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In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review - 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

Owners Rating

1.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
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. It has become even more affordable of late, following price cuts throughout 2023, meaning it now starts from just under £40,000 and undercuts many of its rivals.

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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 than most cars in its class. Unlike earlier models, charging a Model 3 using Tesla's own Supercharger network is no longer free, 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.

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

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Following the major facelift in 2023, two versions of the Model 3 are available, starting with the rear-wheel drive Standard Range. This gets a smaller battery capacity, giving a WLTP range of between 318 and 344 miles, depending on which wheels are fitted, which is a significant improvement over the pre-facelift car. This range will be sufficient for many customers, and is around 170 miles more than a Nissan Leaf – once Europe's best-selling EV, but now an EV that’s getting rather long in the tooth.

Next up is the Long Range model with an impressive range of between 390 and 421 miles (up from 370 miles previously), which should be able to get you from London to Le Mans (via the Channel Tunnel) non-stop. It puts the Model 3 back above most rivals, with the Hyundai Ioniq 6 capable of 382 miles between charges, while the Polestar 2 Long Range Single can manage up to 406 miles. When a new version of the Model 3 Performance arrives, it’s likely to use the same battery as the Long Range, but with a slightly shorter range owing to its extra power and even larger wheels.

The Model 3 supports fast charging, which replenishes the battery pack to around 80% in as little as 30 minutes using the latest V3 or V4 Supercharger stations. Of course, many owners will carry out the majority of charging at home, where a 7kW wallbox will charge the standard car to 100% in around nine hours, increasing to around 12 hours for the Long Range. The Ioniq 6 has an 800-volt electrical system, providing a 0-80% charging in as little as 18 minutes. 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range

TBC

318-344 miles

Tesla Model 3 Long Range 

TBC

390-421 miles

Insurance

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 version is in group 48 out of 50, while dual motor versions are in the same group 50 as Ferrari and Lamborghini supercars. Some EVs do start in lower groups, including the BMW i4 which starts in group 36.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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