5 Of The Best EV Alternatives To The Tesla Model 3

Though Tesla enthusiasts champion the Model S for its undeniable influence in bringing electric vehicles into the mainstream, it was understood as a luxury vehicle that remained aspirational for most. The Model 3, on the other hand, was intended to be the more attainable follow-up. Something to not only excite said enthusiasts, but also shoppers outside of the fandom eager for a more substantial BEV than what was available at the time of the 3's announcement.

Some time has passed since then, enough that details of the Model 3's second refresh are starting to make the rounds. In that time, the landscape of the battery-electric vehicle has changed, maybe not dramatically but certainly significantly. Most fully-electric vehicles remain out of reach in the luxury department but there are more relatively-affordable BEVs on the market today than ever before.

With that in mind, here are a few that stand out as alternatives to the Model 3 if the car — or the company or the persons behind it — don't strike your fancy.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

If you were to make a Venn diagram of cars that irritate diehard automotive fanbases, Ford's Mustang Mach-E would have many overlaps. For some, that might just be a good enough reason to get one, but there are other things that make the Mach-E worth considering. The base model nets drivers a decent amount of power and range — 230 EPA-estimated miles and 266 horsepower to the rear wheels — but apart from that, the Mach-E distinguishes itself by being very versatile as a daily driver. Its spacious cabin is simple but comfortable and its interface is very streamlined. There's also loads of usable space at your disposal, especially if you're looking for a frunk to fill with cocktail shrimp.

Its look, though divisive, is distinct, and underneath it all is a car worthy enough for Ford's most important badge. Make no mistake, this isn't a half-measure compliance car. The Mach-E also comes with the support network of one of the world's largest auto manufacturers, too, which is always reassuring. At the end of the day, it's if anything a conversation-starter. Just pull up to a pony-car meet up and make all sorts of new friends!

Audi Q4 e-tron

Audi is indeed a luxury automaker, but the average price of cars these days has caught up to its entry level offerings, such as the Q4 e-tron. In either its rear-wheel drive or AWD configuration, the Q4 has enough juice for the majority of daily suburban activities. It's not the hottest car in Audi's lineup, but it's still fun to drive if you happen upon a twisty road. With a range estimated between 236 to 265 miles, there's enough battery to last most of the week before requiring a charge-up.

What stands out about the Q4 e-tron is that it feels like a car that happens to be an EV. Its handling and character is in line with conventional combustion vehicles, easing the transition for buyers making the switch to electric. The comfortable ride is matched by an elegant, streamlined interior that can be equipped with Audi's Virtual Cockpit interface that pairs with its easy to use operating system. Loads of sensors and safety gadgets provide a great deal of reassurance and ease of use, and that's not even touching half of the features like the head-up display with AR-like navigational functions. If tech is what you're looking for, look no further than this one.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The streamlined nature of an EV's hardware means that car designers have fewer components to design around, giving them a nearly clean slate upon which their creativity can manifest. While most largely embrace the minimalist aesthetic, each automaker has taken a different approach. Some play it safe and change very little of the design and interior functions whereas others strip cars out to their most bare. Hyundai manages to strike a balance with the Ioniq 5, giving it a distinct style that retains the function and familiarity we desire from a car. From tail lights to dashboard, the Ioniq 5 carries a unique theme that gives it so much hard-to-ignore character.

Beyond the looks, it's a very functional and easy to use daily driver with 225 horsepower provided by the rear-wheel drive version and nearly 300 miles of range, which is nothing to sniff at. Don't be fooled by it's shape: though stylish and tight, the Hyundai isn't a tiny hatchback by any stretch, in fact, it's much beefier in person than people expect. This means ample seating for front-and-rear passengers as well as plenty of usable cargo space.

Spend any time with the car and it becomes apparent quickly why the Ioniq 5 netted so many "car of the year awards' when it debuted. Best of all, if this particular look doesn't match your particular tastes regardless of how many rewards it has on its mantle, it comes in two other flavors, the Kia EV6 and the Genesis GV60.

Polestar 2

We give the Polestar 2 a generous amount of praise here because it strikes us as the most balanced of the current EV offerings. It's looks are sharp yet streamlined, it has the chops to perform when it needs to, but cool and comfortable when it doesn't and its integrated Android Automotive interface is a breeze to use even if you'e an Apple person.

There are a number of interior materials available that range from traditional to modern synthetic types that are more rugged and can withstand steady, daily abuse. As with any entry on this list, multiple options compound the price with each iteration, but there's quite a variety of options, so picking the right one for you isn't a chore. If we're sticking to the single motor, entry-level option, potential buyers can expect to have 231 horsepower and 270 miles of range at their disposal, making this iteration a fantastic workhorse for most daily needs.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet's Bolt EV gets the wrong end of the stick in most conversations about EVs, mainly from GM itself in the form of some relative neglect. When it debuted at CES in 2016, it was celebrated as an EV for the people, with 240-ish miles of range and a price tag that didn't sear the eyes.

It performed its role very well in that regard, gaining the admiration of media outlets across the board, but demand seemed to fluctuate ever since. Was it a lack of marketing, a hold-up in production or indeed, all of these things? A recall on LG-produced batteries didn't help the car much, either.

In 2022, the Bolt received a refresh if its exterior and interior, along with some quality-of-life updates to the tech, though its powertrain remained unchanged, with no power or range boost. With that said, it's a very capable runabout that does its job and doesn't break the bank. If the Bolt itself isn't quite up to task, its spin-off Bolt EUV crossover is this car but more: More space, more features and more capability. It's worth mentioning again that the Bolt also has the support network of a major automotive manufacturer. Maybe not from its marketing department, but from its service network, at least.