An engineering YouTube channel recently took delivery of a brand new Tesla Model 3 and there were a lot of things wrong with it.
If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on with Tesla over the past year, you probably already know that the Model 3 has been widely panned by automotive quality specialists for a distinct lack in build quality. Panel games, scuffs, dings, and bumps are all common issues reported, and it was no exception when Engineering Explained took delivery of his red Model 3.
In their quest to get Model 3 production up to where it’s profitable to make the car, Tesla cut corners pretty much everywhere and it really shows. Even though Engineering Explained opted for a $2,500 red paint job, it came with quite a few scratches that really marred the car.
To start, the driver’s side door arrived with tiny white nicks that stretched for about 2 inches down the side. Our YouTube host tested the scratches to see if they went far enough in to damage the paint and not the clear coat, and found that they had indeed penetrated far enough to damage the underlying paint.
There were more scratches on the right side of the car ranging from the front to rear bumpers. One on the rear bumper was almost 5 inches long.
More generally, it seems that Tesla still hasn’t figured out how to paint a car. The paint has an odd textured quality whereas most cars today will be perfectly smooth. There was even a glaring bump in the pain that indicates where a dust mote got stuck beneath the clear coat during production.
But it was panel gaps where the Tesla showed some real inconsistency. On the front hood, the Model 3 had a 4.4 mm gap between the hood and front quarter panel on the driver’s side, but a 2.4 mm gap on the passenger side. That’s a full 2 mm inconsistency. Compared to his Subaru Crosstrek, which had a 3.8 mm gap and a 3.0 mm gap, that’s over twice as large a gap.
There were also elevation inconsistencies in the panels that would affect aerodynamics too.
Tesla did reach out to say they’d fix Engineering Explained’s Model 3 ASAP (probably because he’s got 2 million subscribers), but it would be better if such quality problems didn’t exist at all.