– Article/Photos by Rod Fuller –
Tesla continues to redefine how the world sees electric cars. Leading the way with the Model S, then Model X and now the Model 3, a simpler, smaller and more affordable car, designed to be the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle.
Model 3 Standard Plus is the ‘entry level’ model to the Tesla range, as the smallest and most affordable Tesla available. But don’t let that confuse you into thinking the car is some ‘poverty pack special’ – it’s NOT! It comes fully loaded and when you look at it, you’ll be hard-pressed to discern it as the ‘entry level’ model, as it comes with an impressive list of standard inclusions such as:-
- 18” Aero Wheels (fitted with 235/45R18 tyres)
- All black premium ‘vegan’ leather interior.
- Keyless Entry/Start – they key is actually a card
Interestingly, the only option on the Standard Plus, is metallic paint at $1500, bringing the drive away price (quoted by Tesla) to $74,471 (at the time I wrote this review because Tesla does change prices to create world pricing parity).
‘Autopilot’ is offered on all Model 3’s sold in Australia (Autonomous-driving is only available overseas). Eight360⁰ cameras (front/side/rear) and forward radar, enables Model 3 to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane, taking adaptive cruise control and lane departure systems to another level.
Inside Model 3 it’s strikingly ‘minimalist’ in its design, with a single 15” horizontally mounted centre touchscreen dominating the dashboard. The touchscreen integrates all climate/cabin controls, communications, media, navigation and vehicle data into one intuitive interface. All information (even the speedo, which I found a little disconcerting at first) is displayed on touchscreen. The look of the interior is very clean and uncluttered and has a real air of quality about it.
There is plenty of room inside as well, with very good head and leg room for all occupants. A tinted glass roof provides a very airy feeling of space inside the cabin and protects vehicle occupants from UV and infrared light – a must for our hot summer days. When it comes to luggage space there’s up to 542lt boot capacity, plus an extra 117lt in the very cute and practical “Frunk” under the bonnet.
As an electric car (obviously) it’s very quiet inside, but there’s some road noise from coarser bitumen surfaces that can be heard inside the cabin, it’s not overly intrusive but noticeable at times. On the road, it’s a very easy drive with “chill” and “sport” modes, to chill and relax on the daily commute or liven it up when a sportier drive is desired. Maximum power/torque (190kW/375Nm) is instantly available, for when it’s time to get up and go, with a 0-100kmh time of 5.6 seconds.
Range is always the talking point about electric cars and Model 3 Standard Plus quotes an impressive range of 460km (NEDC), equivalent to similar-sized petrol cars on the urban cycle and superior to that of competitors like IONIQ, which has a maximum range of about 230km.
Charging time is an issue though, whilst Tesla Supercharger stations still are relatively sparse, as are that of third party stations (I tried to use the NRMA Supercharger at Homebush, but was denied, as a disabled driver had thoughtlessly parked in the ‘electric vehicle only’ spot in front of the Supercharger – meaning the charge cable wouldn’t reach). Other Tesla advertised charge points seem to be not much better than 240v, which can take in excess of 24 hours to charge up fully.
Tesla offers a four year/80,000km warranty on Model 3 as well as an eight year/160,000km warranty on the battery/drive unit. There’s no spare tyre though (not even a space saver or tyre-inflator kit). Tesla advises “Damage to the wheel or tyre that causes flat or unsafe driving conditions”, is covered under their 24/7 Roadside Assistance program, for up to 80 km.
Model 3 Standard Plus is an exceptional vehicle, forging the way to normalise electric cars. By no means is it just the ‘entry level’ model. It’s well-appointed/comfortable/practical and an exceptional daily drive. Time to join the electric revolution? Then get in on the ground floor, take a look at the Model 3 Standard Plus, it might just be the next lease car for you.
What does it look like as a Novated Lease?
|RRP (including GST)||$67,900|
|Annual Savings with a Novated Lease||$2,627|
This data is from the 2020 Novated Leasing Guide produced by Fleet Auto News.