Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor Review.
For – Amazing range, stunning performance, cute looks.
Against – pricey but very competitive in its sector, negatives don’t add up to much.
Competition – Audi E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro S Line, Mercedes EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, BMW iX, Polestar 2, Ford Mustang Mach-E
“The Tesla really does have the inside track in the electric car market. Nothing comes close”
I may have finally succumbed to the siren song seductions of the electric car. I’ve resisted conversion for a long time, stubbornly pointing out the many shortcomings. There’s the often preposterously short range, wonky on-the-road charging “system”, and unaffordable prices allied with blatant lies about how far it can go before running dry, aided and abetted by officials behind the WTLP ratings.
But the Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor has answered most of the genre’s shortcomings although it is still unaffordable to those on average earnings looking for a value set of wheels. Let’s hope that there soon will be an electric car for them, but meanwhile there’s this Tesla for the middle classes. And it’s good enough to silence any harping about it not being able to do everything an internal combustion engine (ICE) machine can do. It’s so good at what it does, let’s forget the fact it won’t take you on a long-distance blast across Europe.
The range claim is 360 miles as measured by WLTP rules, but guess what, each time I filled it up I was offered at least 340 miles. That’s a shortfall of a miniscule 5%. Even if you take off the 20% from each charge which most manufacturers suggest to ensure long-term battery health, you’re still left with 273 miles. (Tesla declined to say if it advised 80% charging and its owner advice doesn’t mention the subject) And sure, on the highway at a steady indicated 75 mph it sheds promised range at an estimated 30% rate, but that still leaves you with almost 200 miles, way more than the bottom-line capability of other electric cars I’ve tested. If you ignore the 80% idea, highway range is 239 miles. On the urban, rural, city cycle, the regenerative braking is so good you will find the range offered will be achieved and maybe a bit more occasionally. It’s a great city car.
Flummoxed by the sat-nav
Oh, and I almost forget. It drives like a dream. Instant response to any request for power, while it is serenity itself if you drive like a normal person. It seems to be on rails as you swoop through high-speed bends. Inside the decor is restrained, simple almost, with just the massive, 15” inch screen, where all commands live. You press the little icon at the rear of on-screen car diagram to open the recharge cap. Press the boot area on the screen for the hatchback to lift and vice-versa. I was flummoxed by the sat-nav briefly. You press er sat-nav, but you have to scroll down to put in the postcode details. Not intuitive enough for more senior citizens, but I ended up applauding the system when it stopped me entering the M25 at Leatherhead on the way to Heathrow and took me on a winding urban route which included some bridges over this hellish road showing the traffic still in car park mode. Thank you sat-nav.
Tesla says it has improved many aspects of its big selling and smallest car with better interior quality, and a heat pump to improve cold weather efficiency. It reminds buyers of its impressive European network of high-power charging stations, although it has said it will open up the network to non-Teslas. It boasts about its auto-pilot capability, but I didn’t have the time or inclination to try this out. I tried it once on a Tesla Model S, and it was very weird and didn’t inspire me to try again. I won’t be doing this until full, 100% autonomy is achievable, and every other car on the road is too. In other words, that’s a treat I’ll never endure.
“The Chinese are coming in this segment but why couldn’t the likes of Tesla address the cheap end of the market?”
Tesla is proud of the Model 3 Performance’s ’s super-car ability, which always seems odd to me, given that I assume that’s the last thing any potential Tesla owner would be interested in.
“Model 3 Performance (I tested the slightly slower Long Range) is the quickest car in its class, capable of achieving 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds. It has a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution and Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive for enhanced performance and traction in any weather. Model 3 Performance has an increased top-speed of 162 mph along with a carbon fibre spoiler, 20” performance wheels, and aluminum alloy pedals for maximum handling and improved stability. Model 3 Performance also includes red performance brake calipers and the exclusive feature, Track Mode,” says Tesla.
The four-wheel drive Model 3s start at £40,990 (278 miles WLTP) and the Long Range at £48,490 and the Performance (352 miles) £59,990.
What to buy?
The Tesla really does have the inside track in the electric car market. Nothing comes close. Now we have a viable, sensible candidate in the premium class, perhaps we can hope for an electric car to capture the enthusiasm of the car buyer on average earnings.
The Chinese are coming in the mass market electric car segment but why couldn’t the likes of Tesla address the cheap end of the market? With its great brand power, surely it could produce something cheap and cheerful, and still make a healthy profit because of its pricing ability? Meanwhile my electric car scepticism lives on because the competition is still nowhere near Tesla, with the exception of the Kia Soul, which is much cheaper and a strong contender with a real-world capacity of 266.5 miles and a motorway cruise of 205 miles.
|Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor|
|(*estimated at steady 75 mph)|
|Electric motors:||front 335 volts, 162 hp @ 8,275, torque 163 Nm @ 125/6,3575
rear 335 volts, 272 hp @ 6,700 torque 330 Nm @ 325-5,500
|Battery:||79 kWh (estimate. Tesla doesn’t disclose this detail)|
|Energy consumption:||4.2 miles per kWh.|
|Claimed range:||360 miles (WLTP)|
|WintonsWorld Test:||341 miles (average of 3 refills) – 5% WLTP shortfall
Less 80% charge max for battery protection – 273 miles
Highway cruising penalty* 30% of offered range – 239 miles
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph – 4.2 seconds|
|Top Speed:||145 mph|
|CO2:||0 at tailpipe|
|Boot capacity:||425 litres|
|Competition:||Audi E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro S Line, Mercedes EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, BMW iX, Polestar 2, Ford Mustang Mach-E|
|For:||Amazing range, stunning performance, cute looks|
|Against:||pricey, but very competitive in its sector, negatives don’t add up to much|