Tesla Model 3: A Complete Guide on Features and Prices
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First released in 2017, Tesla’s compact Model 3 addressed a need for an affordable entry-level vehicle in the company’s lineup.
Prior to its debut, Tesla’s offerings consisted of just two models: the aspirational Model S and the crossover SUV Model X. Neither were particularly affordable, with the cheapest trim retailing for almost $75,000.
With a starting price of $35,000 (with subsidies factored in), the Tesla Model 3 dramatically lowered the barrier to entry for all-electric driving. This was a mass-market electric vehicle that ordinary people could afford. And it didn’t skimp on features, either.
Meet the Tesla Model 3
The standard trim offered a range of 230 miles from a single charge of its 50kWh battery. The longer-range variant, with its 70kWh battery, handily bested that with a range of 310 miles. These have since been supplanted by trims with up to 353 miles of range.
This was accompanied with Tesla’s fast supercharging technology, which delivered up to an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. DC speeds are slower, but still respectable.
While it didn’t quite match the sporty Model S in terms of performance, the Model 3 was hardly a slouch. The inaugural models offered 0-60MPH acceleration speeds between five and 5.6 seconds. More recent high-spec trims offer speeds of just 3.1 seconds.
Despite its comparatively lower price, Tesla filled the Model 3 with its self-driving technology. Basic features – like automatic parking – came as standard. Owners could also opt to pay extra for the car’s full self-driving capabilities, when they become available.
True to form, Tesla also included a 15.4-inch infotainment system with all models. This widescreen display provides access to the car’s built-in navigation and music playback, as well as information on battery health and predicted range.
The Tesla Value Proposition
In short, the Tesla Model 3 is a great car. Packed with technology, and with exceptional range and performance across all trims, it proved you didn’t need to spend a fortune to get a respectable all-electric vehicle.
More importantly, the Tesla Model 3 didn’t deviate from the rulebook that elevated its pricier siblings to greatness. These include:
- Lower overall maintenance costs. There are no spark plugs or filters to replace. No regular oil changes.
- As of 2018, the Model 3 has support for regenerative braking, where the kinetic energy produced by the brake is used to recharge the battery. In addition to slightly improved mileage, this reduces wear-and-tear to the brake system.
- A low cost of ownership. Supercharger prices vary by location, but assuming an average cost of $0.28 per kWh, you can expect to pay between $7 and $10 for 100 miles of range, depending on your model’s trim.
- An expansive range of charging points. Tesla has over 24,000 superchargers around the world, with nearly two-thirds in North America. In addition, Tesla vehicles can use public charging stations that use the J1772 standard.
- An approach to car making that treats the vehicle almost like a smartphone, with capabilities added over time through regular software updates. In effect, this means the Tesla Model 3 will get better over time.
- Keeping with the smartphone analogy, the Tesla Model 3 allows the driver to use the infotainment system almost like an iPhone. It comes with a built-in web browser, as well as support for most major streaming services, including Spotify, Netflix, and Hulu.
Buying a Tesla Model 3: Used vs New
Bought new, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $38,420 for the basic Standard Range Plus variant, without subsidies. This comes with a rear-wheel drive powertrain and a range of 263mph.
Tesla also sells two all-wheel drive trims, dubbed Long Range and Performance. These retail for $47,490 and $55,490 respectively.
The Long Range trim boasts 0-60MPH acceleration speeds of 4.2 seconds, with a range of 353 miles. By contrast, the Performance trim prioritises range performance against range. It can hit 60MPH in just 3.1 seconds, but is limited to just 315 miles per charges.
Adding full self-driving capabilities adds an extra $10,000 to those prices. Switching out the 18-inch Aero Wheels, which come as standard, for 19-inch sport wheels adds an additional $1,500.
But how much does a used Tesla Model 3 cost? The answer is a little complicated.
Unlike traditional combustion engine vehicles, Tesla cars are less affected by the forces of depreciation.
According to a 2020 report from iSeeCars, the Tesla Model 3 loses just ten percent of its value in the three years following the initial purchase. It attributed this to the burgeoning demand for electric cars, as well as the strength of the Tesla brand.
Compounding matters, the overwhelming majority of Model 3s were produced in the past few years. This is partially because Tesla initially struggled to ramp up production during the Model 3’s first year on the market.
Put simply, there isn’t enough supply of used models to meet demand.
What does this mean in practice? Ultimately, the difference between a brand new Tesla Model 3 and a used variant is just a few grand.
A 2019 Tesla Model 3 with the Long Range retails for anywhere between $45,000 and $48,000, depending on the number of miles on the odometer. From the same year, a Standard Range Plus trim hovers around $38,000.
So, why buy used? In a word, immediacy.
Tesla aficionados are used to waiting for delivery of new cars. Right now, they’re longer than they’ve ever been, with customers waiting up to 14 weeks.
Opting for a pre-owned model is, in effect, a way to skip those lengthy lines. And, thanks to the slow depreciation of Tesla’s cars, you’ll likely get a higher valuation when you trade it in for an upgrade than if you bought a conventional gas-powered car.
Don’t want to wait? Shift offers a wide range of used Tesla Model 3 vehicles, from the speedy Performance trim to the practical Long Range variant.
And you get the convenience of a seven-day money back guarantee across all our inventory, plus a free 30-day warranty when shopping from our Shift Certified line. To find your next ride, head here.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
June 7, 2021
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.