In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 saloon - Range, charging & running costs

You'll have to pay to use the Supercharger network, but a CCS port opens up the playing field

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Range, charging & running costs Rating

5.0 out of 5

The Model 3 is famously the first ‘affordable’ Tesla, following a long-held plan to release profitable and desirable sports, luxury and SUV all-electric models first in order to make a splash in the industry and help establish the brand.

Being the smallest and lightest model in the line-up, the Model 3 is also the most efficient. So, while every all-electric car should have low running costs, the Model 3 can go further between charges. Unlike earlier models, charging a Model 3 using Tesla's own Supercharger network is no longer free (it is if you buy the more expensive Model S and Model X) but it is also the first Tesla to get a CCS charging port, opening up the use of many other public charging networks.

Tesla's Supercharger network also gives Model 3 owners an advantage over the Polestar 2, because according to our Driver Power survey of charging networks, it’s by far the best to use. Currently, it also offers pretty good value, with charges per kilowatt-hour and a full charge of the rear-wheel drive entry-level model costs less than £15.

Business drivers will benefit from significantly lower costs because the Model 3 sits in the lowest Benefit-in-Kind taxation band, while free road tax will also appeal to private customers.

Tesla Model 3 range & charging time

Three versions of the Model 3 are available, starting with the rear-wheel drive base Model 3. This gets a smaller battery capacity, giving a WLTP range of 305 miles, which will still be sufficient for many customers, and is around 120 miles more than a standard Nissan Leaf - Europe's best-selling EV in recent years.

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Next up is the Long Range model with an impressive 374-mile range, which should be able to get you from London to Paris (via the Channel Tunnel) non-stop. While still using the same lithium-ion battery, the Performance model has a slightly shorter range of 340 miles because it's tuned to deliver even more rapid acceleration. Both of these comfortably beat the Polestar 2's range of 292 miles.

The Model 3 supports fast-charging, which replenishes the battery pack to around 80% in as little as 30 minutes using the latest Supercharger stations. Of course, many owners will carry out the majority of charging at home, where a 7kW wallbox will charge the car to 100% in around 12 hours.

Insurance groups

Insurance groups for the Tesla Model 3 are very high, so it's important to get a quote before you buy one. Even the Standard Range Plus version is in group 48 out of 50, while dual motor versions are in the same group 50 as Ferrari and Lamborghini supercars.

Warranty

Every Tesla comes with a reassuring four-year warranty, although its 50,000-mile cap is slightly lower than the industry standard. However, this is mostly offset by separate eight-year/100,000-mile coverage (120,000 miles for Long Range models) for the electric motors and battery pack.

Servicing

There's a Tesla Maintenance Plan for owners that ensures the car is checked, interior air filters are replaced and brake fluid is tested and replaced when necessary. However, maintenance should be less than for a conventional petrol or diesel model and Tesla even states that the warranty remains even if servicing isn't carried out.

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