The Week in Tesla News: Taxi! Model 3 Owner Survey Poses Paradox, Model S Powers Up and More

17-tesla-model-3-2018-exterior--headlights--red.jpg 2018 Tesla Model 3 | photo by Christian Lantry

New Yorkers may soon get to hail a Tesla Model 3 as the electric sedan becomes the latest — and first all-electric — vehicle to be certified for New York City taxi service. Speaking of things New Yorkers love, what about Bloomberg? The company — not the obviously beloved former mayor — surveyed 5,000 Model 3 owners about their experience thus far.

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If that’s not enough, there’s new Sentry Mode footage of another Tesla vandal, extra power for the Model S and a battery defect investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hail the Model 3!

New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved the Tesla Model 3 for use as a New York City taxi. There’s no timetable for when yellow-painted Model 3s might roam the city’s streets, but assuming the proper modifications are made, your next taxi ride could be in a Model 3.

With 240 miles of range from standard range models, a Model 3 taxi should be able to handle the approximately 192 miles a day of driving done by the average cab. Unfortunately for operators of a Model 3 taxi, Tesla will not allow a vehicle being used as such to access its Supercharger network. Fortunately, the current network of third-party charging stations is much more robust than when the Nissan Leaf was undergoing taxi trials.

Model 3 Ownership Survey Results

Bloomberg conducted a survey of nearly 5,000 Model 3 owners regarding quality, reliability, service, charging and more, and has so far published the first two of four parts of its results. In it, owners reported a fair number of defects both cosmetic and mechanical, and yet still reported high satisfaction overall, something Bloomberg calls a “paradox.”

That level of satisfaction doesn’t seem to extend to other parts of the ownership experience, particularly regarding service and repair quality. Owners had complaints about the customer-service experience, especially over the phone, but had high praise for the mobile service vehicles Tesla uses to counteract the lack of physical repair centers. Owners also reported waiting months for replacement parts after collisions — often while being unable to use their car.

The next two parts of Bloomberg’s survey will be released today and Thursday, respectively, and will cover Tesla’s controversial Autopilot feature and the changing electric-vehicle market.

Coffee on Cars

Another week, another person caught being a jerk on camera by Tesla’s Sentry Mode. In this case, a Model 3 parked at a convenience store in Richboro, Pa., was callously doused in coffee by an individual getting into a Dodge Durango. The man’s face is clearly seen — as is the moment where he accidentally splashes some coffee on himself — but with no license plate info visible, no one has yet brought the Bean Juice Bandit (we’re workshopping the name) to justice.

More Power to Ya, Model S

After disappointing — and controversial — results of a head-to-head matchup between his Model S and a Porsche Taycan Turbo S conducted by Top Gear, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced an over-the-air software update is coming that should make an extra 50 horsepower available for the Model S. When this is happening has yet to be announced, of course, but Musk is Definitely Not Mad Online about losing the test.

Battery Charges

Earlier this year, a number of videos made the rounds of the internet showing Teslas just sort of, well, bursting into flames. Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has informed Tesla it’s investigating a subsequent software update. The investigation is in response to a petition from an attorney whose client claims the update altered battery and charging performance, and that Tesla issued the update in response to the fire risk rather than issuing a recall and notifying NHTSA.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and in 2013 and became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera, and to turn his 2021 Hyundai Veloster N into a tribute to the great Renault mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive hatchbacks. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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