posted on January 31, 2018

Model 3 delivery completes LA host’s Tesla collection

On day one of Model 3 reservations back in March 2016, Turo host Ken L. stood in line at the Tesla store in Los Angeles to place an order for the most affordable Tesla yet. Since then, the Model 3 has amassed a wait list of 600,000 customers and endured a turbulent preparation period full of ravenous and sometimes hysterical hype.

And because Ken was among the first of those 600,000, he is already the proud owner of the most anticipated car of this century. He is one of the earliest Model 3 owners to offer his car on Turo. That’s right — you can rent and drive the Model 3 today.

Ken owns both the Model S and Model X and is a self-professed “real-life Tesla advocate.” His credits include convincing two of his work colleagues to buy Teslas of their own, “which I thought was a lot of fun,” he says. “I love talking about my Teslas and teaching people about electric vehicles. I’m really into the green revolution going on with cars right now.”

One of those colleagues told Ken that by renting out his Model X a few times a month, he was able to completely cover the lease payments. So Ken listed both of his Teslas on Turo while he waited for his Model 3, which he had ordered over a year earlier.

Ken’s two young kids like their family’s Teslas, but are not fans of their prodigious acceleration. “When they first saw the Model 3 in our driveway, their reaction was to say, ‘Another one? How are you going to pay for all this?’ And my answer was ‘Turo,’” says Ken. “Owning three Teslas in a family with two drivers is not cheap, so this is allowing me to follow my passion.”

Waiting on the Model 3

The constant barrage of news about production delays has made many Model 3 customers anxious and uneasy. “As many Tesla fans can attest, we have been devouring every morsel of information that comes out,” says Ken. Indeed, it has been nearly impossible to escape the rollercoaster of information leaks and conjecture that seemingly spells either doom or glory for EVs from week to week.

But Ken wasn’t worried. Besides the Tesla employees who received the very first Model 3s, Tesla has prioritized deliveries for customers who placed their reservation in person, are already Tesla owners, or live in California (Californian customers get the nod because of their proximity to Tesla’s Fremont factory). And Ken checked all three boxes, having placed his order on the first possible day with both the Model S and X already in his garage.

So in November of last year, he received the long-anticipated email from Tesla directing him to the webpage where he would configure the options on his brand-new Model 3.

As Tesla is still ramping up production, only one trim is available, which is equipped with the long-range 75 kWh battery option. But the new batteries are more efficient than the previous Tesla offerings, so Ken’s Model 3 can milk the 75 kWh pack for up to 310 miles before plugging in.

Along with the still-default premium interior, Ken ordered his car with the new, slightly controversial aero wheels. Ken says these funky rims are “love it or hate it” even within the Tesla community. Tesla has always been obsessed with aerodynamics, boasting about drag coefficients to whomever will listen. But it’s for a good reason; aerodynamics have a huge impact on electric cars’ range, and the aero wheel covers increase the Model 3’s mileage by a claimed 8-10%.

The big moment

Then late last December, Ken got the call. It was time. Unlike the other Tesla models, which are delivered at the Tesla store of the customer’s choosing, all Southern California Model 3 deliveries are made in one hangar-like location in small batches. At the delivery facility, Ken and a dozen-odd other customers listened impatiently as a Tesla representative walked them through a very thorough delivery process before handing over their cars.

Notably, the Model 3 has no key fob. Ken’s phone acts as a key, along with a credit card key that he can give to his guests or valet drivers. The interior is clean and modern, but almost alarmingly bare, even for Tesla’s typically spartan cabins.

Everything from the wipers to the automatic glove box is controlled through the giant center LED screen that has become a Tesla signature. You even have to look over at the screen to see how fast you’re moving as there is no gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. It’s a very different experience than most drivers are used to.

And on the road? The Model 3 is smaller and about 1,000 pounds lighter than the base Model S, and Ken reports a fantastically nimble experience. Its substantial torque — about 310 lb-ft from the rear-mounted motor — is good enough for a zero-60 time of 5.1 seconds. Which is plenty quick. It moves silently, feels comfortable, and is easy to pilot. In other words, it drives like a Tesla.

As half a million customers eagerly await delivery of their Model 3s, Ken is sharing his own on Turo for anyone who wants a go in the meantime. And who better to introduce you to the newest Tesla than the man who has all three?

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.