Tesla Model Y vs. Model 3 range and efficiency test

Tesla Model 3 was a major milestone for the electric vehicle world. It proved that smaller, more affordable EVs can have a range of above 300 miles (482 km). Since the first Model 3 produced in July 2017, it's spread across continents — now it’s virtually everywhere. In fact, in the company's recent Q1 report, Tesla announced that the Model 3 is now the best-selling premium sedan in the world.

Above: Tesla Model Y and Model 3 side-by-side (Source: Andy Slye / YouTube)

But how does it stack up against it's newer sibling, the Model Y? YouTuber Andy Slye took his 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD and a 2020 Model Y Performance on a road trip to compare the range of both these vehicles (video below).

It turns out that when Andy purchased his Model 3 LR AWD in 2018, the range of the vehicle was 310 miles (499 km). Now with the latest software and hardware optimization and a slightly bigger 82 kWh battery pack, the 2021 Model 3 Long Range has an EPA estimated range of 353 miles (568 km).

EPA estimated ranges: 2020 Model Y LR AWD, Model Y Performance, 2021 Model 3 LR AWD, and 2021 Model Y LR AWD (Source: fueleconomy.gov)

As noted in the chart above from the EPA website, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD has the best fuel economy of 134 MPGe vs. 2020 and 2021 Model Y which varies between 121 - 125 MPGe.

Just last year, the Model 3 LR AWD also had a fuel economy of 121 MPGe. In turn, Tesla has significantly improved the energy consumption of the newer 2021 model year cars, especially the Model 3.

The EPA comparison also shows that the Model 3 has an efficiency of 25 Wh/mile (Watt-hours per mile) vs. 2021 Model Y 27 Wh/mile. Since both the Model 3 and Model Y have the same battery pack of 82 kWh, Model 3 should be the winner of range and energy consumption efficiency in this comparison.

Let’s watch what results Andy Slye and his friend get out of their Model 3 vs. Model Y road trip of 360 miles (~580 km) from Louisville, Kentucky to Asheville, North Carolina. A quick side-note: I agree with Andy, when purchasing an electric vehicle or Tesla, most people should consider the vehicle with the most range if it comes within their budget.

With the launch of the 2021 Tesla Model 3 refresh, the difference of range between the Model 3 LR AWD (353 miles) and Model 3 Performance (315 miles) is 38 miles. This difference is more than what Andy described in the video, most likely because the video was recorded a few months back.

A word of caution though. Many factors can impact the range of an electric vehicle including: Size / Weight; Aerodynamics; Passenger / Cargo Load; Incline / Decline Position; Weather; Speed; Use of AC or Heater; and Life of Battery. Please keep this in mind as these variables can alter outcomes during tests like this one.



Written by: Iqtidar Ali. An earlier version of this article was originally published on Tesla Oracle.