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by Claribelle Deveza November 08, 2019

The Tesla Model 3 has impressed Masayuki Moriguchi, a member of Japan’s Car of the Year committee. Moriguchi outlines his reasons for being so entranced with Elon Musk’s affordable electric sedan in his review. 

According to MyNaviJP, the freelance journalist thought the Model 3’s design was thoughtful and fitted Japanese life very well. In his article, Moriguchi wrote that the 5-million-yen car’s design was similar to a high-end luxury EV, like the Model S or X—which starts at 10 million yen. Considering the Model 3’s design, Moriguchi believes the car is well the worth price.

Moriguchi was able to test drive a Model 3 and Japan. He has separated his review into two parts. The first part covered his thoughts on the electric sedan’s design. The Japan of the year judge was particularly impressed by how much the Model 3 didn’t look like a regular EV. He compared it to the BMW i3, which doesn’t really inspire people to switch to sustainable cars.

Before Tesla, electric vehicles didn’t have the best designs, which only reduced its popularity. Moriguchi thought the Model 3 fit in nicely with Tesla’s other cars, particularly the Model S.

Besides the BMW i3, Moriguchi also compared the Model 3 with the Jaguar i-Pace and the Mercedes-Benz EQC. He was pleased to see that the Model 3 didn’t have a grill in front like the earlier Model S, the i-Pace, and the EQC. He acknowledged that placing grills on EVs was an attempt to mimic gasoline cars, but reasoned that they were unnecessary since grills do not serve a purpose in electric vehicles.

In terms of function, Moriguchi also seemed delighted how Tesla utilized space in the Model 3, namely in the front and rear of the sedan. He explained that the car’s lack of engine allowed Tesla to create two trunks—the one in the front having been dubbed a frunk. He liked that the frunk and trunk of the Model S were brought to the Model 3. Overall, Moriguchi felt the Model 3 was spacious and felt airy on the inside, partly due to the trunks and glass ceiling.

Moriguchi also thought that the Model 3 was perfect for Japan. He described its dimensions as fitting Japanese streets and probably parking quite snugly. Japan is known to have narrow streets, which big SUV’s and other vehicles may have a hard time maneuvering through. The Asian country is also known for having parking lifts so more cars can fit in garages. The Tesla Model 3 fits inside a parking life like a glove.

Another aspect of the Japanese version of the Model 3 that Moriguchi appreciated was its key card. In the United States, the Model 3 can be opened through a smartphone. He explained that Tesla is still waiting for that feature to be approved in Japan. He described the EV company has been one step ahead—and fully prepared—for the keyless situation.

Masayuki Moriguchi’s impression of the Model 3 is significant because he is a member of Japan’s Car of the Year selection committee. Tesla’s electric sedan was nominated by the committee for Car of the Year Japan 2019-2020 in October. Moriguchi was a judge for the Good Design Award in the past, so his thoughts on the Model 3’s overall makeup may have some bearing on the outcome of this year's competition.


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