Is the longer run and more power worth the extra cost?

The Tesla Model 3 comes in three variants and choosing between them can be tricky, especially if you’re in the fortunate position of being able to stretch the budget for more expensive variants.

Those who want to ensure they are free from range anxiety often opt for a long-range variant with a twin-engine mid-road over the shorter-run (but by no means short-range) Base Model 3.

Others choose the more expensive Base Model 3, arguing that the 350-400 kilometers you can get on a single charge is more than enough for daily use, as is the case with a single rear-wheel drive.

Others who like it might opt ​​for the more expensive Performance Model 3, which can sprint from a steady start to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds (which, by the way, is as fast as the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, for about a third of the price).

As Tesla drops price for Tesla Model 3 RWD (nee Standard Range Plus) to less than $60,000 in 2021, along with offering $3,000 purchase discounts in some states, drivers wanting to buy a Tesla electric vehicle are wondering if it’s worth spending the extra douche for premium performance and features.

Currently, the base variant is $59,900 before hitting the roads, while the long-term starts at $73,200 and performance starts at $84,900. Go away, the basic variant goes out the door (or rather, out of the boat) for between $62,000 and $66,000 depending on which state you live in, while the long-term costs from $75,000 to $80,000. The performance variable is moving away from prices between $90,000 to $95,000.

Ultimately, drivers will have to make the decision themselves based on personal budget, circumstances and needs. To help, we’ve broken down the features of each variant below:

Model 3 basic alternative

Current specifications:

  • Battery size: 62.3 kWh
  • WLTP range: 491 km
  • Actual range*: 438 km
  • Maximum speed: 225 km/h
  • Acceleration from 0 to 100: 6.1 seconds

The basic version has seen some significant improvements in the past months. In November, it was confirmed that Tesla had upgraded the 50kWh battery to 62.3kWh, increasing driving from 448km to 491km (WLTP). Importantly, at the same time, the price hasn’t gone up, and for some states, it’s also eligible for the $3,000 EV purchase discount.

Tesla had already ported RWD to its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery in late 2020, which can be fully charged regularly without excessive battery deterioration (indeed, it should be as we understand it). This meant that the effective range was already greater than that of the NCA battery, which should only be charged at 80-90% most of the time.

Although recent upgrades have been accompanied by a reduced level of acceleration, the 0-100 km/h acceleration in 6.1 seconds still impresses P-platers pants at traffic lights. Keep in mind that upgrading from standard 18-inch wheels to 19-inch wheels will result in a loss of range.

The Model 3 RWD sits a little higher down the road than the premium variants, which may also be a deciding factor for those with steep trails. Reports from drivers vary from 380 km and above for the Model 3 RWD.

Model 3 Long Range

Current specifications:

  • Battery size: 75 kWh
  • WLTP range: 602 km
  • Actual range*: 576 km
  • Maximum speed: 233 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-100: 4.4 seconds

It’s a little slower in performance, with an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, but these twin engines still offer plenty of oomph, as well as superior control and performance. Realistically, you can probably get about 480-540 km on a single charge of the larger battery, which still does not sneeze.

To compensate for the larger battery, long-term charging can also be done faster than RWD. While the RWD can be charged at a top speed of 170 kW, the premium variants can go up to 250 kW. Although you will only reach these charging rates if you start with a nearly empty battery, there will generally be time savings at the charging point.

For the audio enthusiasts and music lovers out there, the Long Range has a much better sound system than the RWD system, which comes as part of the premium interior as standard along with the interior lights package.

Model 3 performance

Current specifications:

  • Battery size: 82 kWh
  • WLTP range: 547 km
  • Actual range*: 507 km
  • Top speed: 261 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-100: 3.3 seconds

Did we mention that this is as fast as the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, at about a third of the price? In addition to the Long Range upgrades mentioned above, the Performance comes with a slew of extras including performance brakes, a carbon fiber spoiler, lowered suspension, aluminum alloy pedals and a “track mode.”

If you’re a speed buff and feel the need for speed (and can afford it!), this is probably the car for you – but keep in mind that these 20-inch uberturbine wheels cost you some efficiency and therefore range.

all variables

It should be noted that all Tesla cars have access to most charging infrastructure, thanks to the addition of CCS2 ports they can use the Tesla Supercharger and other fast charging networks. All variants also come with autopilot as standard, adding highly effective lane-keeping aid and adaptive cruise control.

In addition, all variants now include a heat pump, which helps those who live in cold climates reduce driving range loss from heating (the previous Model 3 had a more energy-intensive resistive heating system), as well as wireless smartphone charging, USB Additional ports and a 12-volt lithium-ion battery.

Some new Tesla owners report that they get heated rear seats and an activated steering wheel for free, and it is understood that the newly imported cars will now come with a superfast AMD Ryzan chip, which improves the replayability of the touchscreen.

*The “real world” scope is based on US Environmental Protection Agency ratings, which can be found here. Actual driving range, as with an ICE, depends on driving style, terrain and payload.

Here is a recent comparison of the scope and efficiency of all three variables by a British reviewer:

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