The Tesla Model 3 is the long-awaited, cheaper Tesla, with a zen-like interior and a smaller form factor
Introduction to the Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has finally come to the UK. It’s the cheapest Tesla you can buy.
The combination of it price, styling and technology has already made it a highly desirable electric car. There are some amazing statistics:
For example, the Model 3 was the top-selling EV in Europe in the first quarter of 2019. All the more incredible since the Model 3 was only available from February. It was also up against well-established models such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.
It has also recently won the Car of the Year 2019 award from Auto Express.
The Tesla Model 3 is selling like hot cakes – very hot cakes.
- Sublime Tesla technology at a much lower price
- Class-leading performance
- Very fast charging via the Supercharger network
- An always up-to-date EV via over-the-air updates
- Smaller than the Model S and Model X
- Excellent value for money (price compared to range)
- More road/wind noise than the Model S or Model X
Tesla Model 3 – Range
The Model 3 comes in three configurations, as follows:
- Standard Range Plus
- Long Range
How far can they go on a single charge of the battery?
The Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a 60 kWh battery and has a real-world range of about 229 miles.
Next, the Long Range version, with a larger 75 kWh battery, can travel a staggering 313 miles before needing a top up.
Finally, the all-singing, all-dancing Model 3 Performance version has a 75 kWh battery, with a range of 296 miles. Living up to its name, the Performance model has red-hot performance capabilities, but still retains excellent range on a single charge.
Please note: Tesla have a habit of changing the specification of the Model 3 – and the pricing – often quite dramatically from one day to the next.
Tesla Model 3 – Price
The Tesla Model 3 price is from £37,340, including the PiCG grant. Here are the costs of the three models:
- Standard Range Plus: from £37,340
- Long Range: from £46,340
- Performance: from £49,990
That’s quite a variation in price. The Performance model costs £12,650 more than the entry Standard Range Plus.
Is it worth paying over £12,000 more to secure the Performance version?
The highest specification model has greater range, but it also comes with four-wheel-drive. There is an electric motor on each of the axles.
The Standard Range Plus is just two-wheel-drive. It has one motor on the rear axle.
With the Performance model, acceleration is remarkable. It can do 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, compared to the Standard Range Plus’ 5.3 seconds.
However, the Long Range model is a very attractive option if you want maximum range, but are not so fussed about mind-boggling performance. The Long Range Model 3 will go about 313 miles on a single charge, is also four-wheel-drive, and still does 0-62 mph in an impressive 4.4 seconds.
Interestingly, after a recent price drop, the Model 3 is about half the price of either a Model S or a Model X. However, the distance the Model 3 can go on a single charge is comparable to the Model S and Model X.
That means – in terms of value for money – the Model 3 is very good indeed. In fact, in our best value comparison of all the EVs currently available in the UK, the Standard Range Plus and Long Range versions of the Model 3 are in the Top 5 best value cars. That’s extraordinary for Teslas. Not so long ago, all their models were bottom of the value charts.
Tesla Model 3 – Key Specifications
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 – Autopilot
Tesla has developed an incredible ‘self-driving’ feature for its cars called Autopilot.
It allows you to sit in your Tesla, in the driving seat, and have the car drive you. For example, you can be on the motorway and the car will automatically steer, brake if the vehicle in front is slowing down, and accelerate back to a pre-determined speed if enough space opens up in front. This version of the self-driving software is called Autopilot and is included in the prices above.
A more comprehensive version of the software is called Full Self Driving Capability. This version can even change lane for you, overtake, and deposit you back in the lane you were in – all with no input from the ‘driver’. Tesla has spent many hours developing the software and it’s truly incredible. Full Self Driving Capability costs £5,800 extra.
Autopilot with Full Self Driving Capability also provides you with:
- Autopark: the car will park itself
- Summon: your parked car will come and find you in the car park – we kid you not
Now, it’s worth pointing out that you must – by law – have your hands on the wheel at all times while driving. Autopilot reminds you of this if it senses your hands are off the wheel.
Tesla Model 3 – Optional Extras
The Model 3 is a high-tech car and comes with lots of amazing equipment as standard.
However, as with all manufacturers, you can configure your EV, choosing optional extras (at a cost), tailoring it as you would like. Here are the options you can select:
The standard (no cost) option is Pearl White Multi-Coat. You can also have Solid Black for an extra £750, Midnight Silver Metallic (£950 extra), Deep Blue Metallic (also £950 extra), or Red Multi-Coat (£1,900 extra).
Both the Standard Range Plus and Long Range versions come with 18’’ Aero Wheels. There are no further wheel options.
The Performance model has 20” Performance Wheels as standard. Again, no further wheel options available.
If you need to tow something with your Tesla, choose either the Standard Range Plus or Long Range models. You can order a high strength, steel tow bar with a removable adapter. It’s capable of towing up to 910 kg. Extra cost: £970.
This option is not available on the Performance model.
For a time, the only interior colour available for both versions of the Model 3 was ‘All Black’.
Fortunately, Tesla has now reinstated ‘Black and White’ as an option, in addition to ‘All Black’. If you go for ‘Black and White’, it costs £950 more.
We are wondering whether the all black interior – it doesn’t show up marks and dirt as much – is part of Elon Musk’s Robotaxi project. If you hire your Model 3 out as an autonomous taxi, then you don’t want the general public making it look messy and dirty.
The interior specification differs across the models.
The Standard Range Plus comes with a Partial Premium interior, whereas the Long Range and Performance versions have a Premium Interior. What’s the difference?
All models get:
- Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
- Auto-dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
- Music and media over Bluetooth
- Custom driver profiles
- Centre console with storage, 4 USB ports and docking for 2 smartphones
- 12-way power adjustable front seats
- Heated front seats
In addition, the Premium Interior gives you:
- Heated rear seats
- Premium audio – 14 speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 amps, and immersive sound
- Premium Connectivity (1 year included):
- Satellite maps with live traffic visualisation
- In-car internet streaming music and media
- More frequent over-the-air updates via cellular
- Internet browser
- LED fog lamps
Autopilot & Full Self-Driving Capability
As mentioned above, the Model 3 comes with Autopilot self-driving capabilities as standard. To get Full Self-Driving Capability – really advanced autonomous driving – you need to pay £5,800 more.
Who is the Tesla Model 3 for?
The Tesla Model 3 is a well-proportioned, stylish, desirable, 5-seat saloon car, with either 2- or 4-wheel drive.
Previous to the Model 3, if you wanted to have a Tesla as a company car, you probably needed to be a top executive. The Model S and Model X were just too expensive for mere mortals, lower down in the company hierarchy.
Now, with the Model 3, a far wider range of company employees are potentially within reach of the Tesla experience. We predict the Model 3 will be very popular as a company car. Colleagues will look at you enviously as you arrive, silently, in your zero emissions, hi-tech, automotive marvel.
For the family
And let’s not forget the Model 3 is also a very sensible car for the family. It’s a 5-seater and has excellent safety credentials.
It’s also future-proof. Tesla can update the car’s software remotely, over the air, and Tesla-owners are used to waking up to a car with improved functionality.
The only factor working against it as a family car is that the Model 3 is a 4-door saloon, rather than a 5-door hatchback. You can still fold the back seats down, but you are limited in terms of height when you are putting things in the boot.
Then there’s the question of performance. Oh yes. Top Gear recently stunned its viewers by admitting the Tesla Model 3 Performance was faster than the legendary BMW M3 around a race track.
Petrolheads are now realising that the new crop of electric cars are not just environmentally friendly run-arounds for tree-huggers. They can now outperform the very best that ICE cars have to offer.
If you’re a petrolhead – or soon to become ex-Petrolhead – take an electric car out for a test drive and see for yourself.
Tesla has installed a fantastic network of really quick charging points around the world. These ‘Version 2’, or V2, superchargers have up until recently been rated at 120 kW – much faster than the standard 50 kW from other manufacturers. They allow you to recharge very quickly on longer trips, to get you back on the road with plenty of range in the battery tank.
These V2 superchargers are now able to offer even faster charging rates of up to 145 kW. This faster rate is achieved by a software upgrade to the car.
Soon, Tesla will start rolling out ultra fast V3 superchargers rated at 250 kW. These will allow incredibly fast charging. For example, you could add 100 miles of range in about 6 minutes. Only the Long Range and Performance models are capable of 250 kW charging.
You won’t find a second-hand Tesla Model 3 yet. The car is only just arriving in the UK. Give it a year or two and they will start hitting the market.
- If you would like more information about EVs in general, please see our main Electric Cars page.
- For specific details about the Tesla Model 3 itself, see the main Tesla UK Tesla Model 3 website.
- Otherwise, please scroll down to the Reviews section below for independent video and text analyses.
Tesla Model 3 – Reviews
We have trudged round the web and brought all the best video and text reviews to you here.
Click on the links below for independent reviews of the Tesla Model 3 from well-known car reviewers:
Tesla Model 3
> James and Kate
- Reviewers: James and Kate
- Organisation: James and Kate
- Date published: 5 May 2019
- Length: 18 minutes 41 seconds
Tesla Model 3 Performance
> What Car?
- Reviewer: Will Nightingale
- Organisation: What Car?
- Date published: 5 March 2019
- Length: 17 minutes 02 seconds
Tesla Model 3 Performance
> Fully Charged Live
- Reviewer: Robert Llewellyn
- Organisation: Fully Charged Live
- Date published: 26 April 2019
- Length: 21 minutes 24 seconds