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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/auto/make/tesla

Woman seen on video getting Tesla Model 3 chip implanted in arm to start car

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-a8d1324a95604b56bea95035c8283df6 Woman seen on video getting Tesla Model 3 chip implanted in arm to start car Melissa Leon fox-news/person/elon-musk fox-news/odd-news fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto fox news fnc/auto fnc b9b0499a-c823-513d-ac57-ff5faab3f8bd article

One Tesla owner is hoping she’ll never lose her car key again.

Amie Dansby recently had her Tesla Model 3’s chip implanted in her forearm. The chip unlocks and starts the car.

Dansby, who goes by “Amie DD” online, is a software engineer, programmer and self-described “passionate technologist,” and now she can reportedly start up her wheels in a unique way.

Dansby uploaded a YouTube video on Aug. 8 titled “Tesla Model 3 Chip Install – Warning There is Blood,” during which she is seen going to a body modification studio and having her car’s RFID chip — encapsulated in a biopolymer — inserted in her arm.

WARNING: VIDEO MAY BE DISTURBING

In another video, “Tesla Model 3 Hack,” Dansby describes how she procured the chip from the card, saying she dissolved the keycard in acetone.

This is not Dansby’s first implanted RFID chip, short for radio-frequency identification.

“A few years ago I got this RFID implant in my hand,” she said in video footage, “and it’s just basic access control.”

“If I were to tap my hand to your phone, it would automatically open a browser and go to my webpage,” Dansby explains. “It also works with my front door.”

When she preordered her Tesla Model 3 a few years ago, Dansby said she found out that the keycard was going to use RFID-based technology to unlock and start the car.

TESLA FIXING ‘DOG MODE’ AFTER OWNER DISCOVERS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ISSUE

But when she tried to see if she could upload the software off the Tesla keycard, she discovered that she couldn’t write it to the chip already in her hand, Dansby said.

“So it’s pretty secure. Good job, Tesla,” she joked. “So I’m just going to take the chip that I have in my valet card and encapsulate it, and implant that one in my hand.”

Dansby, who is also a 3D printer and avid cosplayer, told The Verge that the chip works but that the range “isn’t the greatest,” and her arm has to be within an inch of the console.

POLICE: ALLEGED TESLA THIEF CAUGHT AFTER CAR RAN OUT OF POWER

She posted to Twitter on Monday that her forearm was also swollen following the modification.

“My arm was swollen right after (none of my other chip implants read the first few days). I may have upgrades but unfortunately my body still heals at a human rate,” she wrote.

On Aug. 2, Dansby had posted on Hackaday, where she chronicled her yearlong project to biohack the Tesla keycard, saying that the implant “was a success.”

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“I didn’t even cry! My yearlong Tesla Model 3 bio implant hack project wouldn’t be possible without Amal at vivokey encasing my chip implant in biopolymer and Pineapple to install it safely. My cyberpunk upgrades are complete,” she wrote.

A brand-new Model 3 starts at $39,740, according to Tesla’s website.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-a8d1324a95604b56bea95035c8283df6 Woman seen on video getting Tesla Model 3 chip implanted in arm to start car Melissa Leon fox-news/person/elon-musk fox-news/odd-news fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto fox news fnc/auto fnc b9b0499a-c823-513d-ac57-ff5faab3f8bd article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-a8d1324a95604b56bea95035c8283df6 Woman seen on video getting Tesla Model 3 chip implanted in arm to start car Melissa Leon fox-news/person/elon-musk fox-news/odd-news fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto fox news fnc/auto fnc b9b0499a-c823-513d-ac57-ff5faab3f8bd article

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Tesla issuing fix for potentially dangerous ‘Dog Mode’ flaw

The dogs of Tesla owners can soon chill out.

Westlake Legal Group dog Tesla issuing fix for potentially dangerous 'Dog Mode' flaw Gary Gastelu fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 0f233255-dadf-5cc9-a9c7-0eb5c56440a9

The automaker has addressed a potentially dangerous design flaw in a feature designed to keep parked car cabins cool when pooches and other pets are left alone in them.

A prominent Tesla owner tweeted to Elon Musk on Wednesday about the issue with “Dog Mode,” which he found would turn the air conditioner off if you manually adjust the fan after engaging it. He said he was alerted to the problem when he checked his Tesla app and saw that the temperature in the vehicle had reached 85 degrees.

Musk responded that Tesla was fixing it, and on Friday an over the air update started rolling out that reconfigures the system so that users are only able to adjust the temperature setting once the mode is activated.

Tesla said it is distributing the update as quickly as it can, and advises owners to connect to Wi-Fi for the most reliable delivery.

Westlake Legal Group dog Tesla issuing fix for potentially dangerous 'Dog Mode' flaw Gary Gastelu fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 0f233255-dadf-5cc9-a9c7-0eb5c56440a9   Westlake Legal Group dog Tesla issuing fix for potentially dangerous 'Dog Mode' flaw Gary Gastelu fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 0f233255-dadf-5cc9-a9c7-0eb5c56440a9

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China Tesla fire caused by faulty battery module, report says

Tesla has determined the cause of a dramatic fire that engulfed one of its cars in a Shanghai parking lot in April, and says the battery was to blame.

Reuters reports that the automaker posted the news to its Weibo social media account, explaining that it tracked the issue back to a faulty module in the battery pack of the Model S. Details on the fault were not shared, but Tesla said it found no system defect.

Security camera footage of the incident shows smoke coming from under the car before it bursts into flames. Teslas are powered by thousands of cells that are grouped into a number of modules, which varies with the size of the pack. There are sixteen of them in its 85 kilowatt-hour capacity battery, for example, according to Electrek.

Westlake Legal Group b China Tesla fire caused by faulty battery module, report says Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc f2716177-e4e3-5f07-81ca-7a09d3ac3c42 article

The Model S and X, pictured above, use a floor-mounted battery pack. (Getty Images)

Tesla said in the post that it has sent an over the air software update for the Model S and X to revised the charge and thermal management settings “to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” which it previously announced in May.

Westlake Legal Group fire-tesla China Tesla fire caused by faulty battery module, report says Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc f2716177-e4e3-5f07-81ca-7a09d3ac3c42 article   Westlake Legal Group fire-tesla China Tesla fire caused by faulty battery module, report says Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc f2716177-e4e3-5f07-81ca-7a09d3ac3c42 article

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Tesla Model 3 driver appears to be sleeping behind the wheel in new video

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6022995402001_6022987735001-vs Tesla Model 3 driver appears to be sleeping behind the wheel in new video New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fnc/auto fnc article 8ec09727-8992-5535-b439-533f573e1c12

A driver appears to be in deep sleep behind the wheel of an autopilot Tesla while other motorists desperately honk to try to wake him.

Footage posted to Reddit’s Idiots In Cars section shows a white Tesla moving slowly through at least three lanes of traffic, with the driver’s head slumped to the side as he appears to be catching some z’s.

“Couldn’t believe it … asleep in heavy Friday rush hour traffic in the Bay Area,” said the poster, MiloWee, on the video that has over 52,000 views.

He insisted other drivers repeatedly honked to try to wake him. “It worked, but he fell back asleep,” he wrote in the comments.

While the autopilot system features advanced safety features, Tesla is at pains to stress that it is “not a self-driving system.”

TESLA MODEL 3 TEST DRIVE

“Autopilot is intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time,” the company states clearly on its website.

“While using Autopilot, it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and maintain control of your car.”

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Many of Reddit wondered if the driver was pulling a stunt to show off the car’s advanced features.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s a prank, he’s still an idiot for doing that in heavy traffic,” kitpinch commented.

This story originally appeared in The New York Post

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6022995402001_6022987735001-vs Tesla Model 3 driver appears to be sleeping behind the wheel in new video New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fnc/auto fnc article 8ec09727-8992-5535-b439-533f573e1c12   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6022995402001_6022987735001-vs Tesla Model 3 driver appears to be sleeping behind the wheel in new video New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fnc/auto fnc article 8ec09727-8992-5535-b439-533f573e1c12

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Elon Musk says Teslas will be able to drive themselves to work by the end of 2019

Westlake Legal Group SELF Elon Musk says Teslas will be able to drive themselves to work by the end of 2019 Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 3c94407d-ccec-5f33-9ac6-d949da54119d

Teslas will be able to drive themselves from their home garage to the parking lot at their owner’s job by the end of the year, Elon Musk said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the company’s shareholder meeting, Musk said Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system will be “feature complete” this year, but will still require supervision by a human driver prepared to take over.

Musk said that the rapid development of the tech is made possible by the system’s new in-house designed computer that is 21 times faster than the Nvidia unit it replaces, along with billions of miles of data collected from Teslas on the road today.

All Teslas built since October 16 are compatible with the optional feature, and Musk predicted that unsupervised self-driving will be possible next year.

NTSB: TESLA AUTOPILOT ENGAGED BEFORE FATAL CRASH

Once Full Self-Driving is fully operational and regulations allow the operation of a vehicle with no one on board, Tesla plans to allow owners to let their cars participate in a robotic taxi service that will turn the vehicles into “appreciating assets.”

Musk said that it will be “financially insane to buy anything but an electric car that can be updated to autonomous.”

“It’s just nuts.”

Consumer Reports recently criticized the latest version of Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot feature, which is far short of Full Self-Driving but can self-steer along a highway and pass other cars, saying that it operated like “a kid behind the wheel for the very first time,” and sometimes passed on the right and cut off vehicles.

TESLA MODEL 3 TEST DRIVE

Musk also said that the rollout of a promised function called Advanced Summon that can autonomously drive a Tesla from a parking space to its owner has been delayed because “there’s a lot of complexity in parking lots.”

He pointed out that if the car is overly sensitive to obstacles, it will be too paranoid to operate effectively, but that designing it to be too aggressive is also bad.

ELON MUSK RESPONDS AFTER PORN STAR POSTS VIDEO OF SEX ENCOUNTER IN TESLA ON AUTOPILOT

One shareholder asked Musk how Tesla would deal with the cameras that are vital to Full Self-Driving operation being obscured by snow and water. Musk said that the company has already considered this issue and that either a hydrophobic coating could be applied, or the system might just deactivate and ask the driver to get out and clean the snow off the cameras.

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Westlake Legal Group SELF Elon Musk says Teslas will be able to drive themselves to work by the end of 2019 Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 3c94407d-ccec-5f33-9ac6-d949da54119d   Westlake Legal Group SELF Elon Musk says Teslas will be able to drive themselves to work by the end of 2019 Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 3c94407d-ccec-5f33-9ac6-d949da54119d

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Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT

Westlake Legal Group family-of-engineer-killed-in-tesla-with-autopilot-engaged-sues-automaker-dot Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc d6be7131-4c19-5c13-824e-c456ab99e3bd Associated Press article

The family of a software engineer who died after his Tesla SUV crashed in a Northern California highway has sued the automaker.

The lawsuit filed in a Santa Clara County says the autopilot navigation system caused the crash on Highway 101 that killed Walter Huang near Mountain View in Silicon Valley last year.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-crash-1280 Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc d6be7131-4c19-5c13-824e-c456ab99e3bd Associated Press article

Huang’s widow, Sevonne Huang, and his family also sued the state’s Department of Transportation for not maintaining the highway.

NTSB REPORT SAYS DRIVER WAS NOT STEERING AND TESLA DID NOT BRAKE IN FATAL CRASH

The California Highway Patrol said Walter Huang was traveling south in the carpool lane when the Tesla crashed against a freeway barrier. The crash caused a fire. Rescuers were able to free him, but he died later at a hospital.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-2 Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc d6be7131-4c19-5c13-824e-c456ab99e3bd Associated Press article

The family’s attorney, B. Mark Fong, said Wednesday they are suing to help prevent “this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles.”

TESLA MODEL 3 TEST DRIVE

Westlake Legal Group tesla-crash-1280 Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc d6be7131-4c19-5c13-824e-c456ab99e3bd Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group tesla-crash-1280 Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc d6be7131-4c19-5c13-824e-c456ab99e3bd Associated Press article

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Musk: It’s ‘insane’ not to buy a Tesla. Robotaxis coming next year

Westlake Legal Group musk-its-insane-not-to-buy-a-tesla-robotaxis-coming-next-year Musk: It's 'insane' not to buy a Tesla. Robotaxis coming next year fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc e72361a2-184c-5cb2-bc84-a6f768c501c7 Associated Press article

Tesla CEO Elon Musk expects to start converting the company’s electric cars into fully self-driving vehicles next year as part of an audacious plan to create a network of robotic taxis to compete against Uber and other ride-hailing services.

The vision sketched out Monday during an event at Tesla‘s Silicon Valley headquarters requires several leaps of faith — something that the zealous investors and consumers who view Musk as a technological genius often are willing to take.

But self-driving car experts fear Musk is shirking public safety in an effort to boost Tesla’s stock and sell more of the company’s electric cars. This amid lingering questions about whether the 15-year-old automaker can consistently make money.

“It sounds like a pipe dream that he’s selling people,” said Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “I think it’s basically overpromising, which is typical of Elon Musk.”

To prove his skeptics wrong, Musk will have to persuade regulators that Tesla’s technology for transforming potentially hundreds of thousands of electric cars into self-driving vehicles will produce robots that are safer and more reliable than humans.

FOX NEWS AUTOS TEST DRIVE: TESLA MODEL 3

And to do that, Musk will have to be correct in his bet that Tesla has come up with a better way to produce self-driving cars than virtually every other of the more than 60 companies in the U.S. working toward the same goal.

Some of those companies are aiming to have their fully autonomous cars begin carrying passengers in small geographic areas as early as this year, but many experts don’t believe they’ll be in widespread use for a decade or more.

Unlike most of those other companies, Tesla’s cars won’t come with the light beam sensors called Lidar that many industry experts consider to be essential equipment for robotic vehicles to navigate the road.

Westlake Legal Group ped-304 Musk: It's 'insane' not to buy a Tesla. Robotaxis coming next year fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc e72361a2-184c-5cb2-bc84-a6f768c501c7 Associated Press article

Musk trashed Lidar as a “fool’s errand” and “frigging stupid” in a putdown of companies such as Google spin-off Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise Automation that are including the light beam sensors in their systems.

“They are going to dump Lidar,” Musk assured investors and analysts gathered at Tesla’s Palo Alto, California, office for the 2 ½ hour presentation.

Musk, widely known for his swagger as much as his smarts, spent much of the time trying to persuade both the investors and consumers that he had figured out a better way to teach robots how to drive.

“It is fundamentally insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said at one point, arguing that purchasing a vehicle from any other automaker would be like getting a horse.

Musk’s quasi-sales pitch came two days before Tesla is expected to report a disappointing performance for the first three months of the year. Analysts polled by FactSet predict a $305.5 million first quarter net loss based on disappointing car sales, a setback after Musk pledged heading into the second half of last year that Tesla would be profitable from that point onward.

Tesla’s stock sank by nearly 4 percent to close Monday at $262.75.

From Musk’s vantage point, Tesla has a huge advantage over autonomous vehicle competitors because it gathers a massive amount of data in the real world. This quarter, he said Tesla will have 500,000 vehicles on the road, each equipped with eight cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar gathering data to help build the company’s neural network, which will serve as the digital equivalent of the self-driving cars’ consciousness.

The network allows vehicles to recognize images, determine what objects are and figure out how to deal with them. To become fully self-driving, the cars also need a special computer that fits behind the glove box and is powered by a special chip Musk boasted is better than any other processor in the world “by a huge margin.”

Currently the self-driving computer costs $5,000, but the price rises to $7,000 if it’s installed after delivery.

Finally, Tesla will deliver software updates to those computers to make it possible for its electric cars to be driven by a robot, without a human in position to take over in case something goes awry. There will be a slight chance of some “fender benders,” Musk acknowledged Monday, and indicated Tesla will be liable for accident caused by a vehicle under the control of its robot.

“People will die,” Rajkumar predicted. “I can tell you that right now. Because in the real world, crazy things happen.”

Musk predicted that the technology for fully self-driving Tesla will roll out at some point from April to June next year. Then, Tesla will need to get regulatory approval for the fully autonomous cars to drive on roads, something Musk predicted would happen in a few states by the end of next year. He didn’t specific where Tesla will try to gain approval first.

California, Tesla’s biggest U.S. market, requires proof that fully autonomous cars can drive safely on public roads, but most other states aren’t as stringent. And experts say there’s no federal law requiring preapproval for fully autonomous driving, as long as a vehicle meets federal safety standards, which Teslas already do.

Within three years, Tesla will be manufacturing self-driving cars that don’t even have steering wheels or brake pedals in them, Musk said.

If they’re allowed on the roads, fully driverless cars would allow Musk to carry out his plan to expand into the ride-hailing market with a fleet of sleek Teslas. Owners of Teslas with the company’s self-driving computer could plug into an app-based network to pick up fare-paying passengers when they didn’t need to use their vehicle.

Musk theorizes that a ride-hailing service similar to Uber and Lyft will boost Tesla’s revenue and make it easier for the company to sell its cars to consumers who could effectively lower the cost of ownership by making money on the side. Tesla would get 20% to 25% of each fare in the network.

Tesla also intends to convert all the electric cars under leasing contracts to be turned into robotaxis upon their return.

Uber and Lyft also consider driverless cars to be one of the keys to making money from their still unprofitable services, but haven’t set a specific timetable for achieving that breakthrough while they continue to work on their own autonomous technology.

Waymo rolled out a ride-hailing service using self-driving vehicles late last year in the Phoenix area, but it only available to a small pool of passengers who were previously enrolled in a test program. And all the cars in Waymo’s ride-hailing service still have a human behind the steering wheel ready to take control.

The Waymo cars also have Lidar, something experts remain convinced must be part of any fully self-driving car, despite Musk’s colorful contentions otherwise.

“Vehicles that don’t have Lidar, that don’t have advanced radar, that haven’t captured a 3-D map are not self-driving vehicles,” Ken Washington, Ford’s chief technical officer, said during a recent interview with Recode. “They are great consumer vehicles with really good driver-assist technology.”

Westlake Legal Group ped-304 Musk: It's 'insane' not to buy a Tesla. Robotaxis coming next year fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc e72361a2-184c-5cb2-bc84-a6f768c501c7 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group ped-304 Musk: It's 'insane' not to buy a Tesla. Robotaxis coming next year fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fnc/auto fnc e72361a2-184c-5cb2-bc84-a6f768c501c7 Associated Press article

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Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork … in progress

Westlake Legal Group tesla-model-3-test-drive-a-masterwork-in-progress Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

Of all the cars on sale today, the only one that would qualify as an influencer if it were human would be the Tesla Model 3. Love it. Loathe it. It doesn’t matter how you feel. There’s no other car that’s changing the conversation the way that the sleek sedan is. The Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf? Not trending.

I recently got around to spending some quality time in a Model 3 that I borrowed from a private owner. It wasn’t the long-awaited $35,000 model (which folks are still waiting for), but a dual-motor Long Range with a premium interior and about 6,000 miles on it. All problem-free, according to him.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-3-fe Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

(Fox News Autos)

He said he paid $53,000 for it last year. Last week a similar car cost $48,500. Today it’s $49,500. This is how Tesla’s direct sales model works. It meets demand with frequent list price adjustments, sometimes dramatic, instead of offering incentives. It differs from industry practice, and is an honest way of doing things, but for loyal customers tracking the resale value of their cars, or Wall Street investors watching the company, comes across as a bit frenetic.

One thing that won’t change is the size of the Model 3, which is more of a compact 4-door than the midsize Elon Musk and Tesla bill it as. It’s not as long and has the same rear legroom as a BMW 3-Series, a chief competitor and the quintessential compact. What makes the difference is that the overall interior volume – boosted by a front trunk where an internal combustion engine would usually be – squeezes it over the threshold for a midsize on the EPA scale.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-3-s Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

The driver’s seat isn’t all the way back in this photo, but set comfortably for the author’s 6-foot 1-inch frame. (Fox News Autos)

In reality, if 6-footers are in the front seats, either they are completely comfortable, or no one is. There’s nothing wrong with this. Some cars are just smaller than others, but if you’re buying a Model 3 sight unseen, as many do, don’t expect a limousine to get dropped off in front of your house on delivery day.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-3-6 Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

The cabin is airy, however, thanks to a full panoramic glass roof that’s tinted just enough to dim the sunlight to a pleasant level. At least in New York in early spring. Even rear seat passengers have the sky above their heads. Below them is a synthetic leather that’s so supple it feels more like a fabric than a hide. If I could, I would upholster my entire life with it. The front seats are showstoppers that fully live up to the “premium” billing and do a lot to distract from the fact that the rest of the cabin trim isn’t any nicer that what you find in a Mazda these days.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-3-5 Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

The minimalist design of the dashboard is visually stunning, however, as it stretches door to door with just a steering wheel to ruin the symmetry. In models with a wood trim, it reminds me of an Atari 2600 console. This is an interesting coincidence since the 15-inch touchscreen mounted in the center of it is equipped with several games from the company’s archive.

The screen is also what you use to control nearly everything in the Model 3 and it houses all of its displays, including the speedometer. The positioning is fine, but considering how much real estate is available, some of the text and icons are smaller than necessary. Executing simple tasks, like adjusting the steering wheel or climate control, also require more steps than knobs or buttons would and your eyes off the road for too long. The fact that it does so many things is impressive, the ease and speed at which it does some of them less so.

Westlake Legal Group tesla-3-3 Tesla Model 3 test drive: A masterwork ... in progress Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/test-drives fox-news/auto/make/tesla fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc article 5d3c8308-79e7-5a6e-90c7-1f94402116cc

That’s where Autopilot comes in. Tesla’s SEMI-autonomous driving aid is a countermeasure to distractions, although it can be a bit of one itself. It has an evolving feature set that makes it hard to resist pushing the limits to see what it is capable of when you should be relying on it as backup to your own driving.

Autopilot can control the speed of the car and steer it within a lane, which it excels at on the highway. As long as it has a bead on things, it’s smoother than you would likely be. The slower and windier the road gets, the jerkier its inputs become, but I can see why videos have started popping up of “sleeping” Tesla drivers, because it lulls you into a sense of confidence in its abilities.

If you take your hand off the wheel, it will eventually warn you not to do that and then disengage. Tesla hasn’t made it clear exactly how long the Model 3 can go without any driver input, but I went about a minute before it posted a message on the screen, followed by a flashing light and then an audible alarm as it signed off. If you make it that far, you have to pull over and turn the car off to use Autopilot again. If you don’t do anything, it’s programmed to turn the hazard lights on and bring itself to a stop in the lane. But keep checking in and Autopilot will cruise indefinitely.

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There are Mercedes-Benzes that can do this, but the Tesla does it better. Both systems will also change lanes with a flick of the turn signal, but here the Mercedes-Benz might have the Tesla beat. In a couple of instances, when there was a car far behind me in the passing lane, the Model 3 couldn’t seem to figure out if it should go or not and started doing an unnerving serpentine before making the move. In my experience, Mercedes-Benz’s system is more decisive.

Soon, you won’t have to be in the Tesla. It offers a Navigate on Autopilot feature that can drive the car all the way from on ramp to off ramp on the highway if you have a destination set, merging into traffic, changing lanes and passing other vehicles along the way. Initially, it would only suggest the maneuvers and require you to acknowledge them with the turn signal stalk, but there’s an update rolling out that that’s smarter and allows you to give it blanket prior approval to just go for it whenever it wants to, as long as it senses any sort of “user” input, according to Musk.

The version I tried was a mixed bag. It was seamless most of the time, but often abruptly adjusted its speed in the merging lanes, and once accelerated rapidly directly toward two cars that were far too close for it to fit between them. I didn’t wait to see how that was going to pan out and tapped the brakes.

Negotiating off ramps was both inconsistent and consistent. I used the same exit five times as a control. Twice the car asked me to take over before we even arrived at it and on the three other attempts it followed an aggressive line at a speed faster than I would have, but exactly the same one each try. Tesla constantly collects data from all of its cars on the road to update how Autopilot works, and I got the impression it had developed that specific path from the information, rather than just having the car follow the painted lines.

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Autopilot is a work in progress and far from perfect, and my experience suggests that you should resist the urge to convince yourself that it is. People have gotten hurt and worse by doing that. But if you treat it as an assistant, it may save your bacon someday. According to Tesla, its data indicates that you’re much less likely get into an accident with it turned on.

The Model 3 is a car you’ll want to drive yourself, anyway. And with 325 miles of range that can be replenished to 80 percent in about 40 minutes at the newest Supercharger stations, you can do plenty of that. The one I tried was rated at only 310 when it was new, but an over-the-air software update in the middle of the night a few weeks ago added the extra 15 while also making the car a little faster. The tooth fairy is on notice.

Tesla’s a bit hazy on how much power the Model 3 has on tap, but says it will accelerate to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. That speed arrives in near silence with all of the immediacy that electric motors are known for.

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The steering is similarly responsive and the Model 3 feels solid as a steel brick, despite concerns raised by Consumer Reports and others about its long-term reliability. Its tires are a little stiff for the New York metro area’s rutted roads, but the overall blend of ride and handling is superb for car that doesn’t have an electronically controlled suspension. Turn up the juice in a bend and you’ll find that it’s tail-happier than a typical all-wheel-drive car, but that’s the fun way around one. If not the most reassuring for everyone onboard.

The problem with making a final assessment about the Model 3 is that it’s a constantly moving target. Even in the time since I started writing this, Tesla altered its model lineup and added a leasing program. One thing is for certain: There’s no electric car anywhere near its price range that comes close to competing with it, and a lot of the liquid-fueled ones have trouble, too.

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