Fully four year have passed since we dispatched Matt Prior to California to report on the then trailblazing new Tesla Model 3.
Yet despite the flood of alternative electric saloons that have arrived in its bug-eyed wake, the American EV remains as compelling as ever, and particularly for company car drivers.
A benefit-in-kind tax rate of just 2% lays the foundations for its appeal in this regard, but this isn’t unique to the Model 3: all EVs attract this low rate (the Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are just two that you might also consider).
What makes the Model 3 stand out is its ability to keep going and going during daily use. In Long Range guise, its WLTP range is 360 miles on a single charge, although the real appeal for any executive living on Britain’s motorways is Tesla’s Supercharger network, which still leads the way in terms of the cost and dependability of replenishing an EV’s battery and is the jewel in the crown of Tesla ownership.
Tesla has installed more than 650 Supercharger sites in the UK (averaging around 10 connectors), and the network continues to grow. Perhaps the only concern for existing and would-be Model 3 owners is that, such is the popularity of the Model 3, demand at the sites is now often resulting in queues. However, Tesla’s roll-out of faster V3 units should ameliorate, if not cure, this problem and ensure the network remains the envy of other EV drivers.
Residual values also remain very sturdy indeed, which helps mitigate the Model 3’s slightly punchier pricing compared with rivals. Of course, none of this would matter were the Model 3 not an intrinsically good car to drive and to simply be inside. The ride quality is firmer than you might like in an executive saloon, but rarely if ever does progress become uncomfortable and the firm damping provides an appealing sense of surety and composure that’s essential given the car’s performance potential.
The steering is inert but accurate and nicely geared, and in general the car flows along in carefree fashion, with an airy ambience boosted by the simplicity of the interior design and the enormous glasshouse. Wind noise can be an issue, but the Model 3 generally offers an almost restorative sense of calm on the move – perfect for those long days at the wheel. If Tesla can up its perceived quality, the Model 3 will be very hard to beat for years to come.