Update 08 Jul 2018
Tesla tweeted this chart to show how the Model 3 is doing against its peers:
This is a follow-up to an earlier post on how Tesla is shifting the conversation on EVs. At the time, I proposed the Model 3 would eliminate the EV penalty as the next step in driving mainstream adoption and I think Tesla has delivered on that admirably. The table below is a comparison of the Tesla Model 3 and two other entry-level performance sedans that target buyers might consider, the Audi A4 and the BMW 320i.
The thing that jumps out at me most is how similar the three vehicles really are. This is huge because it means we are past the point of needing to make excuses for EVs–here is an EV that can be legitimately cross-shopped against its peers on typical buying criteria like price, technology, safety, features, etc. That is a huge sea change.
Looking at the base configs (no options), I think the Model 3 pulls ahead on performance (acceleration, handling) and technology (internet, OTA updates, nav, and AP-readiness) with the two German marques having edge on some interior features. While all three cars can be option-ed up to match buyer’s priorities and preferences, I would argue the Tesla gaps (snazzier interior) are easier to address the the German makers’ gaps around performance and AutoPilot capabilities.
Now there is always risk in evaluating cars purely on their spec sheets, but with these kinds of specs and the positive media reviews so far, it’s going to get buyers in the door, which is a win for Tesla.
At the end of the day, I think the Model 3 with the Premium Upgrade Package and Enhanced Autopilot is a compelling if not unbeatable package. Folks should be sweating.
[Updated 01 Aug, fixed some typos and errors in chart]