Tesla’s all-electric Model 3 sedan has finally gone on sale in the UK, its first right hand drive market to date, and revealing pricing for the best-selling electric car in the UK.
Significantly, not only are the Long Range and Performance versions of the Model 3 available, but also the Standard Range Plus.
In the US and Europe, at first only the Long Range and Performance models were made available initially, but in the UK Tesla has decided to make the Standard Range Plus (the upgraded “partially premium interior” version of its base Standard Range version) available from the get go.
This has the Model 3 starting at just £38,900 ($A72,286 at today’s rates) if the UK plug-in car grant is taken into account, and including Tesla’s “destination and documentation fee” of £850 ($A1,579 at today’s rates).
Tesla estimates that once £9,500 ($A17,653) worth of fuel savings are added into the mix, the Standard Range Plus, which offers 258 miles (415km) of range (using the WLTP standard), a top speed of 140mph (25km/hr) and acceleration to 60mph within 5.3 seconds, will cost a UK driver just £29,400 ($A54,635 at today’s rates).
The Long Range Model 3, which offers 348 miles (560km) of range (WLTP), a 145 mph (233km/hr) top speed and acceleration to 60mph in 4.5 seconds in the UK now costs £47,900 ($A89,011 at today’s rates), or £38,400 ($A71,357 at today’s rates) after fuel savings.
The Performance Model 3, which offers 329 miles (529km) of range (WLTP), a 162 mph (260km/hr) top speed and acceleration to 60mph in 3.2 seconds in the UK now costs £56,900 ($A105,735 at today’s rates), or £47,400 ($A88,081 at today’s rates) after fuel savings.
As with all other Tesla models, Autopilot is included as standard, where only weeks ago it was an additional extra
Tesla’s UK website estimates that deliveries will start in June, indicating a good four weeks before RHD version of the popular EV arrive in the UK – although this would be firstly for reservation holders.
While the pricing is higher than expected due to the base Standard Range not being available, the Standard Range Plus still fairs favourably against a high-spec’d Nissan Leaf (which costs about £3,000 less than the SRP’s £38,900) but with all the additional grunt and wow factor brought about by being a Tesla vehicle.
However, there is considerable outcry on social media networks that the price is much higher than expected, attributed in part due to the UK’s 20% VAT but also due to unfavourable exchange rates.
The release of the Model 3 to the market in the UK not only comes as an advisory committee on climate change has recommended the UK move its 100% electric vehicle sales target forward a decade to 2030 to ensure zero net emissions by 2050, it also heralds the start of its availability in other RHD markets.
Just last week CEO and founder Elon Musk announced the order page would go live in the UK this week, with Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong follow shortly thereafter.
So, the clock is now well and truly on for Australia, where a dearth of choice in affordable electric vehicles has been a key factor in slow uptake of electric vehicles compared to the rest of the developed world.
However whether or not pricing of the Model 3 will be satisfactory for Australian drivers wanting to switch to electric remains to be seen; with the recent price drop and range upgrade of the Model S and X there has been some noise from reservation holders that the latter may represent better value for money.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.