24 Hours in a Tesla

Blog post posted on 10/08/23 |
By Shaun Cronin, Regional Service Delivery Team Manager at IAM RoadSmart 

I am sure many of you have thought about the approaching 2030 government deadline ending the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles and wondered what life will be like post 2030? It is fair to say that petrol and diesel vehicles will be around for many years to come, but the figures on the sales of Electric Vehicle’s (EV) show ever increasing volumes in the new car market. So, as the driver of both a current hot hatch and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), I often wonder – could a full EV work for me? So, with no politics and no EV myths discussed, let’s put it to the simple driving test. 

Is the Tesla right for me?

Did you know that Tesla has been making EV’s for 20 years? I was astounded to learn that recently when I was browsing around the current Tesla Model 3 and Model Y range in my local dealership. As I drive around the UK, I certainly have noticed the ever-growing numbers of full EV models on the roads. True, the government has made it more attractive financially, especially for business users, but surely all that plugging in instead of buying petrol or diesel must be a faff, right?  
Test driving an EV on a short road circuit near to the supplying dealer is great, but in my role with IAM RoadSmart, I travel to various racing circuits delivering the Skills Day Programme and carrying many boxes of kit and other associated paraphernalia. So, could I swap my current PHEV for a full EV and travel just as easily? Time to trade the trusty Kia Niro for a Tesla Model 3 RWD and give it a try. 

Room to manoeuvre

Picking up the Model 3 at Tesla Bournemouth, I was already ahead of the game as Tesla send you a selection of short videos to watch so you know how to operate the car easily. I opened the boot, folded the rear seats, and it easily swallowed all the kit and bags. I still had even more room under the rear floor and the front trunk, or ‘frunk’ as it is known. I set the navigation system to my first stop at Warwick Services, and silently I set off.  

Pedal Power 

EV’s have one pedal driving option and I set the Tesla to ‘hold,’ meaning that with careful use of the accelerator, I just didn’t need to use the friction braking in the same way as an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. As advanced drivers, we talk about acceleration sense and how, coupled with good observation, anticipation, and planning, we get the very best out of our drive. On the journey to Warwick Services, I only used the friction brakes twice. Wow, this is acceleration sense on steroids! 
The other thing many know about EV’s is the way they deliver power. The torque is instant and the Model 3 RWD has a ‘Traffic Light Grand Prix’ 0-60 mph time of only 5.8 seconds. If you have the dual motor performance model you are close to a 3 second time! This level of performance is a genuine advantage and makes it very easy to accelerate out of danger when you need to. 


Travelling serenely on the M40 northbound, a message pops up on the screen ‘Preconditioning the battery to accept fast charging.’ The car was getting ready for me to plug in so it could accept the charge more quickly. This was getting interesting, this was my first proper plug in. Will it be easy? Will I look foolish amongst the experienced “Teslarati”? I arrived on the Tesla Stalls and found a gap, reversed in, plugged in, and we were charging. That is the beauty of the Tesla Supercharger system; no apps, no credit cards, just plug in and charge. I still had 34% of charge left, but as I needed a break it made sense to top up, much like you would with an ICE car. You also meet the most interesting people for a chat. I was told how one owner of a Model 3 Performance had traded his Porsche 911 and would never change back! In the brief time I had made myself comfortable, consumed the statutory cheeseburger, fries & drink, the car was ready and had 100% charge. That was fast, and oh so simple.  

Northbound M40 again, destination Scunthorpe. I had set the navigation to consider I certainly wanted another break, and so I would use another conveniently placed Supercharger at Woodhall Services, ensuring I had plenty of charge for the next day. This is our ‘P’ in planning for advanced drivers. Arriving at Woodhall, I learned another Tesla trick. When looking for the Tesla Stalls, I clicked on the icon on the screen and up came all the information on how to find and access them. They were on the southbound side with an access road under the motorway! I plugged in, and by the time I had made myself comfortable, purchased a latte to wash down the chocolate bar and made a phone call, the car was full again. This really is easy.  

Arriving at Blyton Park the next day, we delivered a motorcycle Skills Day. I had noticed a small Tesla destination charging point. Effectively, the same as a home charge point. Seeking permission first, I topped up fully as I was driving home to Dorset after the event. Day complete, I set the navigation for home and the car told me it needed a short break of its own and selected the Oxford Superchargers. As we all streamed out of Blyton Park there was the most incredible thunderstorm with torrential rain. The Model 3 felt very sure footed indeed as I reached Newark via a great cross-country road that will be part of my future Blyton Park route!  

Arriving at Oxford, I had certainly reached the end of my own personal range, but the car still had plenty in reserve. I plugged into the Supercharger. This was a 250KW version. The car informed me I only needed an 11-minute charge to reach my destination with a contingency in hand. I opted correctly for the proper comfort stop, a sandwich and, of course, another latte. I got back into the car. I was 4 minutes from yet another full battery. The superchargers are quite amazing and can take this car from 20% to 80% charge in around 20 minutes. Refreshed and onwards I reached home.   

When my Skills Days colleagues saw the Tesla, you can get the following type of conversation: ‘How long is the extension lead?’  ‘How many AA batteries does it take?’  Then after the fun and smiles, ‘So what is it really like Shaun?’ - people really want to know. ‘Incredible’ came my reply. This was my first proper drive over a long distance with a full EV and it was incredibly easy and thoroughly enjoyable. The car is full of technical systems all designed to enhance the driving experience and make it safer. I used the Autopilot function on the motorways, hands resting lightly on the wheel, and it de-stressed the drive, the vehicle actively monitoring the location and speed of other road users and assisting me as the driver. When applying an indicator, the centre panel displays the rear view from one of the side mounted cameras, so it can be the final safety check before turning. I also got used to simply telling the car what control item I wanted to operate by voice alone.  

The verdict

In conclusion, could an EV work for me? Absolutely yes. Would I personally buy a Tesla Model 3? Emphatically yes. But what about the charging you ask? Home charging is the most cost-efficient way of EV ownership, only on route charging when on a much longer run. After my 523 miles with the Model 3, I compared the cost of the electricity consumed in relation to my Kia Niro PHEV managing a generous 50mpg on hybrid/petrol. It is all about the miles per kilowatt in the EV world. I gave no thought whatsoever to any economy in my driving, used that fantastic torque when the conditions were right, and, of course, charged at the network of superchargers which do work out more expensive than home charging. However, the Tesla charging network is the most cost effective of all. 

Sounding a little like Claudia Winkleman….’The results are in.’ Even using the Superchargers, my 523 miles cost a clear £10 less in electricity than it would have done in petrol (May 2023 tariffs). If I had been able to maximise the use of a home charger on an overnight EV tariff, then those figures would be more in favour of the EV, quite spectacularly so. Then, of course, when it comes to servicing, you simply top up the windscreen washer fluid, carry out a safety check, and replace the tyres. I have just heard of a Model 3, only 1 year old, having done 103K miles and booking in for its first service! This confirmed petrol head will still be so, but there is definitely room for an EV in my garage. There is an incredible range of EV’s out there. Do give them a try, the brave new world is already here and well worth a look.  

A very big thank you to Haydn and the team at Bournemouth Tesla for the fantastic experience. 

Enjoy the drive.