The Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable vehicle on the lineup. How fast is a Tesla Model 3?

With a top speed of 162 miles per hour, a zero to sixty speed of 3.1 seconds, and dual-motor AWD, the Tesla Model 3 is literally as fast as a GT III race car.

The Model 3 is an extremely fast sedan with electrifying speed, only comparable to the Model S, to whom its inferiority is unnoticeable unless you are side by side. Part of the appeal of Tesla cars is that they are all faster than combustion vehicles made for the street.This is due to the nature of the electric motor for acceleration and the lack of a speed limiter within the ECU of the Model 3.

Tesla is one one of the most popular car brands on the market today. Thanks to this, there is a lot of information available to help us understand exactly how fast a Tesla Model 3 is, even if Tesla doesn’t want to provide this information. Thankfully, for the Model 3, some specifications and speed measurements are listed right on the company website.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

HideShow

Tesla Model 3 Trims

Like all other cars, the Tesla Model 3 has different trim packages available that will affect how fast the electric car is. Tesla has mastered the three-option easy button with the trims of the Model 3. One is cheap, one has a longer battery range, and one is too fast to make sense unless you want to show off. Then again, who doesn’t?

Tesla Model 3 RWD VS. Model 3 Performance

Tesla Model 0-60 MPH (Seconds) Top Speed (MPH)
Model 3 RWD 5.8 140
Model 3 Long Range 4.2 145
Model 3 Performance 3.1 160

Model 3 RWD

The Model 3 RWD is the Model 3 that makes you think, “maybe I can afford a Tesla”. It offers a lower MSRP, the exact same look, and still goes 140 miles per hour. The big money saver for the Model 3 RWD is that it only has one electric motor powering the rear wheels. In the other two packages, you get a dual-motor system for added traction and power. In fact, part of the reason the 0-60 on the RWD model is so relatively slow, is because it can only go as fast as its tires can grip the ground.

Model 3 Long Range

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range, despite its title, is faster than the RWD model. These top speeds are likely electronically limited to maximize reliability and tempt you into spending more. The Model 3 Long Range offers almost 100 extra miles of battery range, but if that isn’t enough, it will also go 5 miles per hour faster than the base model. Once you’ve been talked into the convenience of the Long Range, get ready because you are about to be introduced to the Model 3 Performance.

Model 3 Performance

The Model 3 is an irresistible reincarnation of the Tesla Roadster. Because of this, it HAS to be fast. By embodying the original look of the Tesla name and providing the type of performance Model S owners have come to love, the Model 3 is the realization of what Musk wanted to accomplish with the electric car brand ten years ago.

Tesla Model 3 Top Speed

There are three different top speeds that can be obtained with a Tesla Model 3. In the entry-level Model 3 RWD, the electric sedan will climb to 140 miles per hour. Already this speed is much faster than any car needs to go, but for the MSRP, it is on par with what you could expect from a competing combustion brand.

In the Model 3 Long Range, your top speed actually increases to 145 miles per hour. To create more range you would think top speed and acceleration would be more limited, but actually the extra battery power allows for the addition of the all wheel drive system, providing more speed as well as distance.

The Model 3 Performance is usually the model enthusiasts are speaking of. It is the model featured in the advertisements, and although they look identical, It is the top speed that you are paying for when you purchase the Model 3 Performance. At 162 miles per hour, you can be sure to be the fastest car on the road unless a Model S or a race car shows up. The best part though is that either of these alternatives would cost you twice as much as a Model 3 Performance.

Model 3 0-60

The amount of time it takes a vehicle to accelerate from 0 to sixty miles per hour is a standard measurement of speed. This measurement rose to popularity when cars were still having trouble getting on the highway. My mother likes to talk about her Chevette, that even when she bought brand new, could not find an on-ramp long enough to get up to the speed limit in time.

In the case of the Tesla Model 3, there are three options that can affect this measurement, but only one that is a noticeable difference. The option in question is the dual-motor all-wheel drive. By adding power to the front wheels, the Model 3 jumps from 5.8 seconds to 4.2. This second and a half is a long time in car terms, which is a big enough difference to be able to feel it in your stomach.

How Long Will A Model 3 Last At Full Throttle

Under heavy use, Tesla owners have reported losing about 50% of their battery life. Although no one has put one on a dyno to let it run at full throttle until it dies, these reports are a good indicator of what to expect if you are driving like an angry teenager.


The Model 3, when driving efficiently, is said to have a range of 315 miles per full charge. This means when driving at full throttle everywhere you go, you can expect a range of about 160 miles. This is a pretty dramatic decrease, but still an impressive number considering how fast you will be going. It is still more range than many motorcycles offer, after all.

Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model S

The Model 3 may be the entry-level Tesla, but If you don’t see the Model S creeping past you you’ll be too busy trying to keep your body inside you to remember what speed is. Don’t you see? When you are living the battery life, speed is another concept. The Tesla Model 3 is the future of the electric car company, so what is holding everyone back?

Model 3 Charge Time

More so than the high initial cost of buying the car, drivers are hesitant to get into a Model 3 because of the fact that you still can’t fill your range back up as quickly as you can with a gasoline car. When you fill up your gas tank it only takes about 3 minutes for a car of this size. When you are driving a Tesla Model 3, you still need to wait 8.5 hours to refill your range. If you don’t have a 220V outlet and are using the typical 110V outlet, it can take much longer than this.

If you have a consistent way to charge your Tesla every night, it still makes sense to take the plunge, especially if you are excited about how fast the Tesla Model 3 is. For going to work and back, you can actually save a lot of money on gas and even get rebate incentives from the government to help pay for your electric car. On the other hand, if you live an unpredictable lifestyle, an electric car could leave you stranded for hours, which maybe isn’t the end of the world as long as you can get home really fast once it’s charged!

Why Are Electric Cars So Fast?

Electric cars are built differently than combustion cars. For a combustion car to make power to the wheels, the power needs to be converted through a transmission. This transmission plays a big role in how fast a car is because it works against itself. If you add more gears, you can accelerate faster but you will also have to shift more, which could offset the benefits.

In an electric car, the electric motor is powered by a battery and a go button. When the go button is pressed, the motor can provide full power to the wheels without notice. The precision of the computer and capacity of the large electric motors are able to provide the exact amount of torque needed to move the car without spinning the wheels.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding