av Morton E. . Dec 31, 2023
Image Credit: WhatCar? UK/YouTube
The reign of the Tesla Model 3 in the affordable electric sedan market may be facing some serious challengers, but a recent UK test drive suggests the king isn't ready to relinquish his crown just yet.
Facing off against the rising stars of the segment, the BYD Seal and Volkswagen ID.7, the Model 3 Highland emerged victorious in a head-to-head comparison conducted by What Car? magazine. The grueling 556-mile roundtrip from London to Wales put the three EVs through their paces on freeways, rural roads, and cityscapes, revealing strengths and weaknesses across the board.
Charge King: Tesla Reigns Supreme
While all three boast impressive specs, the Model 3's biggest advantage lies in its charging network. Tesla's ubiquitous Supercharger network proved its worth, offering the quickest and most convenient charging experience. Even though both the BYD Seal and VW ID.7 managed to tap into a Supercharger station at a slightly higher cost, the vastness and reliability of Tesla's network remain unmatched, according to Inside EVs.
Efficiency Edge: Model 3 Sips, Rivals Guzzle
Fuel efficiency, the lifeblood of any electric car, saw the Model 3 reign supreme once again. The Highland trim needed a mere £59.2 worth of charging to complete the journey, half the cost of the ID.7 and also less than the BYD Seal. This translated to an impressive 3.6 miles per kWh for the Model 3, compared to 3.1 for the Seal and a disappointing 2.8 for the ID.7.
Cold Weather Woes: ID.7 Takes a Hit
The test also revealed a hidden weakness in the ID.7: its susceptibility to colder temperatures. Under winter conditions, the ID.7's range plummeted by a staggering 48% compared to the manufacturer's claim, showcasing a glaring vulnerability compared to the Model 3's 33% drop and the Seal's surprisingly resilient 23% decrease.
Beyond the Numbers: Interior Appeal
But it's not all about stats and figures. When it comes to interior design, the Model 3 impressed the testers with its sleek and minimalist cabin, a significant upgrade from its predecessor. While the BYD Seal offers a spacious and comfortable interior, and the ID.7 boasts a futuristic and tech-laden dashboard, the Model 3's simplicity and elegance won the day.
Price Point Puzzle: Value for Your Pound
While the Model 3 remains the most affordable of the three at just under £40,000, the BYD Seal comes in at a slightly higher £45,700. The ID.7, however, presents a different picture. Priced at a hefty £55,600 for the launch edition, the ID.7's initial appeal might be limited. However, more affordable variants are expected to follow, potentially shaking up the price landscape.
The Verdict: A Crown Not Easily Unseated
While the BYD Seal and VW ID.7 offer compelling alternatives, the Tesla Model 3 Highland remains the benchmark in the affordable electric sedan segment. Its charging network advantage, superior efficiency, and refined interior continue to hold sway, even in the face of stiff competition. The Model 3 may not be perfect, but for now, its crown remains firmly in place. However, with rivals closing the gap, the electric sedan landscape promises to be an exciting battleground in the years to come.
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