You cannot mention the term electric vehicle without equating it to Elon Musk and his company, Tesla. Although there are numerous electric vehicles on the market today, Tesla has been a leader in offering quality vehicles that are fast, have an impressive range, and can be charged nearly anywhere. One of these cars is the Model 3 SR+.
The Model 3 has been one of Tesla’s most popular electric vehicles, and the SR+ version offers nearly everything a driver needs at an affordable price. From a smooth and quick acceleration, to solid range, and loads of features, the Model 3 SR+ is one of Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 versions.
What specifically does the Tesla Model 3 SR+ offer compared to its competitors? It offers an impressive overall performance that is comparable to vehicles with a front motor. There are also interior bells and whistles that come standard and for an additional cost. Read on to find out exactly what the Model 3 SR+ offers today.
What is the Model 3 SR+?
The Model 3 SR+ is a best-selling Tesla. Compared to the standard model 3, this vehicle has additional features and excellent performance.
The faster acceleration and improved range are some of the highlights of the Model 3 SR+. However, it does have lower charging power. Aside from this, the technology the Model SR+ is equipped with is similar to that of previous Tesla vehicles. So, what exactly does the Model 3 come with?
What Does the Tesla Model 3 Come With?
So, what does the Tesla Model 3 offer exactly and what makes it different from the original Model 3? When the Model 3 first came out it was one of the more affordable electric vehicle options on the marketplace. Tesla may have traded a bit of charging speed for affordability, but the SR+ still impresses most.
The Model 3’s do not have any physical controls, and this is true for the SR+. This means anything you want to do, whether it is controlling your mirrors or adjusting your steering wheel, must be accomplished through its massive 15-inch touchscreen. This may be overwhelming to a new Tesla driver not used to this technology for some things:
- Driver information displays
- Infotainment functionality
- Navigation system using Google Maps with traffic information that is in real time
- Powered by an Intel Atom processor, making it as fast if not faster than a tablet or smartphone
Navigation, USB connectivity, and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone all come standard in the Model 3 SR+ (Autopilot navigation is discussed below). It also offers numerous entertainment choices on the central display like YouTube, Netflix, and a host of video games in a “Toy Box” that are reminiscent of the old arcade games of the past:
- Santa Mode
- Mars Mode
- Rainbow Road
- Romance Mode
The learning curve for the touchscreen is not too intense, especially since most individuals have gotten used to living their lives based on touchscreens. The screen is clear, the information is laid out logically and the overall use is easy to understand. Tesla’s touchscreen also responds faster than other car infotainment systems today.
What Does the Tesla Model 3 SR+ Not Come With?
It is surprising to note that what does not come standard in the Tesla SR + is SiriusXM satellite radio or even the standard AM radio. Most vehicles today come with the standard internet-streaming radio options, which seemed questionable. The base stereo does not have a subwoofer, making it just adequate when playing music.
It also is not compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which some Android and Apple users may find as a negative. Tesla’s driver-assist technology, Autopilot, does come standard in every Tesla, but only certain features are available without an additional cost. The standard is notable when it comes to helping to avoid accidents:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Lane-departure warning
- Adaptive cruise control
- Front and side collision warning
- Automatic high beams
Tesla does not offer the additional features of its self-driving capability standard in the Tesla Model 3 SR+. This is not a feature that actually drives your car, but gives some self-driving support in certain situations. However, this and other features do not come standard in the Model 3 SR+ but can be added on for an additional cost:
- Auto lane change
- Smart Summon software that guides your car in parking lots without you in it
- Traffic and stop sign control
Navigate on Autopilot is also not standard, which leads your car to an off-ramp on the highway so that you do not miss your exit. Navigate will automatically turn on your turn signal and start moving your car towards the intended location. It will also suggest lane changes and interchanges so that you can save time during highway driving in traffic.
Purchasing the Model 3 SR+ is Seamless
Tesla has changed the game of selling electric vehicles in that you can purchase these cars right from their official website. You just visit Tesla.com and then custom order the vehicle of choice, which is the Model 3 SR+ in this case. You can configure your vehicle, such as the exterior and interior color, the type of wheels, and the Full Self-Driving option.
You are required to make a $100.00 payment that is not refundable, but that is a small amount when purchasing an electric vehicle. Tesla then sends you the digital paperwork, you can choose whether you are going to lease the vehicle, purchase it outright with cash, or get a bank loan, and then you are good to go.
Tesla offers their own financing options or you can search other lenders—many vehicle buyers already have financing options chosen if they are choosing to work with a bank. In four weeks after your order, your Tesla electric vehicle is delivered to a local center where you can pick up your car, or right to your home depending on your location.
The SR+ model is definitely the best value of the Tesla vehicles, starting at around $39,900. The 2021 version now has different exterior styling components that switched the former bright chrome with a sleeker satin black trim. New wheel designs are also offered as well as a power-operated trunk.
Does the Model 3 SR+ Have Automatic Emergency Braking Problems?
Tesla has come into some negative media recently due to an issue with its automatic emergency braking system and a term called “phantom braking.” The reason anyone interested in purchasing the Model 3 SR+ should take note is that one of the crashes that occurred in Norway was with a Tesla Model 3 vehicle that braked unexpectedly.
The automatic emergency braking comes standard in the Model 3 SR+ and was blamed for the three-car crash when the Model 3 braked and caused a chain reaction crash behind it. The driver was using the Tesla Autopilot driver assist technology, which allegedly perceived an obstacle in front of it and automatically braked.
It was later analyzed that multiple issues may have caused the crash, including oncoming traffic being perceived by Autopilot and driver error—the cars behind the Tesla were said to be driving much too close to the Model 3. This should alleviate any worries of drivers who are interested in spending their money on the Model 3 SR+.
Although there have been some complaints of phantom braking in Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles that use Autopilot, they have become fewer and far between. Overall, the standard system that comes with the Model SR+ has impressive features on its own and is probably enough if you do not want to spend thousands of dollars for the extras.
Should You Opt for Self-Driving Capabilities in the Model 3 SR+?
There are reasons to consider adding on from the standard Autopilot to the upgraded versions of the driver-assist technology and self-driving capability features. For an additional $10,000, your Model 3 SR+ can have the impressive Navigation Autopilot features above along with some self-driving capabilities that can relieve stress.
Tesla’s Self-Driving functions does not mean your Model 3 SR+ will actually drive you home. However, it does mean it will automatically change lanes for you when your vehicle is in Autosteer. If you are driving in a parking lot and your Model 3 SR+ sees a parking spot, it will detect it and park the vehicle perfectly in the spot for you.
One of the most impressive features you can add into your Model 3 SR+ is called Smart Summon. This feature was introduced in September 2016 and can be implemented in all Model 3 vehicles. Smart Summon will drive your car in a parking lot, without you in it, so that you can find your vehicle (or so your vehicle can find you).
There is a Basic Summon that only drives forward and backward, or the Smart Summon that drives the Model 3 SR+ freely without needing anyone behind the wheel. Model 3 Tesla also has added new software so that you can use an in-car camera in the rearview mirror to monitor your energy and fatigue while you are behind the wheel.
The Model 3 SR+ Uses Impressive Technology
The electric motor in the Model 3 SR+ also has more impressive technology than its competitors in its similar price range. Tesla has touted a Permanent Magnet Switched Reluctance Motor, which are permanent magnets that are located in the rotor and offer nearly 10 percent more overall efficiency than the competition’s induction-type setup.
The Model 3 SR+ boasts a 263 miles per hour driving range, which is more than the original 250 but still less than the Long Range Model’s 353-mile range. For the price, however, the 263-mile range should be more than enough for the everyday driver. This range is even better when comparing the 2021 Model 3 SR+ to the 2020 model version.
The Model 3 does not come with a key fob or start button. Instead, you can simply use the mobile app to start your vehicle or a keycard that looks like a hotel swipe key. The Model 3’s all carry their battery under the floor so that the vehicles have a lower center of gravity to help it change direction more smoothly.
This means the steering is precise and incorporates three different settings in which you can adjust the steering effort. Since the Model 3 SR+ does not have a gasoline engine, the cargo space is that much more useful and vast with both a front truck, called a frunk, and the standard rear truck. It offers adequate space for this sized vehicle.
The Interior is More Impressive than the Exterior
The interior of the Model 3 SR+ is spacious and comfortable. It has an impressive panoramic roof that actually tints automatically when there is a glare from the sun. But what is probably the most interesting feature of the Model 3 SR+ is the lack of features. That is not to say it does not come with anything, they are just not seen.
The interior is a minimalist design and has every button in the cabin removed. Even the button to open the glove box is gone, with the only actual button in the vehicle being a hazard button close to the mirrors that is mandated by the government. The color of the interior, including the steering wheel, is a black “vegan leather” throughout the cabin.
The fake wood trim along the dash is nice, but not convincing as real wood. There is a redesigned center console to house two wireless charging pads for smartphones. A magnet holds the sun visors in place and the seat-adjustment controls and steering wheel infotainment are now finished in metal, not graphite, colored paint.
Wireless phone charging does not come standard with any of the Model 3 vehicles, but can be added by Tesla or employed if you purchase a charging mat in that the storage area has two USB ports. There are heated seats in the front, but you can only get the rear seats heated for an extra $300.00, which is a standard feature in other vehicles.
Some Issues Found With the Exterior of the Model 3 SR+
When you first see any of the Model 3’s, you may say they resemble an egg-like figure on the exterior. That look may be sleek to drivers, but the vehicles have also been plagued with rumors of poor build quality, and the Model 3 SR+ is no exception to this unfortunate rule. That being said, these new models are getting better.
Comes with standard 18-inch aluminum wheels that are covered with plastic, aerodynamic hubcaps that help with the vehicle’s driving range. Some Tesla owners remove the plastic hubcaps because they do not like the way they look, but with the removal means you are losing efficiency.
Unless you want to pay an extra $1,000 to $2,000 for a paint job that may just be a standard red vehicle, you will be opting for the free, standard white for your SR+. This is why there are so many white Model 3 SR+ cars on the road. You will want to make sure you expect the exterior of your Model 3 SR+ before signing on that bottom line.
There have been complaints about shoddy work such as panel gaps, uneven assembly and alignment of certain parts, and peeling paint in harsh weather. Tesla does not seem to offer solutions for these issues with this version of the Model 3. The warranty does not cover corrosion protection so that is another aspect to consider with the vehicle.
Battery Comparisons Show Some Variances
The 2020 Model 3 SR+ has a 53-kilowatt per hour (kWh) battery incorporated and offers a 263-mile range. You could upgrade to the Long Range or Performance models and increase the estimated range, but these increases also come with a rise in price. Comparing the three Tesla Model 3 vehicles shows where the charging speed changes:
- 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus–265 miles EPA range, 0-60 in 5.3 seconds
- 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD–353 miles EPA range, 0-60 in 4.2 seconds
- 2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance LR AWD 20-inch–315 miles EPA range, 0-60 in 3.1 seconds
The 2021 SR+ will have a 55kWh pack, but even though the SR+ battery is 53-kWh, the range offered is comparable to 60, 62, and 65 kWh systems. This means you are getting up to 400 kilometers of available range at an affordable price compared to the more expensive Long Range and Performance versions of the Tesla Model 3.
Now, you can compare this power and range to other affordable electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EF, Kia’s Niro EV, and the Nissan LEAF Plus. However, the quick launch of the Model 3 SR+ is definitely a step above its competitors at 100 km/h from a stop in only 5.6 seconds. This makes it the fastest electric car in its price range.
Charging Your Model 3 SR+ is Convenient
One of the benefits of having a Tesla electric vehicle is that there are more than 3,000 “Superchargers” in the United States you can use to power your vehicle. If your SR+ is equipped, they rapidly charge it since they are DC Fast Chargers and peak at 150 kilowatts. Tesla offers different choices when it comes to charging your Model 3 SR+:
- A home-charging station
- Adapters that can be used at DC public-charging stations
- 240- and 120-volt outlets
- Supercharger stations across the country (make sure your Model 3 SR+ is equipped with this feature)
The portable charge comes with numerous adapters, including a 110-volt plug that can be used at home and offer a Level 1 charge—a few miles per hour. A Level 2 charger called the NEMA 14-50 is available on Tesla’s website and will offer a charge of about eight kilowatts and add a range of around thirty-five miles per hour.
You can also buy the 240-volt home charge, which you can plug into your NEMA 14-50 outlet or have it hard wired into your home’s electrical system. Because these home chargers use a non-Tesla connector, you will need to use the adapter that comes with your vehicle to convert the plug so that it fits into the Model 3 SR+.
This option adds a range of 35 miles per hour to your charge, similar to the portable adapter offered by Tesla. However, you can get an even more powerful charge with the Tesla wall charger that is hardwired into your home. That way, you get up to 48 amps of charging and a range of 44 miles per hour, but the SR+ may max out at 32 amps.
Trading Charging Speed for More Range
Since the Tesla Model 3 is clearly the best-selling electric vehicle across the globe, it is no surprise that the SR+ version is also making its way outside of the United States where it is produced. A 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ was recently tested by Bjorn Nyland, a Tesla advocate from Norway who has driven more than 500,000 kilometers in Teslas.
Nyland concluded that the 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ charged slower with its NCA battery than the 2019-2020 version. His results were compared to data from the Fastned network and it concluded that it could have been a change of a less costly, more energy dense chemistry that had a lower cobalt content to result in the lower charging power.
There are other versions of the Tesla Model 3 SR+ being seen around the globe. For example, a Chinese version has an LFP battery that may end up having different charging qualities. Also found in China were versions of the SR+ that used NCM batteries from LG Chem’s LG Energy Solution.
Having these different types of batteries found globally in the Tesla Model 3 SR+ makes it difficult to compare Tesla products on a standard, global level. That being said, other researchers have also found that the 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ has a slower charging capacity than the 2020 version of the vehicle.
Quality of Charging Went Down from 2020 to 2021
It seems the charging capabilities have actually gone down between the 2020 and 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ models. Since Tesla seemed to trade more range for lower charging, the newer version has a lower C-rate and takes more time to charge even though the older version has a lower battery capacity compared to the 2021 model.
Another analysis found that the 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ had a charging from 65 percent state-of-charge that is below 50 kW, which is said to not be remarkably high. The peak charging power when beginning at about 10 percent state-of-charge was 159 kW. What does this mean? The charging from 20 to 80 percent took about a half hour.
The average charging power in the 20 to 80 percent range was also a not very impressive 64 kW for the 2021 Model 2 SR+. This can be compared to the 2020 model when reviewing how both vehicles would use the DC Fast Charging stations discussed earlier in that they are so popular for Tesla customers:
- 2020 Tesla Model 3 SR+ – 53 kWh battery, 170 kW max power, 82 kW average power (20-80%), 22 minutes (20-80%)
- 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ – 55 kWh battery, 159 kW max power, 64 kW average power (20-80%), 30 minutes (20-80%)
It can be concluded that the 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR+ traded its charging capabilities for a greater overall range. The 2021 model does offer adequate DC fast charging capabilities, but is not as impressive as the 2020 Model 3 SR+. The tradeoff seems to be between the energy density for a higher range versus the previous charging power.
Driving Dynamics Are Impressive for the Price
How does the Model 3 SR+ drive? Customers have used the words smooth and quick to describe their overall experience from the acceleration through the stoppage. In fact, the acceleration of the Model 3 SR+ is natural and easy while the vehicle’s default braking has the perfect amount of resistance for stop-and-start city driving.
The steering of the Model 3 SR+ is impressive compared to its counterparts, with a precise turn on corners and immediate response to even the smallest efforts. Noting the fact that the SR+ is the best value of the Model 3’s, the drive is exciting and fun while also giving the driver the highest amount of accuracy.
Although the Model 3 SR+ does offer a smooth and quick driving experience, it is not perfect. The vehicle has been known to have a frustratingly loud wind noise from the driver’s side window when hitting certain speeds on the freeway. There have also been complaints about the cabin’s midsection cracking when the car hit bumps in the road.
For all these minor imperfections, the Model 3 SR+ really does drive like a fast, smooth vehicle compared to other electric cars. Tesla does not rate their vehicles for torque or horsepower, but it does report around 258 pound-feet and 201 horsepower, respectively and notes that this Model 3 is really a sports car masked as a sedan.
The Model 3 SR+ is an impressive version of the Model 3 at an affordable price. The charging capabilities may be better in the 2020 version than the newer 2021 model, but the improved range is a major selling point to purchase the latest Model 3 SR+. As long as you are aware of some exterior problems, you can easily enjoy this Model 3 version.
It also has a lot of standard features for its lower price, including the basic Autopilot hardware and software. All Tesla Model 3 owners can spend an additional $10,000 for more self-driving capabilities, and the Model 3 cars in particular offer an in-camera feature. These features are why Tesla is the reigning champion of electric vehicles.