Car and Driver ramps up coverage of electric cars with focus on Tesla

Electric vehicles have been getting a lot of positive coverage in the mainstream press lately. Consumer Reports’ recent Annual Auto Issue had a Tesla Model 3 on the cover, and featured several articles about EVs.  

Above: Over time, Car and Driver has been steadily increasing its coverage of Tesla and other electric cars (Source: Car and Driver)

The latest issue of Car and Driver is almost exclusively devoted to EVs, and includes not one, but two articles about Tesla's Model 3. In another article, C&D touts the virtues of Tesla's "spectacularly right" Supercharger network. And a few months back, the magazine pitted Tesla's Model S against Porsche's all-electric Taycan (Model S took 1st place).

In C&D's most recent EV-themed issue, Connor Hoffman’s main article about Model 3 isn’t exactly a review—it’s more of an orientation for those who may be “getting in a Tesla for the first time, or [are] just curious about how they work.” He answers the basic questions: “How do you turn it on? Why isn’t it making any noise? Does it drive itself? What is one-pedal driving?”

Regular readers of this column will of course encounter little new information here, but remember, to most drivers, electric cars may seem like a strange new world, and Mr. Hoffman does a good job of demystifying things. “Driving an electric car isn’t that much different from driving a gasoline-powered car,” he writes, “other than [the fact] that they make almost no noise at all.”  

Of course, here’s what most Car and Driver readers are interested in: “The instant torque during hard acceleration might frighten you at first, but trust us, it can get a bit addicting.” [Indeed, it might even elicit that “Tesla smile.”]

Hoffman gives a tour of the main vehicle features, which are controlled through the famous 15-inch touchscreen, as well as the cruise control, Autopilot, Smart Summon and One-Pedal Driving features. Charging is a topic about which most non-EV drivers are ignorant (or even misinformed), so we were happy to see a thorough explanation of it here, including home charging, Supercharging and a brief discussion of Tesla’s Powerwall.

Above: Car and Driver's Connor Hoffman presents his overview of Tesla's Model 3 (YouTube: Car and Driver)

This is a concise but thorough overview that any Tesla-curious person is sure to find helpful. Again, it’s not a review—Hoffman makes no value judgments, although he certainly seems impressed with Model 3’s performance and features (golly, who wouldn’t be?).

He seemed a little less taken with Model 3 after testing it on a road trip, which he describes in a second article. While he called driving Model 3 on the highway “relaxed and effortless,” and added that Autopilot made for a relaxed drive, he found the time required to recharge excessive. On a 523-mile drive from Ann Arbor to St Louis, which usually takes him eight hours in a legacy vehicle and requires just one stop for food and fuel, “the Model 3 required three stops along the way to charge its 80.5-kWh lithium-ion battery, and took almost eleven hours.”

“Each charging session [cost] around $7 to $13 and took, on average, about 50 minutes,” says he. His charging time seems a little excessive, but as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Perhaps Mr. Hoffman should take a tip from Trevor Page and Ian Pavelko, who drove across Canada in a Model 3, and found that making shorter but more numerous charging stops reduces the overall time spent charging.

The Model 3 material is just one part of C&D’s EV-centric issue. There’s also an article that addresses “stupid questions” about EVs (no, you don’t need to worry about your battery wearing out, and no, it’s not safe to drive through a flood, in an EV or any other vehicle), as well as beginners’ guides to EV charging and EV range, and even a piece about buying a used EV. There’s a lot of misleading material about EVs out there, so I was happy to find the information here to be pretty accurate and balanced, as one would expect from a respected auto industry publication.

Electric cars have come a long way in the past few years, and so has the media’s coverage of them. I’ve been saying for a while now that the biggest obstacle to widespread EV adoption isn’t range, infrastructure or pricing—it’s a lack of awareness and information. It’s encouraging to see such comprehensive coverage in a popular car mag.


Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Car and Driver