After the great reception of Model S and Model X cars, Tesla realised that they need something more affordable, something that will skyrocket sales numbers. It was time to launch a model that isn't exclusively a rich man's car but rather something accessible to a wide range of drivers and car owners. The result was the Tesla Model 3, the company’s most popular model today.
Everyone can make a good car, but not many carmakers can make a good car that's also affordable to many. Tesla nailed it with the Model 3, as we are talking about a reasonably-priced electric vehicle that doesn't sacrifice essentials. It offers excellent autonomy and performance and is good enough to compete with similarly-priced internal-combustion cars, such as Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series.
The First Generation of Tesla Model 3
Design and Features
The development of the Tesla Model 3 started way back in 2013. The goal was to make a car that won't be just about advanced technologies and design solutions, like in the Model S. The goal was to offer a perfectly balanced car targeted at the mass market.
Eventually, Tesla designers managed to do this after several years of development, and the initial version was completed in 2016. A year later, the serial production started. Of course, the initial model was offered in North America. The Tesla Model 3 Australia debuted with the 2019 model year.
This compact executive car is similarly sized and similarly priced as models like Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C Class. It features 2,875mm in wheelbase and 4,694mm in total length. Although it borrows some parts from the bigger Model S, it rides on a completely different platform, which is also used for the Model Y.
The new architecture is what makes this car affordable. Many components are way simpler compared to the Model S, starting from the suspension setup. However, things are far from being rudimental. All Model 3 versions come with independent, multi-link rear suspension, while the front axle uses a typical double wishbone.
Tesla Model 3 Dimensions and Key Features
- Wheelbase: 2,875 mm
- Length: 4,694 mm
- Width: 1,849 mm
- Height: 1,443 mm
- Weight: 1,611-1,847 kg
- Front suspension: Double wishbone
- Rear suspension: Multi-link independent
- Front brakes: Ventilated discs, 320x25mm
- Rear brakes: Ventilated discs, 335x20mm
The Interior of the Model 3
The inside of this sedan has brought some quite exciting design solutions. Compared to most other cars, including Tesla models, its cabin features a much simpler dashboard design, bringing clean lines and without any physical buttons or knobs. Pretty much everything is operated via a massive 15-inch touchscreen.
Also, the list of standard equipment is long. All versions come standard with tech goodies like navigation, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, four USB ports, HD radio, and Bluetooth. A panoramic glass roof is also part of the standard equipment.
With 2,875mm in wheelbase and the battery placed under the floor, it’s no wonder that this sedan accommodates adult passengers in both rows with ease. However, taller passengers may have trouble with the second-row headroom. The trunk volume goes around 425 litres, which is about average for the class, but keep in mind that there is also an additional cargo space under the bonnet, in the so-called frunk.
Tesla Model 3 Versions and Specs
The initial version was offered in five variants: Standard Range, Standard Range Plus, Long Range RWD, Long Range AWD and Performance.
The base version of Model 3 features a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle, with a total output of 211kW and 450Nm, and comes with a battery capacity of 54kWh. According to WLTP, the max range goes up to 381km. This version needs about 5.5 seconds to hit 100km/h.
Standard Range Plus
The upgraded version of the base Model 3 features the same drivetrain but offers a better range. According to WLTP, this version can make 430 kilometres without recharging.
Long Range RWD
Just like the Standard Range models, the Long Range RWD comes with a single electric motor that puts out 211kW and 450Nm of the max torque but features a notably bigger battery, with 75kWh capacity. Therefore, the max range is much better and goes up to 600km per WLTP data.
This version was discontinued last year.
Long Range AWD
This version gets an additional electric motor at the front. It features the same 75-kWh battery as the Long Range RWD model, but the max range goes around 580km. So, the max output is notably higher and goes up to 258kW and 510Nm of torque. It is also notably faster than base models, as it needs less than 5 seconds to hit 100km/h.
The 2021 update has brought a new battery pack with a capacity of 82kWh. As a result, the Tesla Model 3 range has been increased to 614 kilometres.
The Tesla Model 3 Performance model also came with a 75-kWh battery pack and two electric motors but with way more powerful electric motors than those found in the Long Range AWD model. So, the combined output goes up to 340kW and 639Nm of max torque. With such power, the 0-100km/h time is just a little bit over 3 seconds. In this variant, the max range goes around 567 kilometres, according to WLTP.
Last November, Tesla updated the Model 3. This refresh has brought novelties in various aspects, starting from new styling details. Parts like door handles, side mirror trim, window trim, and camera cover (originally chromed) in black finish. Inside, you will notice some revisions on the dashboard, particularly at the centre console. Other novelties worth mentioning are double-paned front window glass and a powered trunk.
Tesla engineers also added a few more things like heat pumps and proprietary octovalve, improving heating and cooling efficiency.
Tesla Model 3 Pricing
The Tesla Model 3 price in Australia starts at around $62,900, while the most expensive versions can easily go over $105,000. Currently, there are four Tesla dealerships across the county. Below are the price estimates of the different versions:
- Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus: $62,900
- Tesla Model 3 Standard Range: $74,900
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD: $92,900
- Tesla Model 3 Performance: $105,900
Tesla Model 3 Sales Figures
As we already mentioned, the Model 3 is the most popular model of the Californian electric carmaker. Last year, 2,949 Tesla cars were shipped to Australia, and more than 2,600 of them were Tesla Model 3. That's way more compared to Audi A4 (783 units sold in 2020), but still below BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class figures.
How long is the Tesla Model 3 battery warranty?
Tesla gives an 8-year or 192,000-km battery warranty, whichever comes first. The same warranty covers the drivetrain as well. On the other hand, the base vehicle warranty is 80,000 km or 4 years, whichever comes first.
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By Nebojsa Grmusa