and just use it the very next day. While this isn’t uncommon in the EV lifestyle, Tesla somehow revolutionised the entire game by making everything about the EV lifestyle fun. With that, a lot of manufacturers are pressured to make EVs interesting instead of the cockroach-shaped econoboxes like the Prius of yesteryears.
How To Drive A Tesla Model 3From the get go, it’s an interesting experience. First of all, there isn’t a key fob to unlock or start the car. Neither is there a push start button to start the car anyway. You can control everything via your smartphone, however without your phone, everything starts off with a black card with the name ‘Tesla’ printed on it. Once again, Tesla follows the minimalistic route. To unlock the car, you have to tap the Tesla card on the B-pillar just under the camera. That will automatically unlock the door and you can then enter the car. You are then greeted by the minimalistic interior with just a steering wheel and a gigantic iPad-like screen that controls literally every single thing on the car. Now starting the car is rather fascinating as well because there’s no button for you to start it up. Just by sitting on the driver’s seat and tapping your card on the centre console, the car is ready to go with just a flip of the gear lever in which you can choose between park, neutral, reverse and drive. Basically just like any other ordinary car. However, the car does not come with a handbrake nor an electronic parking brake, which feels rather odd. Now once you’ve gotten everything in control, you can opt how aggressive you want the regenerative braking to be. There were three modes to choose from which basically modulates the speed of deceleration. Personally, I didn’t find it particularly annoying but it needed some getting used to. There are also different drive modes which essentially control your throttle response.
Driving The Tesla Model 3Let me make it clear, on the most powerful drive mode, the Tesla really pulls. And because it has no engine, the Tesla provides a lag-less experience that just pushes you into the back of the seat and without you realising it, you’ve just done a 0 to the national speed limit in just 4 seconds with only the sound of wind passing by. A bizarrely addictive experience. To be exact, the 0-100km/h numbers are about 4.4 seconds for the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. Which you may be wondering “isn’t that slower than a Mercedes C63 AMG or even a BMW M3?”, well it is slower but if you opt for the Tesla Model 3 Performance, you’d be leaving them in the dust for days in just 3.3 seconds. And before you ask, doing a launch in one of these does affect some of your range. On average, each launch we did costs us about 2% of the power percentage. However, it is unlikely that you’ll be launching your Tesla at every single traffic light you see. That being said, I completely understand if you do though, especially if you’re showing off your car to your mates. On a full charge, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range can supposedly give you about 570km of charge and if you keep on mashing your foot on the throttle pedal, you could still get more than 400km. Which is still a whole lot better than a Porsche Taycan to be frankly honest. Range anxiety is something to consider but these are not the kind of cars that you’d be driving long distance, well not for now anyway. Nonetheless, the Model 3 is built with practicality in mind. There are two luggage compartments at the front and back. The car is also equipped with eight cameras all around and 12 ultrasonic sensors to it’s safety systems. There is also a ‘Sentry Mode’ which records the surroundings of your car when you’re not around. Pretty neat in a situation that requires some evidence of your car being involved in an incident. It’s also something to note that the Tesla Model 3 rides softer than a BMW 3-Series or a Mercedes C-Class without the car bouncing about. That being said, you do feel the weight in the corners especially when you’re accelerating. While you may not break traction on the Long Range or Performance, it could happen on the rear-wheel drive Standard Plus.
How Do I Charge A Tesla?There are a few ways to charge the Tesla depending on what you actually have at the time. This was way simpler than I thought, to be frank. There are four ways to charge the car or at least in Malaysia, that is. Listed below in descending order is the time taken to charge your EV.
- 3-pin Charging
- Wall Charging
- AC Charging
- DC Charging