Tesla Model 3 Vs Polestar 2: Which Is The Better Electric Car?

When the Tesla Model 3 was produced in 2017, it was one of the most anticipated electric vehicles. It went on to become one of the highest-selling electric vehicle models in the world, according to CleanTechnica. In an effort to catch up, traditional automakers such as Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors are on a mission to dethrone Tesla in the EV market. However, newcomers such as Lucid Motors and Polestar also have a point to make, and they're producing electric cars that are as good as a Tesla — if not better.

Case in point: The Polestar 2 is an electric car that is often pitied against the Tesla Model 3. It offers almost the same experience that you will find in a Tesla Model 3. Plus, you could spend almost the same amount you would for a Model 3 to buy a Polestar 2. But which is the better electric car between Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2? Let's find out. 

The battery range

The latest 2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range comes with a battery capacity of 82 kWh, with an estimated EPA range of 358 miles (via Get Jerry). Similar to the Long Range, the Performance trim has a battery capacity of 82 kWh, but its electric range is rated at 315 miles. However, the Tesla Model 3 Standard trim is fitted with a 50-kWh battery that can drive up to 272 miles after a full charge.

On the other hand, the 2023 Polestar 2 is available in two variants — the Long Range Single Motor and the Long Range Dual motor. The Long Range Single Motor trim comes with a 78 kWh battery that can cover a distance of up to 270 miles, according to its EPA rating. The Long Range Dual Motor also comes with a 78 kWh lithium-ion battery, but since it's performance-oriented, the range is 260 miles, according to Car and Driver.

So, by comparison, the latest 2022 Tesla Model 3 offers a longer battery range than the 2023 Polestar 2.

What about performance?

The fastest Tesla Model 3 is the Performance trim — it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.1 seconds in ideal conditions (via EV Compare). Its super-fast acceleration can be attributed to its AWD dual motor that produces 336 kW equivalent to 450 hp. The fastest Polestar 2 also comes with an AWD Dual Motor trim with a power output of 476 hp, but it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.2 seconds. This means that if you put the fastest Tesla Model 3 alongside the fastest Polestar 2 in a drag race, the Tesla Model 3 will come out on top. However, the Polestar 2 is faster in a reverse drag race, according to AutoTrader.

If you're going for the cheaper Tesla Model 3 base trim with an RWD single motor, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.8 seconds (via Green Car Reports) — this is still faster than the FWD single motor Polestar 2 that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7 seconds. Even the 127 mph top speed of the Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor trim is not a match for the Tesla Model 3 Performance variant that can achieve a top speed of 162 mph.

Self-driving technology

Both the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 feature self-driving technology. The standard driver assistant technology on the Polestar 2 can help the driver stay alert, avoid collisions, stay in the lane and read road signs. It basically comes with all the safety features designed in the Volvo XC60 including automatic braking, speed limiter, and automatic steering to avoid obstacles. If you want more, you can pay $3,400 to upgrade to the Pilot pack on the Polestar 2 — it includes extra features such as Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. The Pilot pack also comes with 12 sensors and a birds' eye view camera — but with the standard driver assistant, you're limited to 8 sensors and rear cameras.

The Tesla Model 3 self-driving technology is known as 'Autopilot', and it's standard in all trims. However, the standard Autopilot in Tesla Model 3 is basic, but it can autosteer while staying at the center of a marked lane — it also features cruise control to keep up with the traffic in front. If you want to unlock automatic lane change, smart summon, and automatic park, you need to upgrade to enhanced autopilot. The subscription runs at $199 per month. Tesla also offers "Full Self-Driving Autopilot" (beta) that delivers more precise driving than other packages.

In a head-to-head comparison, the Tesla Model 3 Autopilot is more advanced than the 2023 Polestar 2 Pilot pack.

Don't forget the interior

The Tesla Model 3 interior design is extremely minimalistic. It only comes with two physical buttons on the steering wheel since almost everything is controlled through the 15.4 touchscreen display at the center of the cabin (via Top Gear). On the other hand, the Polestar 2 has more physical buttons on the steering wheel and a transmission selector even though it's an electric vehicle. In addition to that, the Polestar 2 interior is complemented with an 11.15-inch center touchscreen installed with Android Automotive OS.

Both the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 interiors are made with vegan material. However, the finishing on the Polestar 2 is inspired by Volvo's signature style, giving it a premium look, like most European car brands. In fact, customers have an option to choose Nappa leather finishing on the Polestar 2 interior. If you combine that with reconstructed wood, durable upholstery fabric with sports design and LED lighting, the interior of the Polestar 2 feels more luxe than what you would find in the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 or Polestar 2: The verdict

If you prioritize acceleration, battery range, and self-driving technology, the Tesla Model 3 is the clear winner. However, the Polestar 2 comes on top if you consider comfort and interior quality. Besides that, the Polestar 2 is a hatchback with hints of a premium Volvo and the Tesla Model 3 is a sedan similar to the Model S — but smaller.

As for the price, the 2023 Polestar 2 starts at $48,800. If you're buying the 2022 model, it will cost you about $2,500 less than the 2023 model. But if you want the 2023 Long Range Dual Motor trim, it will cost you about $51,900. The biggest improvement of the 2023 Polestar 2 over the 2022 model year is the 11 miles of extra range on the Long Range Dual Motor variant.

The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive starts at $46,990, while the Long-Range trim is sold at $54,490. The Tesla Model 3 Performance is the most expensive trim at $61,990. But with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, the Tesla Model 3 will become eligible for the $7,500 tax credit starting January 1, 2023 — although only the trims that are sold for less than $55,000 will be considered.

Unless Volvo builds the Polestar 2 in the U.S., it won't qualify for the new tax incentive under the Inflation Reduction Act. However, we know Volvo is building an electric SUV in the U.S., and it will be known as the Polestar 3