Behind the Wheel of a 2020 Tesla 3

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Teslas are swarming the roads of Delaware, and whether the owners are focusing on performance driving or climate-change activism, the arrival of Elon Musk’s Tesla brand has successfully put lingering doubts about the viability of e-vehicles to rest.

First, there’s the sheer, unbridled power. With no gears to cycle through, the 3 Performance edition rockets off the line from 0 to 60 mph in a smooth and seamlessly face-melting 3.2 seconds.

The Tesla 3 has plenty of other benefits besides ready power. An almost entirely glass roof provides an abundance of visibility, and like all Teslas, the 3 bristles with external sensors and cameras that feed information to the fully digital 15-inch display in the center of the dash, where surrounding traffic and road markers are clearly represented.

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2020 Tesla 3, Performance model

Single-Charge Range: 322 miles
Capacity: Seats 5
Cargo: 15 cubic feet
Charging Time: 15 minutes at a Tesla Supercharger location provides a 172-mile charge
MSRP: $56,990 as tested
Christiana Mall Tesla Gallery
132 Christiana Mall, Space 1401
(next to Nordstrom), Newark


Hover over the photo for more details about the Model 3./Photo courtesy of Tesla

This not only makes blind spots nonexistent but allows the autonomous feature to take over when the car is in navigation mode, providing the closest we are now to a completely driverless car. The same tech enables driverless rear-in and parallel parking, making the Tesla feel more Blade Runner 2049 than Wilmington 2020.

Musk has loaded the Tesla 3 with plenty of entertainment options (stream music while you drive and Netflix while you wait for the car to charge) and a “toy box” full of fun—if somewhat juvenile—tricks like whoopee cushion sound effects for individual seats.

The zippy acceleration, dual-motor all-wheel drive, 18-inch tires and low center of gravity make for nimble handling on Delaware’s two-lane back roads. And with a range of 322 miles on a single charge (and Tesla Superchargers stationed along highly traveled routes nationwide), it’s unlikely you’ll run out of juice during standard commutes or even long trips. The sporty exterior, meanwhile, provides a guilty pleasure feel, without any of that gas-burning guilt.

Published as “A Future Free of Fumes” in the April 2020 issue of Delaware Today magazine.

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