The Tesla Model 3 was and remains one of the best electric vehicles available on the market even in 2021, as more and more companies strive to carve out their share of the industry and leap the exceptionally high bar Tesla has set in the past few years. Yet it seems that with the advent of the Model 3, Tesla has become increasingly ambitious and determined between the dominant driver behind e-mobility, with the new Tesla Model S refresh, due to release in the UK in 2022, claimed to shatter numerous established records in terms of power, range, and efficiency. For three consecutive years, the Model 3 has reigned as the best selling electric vehicle on the global market, selling over 300,000 units in 2019, and, according to some sources, nearly 500,000 units in 2020. This has contributed to Tesla’s recent success and the record boom in the value of share prices that they experienced at the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, and it seems that the Model 3 was instrumental for this.
The Model 3 released in mid 2017 and was made available in the Standard Range Plus, the Long Range, and the Performance models, with the Performance boasting the greatest top speed and 0 to 60 mph acceleration time (as well as the other archetypes of a performance vehicle), whereas the Long Range possessed, as the name implied, the greatest WLTP range at 348 miles. For Tesla, the Model 3 was designed to be their answer to the demands for a more affordable electric vehicle that would still serve the majority of commuters, and in that respect has enjoyed resounding success as of yet. Of the three available models, the Long Range was the most doted upon, although there were of course criticisms, despite being reported as being less comfortable and not handling as smoothly around corners as the faster Performance.
Last year, the Model 3 received a facelift, which improved specifications across the board for all three models and addressed some issues that had been exposed in the original Model 3. Yet again, the Long Range seems to be the best value for money, as, unlike the Performance, it qualifies for the UK government’s £3000 subsidy for electric vehicles under £50,000, which, when applied, prices the Long Range at £46,990. Although, it is not as cheap as the Standard Range Plus, the Long Range has the advantage of having dual electric motors, instead of a single one, and a 75 kWh battery, which produces 434 bhp and 493 Nm of torque. Furthermore, the dual motor system provides 4 wheel drive, allowing more torque and power to be utilised, whilst also providing a claimed WLTP range of 360 miles on a single charge (exceeding that of the Standard Range Plus by nearly 100 miles) and enabling the Long Range to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Even though this is not quite the 3.3 seconds that the Performance is capable of, it is still impressive and more than sufficient considering that the Long Range is almost £10,000 cheaper when taking into account the £3000 grant.
Being a Tesla, the new Long Range has inherited the benefits of being able to access the company’s portfolio of charging points in the UK enclosed by the umbrella of their proprietary Superchargers. Therefore, the Long Range can be charged considerably faster than any of its rivals around the same performance and range if a Supercharger is available to the driver.
Aside from improvements to the performance and range, the Long Range has adopted a sportier appearance, owing to a handful of minor changes, in which the material used to surround the windows and door handles are now a satin black in colour. The boot can now be opened electronically via a button that grants access to the substantial 542 litres of space, whilst the addition of a heat pump enables the inside of the car to heat up at a faster rate but being more energy efficient in the process.
The Long Range offers ample foot room at the front and back, with the storage bin between the front seats being bestowed with a sliding lid, while the other storage compartment under the infotainment screen has been abandoned entirely and exchanged for a faux suede wireless charging bay for mobile devices. USB charging ports have been swapped for the slightly smaller USB-C ports and are more abundant in the vehicle and there is even an option to lock the glove box using a PIN code, if ever the need arises to ensure the protection of its contents. The final significant interior change is the new matte black finishes on the various surfaces, however, the 15 inch infotainment touchscreen remains. Even in 2021, the Model 3 retains its status as an electric vehicle that is not only affordable but has enough power and range to still be a strong contender despite the advances made by other companies in these realms. The Long Range is perhaps the most suitable option for the Model 3 in terms of everyday requirements, although it may still lack the handling of its Performance contemporary, and Tesla actively continues to provide updates to user interface and autonomous software, with one of the most recent enabling the Model 3 to analyse the environment and provide detailed information relevant to the driver. Thus, as always, Tesla remains at the forefront of advancements in autonomous technology and the Long Range, as with the other Model 3 variants demonstrates this.
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