Not many cars in the last 20 years have received the same level of attention and scrutiny as Tesla’s Model 3. Like the child of a celebrity, it was announced with great fanfare and had its upbringing carefully documented and editorialized. In 2016, the year it was previewed, preorders reached 325,000 and rumors have it that 100,000 reservations were made in the first 24 hours. By the end of 2019, more than 300,000 were delivered and Tesla Model 3 was the best selling EV in the world.
The Model 3 has helped to change the way that people think about electric cars. While not exactly cheap, its presence has meant that EV options are no longer limited to luxury cars. Selling for only $35,000, with federal tax incentives available in its early days (they have since expired), the Model 3 offered a lot of performance and excitement for the price, with a top speed of 130 and 0-60 speed of 5.6 seconds.
The Standard Range Model 3 - the one that hit the market at $35,000 - was taken off the website in late 2019 and then completely decommissioned in 2020. The Standard Range trim, as opposed to the Standard Range Plus, offers slightly lower range and limits certain other features such as 0-60 time and top speed via software. After price increases in 2021, the price of a new Standard Range Plus is now $43,990 - almost $9K more than the original.
When it comes to Teslas, a lot of the important performance and battery information is encoded in the trim level, and even then, the same trim may have different rated range across years, software packages, or even wheel size. Below is a chart of the Model 3 trims in the Recurrent community, along with the full spectrum of observed ranges (at 100% charge) for each.
The Tesla Model 3 is an all-electric, battery powered car. All the energy is electric and delivered via a high voltage, lithium ion battery. Lithium ion batteries have high power density, stand up to frequent charge and discharge cycles, and generally hold their capacity well over many years.
Recent news in October 2021 is that Tesla will be changing the chemistry in all standard range batteries to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry, instead of nickel-cobalt-aluminum. This should help maintain stable pricing and make sourcing battery materials simpler.
For any all-electric vehicle, range means how many miles the car can go when it’s charged to 100%. However, the actual range that a car can get may vary with external factors, the same as with a gas car. The EPA reports a "rated range" for each make, model, and year of electric vehicle, but there are both short and long term changes to this number.
Read more about how temperature affects range.
We all have our strengths and Recurrent’s strength is understanding EVs! For the last year we have been helping EV owners monitor their car batteries, and we can see the beginnings of range degradation in the Model 3 electric vehicles in our community. Since we only began tracking data in 2020, the picture will get even clearer over time.
From what we've seen firsthand and heard from anecdotes, most Model 3's hold on to their original range very well and you can expect to get 85-95% of the car's original range over its lifetime. Used Model 3 at 100% charge have range varying from 187-334 miles, depending on the year of the vehicle and the trim. This data comes from over 2,000 Tesla Model 3's on US roads today.
The main ways to measure vehicle efficiency are MPGe and miles/kWh. You may see these values on new car stickers or on dealer listings. The 2021 Model 3 Standard Range has the highest efficiency of any electric vehicle, getting 142 MPGe and 4.17 mi/kWh. Other Model 3 years and trims are still very efficient vehicles, with MPGe in the range of 113-142 and miles per kWh between 3.33 and 4.17.
The Model 3 is given a 4.64 charging score by the Recurrent community. This means that Model 3 drivers are very satisfied with their charging experience. As Tesla drivers, they can charge at the national Tesla supercharger network with more than 10,000 US locations. The Superchargers provide up to 200 miles of range in 15 minutes and have max charge speeds of 250 kW- which is high even for fast chargers. However, Tesla recommends that drivers install and use a Level 2 charger at home or work for daily use,
Of course, Model 3 drivers can also charge at other public charging stations, such as EVgo and Electrify America, although they require a CCS adapter. New Teslas come standard with a J1772 adapter for use at public or non-Tesla level 2 chargers.
All Teslas, including the Model 3, use lithium ion batteries - a power dense, high voltage technology that works well for storing enough energy to make a car run. Like your cell phone battery, an electric car battery will degrade over time. This degradation happens based on two things:
a) the age of the battery, and
b) how the battery is used, charged, and stored.
The first sort of degradation is called calendar aging and it happens regardless of how much or how the battery is used. There is an inevitable lifespan for all batteries. On top of that, the way that a battery is used, stored, and charged can accelerate degradation. There can also be short term battery effects that do not affect the longevity or health of a battery.
This discussion is covered in a research article on battery degradation.
As of October 2021, Tesla announced a change to all standard range batteries chemistry, going from nickel-cobalt-aluminum to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP). This new battery chemistry has more sustainable components, reducing reliance on hard-to-mine cobalt, and should allow Tesla to keep base trim prices down.
The battery size, or battery capacity, for a Model 3is measured in kWh, and ranges from 50 - 82 kWh depending on trim and year. A 50 kWh battery is slightly below industry standards for a modern electric vehicle, but was pretty large in 2017 when the Model 3 debuted. On the other hand, an 82 kW battery is still on the big side, even today.
The lithium ion batteries used in the Model 3 should last for at least the life of the car. The Model 3 is still new enough that serious degradation has not been seen on a large scale, but anecdotal evidence is that there is minimal range loss with mileage as high as 150,000 miles.
Tesla offers an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty (120,000 miles for the Long Range or Performance trims). They guarantee that the battery will retain at least 70% of its original battery capacity over the warranty period. The warranty is also transferable to new owners, and a 1-year/10,000 mile used warranty applied to any used Tesla purchased directly from the company.
This page shares Chevy Bolt data collected from over 700 cars across the United States. Each of the 3.5 million miles driven helps to draw a picture of the Model S experience. We polled our community of Model S drivers to find out what they love and what they could leave with their vehicles.
4.7 out of 5 overall vehicle satisfaction
74% drivers would give it 5 stars
90% drivers would buy another
Only 29% of drivers have Full Self Driving
Vehicle range - 4.47
On board range estimate reliability - 4.50
Charging availability - 4.70
Time to charge - 4.30
Auto Pilot - 4.56
Overall value for price - 4.22
Cost to charge and maintain - 4.85
Driver comfort - 4.65
Premium connectivity - 4.98 (72% do have)
Most liked features:
"Sexy, fast, and fun to drive! I love that it’s completely electric with zero omissions. It’s awesome to never have to go to a gas station again."
"It’s fun to drive and it’s extremely reliable. Mine has over 176,000 miles on it and I have never had a problem that prevented me from driving it."
Room to improve:
"No handles above doors to assist egress and ingress; inadequate cup holders; inadequate storage space (no back-of-seat or door pockets & awkward center console)."
"Lack of aftermarket parts, difficult to get repairs outside of a Tesla shop, Tesla being stingy with parts for owners to do repairs on their own. Cost of parts and repair from Tesla is prohibitively expensive. Lack of reliability with door handles on Model S."
"This car is quirky, and it has not been as reliable as other cars I have owned over the past 20 years. It has been serviced for warranty issues 3 times. Access to service is poor and other supportive services (loaner cars, etc.) are virtually nonexistent."
A green score of Great means that Chevy Bolts have the lowest possible tailpipe emissions. If you want to lower your carbon footprint even further, consider buying used or installing home solar power to supply electricity for your car.
This page shares Model 3 data collected from over 2,000 cars across the United States. Each of the 14 million miles driven helps to draw a picture of the driving experience. We polled our community to find out what they love and what they could leave with their vehicles.
Most liked features:
"Except for a mortgage and marriage license, the best purchase I ever made."
"It’s basically like Christmas morning when updates come in. This is the first car I have had that improves with time."
“The Auto Pilot feature is IDEAL for sitting in stop & go traffic and takes all the stress out of the commute.”
Room to improve:
"Poor fit & finish. Compared to Audi or BMW, not even close."
“Paid for full self driving almost 3 years ago, still do not have it”
“The automatic Windshield wipers aren't quite as intuitive as I would like. Would prefer they be on a stalk and I turn them on or off. Same with high beam.”
The Green Score for the Model 3 is great. It is an all-electric car with no tailpipe emissions. If you were to buy a used Model 3, you could be even more environmentally conscious: every used car purchase means one fewer new car that needs to be produced and shipped. Finally, you can really up your green game by powering your EV with renewable energy for the ultimate clean machine.
The Model 3 made headlines long before it was even being designed. Prior to 2010, it was already being lauded as an affordable, family EV. The vision was an all-electric sedan with good range, good safety, and a reasonable starting price of $35K less the available $7,500 federal tax incentive.
The Standard Range Model 3 - the model that hit the market at $35,000 - was taken off the Tesla website in late 2019 and then completely decommissioned in 2020. The base model is now the Standard Range Plus, which, after three price increases in 2021, starts at $43,990 - almost $7K more than the original. Long Range and Performance options start at $49,990 and $57,990, respectively.
A popular add on for the Model 3 is the full self driving (FSD) package, which offers a continually-improving suite of assisted driving and autopilot features, with the goal to be true to its name: an actual self driving system. Although full autonomy seems a ways off, many drivers have bought into the dream, which currently costs an addition $10K or a $199 monthly subscription fee ($99 if you already have enhanced autopilot).
If you want to add FSD to a used Model 3, you need to ensure that the hardware and software are compatible: you need the 3.0 computer and either autopilot or enhanced autopilot on board. You can also pay to upgrade your hardware, but there is no cost offset should you opt for that.
Speaking of full self drive, this is a feature that Tesla is bundling with all used Model 3's purchased direct. This raises the used price from tesla.com about $10K higher than you might find elsewhere. Typical used prices for a Model 3 run between $30,000 and $78,000, with the higher price options generally being for Performance trims and models with full self drive. Note that most Model 3's sold by third party dealers will not have self driving software, but those purchased directly from private parties might. The most surefire way to tell is to ask Tesla what software is installed on a particular vehicle and if it is transferrable.
If you notice that a used Model 3 can go for a lot more than a new one - you're not alone. The price has skyrocketed in the past year. You can read more about it here.
Recurrent uses cost per range mile as a way to measure the marginal increase in range that larger battery capacity or different trims may offer. The cost per range mile in a used Model 3 can range between $162-$233, depending on trim and configuration.
Recurrent uses data from the AFDC to determine the range of annual charging costs for a Model 3. Assuming and average driving pattern of 34 miles a day, 5 days a week, 49 weeks a year with 25% highway driving, plus a few additional highway road trips, you can estimate your annual charging costs to be between $286 - $914. This estimate is for a 2019 Standard Range Plus configuration. More detailed and personalized values can be calculated at the link above. For our calculations, the highest electricity price is found in Hawaii and the lowest in Louisiana.