[Note: This post was originally featured on EVObsession.]
If you own an electric vehicle (EV) or have driven one frequently enough to be familiar with its basic functioning, then you don’t need to view this Tesla YouTube video, titled, “Model 3 Guide | Gear Selection.” Then again, you’re not the audience that Tesla intended for this video. It’s a virtual opportunity to learn how to shift a Model 3 for someone who has had little to no exposure to an EV.
The Model 3 is the closest Tesla equivalent at this time to the original Volkswagen Beetle (i.e., “the People’s Car”). People in the middle to upper middle class segment of the population who depend on vehicle reliability for commuting must feel like they understand an EV’s basic functions if they are to make a purchase. This Model 3 Guide to gears is a step toward creating that space of Model 3 consumer comfort.
EVs are becoming more common on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Most people understand that battery electric cars run entirely on battery power, produce zero tailpipe emissions, and are recharged from an electrical outlet. And while questions about range, charging options, torque, regenerative braking, one-pedal driving, silent motors, and battery life will become part of the EV learning curve, actually being able to get in the EV and shift it into gear is the first step. That’s where the Tesla YouTube video “Model 3 Guide | Gear Selection” comes in.
The Tesla Model 3 caught the imaginations of the public when it was first shown on March 31, 2016, and it has been commonly referred to as the car that could take electric vehicles mainstream. Starting at $35,000, it could be considered analogous to the Model T that came off Henry Ford’s mass production line — a people’s EV.
Model 3 Guide | Gear Selection: Engaging 4 Gears
With Tesla Model 3 sales dwarfing sales of competing small and mid-sized luxury cars, it is evident that more and more potential car buyers are looking closely at the most affordable car in the Tesla catalog. With what the company describes as “the car of the future—with 310 mile range, 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.5 seconds, and our most refined design and engineering ever,” the Model 3 is truly a very appealing vehicle.
The “Model 3 Guide | Gear Selection” YouTube video functions as a simple training guide for new EV drivers, specifically those who are interested in purchasing a Tesla Model 3. As a new Model 3 owner sits behind the steering wheel, the first impression is likely to be one of absence — there is no instrument panel, speedometer, tachometer, odometer, or fuel gauge. A streamlined dashboard sets off and points the driver to a 15-inch touchscreen display that sits in the center dash.
Yet, as drivers settle into the interior of a Model 3 for the first time, they will notice that the gear shifter is in the same place as it would be in an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Unlike the gear shifter between the seats on a Chevrolet Bolt EV, the gear shifter of a Model 3 is on the steering wheel.
The scenes in the The “Model 3 Guide | Gear Selection” video capture, in step-by-step sequence, how to engage different gears for everyday driving.
Push to Reverse
A white Tesla Model 3 is parallel parked between two red Teslas with a tropical condo complex in the background. Shot from the back seat, we see the enormous touchscreen to the right of the driver with the “P” or park symbol featured in the touchscreen’s upper left quadrant. The driver in long-sleeved blue shirt reaches to the shift stick, which is located on the right steering wheel section, and lifts up. The Model 3 touchscreen changes to “R,” and the driver — whom we can now see is a female — inches the car backward to the furthest possible place in the parking space.
Push down to Drive
The driver reaches again to the shifter, curls her hand around it, and pushes downward. She grabs the steering wheel and pulls it left in an assertive tug. The car glides forward, and the shot that returns to the touchscreen signifies that the driving gear is titled “1.” The white Model 3 curls around the Tesla ahead of it on the street and enters into the traffic lane.
Push in to Park
In an out-of-sequence shot, the Model 3 is stopped. The driver reaches to the shift stick, gently touches and pushes in the button at the end of the shift stick, and the car quiets into park mode.
Hold down 1–2 Seconds for Neutral
The driver removes her hand from the steering wheel. She holds and pushes down on the shift stick. Voila! The touchscreen changes to “P” in the upper left corner, and the car is safely stopped back in its parking place.
As ICE vehicle manufacturers, the fossil fuel industry, and governments around the globe are awakening to the power and possibility of vehicle electrification, Tesla has expanded its luxury car catalog to include the smaller, less expensive Model 3. The new option has created a relatively affordable electric car, the Model 3, that hundreds of thousands of people are lining up to buy. It has a much wider target audience than Tesla’s previous Models S and X. Tesla’s ability now to produce the Model 3 at a rate during the week of August 24, 2018, according to the Bloomberg Model 3 Tracker, of over 6000 units per week speaks to the company’s positioning in the EV field well ahead of other auto manufacturers.
The Model 3 guide offers a segue to potential buyers who want to join into the world of EVs and the more refined subgroup of Tesla owners. It explicitly contradicts naysayers who drone on with bad information about “how difficult electric vehicles are to use.” The YouTube video complements a series of other Tesla-produced YouTube videos, and this series orients potential and new Model 3 buyers to the small but important features that distinguish this Tesla EV from a traditional ICE vehicle.
With this new audience of EV owners, the social transportation transition to electrification has overcome another hurdle. No, the ICE isn’t quite obsolete yet, but its years of dominance on the world’s streets and highways are numbered, and the Tesla Model 3 is a significant step toward that goal.