The Model 3 is finally available in the UK, but is it what you expected?

Tesla Model 3
By Steve Jurvetson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/35418225484/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61376691

Supposedly made to compete with the likes of BMW’s 3 Series and Mercedes’ C Class cars, the Model 3 was meant to be Tesla’s ‘affordable’ car. After all, the Model S and Model X cost above and beyond £70,000 so when we heard that the Model 3 could potentially be sold for as little as $35,000 in the US, us Britons were rather excited. Now that it’s here, available in the UK, reality has hit hopeful customers square in the face with a giant price tag and unattractive options.

Tesla have been a hot topic for debate for a while now and for good reason. Paint scratches on factory-new cars, dodgy pricing and crazy tweets from Elon Musk, there’s plenty of ammunition for Tesla-hater. Will the Model 3 prove itself in the UK or will it fall flat? 

‘Affordable’

Tesla’s Model 3 is supposedly their most ‘affordable’ model in their limited lineup. This is true because it costs less than £70,000 so it’s the cheapest by default, however, a car that costs £38,900 certainly doesn’t belong in the ‘affordable’ category and many people have picked up on that. This is a problem, especially when Tesla are yet to offer their Model 3 through finance (only hire purchase is available at the moment), which prices out a lot of potential buyers.

Tesla Model 3
Jengtingchen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Most would-be customers are disappointed to see that the $35,000 price tag seen in the US has been translated to a £38,900 price tag here in the UK. After adding on taxes, import costs and apparently the cost to put the steering wheel on the other side, $35,000 has been converted into almost £39,000, rather than a price closer to £27,000, which is what some hopeful buyers expected.

Tesla Model 3
Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Furthermore, if you didn’t know already, Tesla like to show you two prices on their website; one price showing the real price of the car, the other showing you the price of the car ‘after savings’. For instance, you may think that £38,900 sounds like a lot of money, but Tesla are here to convince you that after ‘savings’ the car will only cost £29,400 thanks to fuel savings alone, apparently. That only applies to those spending £1,900 per year on fuel and it’s also important to note that you can buy any other less expensive electric vehicle and see these same fuel savings.

If your Model 3 ends up costing over £40,000, which it will if you want the self-driving option, then you’ll also have to pay over £300 per year on car tax, despite your car being emission free!

Tesla Model 3
By Seungho Yang – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65366416

This is because cars that cost over £40,000 endure a luxury tax which is £320 each year for the first 5 years of registration, effective from the second year of registration.

Elon Musk has also said that Model 3 owners wouldn’t be able to benefit from free Supercharging because it would be too expensive for the company to provide it to owners of the lower-cost vehicle.

Lack of options

Tesla Model 3
Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

What you may not know is that if you want any colour other than black it’ll cost £950 – £1,900 extra and you can only choose from black, white, red, blue or grey. The other option of wheels will set you back £1,450 and the desolate interior only comes in black or white, with white costing you £950 extra.

The real stinger is the cost of the autopilot functionalities which for some reason, aren’t included as standard in your Model 3. This is one of the main selling points for any Tesla car and it unfortunately costs £4,900 extra to add! If you want to upgrade your car’s software after you’ve taken delivery, then that figure of £4,900 turns into £6,800! Tesla add on almost £2,000 onto the cost!

Tesla Model 3
Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Tesla know exactly what they’re good at and they stick to it. The Model 3 is exceptionally fast with a 0-60mph time of just 5.3 seconds in the most basic model, and as quick as 3.2 seconds in the Performance model. The cars are capable of achieving great electric range as well, ranging from 258 miles to 329 miles depending on the model. And let’s not forget about the auto-pilot technology that seems to be years ahead of the competition, which is probably why they charge nearly £5,000 for it.

Tesla Model 3
Jengtingchen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

That being said, when it comes to design, interior luxuries and price, the Model 3 is beaten by many other competitors. With the Model 3 priced much higher than similar luxury vehicles, it will be interesting to see whether it struggles to sell, or becomes a great success as it did in the US.

Feature Image: Punkdali [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

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