More Tesla for your money – and for more company car drivers
In Europe, sales of the Model 3 have been booming during the first quarter of 2019. Many customers had been waiting since 2016 to take delivery of their Teslas, which have been flowing in big numbers from the quay in Zeebrugge (Belgium) towards outlets on the European continent since February 2019.
On top of that, many new customers have waited to see the Model 3 in the flesh before signing an order form. In February, Tesla sold 3,630 units of its electric saloon, making it the top-selling electric car and pushing the Nissan Leaf into second position. Better still, the Tesla Model 3 outsold all other premium midsize saloons in Europe in February, according to Jato, and it wasn’t even available in the UK yet.
That’s impressive, but there are a few remarks to be made. First, not everyone agrees Tesla builds premium cars. Its prices may be on a par with BMW, Audi and Mercedes, the quality of the materials used, the paintwork, the fit&finish and the build quality are not. Second, the Jato numbers only include the saloon versions of the German trio. If you also include the estate models, then Tesla is nowhere to be found in the top three.
Still, looking at the March sales figures across Europe, the Model 3 seems to strengthen its position and could be on its way to outselling the aforementioned rivals even if you include the estate versions. In a few months’ time, Tesla will be adding cheaper versions of the 3 - all the more reason to believe it will build up momentum and dominate the European sales charts in the general EV and the premium D-segment.
There is a problem, though. Now that the Model 3 is available, less consumers are inclined to dig deep into their pockets and buy a Model S. The gap is simply too big: a Model 3 Long Range AWD (featuring a 75kWh battery for 560km of WLTP range) costs about €48,000 excluding VAT, whereas a Model S sets you back at least €76,000 (100kWh for 555km).
That is why Tesla is adding a cheaper version of the Model S – or rather, bringing it back: earlier this year, the 75 versions were scrapped. Called ‘Standard Range’, the new entry-level model gives 450km of WLTP range and costs €68,000 excluding VAT – that’s €8,000 less than the Long Range, but still 20k more than the top-of-the-range Model 3.
At the same time, the Long Range models get a more efficient drivetrain which increases the range by 10%. For the Model S, that means a WLTP range that stands at 610km. The Model X Standard Range claims 505km of range. From a value-for-money perspective, the Standard Range Model S costs €151 per km of range, whereas the Long Range comes in at €125 per km of range. By way of comparison, the Long Range AWD Model 3 costs €86 per electric km.