Tesla Model 3: How Does it Compare?

Tesla’s Model 3 is the ‘it car’ at the moment and, judging by the reaction from the EV community, it could be a pivotal point for the industry. If you believe the hype, the Model 3 has no real competition from current EVs. So, let’s see how it stacks up.

Model 3 Specifications

There’s an extensive range of extra features on the Model 3, as there is on most Teslas, but these are nuts and bolts of the $35,000 baseline Model 3:

  • 220-mile range
  • 50 kWh battery pack
  • 130 mph top speed
  • 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
  • Can be ‘supercharged’ to 130 miles in 30 minutes

If you’re not supercharging the Model 3, it charges at a rate of 30 miles per hour from a 240v, 32A home charger. While these figures are impressive, there’s an equally impressive host of electronic features on the Model 3, and we would expect nothing less from Tesla.

Data is received through the inbuilt wifi and LTE in the Model 3. This is displayed on a 15-inch horizontal screen, which is the solitary display instrument for the driver. Voice controls, a reversing camera, dual zone climate-control, navigation system and USB ports are all included on the baseline Model 3.

There’s a range of self-driving sensors on the Model 3, but to enable ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ owners will have to pay $5,000.

Extended Range Model 3

For many, the extended range version of the Model 3 will be the one to get. For $44,000 you can expect:

  • 310-mile range
  • 70kWh battery pack
  • 140 mph top speed
  • 0-60 in 5.1 seconds
  • ‘Supercharged’ to 170 miles in 30 minutes

What makes the extended range Model 3 so special, is that it’s in a market all by itself. There is no other EV that costs the same and has a range even vaguely close to 310 miles.

The baseline Model 3 is a fantastic EV with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from Tesla, but the extended range version is the game changer.

Tesla Model 3

The Competition

Realistically, there’s only one production EV in the U.S. that compares to the Model 3 in terms of price and range, the Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt costs the same as the Model 3 but has a range of 238 miles, 18 more than the Model 3. But, does 18 miles negate everything the Model 3 has which the Bolt doesn’t?

Access to the supercharging network alone, arguably, puts the Model 3 ahead of the Bolt. But what about style, something which the Bolt has been criticized on since its release. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Model 3 certainly seems to be winning this battle.

The sleek lines of the Model 3 look even better when you put it next to the ‘boxy’ Bolt. The Model 3 is just as stylish on the inside too, a perfect example of how minimalism can be beautiful.

European Electric Vehicles

For European EV consumers, the Renault Zoe is a real contender to the Model 3. The Zoe Z.E. 40 has a 20-mile NEDC range and costs around $33,000. The Zoe is a supermini, so it’s only really an option if you don’t need too much cargo or passenger space.

Future Electric Vehicles

In terms of price, range, and performance there aren’t many EVs launching in 2018 that will compete with the Model 3. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is expected to have a 200-mile plus range and cost around $30,000 but not much is known about its performance figures. The Hyundai Kona will also launch in 2018 and cost just under $40,000 with an estimated 217-mile range. Again, not much is known about its performance figures.

If you can hold out until 2020, however, BMW is planning on launching a 3-series electric. It’s expected to cost around $35,000 and have a 248-mile range. Again, performance figures are unknown, but it could be a serious contender to the Model 3, as long as Tesla hasn’t already updated the Model 3.

The Model 3 is the ‘it car’ at the moment, and deservedly so. It performs well, has a good range and looks the part – all for $35,000. Moreover, the extended range version is in a class of its own and may be for some time based on up-and-coming EVs.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: August 16, 2017