The Model 3’s Charging Door Is Completely Motorized
Sometimes, the smallest features are the coolest.
There's little surprise that a technology-based company like Tesla has cool little features baked into their gadgets. They built a modern car and streamlined the majority of its design to look, as CEO Elon Musk called it, "like a spaceship". Outside of core features like the single display interface that controls the car, it has smaller features that we're just starting to lean about after the Model 3 event, such as the driver-facing camera. One of the smallest but more interesting features that the Model 3 boasts is one that it carried over from the Model S and X.
Steve Jurvetson is one of Tesla's board members who procured a Model 3 before the rest of the public received theirs. Specifically, he has a production car, with the serial number of five. Since taking delivery of the car, he has posted videos on YouTube to show off his car, including some of the easter eggs hidden into the car's software. His newest video at the time of writing shows off a cool features with the Model 3: it's charging port.
Currently with the Model S, you can open the charge port door from the touch screen, the app, a Telsa-branded charger, the fob, and from the charge door directly. Early Model S cars didn't have motorized charger doors, so they would have to be opened manually by touching the door. In this video, we can see of two ways to control the door on the Model 3: via the charger and the app.
Some of the people who were lucky enough to ride in the Model 3 claim that it has a much more premium feel than their Model S. Such seems evident when looking at the charge port door alone, and not just because of the feature. The door is built into the reflector housing on the Model S, while on the Model 3, it is the entire reflector housing. The matte interior finish and seamless opening with a confident "thud" (remember Volkswagen using this tactic to show off the Jetta's quality?) make it appear as a very quality product. Additionally, the location of the LED indicator has also changed from the ring-type in Model S (which glowed around the charger) to a single indicator shaped like the Tesla logo to the left of the charger.
In the Model S and Model X, you can actually drive with the charge door open. Jurvetson noted in the video that the door will shut "as you drive away or close it [with the app]", indicating that the Model 3 may have a new feature which is not implemented in either of the Model 3's predecessors.
No cars are idiot-proof, but the Model 3 seems to have a lot of features to help reduce driver quirks, including the one where someone drives off with their gas door still open. Though not the most striking feature, this is one that a lot of the public might not know about when glancing over the Model 3, or any Tesla car for that matter. Starting at $35,000, the car certainly packs a lot of tech into the budget of a Prius.