The Car Connection Tesla Model 3 Overview
The Tesla Model 3 is a compact sedan from the California-based all-electric automaker. It's the fourth vehicle from Tesla, following the Model S, Model X, and a limited-production Roadster that launched the company.
With the Model 3, Tesla has a relatively affordable electric sedan to that's at the same time a premium alternative to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, and Kia Niro EV, while also a serious rival to sport sedans including the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. The high-end Model 3 has longer range than any of those competitors at more than 350 miles. Base version of the sedan top 250 miles of range and cost about $45,000.
MORE: Read our 2021 Tesla Model 3 review
All early Model 3s were the high-end Long Range version, which tops $50,000 with a full suite of options. Dual Motor (all-wheel-drive) and Standard Range (shorter-range) versions of the Model 3 have since been launched. Standard range models now use lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells, in contrast to the lithium-ion cells found in the Long Range and Performance models.
The NHTSA says the current Tesla Model 3 earns five stars in every test it performs, and gets five stars overall in crash tests.
All Model 3s are assembled at the automaker's assembly plant in Fremont, California. Its batteries are manufactured at Tesla's Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada.
The small sedan largely follows the design direction that the Model S set before it. The Model 3 features the updated nose from its larger brother, and the automaker's flush-mounted door handles, but at nearly a foot shorter than the Model S, the Model 3 lacks the longer overhangs from the Model S.
Inside, the Model 3 eschews conventional gauges and dials for a 15.0-inch digital display placed in the center of the sedan to handle all tasks, including driver information. The Model 3 seats up to five adults and offers 15 cubic feet in the trunk for cargo.
According to Tesla, the base Model 3 accelerates up to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Both all-wheel drive versions are much quicker. The Long Range makes the sprint in 4.2 seconds and the Performance does it in just 3.1 seconds, putting it in supercar territory.
Unlike the Model S, the Model 3 won't offer owners the chance to charge for free at Tesla's "Superchargers" scattered across the U.S. Instead, Model 3 owners will have to pay for charging at those stations. Tesla has said that charging the batteries up to 80 percent may take 40-50 minutes, but owners may see bursts of 75 miles returned in just 5 minutes at some states of charge. On a 240-volt home charger, Tesla says that the Model 3 will charge at 30 miles per hour of charging.
Tesla offers a handful of options on the Model 3, including a "Full Self-Driving" suite of driver-assistance features, power-adjustable heated front seats, panoramic moonroof, and wood trim.
The Model 3 is built on a separate platform from the Model S and Model X, and is the basis for the Model Y crossover utility vehicle.