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Tesla Standard Range vs. Long Range: Which EV is Best?

by Nick Versaw Updated February 18th, 2022

Tesla Standard Range vs Long Range: Tesla Model 3 red

Despite some buyers still struggling with range anxiety, Tesla models have become very popular. They’ve gone from a rare novelty to a stop-light staple in a matter of a few years. This is fueled by their steadily improving range and increased access to the fast-charging Supercharger network, which can add 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. 

Tesla’s lineup was once filled with Standard Range and Long Range versions of each of its models. However, today, only the Model 3 has these two variants. And with both models sharing features like the standard 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, standard adaptive cruise control, standard Bluetooth connectivity, free over-the-air software updates, and available AutoPilot self-driving capabilities, it can be hard to pick between the two models.

Below, we explore the Tesla Standard Range vs. Long Range Model 3 to help you choose the right one.


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Tesla Standard Range vs. Long Range Model 3

The cheapest of the Tesla models, the Model 3, is available in three options: Standard Range, Long Range, and Performance. Let’s dive into the Standard Range and Long Range versions and determine the pros and cons of each electric car

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range

The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range offers buyers up to 272 miles of all-electric driving, according to EPA testing. When you factor in its cost to charge, the EPA rates it as 138 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) city, 126 MPGe highway, and 132 MPGe combined.

This adds up to a total yearly charging cost of just $500. 

This model comes with only rear-wheel drive (RWD) and delivers a 0-to-60 time of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. 

Model 3 Standard Range pros:

  • More efficient than the Long Range model
  • Costs $6,000 less than the Long Range model

Model 3 Standard Range cons:

  • Travels 86 miles shorter distance than the Long Range on a single charge
  • Only available in rear-wheel drive
  • Significantly slower than the Long Range model

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

The Model 3 Long Range has 358 miles of range on a fully charged battery pack, but its battery and charging system aren’t as efficient as the Standard Range model. While it shares the same 126 MPGe highway as the Standard Range model, the reduced efficiency drops its other EPA ratings to 134 MPGe city and 131 MPGe combined. 

Despite not being quite as efficient as the Standard Range model, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range model costs the same $500 per year to charge.

On top of its longer range, the Model 3 Long Range AWD comes standard with the automaker‘s dual-motor all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. These two electric motors not only help in slippery conditions, they also drop this electric vehicle‘s 0-to-60 time to just 4.2 seconds. This version of the Model 3 also has a slightly higher top speed of 145 mph.

Model 3 Long Range pros:

  • 358 miles of all-electric range
  • 4.2-second 0-to-60 time
  • Same yearly charging costs as the Standard Range model
  • Standard all-wheel drive

Model 3 Long Range cons:

  • Costs $6,000 more than the Standard Range model
  • Less efficient

Which Tesla Model 3 Range is Best for You?

Tesla Model 3 red top view

Determining the best Tesla Model 3 option for you can be tricky because of the range vs. efficiency debate. The Long Range model is technically less efficient than the Standard Range model, but the Long Range model offers added convenience with more miles between charges.  

With 272 miles of range on the Standard Range model, the average commuter, who drives about 32 miles per day, five days a week, will suck up 160 miles of that range just driving to work and back. This leaves 112 miles of driving range for various odds and ends throughout the week, such as dance recitals, baseball games, grocery trips, and other errands, without having to charge. 

That’s just 22.4 spare miles per day without the weekend, and 16 miles per day with the weekends. For most drivers, this means you’ll have to charge your Model 3 at least once and maybe twice a week to ensure you have enough juice to get where you need to go. 

With the Long Range version‘s extra 86 miles of range, you now have 246 leftover miles after the average American commute. This gives you an extra 49.2 miles per day when you’re just counting weekdays and 35.1 miles per day when counting the weekends. Unless you’re planning a road trip out of town for the weekend, you’ll likely have plenty of charge to last through Sunday. 

Then, simply recharge on Sunday before the workweek, and you’re ready for another week of gasoline-free driving. Add to this the extra performance the Long Range model offers, and it may very well be worth the $6,000 premium. 

When shopping for any EV, always remember real-world range will vary with your driving conditions. Cold weather and hilly terrain can significantly impact the Model 3’s range, regardless of whether you choose the Standard Range or Long Range model. 

What Are the Alternatives to the Tesla Model 3?

With gas prices rising, electric cars are becoming more popular among all automakers. Here are some Tesla Model 3 alternatives to consider. 

Polestar 2

Tesla Standard Range vs Long Range: Polestar 2

Volvo’s electric car division, Polestar, has quietly made strides in the EV world. The Polestar 2, which is a mixture between a crossover and a hatchback, is no exception. But it still struggles to keep up with the Model 3’s efficiency, as it offers up to 270 miles in its RWD setup and 249 miles in its dual-motor AWD setup. 

Plus, its fuel economy checks in at just 113 MPGe city, 100 MPGe highway, and 107 MPGe combined in its RWD option. These numbers sit at 94 MPGe city, 94 MPGe highway, and 89 MPGe combined with the AWD option. According to the EPA‘s estimates, it’ll cost $600 per year to charge the RWD model and $750 to charge the AWD version. 

The Polestar 2 costs $45,900 for the RWD variant and $49,900 for the AWD model. While this is more than the Model 3, the Polestar 2 still qualifies for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Tax credits for Tesla have already been phased out. 

When you add the full tax credit, you’ll pay just $38,400-$42,400 for a new Polestar 2.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt EV lacks the performance credentials of the Model 3 and has a lower range of just 259 miles. However, it gets close to the Model 3 in efficiency with 131 MPGe city, 109 MPGe highway, and 120 MPGe combined. Plus, the EPA estimates the Bolt EV will cost $550 per year to charge -— just $50 more than the Model 3. 

One of the big benefits of the Chevy Bolt EV is its base MSRP, which starts at just $32,495. However, like the Model 3, the Bolt EV does not qualify for the tax credit. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is more of a Tesla Model Y or Model X competitor, but a Model 3 shopper will also find it to be a worthwhile new car to consider. 

The Mustang Mach-E boasts bold, Mustang-inspired styling on a crossover body, giving buyers a combination of utility and sportiness. 

It comes in a handful of options, starting with the $43,895 Select trim, which has a 247-mile range with RWD and a 224-mile range with AWD. For maximum range, opt for the $52,775 California Route 1 model, which travels 314 miles with RWD and 312 miles with AWD. If raw performance is what you want, the range-topping GT Performance, which costs $67,995, hits 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds with a 260-mile range. 

The Ford Mustang Mache-E is also still eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. 

Compare.com Helps You Find Your Next EV

Tesla Model 3 white

Need help finding your next EV, whether it’s a Tesla Model 3 or a different EV, Compare.com’s electric car comparison tool can help you find and compare EVs in your area. 

Need more help with your Tesla Standard Range vs. Long Range decision? Understanding more about how electric cars work may help you decide.


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