Parkers overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 4.6

Miles per pound (mpp) Miles per pound (mpp)

Electric motors, home charging 13.6 - 15.7 mpp
Electric motors, public charging 7.6 - 8.8 mpp
Low figures relate to the least economical version; high to the most economical. Based on WLTP combined fuel economy for versions of this car made since September 2017 only, and typical current fuel or electricity costs.

Fuel economy

Electric motors 3.8 - 4.4 miles/kWh

Tesla Model 3 Performance (2020) front view

  • Electric car efficiency is highly impressive
  • Range and battery capacity are industry-leading
  • The fastest charging EV in the world

How much is it going to cost to run?

How much the Model 3 costs to runs depends very much on where you charge it, and your electricity tariff. Public charging for electric cars can be expensive, especially if you want to use the fastest charging technology available, and you don’t have an up-front subscription. But at least with Tesla you’re blessed with unfettered access to the best charging network in the business.

Also, its excellent MPP figure of 7.6 - 15.7 is a boon, as are the huge tax savings due to the Model 3 attracting a 0% rating for Benefit in Kind (BIK).

Range and charging

The Model 3, like all Teslas, can charge at any public charging station or at any Tesla home destination or Supercharger. With a maximum range of 360 miles (WLTP), Model 3 can go anywhere, and it has access to Tesla’s vast network of more than 445 Supercharger stations. In Europe, Model 3 comes standard with a CCS Combo 2 charging standard, so it can also access any of the growing number of DC fast-chargers in Europe. 

It can charge at up to a peak of 250kW, which makes them the fastest-charging cars in the world.

In terms of efficiency, we rate Tesla highly. Consistently we’ve seen Model 3s pretty much make the predicted range. Unlike with other electric cars, when you get in a Tesla and see the range at a certain number, there’s a real chance of you actually achieving the mileage.

For example, we recently covered 200 miles in a Long Range model. At the end of the journey it had close to 150 miles left in the metaphorical tank – getting it very close to its WLTP range of 360 miles.

The range changes in the cold however, as it does with all electric cars. An EV’s range will typically shrink by 20% in cold weather, and to help the Model 3 out, Tesla uses a Heat Pump. It’s supposed to reduce the impact the cold has on range by reusing warm air from the cabin. On our test we picked up a Standard Range Plus car reading a range of 219 miles. We drove 48 miles, and the car reckoned the range was now 160 miles. So theoretically driving 48 miles lost us 59 miles of range. 

It’s worth bearing in mind our test route was mostly on a motorway, with the heating, stereo, and heated seats on – all of which doesn’t help.

Tesla Model 3 2019 charging point

The range breaks down like this in terms of miles per pound.

  • Standard Range Plus: 15.7 mpp
  • Long Range: 15.0 mpp
  • Performance: 13.6 mpp

Because the Tesla Model 3 has no internal combustion engine, the car itself produces 0g/km of CO2 emissions. This places it in VED car tax band A, and it will be free of BIK between April 2020 and the end of March 2021. It’s primarily for all the reasons above that the Model 3 won the Company Car of The Year in the 2020 Parkers New Car Awards.

Whatever your views on the green credentials of EVs, secondary pollution and the cleanliness of batteries given the raw reserves they use, in terms of tailpipe emissions, the Model 3 is as green as they come. This will become increasingly important as cities and regions continue to introduce clear-air legislation.

Buying a Tesla Model 3 online

Tesla Chat and Virtual Consultation have been introduced for customers who can now register their interest online and speak to a Tesla Advisor directly. All car buying is online and can be undertaken from home via Tesla’s Virtual support team. Customers who buy online can return the car after seven days/1000 miles if they’re not happy.

Tesla can also organise a ‘touchless test drive’ online, where you can try before you buy. Held at the Tesla showroom, the car is unlocked for you, and at this point, fully cleaned, it’s ready for you to test following a video tutorial on screen. You’ll need to register with Tesla for this.

Tesla Chat provides customers with the option to inquire with any questions they may have before buying. There’s online guidance and advice regarding all aspects of the order experience and vehicle configurations. All help can be given over Tesla Chat and an order can be placed over chat with the advisor. Virtual Consultations are purposely designed to prepare a customer for their Touchless Test Drive experience without the need for someone to accompany them.

Servicing and maintenance

Servicing intervals are distated by the way the car is used, and scheduled via the Tesla mobile app. There are servicing plans available depending on how many miles you intend to cover, and astonishingly, Tesla says, ‘Your New Vehicle Limited Warranty or Used Vehicle Limited Warranty will not be affected if recommended service is not performed.’

Reliability

  • Tesla has suffered some well publicised issues with older models
  • Quality and build of the Model 3 looks better than before
  • US surveys haven’t been good for the Model 3

Tesla earned a bit of a chequered reputation in the past with some owners due to Model S and X systems and electrical issues. The fundamental reliability is proving to be good, as there are fewer moving parts than on a conventionally-engined car and electric motors are proven to work with a greater level of reliability than internal combustion engines.

Fewer moving pieces of switchgear also mean there’s less to break and come loose. That said, the 15-inch touchscreen could prove costly to repair if the electronics behind it fail.

But it’s worth saying that in the USA, Consumer Reports has reported numerous issues with the paint, trim and body hardware, which raises reliability questions. Early examples we’ve seen in the UK had less than perfect panel gaps and door alignment, and elements like the ‘frunk’ need a remarkably strong slam or two attempts to close, but these seem to have improved on the latest models.

Accept there could be some variation in build, and it’s unlikely to be problematic, but if you’re a perfectionist the Model 3 has a little way to go to match the quality taken for granted on other premium marques.

Ongoing running costs

Road tax (12 months) £0
Insurance group 48 - 50
How much is it to insure?
Find out more about all electric cars here