Tesla tax shock: Model 3 is NOT road tax free

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

One of the big sells of electric cars, such as the Tesla Model 3, is the savings you can make over the long term. They’re not as expensive to ‘fill up’ and they’re usually a bit cheaper to maintain.

The government also rewards their zero tailpipe emissions with zero-rate Vehicle Excise Duty road tax. However, that’s surprisingly not the case with the Tesla Model 3, which begins UK deliveries from June 2019…

Although the £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant takes the price of Tesla’s most affordable model down to £38,900, the pre-grant list price of the Tesla Model 3 starts above £40,000.

This, as part of the government’s unpopular 2015 Summer Budget road fund licence changes, makes it liable for a five-year, £310 per-year ‘additional rate’ road tax. It thus effectively more than halves the £3,500 government contribution to the price of the car for long-term Tesla owners.

How can a zero-emission Tesla be taxed?

“But it’s electric. It’s zero-emissions!” we hear you cry. Sadly, the DVLA makes no exceptions for electric cars: they are still hit with the ill-conceived charge.

All new cars (registered on or after 01/04/2017) with a list price over £40,000 have to pay a £310 per-year base rate for five years from after the start of its second licence. To be clear, that’s one year after you buy it new, when the first VED road tax duty is due.

It’s only the first-year licence rate that zero-emission cars are exempt from – the rate that pertains to emissions. The second licence rate pertains to purchase price – namely, the official list price, not any post-grant prices…

A Motoring Research reader told us that Tesla Canada priced the Model 3 to escape such region-specific charges. Unfortunately, the firm was not able to make any adjustments to the UK price of the entry-level Model 3 to escape the five-year VED road tax penalty.

Of course, other premium electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron are also liable for this five-year charge. But the Tesla Model 3 is billed as a high-volume car, meaning many owners will be surprise the British government is still charging them for going green – particularly when you look at some of the models which will pay less in annual VED…

A BMW 3 Series that’s cheaper to tax than a Tesla?

Tesla tax BMW 3 Series

Ultimately, this means some rivals to the Tesla Model 3, in configurations costing under £40,000, could wind up costing buyers less in road tax.

You’ll have to be specific in your spec to make serious savings, though. In the case of the BMW 3 series, the only model with which you’ll be making significant savings, is the plug-in 330e.

Prices are yet to be confirmed for the new car, which goes on sale in July, but the previous car had an on-the-road price of just over £36,000. That’s under the £40,000 mark. The new car emits just 39g/km of CO2, which makes it tax-free (like the Tesla) from first registration.

Given it’s an ‘alternative-fuel vehicle’, it’ll cost £130 per-year after its second registration. The end result? The 3 Series plug-in hybrid could cost less than half of what a Tesla Model 3 will to tax, providing it stickers for under £40,000…

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

In fact, any car under £40,000 that produces less than 100g/km of CO2 will be cheaper to tax than the Tesla Model 3. Over a longer term, perhaps. Anything that isn’t a hybrid or zero emissions is chargeable for the first year whereas the Tesla goes free for 12 months.

The entry-level Tesla Model 3 WILL be VED-free

Of course, there is a Tesla that will cost nothing to tax on its way. The genuine ‘entry-level’ car is predicted by Elon Musk to cost around £33,000 when it arrives in the UK. That takes the Model 3 below the magic £40,000 mark, and out of the firing line for that £310 per-year sting.

If you really want to pinch the pennies while zero-emission motoring, wait for that. Or, perhaps, buy a rival such as a Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric instead…

Tesla Model 3 on sale in UK: prices from £38,900

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

The Tesla Model 3 is finally within grasp for UK buyers, as the order books and configurator open for the right-hand drive version of Tesla’s volume seller. With that, also comes the answer to the question everyone’s been asking…

How much is the Tesla Model 3 in the UK?

The Tesla Model 3 will start from £38,900 in the UK. That’s for the Standard Range Plus model, including the £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant (and an £850 delivery charge).

For that, you get 258 miles of (estimated) WLTP-rated range, a top speed of 140mph and a 5.3-second 0-60 mph capability. No word yet on the base model, which Elon Musk reckons will cost £33,000…

Long Range AWD and Performance models will start from £47,900 and £56,900 respectively. That’s right, without the £3,500 electric car grant, the Performance Model 3 is a £60,000 car.

All Model 3s are warrantied for four years up to 50,000 miles. The battery and drive unit is warrantied for 8 years or 100,000 miles in the entry-level car, and 120,000 miles for the Long Range and Performance models.

What do you get for your money?

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

Note: LHD model pictured, edited to get a feel for RHD

All Model 3s come with Autopilot, which allows partially supervised (hands on the wheel) autonomous driving, with automatic accelerating and braking.

The Standard Range Plus model comes generously equipped out the box, with 12-way adjustable heated seats, a decent audio system and navigation included.

Higher-end models get the Premium Interior Package, satellite view on the navigation, premium 14-speaker audio and in-car internet.

What’s the UK Model 3 performance and range like?

In the Standard Range Plus model, you get 258 miles of (estimated) WLTP-rated range, a top speed of 140mph and a 5.3-second 0-60 mph capability.

Long Range AWD and Performance models will go for 348 and 329 miles respectively, based on an estimated WLTP rating. The Long Range reach 60mph in 4.5 seconds on its way to 145mph, while the Performance is good for 3.2 seconds to 60mph, on the way to a top end of 162mph.

The trade-off in the Performance and Long Range models, is weight. Both are over 200kg heavier than the entry-level car.

How much will a Tesla Model 3 cost to charge?

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

What you will be paying for, is juice. While the Supercharger network is there for your use in a Model 3, you will be paying for every ‘fill-up’. Model S and X owners get free usage of Tesla’s infamous network of chargers.

So how much is a full charge in a Model 3? Based on Tesla’s calculator, you won’t be out any more than £30 to ‘fill up’ any Model 3.

Tesla’s cost calculator reckons 400 miles of driving would cost £63 in petrol and quotes £29 for the equivalent in electricity. That’s based on an assumed internal combustion MPG figure of 32.7, at £1.14 per litre. Fuel is a bit more expensive these days, too…

What options are available on the Model 3?

The Model 3 has a choice of wheels and colours, but it’s not going to be troubling the Fiat 500 for supremacy in personalisation and customisation.

Larger 19-inch Sport wheels are a £1,450 option for the Standard Range Plus and Long Range AWD cars. Out of the box, you get 18-inch ‘Aero’ wheels, which we happen to be fans of… The Performance gets 20-inch ‘performance’ wheels, obviously.

In terms of paint, midnight silver and deep blue are available for a £950 premium. Multi-coat red and pearl white are a bit pricier, at £1,900.

When can I have one?

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

Tesla’s site says ‘estimated delivery: June’ at the moment, and first in the queue will be those who placed an early reservation.

Get your orders in quick if you want one, as there’s sure to be a lot of demand. Especially considering how many have had a downpayment outstanding for a couple of years now…

Tesla Model 3 is Europe’s best-selling EV

Tesla Model 3 Europe

“The arrival of the Tesla Model 3 marks the beginning of the long-awaited take off of pure electric cars in the Western hemisphere.” That’s the verdict of JATO, as it releases its latest set of European sales figures.

The Model 3 arrived in Europe in late January – and it’s not yet available in some markets – but the Tesla has had an extraordinary start, cementing itself as Europe’s best-selling EV.

A total of 3,630 Models 3s were registered in the first full month on the market, as the latest Tesla leapfrogged the likes of the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

Interestingly, the Model 3 also finished top of JATO’s premium mid-size saloon chart, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Of course, the novelty factor plays a part in its early success, so it will be interesting to see if it can maintain this early momentum.

Dream of ‘SUV-isation’

Tesla Model 3 Brussels Motor Show

“Its long-term success in the coming months will depend on how fast its European rivals react and bring their own midsize electric cars to the market. We already saw the Polestar 2 in Geneva, but it won’t arrive before 2020,” said JATO’s Felipe Munoz.

“Considering this, the Model 3’s priority will be to compete with the electric SUVs like the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-Tron and the upcoming Mercedes EQC. The EV market is not exempt from the ‘SUV-isation’ of the industry.

“Although SUVs are slightly more expensive, the trend now indicates that the hot-selling vehicles in the world are not sedans, but their SUV rivals.”

Europe’s best-selling cars in February 2019

1.Tesla Model 33,630 registrations
2.Renault Zoe2,888 registrations
3.Nissan Leaf2,364 registrations
4.BMW i32,021 registrations
5.Hyundai Kona1,755 registrations
6.Volkswagen e-Golf1,642 registrations
7.Kia e-Niro1,016 registrations
8.Jaguar I-Pace874 registrations
9.Hyundai Ioniq727 registrations
10.Smart Fortwo421 registrations

2019 Tesla Model Y: everything you need to know

Tesla Model Y

The Model Y, Tesla’s fourth model and the car that completes its ‘S3XY’ range, has finally been revealed. Here’s all the info you need.

The Model Y’s styling

Firstly, yes, this is an all-new car. Despite very much resembling the Model 3, the Y is a crossover model that seems to combine a jacked-up Model X crossover shape with the smaller dimensions and styling tropes of the Model 3 saloon.

It’s around 15 percent bigger than the Model 3, but shares as many as 75 percent of its components. The Y makes clear Tesla’s twinning of saloons and crossovers. The Y is to the 3 what the X is to the S.

Inside the Tesla Model Y

It’s more of the same on the inside, too. Save for the slightly more commanding driving position, you’d be hard pressed to get in a Model Y and tell it apart from a Model 3.

The big 15-inch display is a direct lift from the small saloon, and the rest of the cabin looks equally minimalist. The well-known Autopilot system carries over, along with a host of new Tesla features.

An expansive all-glass roof should give the Model Y an airy feeling inside. And what it also has over the Model 3 is seating for seven.

Model Y range and performance

Tesla Model Y

Powertrains carry over from the Model 3, too. There will be a ‘cheap’ lower-range version that’s capable of 230 miles and will cost around £30,000, but that won’t arrive for another two years.

The dual-motor and Performance models are capable of 280 miles, while the rear-wheel-drive long-range model will manage 300 miles. These cars will do 135mph and 130mph, and hit 60mph in 4.8 seconds and 5.5 seconds respectively.

The Performance version is just that: a top speed of 150mph, with 60mph arriving in an impressive 3.5 seconds along the way. While the middling models will cost around £40,000 by our estimation, the Performance will likely be £50,000 or more.

When can I buy one?

This is always the big ‘but’ with Tesla. We see a car, then hear all these figures and promises from Elon Musk. Then we find out just how long it’s going to take. We still don’t have the Model 3 in the UK, more than two years after it was revealed.

What about the Model Y? In theory, it shouldn’t take as long. Given that it shares up to three-quarters of its constitution with the Model 3, the Y should come easier. 

The cars arriving the soonest are the 280-mile Performance and dual-motor models, as well as the 300-mile long-range version. They’re due in the autumn of next year for Americans. The short range model will follow in the spring of 2021. For the UK? We’ll have to wait until 2022 before we can buy a right-hand-drive Model Y.

Do Teslas take too long to reach the UK?

Tesla Model Y

That we have to wait so long for Teslas is a bit of a shame. The Model Y, with its seven seats, more affordable price and (at the moment) impressive range figures could do well here in the UK. It’s the Tesla that perhaps best appeals to us at the moment.

By the time it arrives in 2022, the likes of the all-electric Porsche Macan will already be here, potentially with much better range – if not an affordable price.

Tesla raises prices but keeps more stores open

Tesla store in Barcelona

Tesla is scaling back a drastic store closure programme, but will raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent worldwide.

Earlier this month, Elon Musk said some Tesla stores would close and jobs would be lost as the company moved towards an online-only sales model. The stores are to become galleries to guide the purchaser through the buying process, although some cars will be available for test drives.

However, Tesla says that its 1,000-mile/seven-day returns policy “should alleviate the need for most test drives”.

In a statement, Tesla said: “Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months.

“When we recently closed 10 percent of sales locations, we selected stores that didn’t invite the natural foot traffic our stores have always been designed for.”

The company went on to say that a further 20 percent of locations are under review, adding that some will remain open, while others will close. 

Price to rise 3 percent

Tesla store front

While this is good news for Tesla employees, prospective purchasers are facing a 3 percent price hike across the world.

“As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent on average worldwide. In other words, we will only close about half as many stores, but the cost savings are therefore only about half,” it said.

Potential owners have until 18 March 2019 to beat the price rise, but the increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of the Model 3, the Model S and Model X. The $35,000 Model 3 is unaffected.

The Model S costs from £72,000 in the UK, while the Model X weighs in at just over £80,000. 


Tesla Model 3: consumer watchdog withdraws its recommendation

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Respected American watchdog Consumer Reports has revoked its recommendation of the Tesla Model 3, following numerous complaints of sub-par build quality.

Viral social media threads and online ranting are one thing, criticism from an organisation like Consumer Reports is quite another. And Tesla’s Model 3 troubles have come to a head with this critical blow.

The company faced issues getting its entry-level electric car to market, both in terms of quality and speed of delivery. Although it was thought that such kinks had been ironed-out, Tesla’s troubles clearly aren’t over yet. As a result of the CR decision, its stock dropped 2.2 percent last Thursday.

Tesla Model 3: the issues

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Owners had reported everything from paint defects and poor quality trim, to windows cracking out of the blue in cold conditions and electronic glitches. Even the Consumer Reports test car got a crack in its rear glass during a cold snap.

The screens in the car’s cabin have been reported as freezing and ‘acting strangely’. “The touch screen would intermittently begin acting as if someone was touching it rapidly at many different points,” reported one Consumer Reports member. “This fault would cause music to play, volume to increase to maximum, and would rescale and pan the map in the navigation system.”

Suspension issues have also been reported, although these are largely exclusive to earlier 2017-build cars.

On the plus side, the actual driving systems have largely been reliable. Consumer Reports puts that down to the simplicity of electric powertrains versus conventional internal combustion engines.

Tesla’s response

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Tesla was swift to respond to the Consumer Reports decision, saying that “significant improvements” had already been made to address the issues owners raised with the organisation.

“The vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data,” said a Tesla spokesperson.

Your Tesla will become dog-friendly and super secure overnight

Tesla dog mode sentry mode

Tesla’s latest over-the-air update gives you a dog-friendly mode and an opportunity to turn your car into a giant four-wheeled surveillance system.

Say what you want about Tesla, but one quantum-leap advancement that it has pioneered in the automotive industry that you simply cannot argue with is over-the-air updates. In the past, upgrading your car was a matter of buying parts and taking it into the shop or spannering it yourself.

In Tesla vehicles, new features can be added while you sleep, with simple internet-fed software installations. Dog and Sentry modes are the latest and they won’t be the last…

What is Tesla ‘Dog mode’?

Dog mode allows the driver to set a comfortable temperature for your four-legged companions for when he or she is out on an errand. That’s the bit that’s crucial to your pups. What’s crucial for concerned dog-loving passers-by is the enormous message displayed on the screen; “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry!”, with the temperature displayed even larger.

Such a good idea that addresses something that bothers a great many people.

What is Tesla’s ‘Sentry mode’?

On the company’s Twitter page, news of the Sentry mode is accompanied by the caption ‘Sentry Mode: Guarding Your Tesla’. That pretty well sums it up, and we’ve addressed it before when Elon Musk tweeted about the feature allowing the car to become its own dash cam. Nevertheless, here are a few more details that focus more on the anti-theft side of things.

Sentry mode uses the car’s various monitoring systems, including the cameras, to continuously examine the surrounding area when it’s left unattended.

If a ‘minimal threat’ – such as someone leaning on the car – is detected, the car goes into ‘alert’ state, where the screen shows a message warning that there are cameras recording.

Tesla Sentry Mode

‘Alarm’ state activates when there’s an attempted break-in or a similar greater threat. This includes activating the alarm, upping the brightness of the centre screen and playing music at full volume. The owner will also be alerted via the app and a video recording (beginning 10 minutes before the threat occurs) will be downloadable via a pre-inserted memory stick.

The feature needs to be activated every time the owner wants it running. Model 3 gets it first, with post-August 2017 Model S and X models following shortly thereafter.

Elon Musk: Teslas could soon be protected by ‘Sentry Mode’

Tesla Sentry Mode

A 360-degree camera will be coming to Tesla cars in the near future. Elon Musk calls it ‘Sentry Mode’ and it should remove the need for a dash cam.

An irritated Twitter user whose Tesla had suffered a dent within range of the rear-facing camera Tweeted Mr Musk directly, saying there should be a feature that utilises the car’s plethora of cameras and sensors for surveillance.

In typical Musk style, he responded with the public announcement that ‘Tesla Sentry Mode’ is coming – just the feature this aggrieved customer was looking for.

According to the Tweet, the feature will be ‘coming soon’ to all cars with Enhanced Autopilot. This is a feature customers have to pay extra for, but Musk clarified that it will be rolling out to all cars with the most recent ‘AP2+’ hardware.

You don’t, therefore, necessarily have to have bought Enhanced Autopilot, your car just needs to be new enough to have had the option – i.e. October 2016 onwards.

It certainly seems like a common-sense offering. We wouldn’t be surprised if in-built dash cam functions become the norm on most new cars in future.

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Elon Musk will give £700,000 to the person who can hack a Tesla

Tesla Model 3 delivery eventA total of £700,000 ($900,000) is up for grabs for one very skilled hacker who can delve into the computer systems of a Tesla Model 3. Each of the systems carries its own reward for the successful hacker: £700k is the overall total Musk has offered. 

It is all part of Pwn2Own’s hacking competition, now in its 13th year. In previous competitions, conventional tech like computers, phones, browsers and so on, have been the target. Now in this new age of autonomous electric cars, the Tesla makes for a very topical target in 2019.

Hack a Tesla

The prizes for various systems are as follows: $30,000 for infotainment access and $50,000 for a targeted denial of service (locking out owner) attack. Bluetooth and wifi systems access will win a hacker a $60,000 prize. Hacking of the app or key fob or indeed the communications system in the car’s electronics will win a hacker $100,000.

The top $250,000 is up for grabs for those who can get into the car’s autonomous systems. These challenges, among others, add up to a near million-dollar prize.

Tesla Model 3

As electronic systems and computers in cars get ever more sophisticated and take over more and more of the way a car works, car hacking becomes more and more of a risk.

So far, that’s one controversy that Tesla has thus far dodged – its cars seem to be secure as can be. In the UK, modern keyless entry systems and other such computer trickery has put cars at risk from thieves.

Manufacturers are increasingly focused on digitally defending against unauthorised access (stealing) as well as, even more terrifyingly, unauthorised takeover when on the road. Dangling the carrot and tempting the world’s brightest to put their best hacking skills forward ought to provide an intriguing insight indeed for Musk and the Tesla engineers…

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Meet the 840hp Tesla-powered Mustang

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

Aviar Motors is combining classic muscle car style with electric eco-friendly performance. Its new R67 is an all-wheel-drive Mustang EV.

Where do we begin? It has two electric motors, one per axle, connected to a 100kwh battery – all very similar to those used in P100 Teslas.

That makes it 4WD and means this ultimate ‘restomod’ for the zero-emissions age will hit 62mph in 2.2 seconds and top out at 155mph. On top of that, it’ll travel 315 miles on a single charge. We don’t think even an original Shelby GT500 will manage that on a tank of fuel.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

The car, yet to be built, will use an alloy chassis with carbon fibre bodywork to keep weight low – around one tonne, impressively. If you’re worried about an old legend getting sullied by electric power, don’t worry. These are all-new rather than based on an existing car.

The exterior is highly faithful to the original pony car’s design. There are, however, telltale signs that this is no traditional ‘60s muscle hero. An active rear spoiler is perfectly flush with the style of the original bodywork. Spot the Tesla door handles, too.

LED lights, chrome strip detailing and slimmer exterior mirrors are also added, along with bigger wheels and brakes.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

Where you definitely suspect something’s up is on the inside. Gone is the traditional 1960s style, with a 17-inch screen adorning the centre console. There is a whiff of the original style with the double-hump dash, though, along with the circular vents. 

It comes with a lot more toys than a classic Mustang. Or, for that matter, any Mustang ever built. Expect a version of Tesla Autopilot, cameras, parking sensors, traction and stability control, climate control and voice control in the cabin. It’ll even get Bluetooth and wi-fi.

It really is the best of modern tech, infused with the best of classic style.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

But what about V8 noise? Apparently, it’ll play a GT500 V8 rumble for passers-by, just so they know where it is. 

As for when you can buy one – all you can do is enquire at the moment. Aviar says there’s a six-month build time and that price will be on request. Here’s hoping it actually happens.

It might even help make Ford’s future plans to build a hybrid Mustang more acceptable… 

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