My extended Tesla Model 3 test drive, and lost alone in the woods at -25°C
What an opportunity to meet You You Xue who is touring with the long awaited Tesla Model 3. This student decided to dedicate his time on a road trip in the USA and a part of Canada which he calls the Tesla Model 3 Road Trip. He invites us to join him in a city a near us. Since the Tesla Model 3 won’t be delivered in Canada until the end of 2018, this is a unique opportunity.
You You Xue and his TM3
Yesterday, Thursday January 4 2018 at 3:30PM, more than sixty people were at Rideau Center’s Tesla Superchargers in Ottawa to welcome You You Xue and his Tesla Model 3.
Model 3 arriving at the Rideau Center this afternoon.
Posted by Ricardo Borba on Thursday, January 4, 2018
You You takes time to answer our numerous qestions and explains in which way he wishes the event to proceed. After all, he is touring on his own, without any sponsorship, including Tesla. It is possible to sit in the TM3, and even test drive the electric vehicle near the CF Rideau Centre.
Here are photos from my friend Paul Camiré :
I asked him if I could drive his magnificent Tesla Model 3 to his next destination. Kingston is 195 km away. ”Yes, of course !” After thinking about this for a few minutes, I accept to experience the adventure. Planned departure for Kingston is 6:00PM.
While many people are having fun with test drives in Ottawa’s downtown area, I am planning my adventure. Turns out that it will be fairly easy with Via Rail leaving Kingston at 9:16PM back to Ottawa. At this point, for a few more dollars, I select a business class ticket which includes a meal. Easy planning for an improvised adventure !
My test drive
Departure for Kingston, two hour drive, is at 7:20PM. I quickly realize that it will be impossible for me to catch the train with our roads conditions in winter. I am not worried at all about this, after all, there are hotels and train tickets available all the time.
I leave downtown for the 417W, after that the 416 and the 401. It takes a while to feel comfortable driving a new vehicle. I learned quickly but with highway traffic and winter conditions. The 416 is fine but the snowbanks are close to the white lines. You You is doing some computer work, updates his Facebook page and helps me with the TM3 central screen. I am focused on driving. I am having fun, yet nervous. From time to time, I surprise myself looking at the non existant screen behind the steering wheel. After almost 30 years driving a vehicle, it is a habit that should quickly go away. Having to look at the central screen for the speed odometer is not an issue.
At some point, he explains how to activate the auto-pilot. I already had some experience with the Tesla Model X. I knew how to operate this feature but in winter, it was a first for me. In auto-pilot mode, the vehicle wants to be perfectly centered between the lines. When I am driving in winter, I tend to drive towards the middle line, staying clear of the ice/snow beside the road. In winter, I drive defensively and therefore taking my time to move the vehicle exactly where I want it to be. TM3, on auto-pilot, is aggressive to place itself between the lines. It worried me a lot ! After trying this feature a few times, I became more confident and accepted to let the TM3 take control. I finally relaxed and started to feel the vehicle driving itself. Wow ! Awesome drive !
Here my impressions as I drive :
My Via Rail adventure at -25°C
On our way to Kingston, You You noticed that I could possibly embark on the train in Gananoque, a few kilometers before Kingston. We call Via Rail to confirm that the train won’t be late leaving Kingston and that I could get on the train in Gananoque. I didn’t know that the train station was in middle of nowhere ! Luckily, the little cabin is unlocked. I thanked You You for the unique opportunity. He leaves.
9:00PM. It’s cold. The little cabin is not well heated at all. It’s really cold. For once, I brought a good winter jacket with me, which I never do. No winter boots. A train heading towards Kingston drives past Gananoque full speed. I get worried when I realize that Via Rail is not aware that I want to get on board in Gananoque because when we called, I was never asked my reservation or ticket number. I immediately call Via Rail, with a 20 minute long wait before someone answers. The lady explains that the train did leave Kingston on time but some issues with that train or another one provoked a delay. The train should be able to pick me up at 10:34PM. She calls the train operators to let them know where I am. She mentions that I will have to be outside near the tracks otherwise the train won’t necessarily stop. Yes, of course, I’ll do this at -25°C !?!
10:25PM. A passenger train towards Ottawa flies by without slowing down. Two minutes later, a freight train does the same thing. 10:34PM. Another passenger train passes Gananoque without slowing down. Everytime, I ran outside in the cold. Now, I am getting really cold. My toes and fingers are getting too cold. I am worried. I call Via Rail, with another 20 minute wait. About ten minutes later, I hear a train far away, slowing down. My train !!! Ouf ! I hop on board. Business class was perfect with a meal and a scotch. I arrived home thanks to a great gentleman driving with Uber with his painful Toyota Corolla !