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What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with myenergi

Electric Car Awards 2020: Electric executive car

With electric cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric executive car...

Electric Car Awards - Tesla Model 3

WINNER: Electric executive car

Tesla Model 3

Best buy Performance List price £56,490 Target Price £56,490 Target PCP na 0-60mph 3.2sec Top speed 162mph Official range 329 miles CO2 emissions 0g/km

Is Tesla single-handedly responsible for the paradigm shift in the perception of electric cars? It certainly deserves plenty of credit; the Model S showed that battery-powered travel could be luxurious, far-reaching and fast. But not cheap, and it took the Model 3 to put those fruits within easier reach.

The Model 3 was an executive car price-point winner in our 2020 Car of the Year Awards – proof that it can mix it with stalwarts such as the mighty BMW 3 Series. Meanwhile, the top-spec Performance model became our favourite large electric car, but since then the Polestar 2 (another new brand, but associated with Volvo) has joined the fray. So, how is the Model 3 Performance still top dog?

Tesla Model 3 2019 RHD rear cornering

Let’s start with performance, given that it’s in the car’s name. Its pace is truly breathtaking, warp-speeding you from 0-60mph in a whisker over three seconds. Now, the Polestar 2 is no slouch, but it’s more than a second behind the Model 3 in a drag race.

At the other end of the performance spectrum is the range. Officially, the Model 3 Performance will cover up to 329 miles on a full charge, compared with the Polestar 2’s 292 miles. In our scientific Real Range test, the Model 3 Performance managed a still-impressive 239 miles, and that’s farther than you’re likely to get in the Polestar.

Then there’s Tesla’s epic Supercharger network. These rapid chargers are easy to use, reliable and, with around 500 charging points in the UK, widespread. Plug in for as little as 22 minutes and they’ll zap a 10-80% charge into the battery. The Polestar 2 is reliant on the multitude of different charging providers, each providing different tariffs and payment cards, and, at present, none can charge the Polestar as quickly as a Supercharger can charge a Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 2019 RHD dashboard

The Model 3 Performance isn’t as much fun to drive as a Porsche Taycan, but its mighty traction, vast grip and surprising agility make it more entertaining than the Polestar – and despite all this, it has a more comfortable ride.

If technology is more your thing, the Model 3’s 15.0in infotainment screen is bigger than the Polestar’s and offers more services, including Netflix and games (when you’re stationary). And Tesla’s pioneering over-the-air updates mean that software bugs can be fixed and new features added, even while you sleep.

In short, the Model 3 Performance was at the bleeding edge when it arrived, it’s at the bleeding edge today, and it’s a bleeding good car full stop.

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