The Climate Crisis

Switching to a Tesla Model 3

Switching to a Tesla Model 3

What’s it like switching to a Tesla Model 3? Is it fun to drive? Are you happy you bought it? Do you feel better about your carbon footprint?



Awesome! Yes! Yes! Yes!


Buying the Tesla 3

I test drove a Nissan Leaf and was rather underwhelmed. Having owned a Datsun years ago, I was impressed with the company and went to the dealership, checkbook in hand. They really didn’t want to sell me an electric car. They knew relatively nothing about EV’s and insisted the one and only Leaf on the lot was the only one I could buy. It was $4,000 more than the base price of a Tesla Model 3, which I’d driven the week before. The Nissan dealership refused to negotiate.

I liked the Tesla better anyway.

Ordering the Tesla was easy. I actually drove to the store in Scottsdale, Arizona so I could chat with the reps and do a test drive. But, you can order it online. There are really only a couple options to choose from on the Model 3. White is the only color that’s free; black, red, and blue cost an additional $1,000. I got the standard wheels, but you can pay more for bigger ones. As far as the interior, there’s black (free) and the black/white (an extra $1,000). I went with the white interior. I was impressed that the seats are vegan, not leather. As a vegetarian, I care about not eating or wearing my friends. I didn’t pay an extra $5,000 for full auto driving mode, but I did pay over $10,000 more to get the dual motor (all-wheel drive and the extended range). I can drive over 300 miles on a charge, which is fairly incredible. I predict in a couple years, Tesla will have a battery that goes 500 miles on a charge. This company is on fire!

I drove to Scottsdale about 5 weeks later to pick up the car, and I drove home with my new Tesla Model 3.

Watch Tesla and YouTube Videos About the Car

Don’t even think about picking up your car without studying a few videos and reading about it. For instance, how do you open the doors? What is one pedal driving? What do you do if the screen freezes? How do you turn on the lights? How do you charge it? All the things that are intuitive on a gas car can be a little disorienting on the Tesla. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but I reasoned that if I could fly a plane, I could drive a Tesla. Don’t be intimidated. Once you get the hang of it, you’re going to love it. Really. I don’t know a single Tesla owner who doesn’t like the car. The acceleration is crazy cool. It’s like a rocket ship.


When you get in the Tesla for the first time, you’ll be blown away by the beauty and the simple dashboard. There’s a 15 inch screen and a steering wheel. That’s it. And you should know how that screen works before you start driving. Feel free to post questions in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them. Or contact me via email.

Reducing My Carbon Footprint

I feel good about driving an electric car, even though a couple friends have tried to shame me about the environmental effects of the battery. I’m aware of it, and I wish there were no impacts. I plan to continue my advocacy work and hold companies accountable, even Tesla. Are those batteries being recycled? Where is the cadmium coming from? Are workers being treated fairly?

The corrupt fossil fuel industry is destroying the planet, and all the greenhouse gases being spewed out by gas-powered engines are destroying the atmosphere. I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I acknowledge that I’m one of the privileged few that can afford a Tesla. But the price of EV’s is dropping, and I believe that beyond 2023 when cost parity is achieved between gas engines and electric ones, more people will be able to own an EV.

What’s the Coolest Thing About Driving the Tesla?

I admit to being a bit of a techie. I don’t play video games, but I’m a giant Star Trek fan and I have an M.S. in computer science. I love airplanes. Ironman is my favorite Avenger; did you know Tony Stark is based loosely on Elon Musk? I tell people that driving the Model 3 is like driving a computer. The self-driving standard features are unbelievable. The car stays in it’s lane and automatically breaks when cars cut in front. It has “Easter eggs” or hidden little gems. The best one is based on an SNL skit with Christopher Walken. Remember the cowbells? When you’re in autopilot, if you press down on the right stalk quickly 4 times, the road on the screen turns into a rainbow and the song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” plays with lots of cowbells. You can also turn the car icon into Santa’s sleigh and make the seats fart. The GPS can turn into the surface of Mars, and romance mode turns the screen into a fireplace, with the vents blowing out warm air. Another tap plays romantic music.

What other car can do that?

Contact me with questions. I love to talk about the car, which Tesla allows you to name. My Tesla is named after one of my heroes, the man who has done more to educate the world on the climate crisis than anyone else, and the reason I became a climate activist.

My Tesla’s name is Al.

2 thoughts on “Switching to a Tesla Model 3”

  1. Such a revolution in transportation. We had the same response to the Nissan Leaf & dealership. Thx for sharing your experience & love the name inspiration… Al.

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