Tesla Model 3 prices fall as Long Range returns

Prices for the Tesla Model 3 have been lowered, with the short-lived Long Range model returning to sale

The Tesla Model 3 has had a price drop in the UK, with the entry-level Standard Range Plus now starting from £37,340.

The top-spec Performance variant now costs £49,990, while the mid-priced Long Range has returned after a period off-sale: it now goes for £46,340.

This is the second time Tesla has amended its pricing structure for the Model 3, despite the car being on sale for less than three months.

While the lower prices are good news for new customers, the sudden drop is set to leave recent buyers out of pocket yet again.

Last time around, the company indicated to DrivingElectric that measures would be taken to help affected customers who missed out on lower prices, although it’s not clear if it'll do the same again on this occasion.

Such a move would make sense for both customers and the company: buyers can return their cars free of charge if they change their minds within a week of ownership or 1,000 miles of driving, whichever comes first.

As expected, Tesla has reinstated the white interior trim option, having left customers with only a single colour (black) a few weeks ago.

Although not as fast as the Performance model, the Long Range has – as the name suggests – a longer range: 348 miles versus 329 miles on a single charge, according to the WLTP efficiency test.

Elsewhere, prices for the Tesla Model S and Model X have risen significantly.

Tesla Model 3 specifications

The rear-wheel drive Model 3 Standard Range Plus – Tesla’s cheapest car to date – will deliver 254 miles of range according to the WLTP efficiency test. 0-60mph takes 5.3 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.

Meanwhile, the mid-priced Model 3 Long Range uses a dual-motor system to provide all-wheel drive and hits 348 miles of range, with 0-60mph taking 4.4 seconds en route to a top speed of 145mph.

The top-spec Model 3 Performance also offers all-wheel drive. Although its range falls to 329 miles, it’s the fastest car in the line-up, with a 0-60mph time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 162mph.

Car Price Range 0-60mph Top speed
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus £37,340 254 miles 5.3 seconds 140mph
Tesla Model 3 Long Range £46,340 348 miles 4.4 seconds 145mph
Tesla Model 3 Performance £49,990 329 miles 3.2 seconds 162mph

All prices include the Government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant.

All versions come with Autopilot as standard, allowing the Model 3 to accelerate, brake and steer itself on motorways and dual-carriageways.

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability promises even more autonomous driving, although it costs an extra £5,800. It's also available to buy after customers have taken delivery of their cars, although Tesla warns that prices are likely to increase over time as updates are released.

Inside, the Model 3 features a minimalist interior typical of the Tesla range, with a 15-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard controlling all of the car’s functions.

Four USB sockets are provided so passengers can charge handheld devices, and the Model 3 can connect two smartphones to its on-board system at a time.

Performance and Long Range cars benefit from a premium interior package, which introduces powered, heated seats, a 14-speaker audio system with online music streaming, plus satellite-view maps with live traffic updates and navigation.

There are five colours to choose from, although Pearl White is the only one that doesn’t cost extra. Solid Black costs £750, Might Silver and Deep Blue cost £950, while Multi Coat Red and Pearl White costs £1,900.

Standard Range Plus and Long Range versions of the Model 3 get 18-inch Aero Wheels as standard. The Performance version gets 20-inch Performance Wheels as standard, in addition to aluminium alloy pedals, red brake callipers, a carbon-fibre rear spoiler and a Track Mode for circuit driving.

All Model 3s are covered by a four-year warranty. The first customers took delivery of their cars in June.

Tesla Model 3 Euro NCAP crash-test rating

Earlier this month, the Tesla Model 3 was awarded the maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, achieving a record rating for its advanced driver aids.

The Model 3 scored 96% in the adult occupant protection category, along with 86% and 74% respectively in the child protection and vulnerable road users tests.

Its record 94% in the safety assist category was achieved after tests were conducted on the car's speed assistance, lane-departure avoidance and blind-spot monitoring systems.

Tesla's Autopilot feature is classified as a "comfort driving feature" and therefore had no impact on the results, however Euro NCAP will begin to test such systems from next year onwards.

200kW charging capability

Back in June, Tesla began rolling out an over-the-air update boosting the Model 3's maximum charging speed to 200kW.

The upgrade applies to all-wheel-drive versions of the car, namely the Model 3 Long Range and Model 3 Performance.

Rapid charging will be possible on the IONITY network, as well as those provided by Fastned and others.

Earlier this year, Tesla announced a worldwide upgrade to its Supercharger network: this will see the Model 3’s maximum charging rate raised again to 250kW as the new Superchargers are installed over the course of the next year.

Charging network extensions

The Tesla Supercharger network already stretches across 430 locations in 23 European countries, having grown by more than 30% in 2018. But even so, Tesla is keen to ensure that Model 3 owners aren’t kept waiting to charge their batteries.

Last summer a Supercharger session was started on average every 10 seconds, and with increasing demand on the horizon the need to boost capacity is clear.

By adopting CCS charging on the Model 3 – as well as giving Model S and Model X owners optional CCS compatibility – Tesla drivers will soon have an extra 5,500 charging points to choose from throughout Europe. More than 1,000 of these can be found in the UK.

According to Drew Bennett, Tesla’s head of global charging infrastructure, giving customers more choice is as much about offering peace of mind as it is about meeting demand.

“As the Model 3 has expanded here in North America, the way we’re seeing people use charging is that the Supercharger network helps them feel comfortable,” he explains. “Just in case, right? They don’t know what they’re worried about, but the fact that there's an always-available, fast solution makes them feel a lot better.”

Tesla anticipates that the majority of charging will continue to take place at home, where it’s usually most convenient for owners to plug in overnight. However, the company recognises that it can provide better “customer experience, capacity, availability and convenience” by embracing third-party charging networks.

“There’s two things I care about a lot when we think about charging,” says Bennett. “One is expanding the network so that people can continue to go everywhere that they want, anywhere they can imagine. That’s a big deal, and it takes an aggressive company to invest in that.

“The other thing is as we scale to maintain capacity on the network, what you’re going to see is that regional operators will continue putting stations where there are a lot of owners. And from our perspective, there’s no reason that that always has to be a Tesla charging station.”

Bennett insists that he doesn’t view charging companies such as IONITY as rivals for business, and that Tesla wants to “push the envelope” of sustainable energy and transportation.

With that in mind, expansion of the Tesla Supercharger network is set to intensify again, despite already seeing an average of eight stations opened in Europe each month in 2018.

“We’ll accelerate it for sure,” says Bennett. “We’re there to put infrastructure in before our owners need it. It’s absolutely our goal to be leading demand. By no means is giving our customers the chance to more conveniently use other stations diminishing our investment in the network.”