Is It Time To Buy an Electric Car?

July 31, 2017, 1:12 PM UTC

Welcome back to the work week. Aaron in for Adam, who is on vacation.

My car is aging. At 11 years old and with its key feature, the convertible roof, now in need of an expensive repair, I’m due–probably overdue–to go car shopping. And since most of my driving consists of short trips, I’m also in the target market for an electric car. Let’s just say I was paying very close attention to Friday night’s coming out party for the new Tesla 3—the Tesla for the rest of us.

If you missed it, I’ve also scoured the Internets for coverage of the Tesla 3, which starts at $35,000 for a basic model with a claimed range of 220 miles.

Fortune’s electric car expert, Kirsten Korosec, got a chance for a short test drive and found the car to be “simple without being cheap, it is roomy without being big.”

The driving enthusiasts at Car and Driver gave the Tesla 3 a firm thumbs up, in one of the more detailed reviews, saying it’s “plenty zippy and handles well.” Charlie Turner is just raving over on the BBC’s Top Gear site. Minimal road noise, meaty steering and acceleration delivered with “a lovely linearity and unwavering torque,” whatever that means, he says. And in a more normal folks-type review, the Washington Post’s Peter Holley explains why the Tesla’s cutting edge features are “single-handedly pulling the automotive industry into the present–the way anyone born before the Internet thought 2017 would look like decades earlier.” Many of those features add to the base price of the Tesla 3, however, and Electrek has a good rundown that compares Tesla’s (TSLA) extra charges to those on a BMW 330i.

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Still, despite all the positive press, I have a few nagging doubts. Battery life and driving range supposedly shrink in cold weather like we have in the northeast in winter. And I worry that the touchscreen-based controls for everything from the air conditioning to the radio to even the windshield wipers could be occasionally distracting. My 2006 BMW is still all analog, all the way. But there is also the voice interface, not to mention the autopilot. Car and Driver’s Jordan Golson says: “Let your worries about the lack of an instrument cluster fade away.” Sounds like good advice. Now about that three-year waiting list…

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