Tesla began the modern electric car movement, kicking off with the Roadster in 2005, ahead of the Model S, and more recently, the more affordable Model 3. It’s the latter we’re testing, in its Long Range form. At first glance, the Tesla Model 3 looks like a normal car, except for the fact it doesn’t have a front grille, the handles are flush with the car, giving an illusion they aren’t there at all, and there isn’t a key, just a card you hold on the B-pillar to lock and unlock it. All very modern indeed. The exterior is simple but eye catching. The colour choices include Pearl White Multi-Coat, Solid Black, Midnight Silver, Deep Blue and Red Multi-Coat.
Stepping inside there are the same general concepts of a normal car, seats, steering wheel, and all that stuff. But there’s no instrument cluster, no hand brake and no gear selector. What you do get is a 15-inch centre touchscreen which controls everything from media, navigation, and communications. While charging the Model 3 and having some time on my hands I noticed an expanded roster of games, the ability to watch Netflix, and increased web functionality. From a practical perspective, the screen lets you literally control the car.
You can adjust air flow to the hidden air vents, view your speed, open the glovebox and the boot. You also have a handy wireless charging station for two phones.
You can also choose a combination of white and black premium interior should you so desire at a cost of 1,200 euros and it looks so well. There are top tether and ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the rear. There is an abundance of space for passengers and storage is impressive too. The lack of engine sees the front turned into a front boot. Storage is an impressive 542-litres across the combined luggage spaces. The Model 3 also has multiple cup holders and bottle holders which is very handy.
The Tesla Model 3 has three variants available all with varying levels of performance and battery wizardry: the Standard Range Plus (448 km WLTP, priced from €48,990), Model 3 Performance (567 km WLTP, priced from €65,990) and Long Range (580 km WLTP, priced from €58,990).
Driving the model 3 was a lot of fun. As there’s no gears, there’s no lag. There’s just acceleration and torque. You put your foot down, and it goes, and goes, sprinting to 100km/h in 4.4. seconds and it has a top speed of 233km/h.
Range on the Long Range variant is impressive, with Tesla claiming 580 (WLTP) of potential distance. We say potential distance because it really does depends on how you drive it. I will say my range anxiety was extremely low with the Model 3 and that made a huge difference as I could enjoy the drives without constantly thinking about my next charge. The Tesla Model 3, will show you where fast charge stations are if you’re running low, and how much it will cost you to charge. Most buyers will charge their Model 3 at home from a wallbox and rarely need to charge on the go. But the Model 3 also comes with a built-in CCS Charge Port for compatibility with third party fast charging networks like IONITY and ESB, or Tesla’s own Supercharger network and Destination chargers.
The Tesla Model 3 comes as standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features, and full self-driving capabilities in the future through software updates designed to improve functionality over time. Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Basic Autopilot comes as standard and enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. The Enhanced Autopilot package gives drivers additional functionality with Autopark, Auto Lane Change, Summon and Navigate on Autopilot. An additional option is Full Self-Driving Capability, which includes all the functionality of Basic Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot, alongside the latest upcoming features. Today’s current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.
Riding on 19-inch sports alloys, the Model 3 is loaded with safety gear, including eight surround view cameras for 360-degree vision, and twelve ultrasonic sensors, which can detect surrounding objects.Forward-facing radar see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and beyond the vehicle ahead helping to prevent accidents by providing simultaneous visibility in every direction. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 was also awarded a 5-star NCAP safety rating overall and in every category.
The Model 3 feels different than other cars and has elements which will become part of motoring in the future. It captures your imagination and you feel you’re in a car which has been created free from the constraints of conventional automotive thinking. Plus, there’s a real sense of fun here, playing games on the huge 15-inch screen with your son while charging on the go being a highlight. If you have the budget the model 3 is well worth a look.
Model: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive
Engine: 158kw front, 219kw rear electric motors
Battery: 75 kWh
Range (WLTP): 580 km
Top speed: 233 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.4 seconds
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax: €120 per year