Tesla Model 3 Alternatives (Ones Without Any Attachment to Elon)

Tesla Model 3 Alternatives (Ones Without Any Attachment to Elon)

The ‘Tesla Model 3 killer’ title has become a bit of a meme, and every now and again, you’ll hear about a new EV that people deem worthy of such a name, and labelled a Tesla Model 3 alternative by extension. It’s more common when these cars are sedans and when they’re priced similarly to Tesla’s entry-level model.

These cars are some of the most exciting vehicles on (and entering) the market, considering their price points and performance offerings, but to consider any of them worthy of taking on what is one of the most popular EVs in Australia is a big call.

So, let’s go through some Tesla Model 3 alternatives that you may or may not have considered before, now that the Model 3 is getting a facelift with the 2024 update, a new WLTP range of 513km, and a new price of $61,900.

The Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 arrived in Australia in early 2022, offering a slightly larger frame and a more muscly design than the Tesla Model 3. We raved about the 2022 model in our review, and though we were still impressed with the 2023 revision, it’s a shame the grille has changed.

Developed by Volvo subsidiary Polestar, the entry-level 2 offers a WLTP range of 546km, with the Long Range Single Motor variant being the longest-range EV in the country at the time of writing (with 655km on a full charge).

It’s the closest thing you can buy to the Model 3 right now in Australia without actually buying a Model 3. The Polestar 2 starts at $61,272.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The Hyundai Ioniq 6

Hyundai’s new electric sedan isn’t necessarily meant to take on the entry-level Model 3, but it is perfectly poised to rival more expensive trims. With a starting price of $74,000 (and a range of 614km WLTP), Hyundai’s offering a stylish, Mercedes Benz-like experience with the Ioniq 6. I certainly preferred the Ioniq 6 to the Model 3 in my review, but whether or not it can rival the Model 3 revision that’s coming in at a much lower price point ($71,900, AWD with 629km range) is another story.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The Cupra Born

It’s with a car like the Cupra Born that we can start to think a little outside of the ‘Sedan’ box. the Born is a hot hatch – it’s an exceptionally fun thing to drive, and although it goes hard on its sporty styling, it might be just the right aesthetic for someone whose turned off by Tesla’s boring designs. Capable of 511km WLTP range with a price of $59,990, the Born has about the same range on offer as the new Model 3, however you miss out on things like internal maps and electric seating, and you have to put up with steering wheel buttons that are really not great. Regardless, if you’re in the market, I completely recommend taking it for a test drive at least.

tesla model 3 alternatives
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The BYD Seal

Newly revealed for the Australian market (although previously announced to arrive in the first half of 2023), the Seal is BYD’s sedan, and most Model 3-like car yet. Available in three trims (priced between $49,888 and $68,798), with a WLTP range of 460km (520km on the most expensive AWD model), the Seal’s major selling point is its price point. For $11,000 less, you get an electric sedan with some nice styling and without BYD’s ugly ‘Build Your Dreams’ lettering on the back. The car is set to arrive in early 2024, however, so we’ll have to wait and see if it holds up.

tesla model 3 alternatives
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The Volvo EX30

Like the BYD Seal, the Volvo EX30 is expected to arrive in Australia in early 2024, and like the Cupra Born, Volvo’s new EV breaks the rule by being an SUV instead of a sedan. However, we’re including it for two reasons: it’s priced competitively against the Model 3, and it’s also a small SUV – the smallest SUV Volvo has ever built, in fact, and the cheapest EV it has ever built, at $59,990. At this price, though, it has the least range of any car on this list, at 480km WLTP. Regardless, it’s still absolutely worth considering against the Model 3.

tesla model 3 alternatives
Image: Volvo

The Toyota bZ3

Alright, this is a bit of an exception, because it’s Toyota and they’ve been delaying their first Aussie EV (the BZ4X) for years, but it still warrants a mention.

Photos of the Toyota bZ3 surfaced online back in September 2022, which looks to be the Japanese carmaker’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, although we haven’t heard much about it in some time.

In China, the bZ3 will be built by BYD, which supplies the batteries and electric motors atop Toyota’s own eTNGA floorplan. This is similar to how the bZ4X crossover is manufactured in the country, in cooperation with GAC.

Also, it looks quite gorgeous. I wouldn’t mind driving something this beautiful. That being said, we’re not too sure when it’ll be due in Australia (or anywhere, in fact).

tesla model 3 alternatives
Photo: Noriaki Mitsuhashi/N-RAK Photo Agency

That’s kind of it for Tesla Model 3 alternatives now

Although a variety of other brands are building electric sedans, especially at higher price points, these are the cars we have the most knowledge about so far.

More will come out over time, of course, but for now, options are slim. We’ll update this list as more cars are confirmed and revealed.

Image: BYD

Want more Aussie car news? Here’s every EV we’ve reviewed in the last two years, all the EVs we can expect down under soon, and our guide to finding EV chargers across the country. Check out our dedicated Cars tab for more.

This article has been updated since it was originally published.

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