FEW CAR makers have had the success of Tesla over the past few years in terms of reinventing the market and kick-starting the industry’s move to electric power, so it’s no surprise the Tesla name has become synonymous with electric cars.
Looking specifically at the Tesla Model 3, which arrived in the UK in 2019, Tesla continued to push the bar in terms of range and performance but added affordability into its mix, too. The compact saloon was always intended to be the American brand’s volume seller, and the plan worked: sales simply exploded. It’s now one of the best-selling electric cars available.
With a range of up to 360 miles, Tesla’s conveniently located and expansive “Supercharger” network allowing rapid charging for long journeys and 0-60mph in as little as 3.1sec, it’s easy to see why it’s popular.
But there are plenty of rivals for the Tesla Model 3 now, with similar range, space and performance, as other car makers catch up. Here we take a look at five alternative electric cars that fall into the Tesla Model 3’s price bracket of between £40,000 and £60,000.
1. BMW i4
- Price from: £51,905 (i4 eDrive40 Sport)
- Fastest 0-62mph: 3.9 seconds (i4 M50)
- Maximum range: 365 miles (i4 eDrive40 Sport)
- On sale date: Reservations accepted now, on sale November 2021
The newest arrival in the sector is arguably the biggest threat to the Tesla Model 3 yet. The i4 is a pure-electric version of the new-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe, so it combines sporty looks with practicality. It delivers sharp handling for an EV and decent performance, too, while the flagship M50 shows flashes of BMW’s petrol-powered M machines in the way that it drives.
2. Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Price from: £41,330 (Mustang Mach-E RWD 70kWh)
- Fastest 0-62mph: 3.7 seconds (Mustang Mach-E GT)
- Maximum range: 379 miles (Mustang Mach-E RWD 91kWh)
- On sale date: Available to order now
Ford has harnessed the power of its legendary Mustang nameplate for its first electric family SUV, but while it can’t match the V8 coupé for hairy-chested performance the Mustang Mach-E is still exceptionally quick and a great-handling electric car, too. It’s also a practical machine, with space for five hidden away in that rakish SUV body. We liked it so much we named it the Times and Sunday Times Car of the Year 2021.
3. Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Price from: £36,995 (Ioniq 5 58kWh RWD 170PS)
- Fastest 0-62mph: 5.2 seconds (Ioniq 5 73kWh AWD 305PS)
- Maximum range: 298 miles (Ioniq 5 73kWh RWD 217PS)
- On sale date: Available now
Don’t be deceived by the Ioniq 5’s hatchback looks – it’s nearly as long and is wider than a Tesla Model 3. That means this design-led machine has space to spare for five occupants and clever lounge-like reclining front seats, while the LED lights and sharp, sci-fi exterior lines mean it’ll turn heads wherever it goes (we named it the Best-designed Car of the Year 2021). What’s more, a three-pin socket in the rear can turn the Ioniq 5 into a giant powerbank on wheels, making it ideal for camping. It doesn’t have as much range or accelerate as fast as a Model 3, but it offers superb value for money. And did we mention the looks?
4. Kia EV6
- Price from: £40,895 (EV6 ‘Air’ 77.4kWh lithium-ion 226bhp RWD)
- Fastest 0-62mph: 3.5 seconds (EV6 AWD LR GT)
- Maximum range: 328 miles (EV6 RWD 226bhp RWD)
- On sale date: First models available now, deliveries from late-October 2021
Closely related to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the Kia EV6. But while the Hyundai delivers comfort, the Kia focuses more on performance and sharp handling. The range-topping GT model is due in 2022 and it has the potential to match the Tesla Model 3 in a drag race.
5. Polestar 2
- Price from: £39,900 (2 Standard range Single motor)
- Fastest 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds (2 Long range Dual motor)
- Maximum range: 335 miles (Long range Single motor)
- On sale date: Available now
Sweden’s Volvo-spin-off electric car brand delivers cool design and understated performance, and is the perfect option for buyers looking to do something different to the herd. A recent range expansion saw more options offered, while the four-wheel-drive range-topper offers good value for money when compared with a top-spec Model 3.
- After reading about five alternatives to the Tesla Model 3, you might be interested to read that the Tesla Cyberquad will be ‘least dangerous ATV’ when it enters production
- Or check out the updated MG ZS electric gets 273-mile range
- Have you read our review of the BMW iX?