Tesla sacrifices speed for range in Model 3 as it shapes up to new kids on the block


Tesla has upped the ante yet again, adding 10% driving range to its base Model 3 on Friday, stripping away the “Standard Range Plus” moniker, and slowing down its its acceleration from a zippy 5.6 seconds from zero to 100km/hr, to a still respectable but slower 6.1 seconds.

The move, which has been accompanied by an increase in battery size (50kWh to 62.3kWh), could be seen as a tactical move as more electric models come onto the market, ramping up competition.

Notably, there was no change in price to the Model 3, which is perhaps a signal of things to come as battery costs come down, and perhaps a result of Tesla deciding it can wear a reduction in its industry leading margins.

It could also reflect continuing efforts to localise supply chains, and perhaps a drop in price from its battery-making partner CATL which has been passed on to customers.

Perhaps it is a combination of all four.

The new specifications are in line with changes to Tesla specs for Model 3 in overseas markets, and Tesla boss Elon Musk has said multiple times the EV maker encourages competition. As a public company however the bottom line is ultimately profits.

For Australia, where there is limited choice in the EV market, any small change to specs can spark a flurry of orders, particularly in this case for those focusing on the right combination of driving range and price.

The new battery for the basic Model 3 means that on range alone, the electric sedan stands out in front of other new models on the market.

This means, of course, it is worth taking a look at the EV newcomers in Australia, and how their range, price, battery size and acceleration compare to the market leader.

Of these, we’ve picked out models which have just entered the local market (marking a decline in sales of older models), and a few that are about to be launched.

It is also worth noting that the missing elephant in the room is the Model Y. While it was thought it might make an appearance by late 2021, sources have suggested otherwise and we suspect early-mid 2022 will now be the first time orders for the Model Y electric crossover go live in Australia.

Therefore the caveat on the below comparison – which includes the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6, the Polestar 2, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Mercedes-Benz EQA – is that the Model 3 is the one sedan amongst a range of wagons, compact SUVs and crossovers, all of which have a hatch rather than a boot at the back.

What links them all is a decent driving range of at least 420km (noting this is WLTP and real-world range can in certain conditions drop below 400km). We’ve also thrown in notable features, including whether the vehicle is built on a dedicated EV platform as opposed to being a modified combustion drivetrain, and whether vehicle-to-load – the ability to power devices from the vehicle’s battery – is included.

For more details you can click the model name to go to a dedicated EV Models page. Note that models with multiple variants have the bottom and top specs included.

Battery (kWh) WLTP Range (km) 0-100 km/hr (secs) Max DC
charge rate (kW)

EV Platform
Hatch Priced
from (MSRP)
Tesla Model 3 62.3 – 82 491 – 614 3.3 – 6.1 250 Yes No No $59,900
Hyundai Ioniq 5 58 – 72.6 430 – 451 5.2 – 7.4 350 Yes Yes Yes $71,990
Kia EV6 77.4 428 – 528 5.2 – 7.3 350 Yes Yes Yes TBC
Polestar 2 64 – 78 440 – 540 4.7 – 7.4 150 Yes No Yes $59,900
Volvo XC40 Recharge 72.5 425 4.9 150 No No Yes $76,990
Mercedes-Benz EQA 66.5 426 8.9 100 No No Yes $76,800

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