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2021 Model 3 SR+ vs LR Purchase...Check My Assumptions & Conclusions Please

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
New to the forums here and am in the market for a 2021 Model 3 and have been wrestling over the SR+ vs the LR for some time now. I drive 60 miles roundtrip to work every day and around 20k miles a year here in SC. I will be installing a wall connector in my garage so no issues with daily driving or home charging. However, I do take various trips around GA, SC, NC, and VA - lake house, family in VA, football games, visit friends, etc. throughout the year. I have done lots of research over the past few weeks and have come to the following assumptions/conclusions. I think I have decided on paying the extra $9k for the LR AWD due to the following.

Reasons to buy LR AWD instead of SR+ RWD
  • 353 miles vs 263 miles stated range
    • The range is generally 5-10% overstated for "real world" driving i.e. highway miles, use of climate control regularly, don't actually drive to a zero mile tank, etc.
    • Range will only go down, not up over time due to battery degradation, new tires, wear and tear, etc. Best case scenario is the OTA updates make up for that loss but probably unlikely.
    • The supercharger network in SC is pretty bad and misses lots of key points of driving on the interstates, mainly I-26 which traverses the entire state.
    • LR AWD is somewhat more "future proof" due to better features and longer range, potentially alleviating any buyers remorse if buying the "base model" insteaed
  • Better interior on LR
  • Better sound system on LR
  • Faster charging on LR
    • AC charging only, DC is the same
  • LR has AWD dual motor which reduces rear tire wear and tear and thus cost
    • Regen braking and instant torque/acceleration is hard on the RWD rear tires
  • LR AWD has better handling
If you have any thoughts as to why you made the purchase you did please feel free to share!
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,352
11,695
Riverside Co. CA
You are not comparing a 353 mile vehicle vs a 263 mile vehicle. As you point out, no one drives to zero. Also, recommendations for daily charging are no more than 90%.

So, you will be charging from 90% to 20%, at most.

LR = 90% of 353 = 317 20% of 353 = 71. 317 - 71 = 246 miles of daily, usable range, not counting the fact mileage doesnt roll off 1:1

Sr = 90% of 263 = 236. 20% of 263 = 53. 236 - 53 = 183 miles of daily usable range not counting the fact mileage doesnt roll off 1:1

60 mile round trip daily commute will take, on average, between 60 and 85-90 "miles" of tesla range, depending on weather, (cold and rain use a LOT more energy), how fast you drive, etc. Expect your 60 mile commute to take on average 75-80 miles.

LR = 246 miles, with 80 miles used daily for commute = 32% of vehicle range used daily for commuting
SR = 183 miles, with 80 miles used for daily commute = 44% of vehicle range used daily for commuting

All these approximations are before any degradation.


Also, there is a lot of posts around this specific topic. The forum software suggests threads at the bottom of this one, but if you search you will likely find a fair number of threads on this exact topic.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,016
1,999
Houston
I don't know about some of that. Better handling? Who said? Normally lighter cars with rear wheel drive handle more to enthusiasts liking. Or do you mean better handling in snow?

Less tire wear from AWD? I don't know about that either. The AWD is a lot heavier car, which wears out tires faster. But no matter what, that's stretch to make that point.

Interior is shockingly similar, unlike other cars where the base model interior is crap vs the higher trims.

Faster charging doesn't matter when you are at home, and for road trips, that extra $9K could pay for a lot of rental cars for really long trips, or pay yourself $200/hr to wait a little longer at the supercharger. Not to mention how much that $9k could be worth investing instead.

The one you left off is acceleration. Definitely that's a super strong point for the AWD, and make it a lot more fun than the SR+. But if you don't have the need for speed, it doesn't sound like you have need or justification for the AWD. You would do fine saving the bucks and investing them instead by getting the SR+. But if you want the LWD, get it.
 
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brulaz

Member
Feb 4, 2021
100
29
Ontario Canada
You've done your homework for sure.
We keep our cars for awhile, so range loss over time was important to us. As was range loss in the Winter, but guess that's not as important for you.
If you can afford it, the LR is nice.
 
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Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
I don't know about some of that. Better handling? Who said? Normally lighter cars with rear wheel drive handle more to enthusiasts liking. Or do you mean better handling in snow?

Less tire wear from AWD? I don't know about that either. The AWD is a lot heavier car, which wears out tires faster. But no matter what, that's stretch to make that point.

Interior is shockingly similar, unlike other cars where the base model interior is crap vs the higher trims.

Faster charging doesn't matter when you are at home, and for road trips, that extra $9K could pay for a lot of rental cars for really long trips, or pay yourself $200/hr to wait a little longer at the supercharger. Not to mention how much that $9k could be worth investing instead.

The one you left off is acceleration. Definitely that's a super strong point for the AWD, and make it a lot more fun than the SR+. But if you don't have the need for speed, it doesn't sound like you have need or justification for the AWD. You would do fine saving the bucks and investing them instead by getting the SR+. But if you want the LWD, get it.

Thanks - some good points you listed here. As far as where I got the info from, I read lots of places on this forum and others that people were blowing through tires at less than 20k on the RWD version due to regen braking and all the acceleration coming from there and AWD versions were much better on tires. I do not care about acceleration or speed. As Elon once said "Tesla doesn't make slow cars [regardless of version/model]". Your point is well taken on the extra $9k, a different perspective I had not considered - thanks.

What are the reasons people opt for the LR here on this forum?
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,352
11,695
Riverside Co. CA
What are the reasons people opt for the LR here on this forum?

Also, there is a lot of posts around this specific topic. The forum software suggests threads at the bottom of this one, but if you search you will likely find a fair number of threads on this exact topic.

Here are some threads, but there are more (many more) if you search for "SR vs LR" or search terms like that.


Note, I find this type of response a lot more polite than other forums where people simply say "use search" even though I realize it amounts to the same thing, in the end.
 

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
Here are some threads, but there are more (many more) if you search for "SR vs LR" or search terms like that.


Note, I find this type of response a lot more polite than other forums where people simply say "use search" even though I realize it amounts to the same thing, in the end.

Thank you for the help
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,016
1,999
Houston
Thanks - some good points you listed here. As far as where I got the info from, I read lots of places on this forum and others that people were blowing through tires at less than 20k on the RWD version due to regen braking and all the acceleration coming from there and AWD versions were much better on tires. I do not care about acceleration or speed. As Elon once said "Tesla doesn't make slow cars [regardless of version/model]". Your point is well taken on the extra $9k, a different perspective I had not considered - thanks.

What are the reasons people opt for the LR here on this forum?

Personal accounts of tire wear on Teslas are very hard to take at face value because Tesla pumps a lot of cars out of their factories with bad alignments that cause premature wear. The first thing you should do with a Tesla is get an alignment check at a good, trustworthy alignment shop. I don't trust Tesla to do good alignments because it's not their thing. That $100 or so you spend on alignment check could save you a ton of money on tires.
 

JoshFalken

Member
Mar 8, 2021
38
28
CLT
Thanks - some good points you listed here. As far as where I got the info from, I read lots of places on this forum and others that people were blowing through tires at less than 20k on the RWD version due to regen braking and all the acceleration coming from there and AWD versions were much better on tires. I do not care about acceleration or speed. As Elon once said "Tesla doesn't make slow cars [regardless of version/model]". Your point is well taken on the extra $9k, a different perspective I had not considered - thanks.

What are the reasons people opt for the LR here on this forum?
The acceleration difference and the range for me. I drive from Charlotte to the coast at least every 4 weeks. It’s about 240 miles. I have an LR and left at 100% SOC and arrived with 22%. I can charge on-site so I charge to 90% until I leave and then move up to 97 to 100%. Left with 97% and arrived back with 17%. No SC stops required along the way. I considered the SR+ but would always have had to stop at the Wilmington SC each way. Day trips up to Winston-Salem require no stops round trip.

I guess 3rd is the audio setup. I like some bass.
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,110
1,495
East Bay NorCal
One thing I don't think is discussed much in the range threads is how much fun it is to drive a LR Dual Motor Performance. Local Tesla dealer let my wife and I do an overnight demo.

They lent the car with 285 miles of range... we drove it 120 total miles... and when I took it back to them it had 85 miles of range left. But those were a fun 120 miles...

I need to install more solar panels to power all these miles...
 
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Zacster

Member
Sep 11, 2017
206
102
NYC
As an SR+ owner I'd say go with the LR. While my car has been great and I have yet to take a long trip where I needed more than 1 quick stop, I wish I had the greater range. I've been thinking about trying a trip from NYC to Aspen but the charging times discourage me. I'd have to stop to charge before
I'd normally be ready to stop. Yes, it can be done but I think it isn't feasible to do a straight trip. When I did this trip in my daughter's Camry we were stopping along the way a lot because we wanted to, but there are also those long stretches of Minnesota and S. Dakota that I'd sooner just keep moving through.

AND, and a very BIG AND, the audio system in the SR+ just isn't very good. It is a stripped down version where they took out all the lower frequencies and it sounds tinny as a result. I've spent more time on the forums here researching upgrades than anything else lately. And here is the worst part of it, you can't just go to any auto stereo shop and have them put in a better system because it is all tied into the computer.

The other stuff, like the acceleration, doesn't bother me. 0-60 in 5.3 seconds is still pretty fast for a former minivan driver. And it is really just the slight hesitation from a stop that makes it a little less fast than an LR. It still throws you back in your seat.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,016
1,999
Houston
As an SR+ owner I'd say go with the LR. While my car has been great and I have yet to take a long trip where I needed more than 1 quick stop, I wish I had the greater range. I've been thinking about trying a trip from NYC to Aspen but the charging times discourage me. I'd have to stop to charge before
I'd normally be ready to stop. Yes, it can be done but I think it isn't feasible to do a straight trip. When I did this trip in my daughter's Camry we were stopping along the way a lot because we wanted to, but there are also those long stretches of Minnesota and S. Dakota that I'd sooner just keep moving through.

AND, and a very BIG AND, the audio system in the SR+ just isn't very good. It is a stripped down version where they took out all the lower frequencies and it sounds tinny as a result. I've spent more time on the forums here researching upgrades than anything else lately. And here is the worst part of it, you can't just go to any auto stereo shop and have them put in a better system because it is all tied into the computer.

The other stuff, like the acceleration, doesn't bother me. 0-60 in 5.3 seconds is still pretty fast for a former minivan driver. And it is really just the slight hesitation from a stop that makes it a little less fast than an LR. It still throws you back in your seat.

How often do you make those road trips that the additional range would be a nice to have? if it's just every now and then, you saved a ton of money, why not rent an ICE car for those trips that you don't want to stop at chargers, even with the longer range, and still come out way ahead. They make renting cars easy these days, and for long trips it's better to beat on a rental than your own car.
 
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Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
How often do you make those road trips that the additional range would be a nice to have? if it's just every now and then, you saved a ton of money, why not rent an ICE car for those trips that you don't want to stop at chargers, even with the longer range, and still come out way ahead. They make renting cars easy these days, and for long trips it's better to beat on a rental than your own car.
I think the idea, at least for me, is I want to drive the car that I purchased and not make compromises. I really love Tesla and we are still probably 5 years away from a 350-400 mile range car regardless of climate or temperature. So this is the best I’m going to get unless I wait 5 more years. I think there are a lot of good points from multiple different viewpoints and that’s why I posted this topic
 

Zacster

Member
Sep 11, 2017
206
102
NYC
I think the idea, at least for me, is I want to drive the car that I purchased and not make compromises. I really love Tesla and we are still probably 5 years away from a 350-400 mile range car regardless of climate or temperature. So this is the best I’m going to get unless I wait 5 more years. I think there are a lot of good points from multiple different viewpoints and that’s why I posted this topic
The model S gets over 400 right now.

But to your other point, well yes, that's why I bought this car, to drive it, not to rent something else. And as I said, I did the drive in my daughter's Camry already. If I never have to go to another gas station that would be just fine with me.
 

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
The model S gets over 400 right now.

But to your other point, well yes, that's why I bought this car, to drive it, not to rent something else. And as I said, I did the drive in my daughter's Camry already. If I never have to go to another gas station that would be just fine with me.
My point was there won’t be a car for five years or so for the “middle class“ that’ll get you 350-400 miles consistent range regardless of the temperature outside, your cabin settings, your rims, your tires, etc. The model S is an $80k+ luxury car that only gets 400 miles under certain controlled circumstances and is not real world mileage. I was more speaking for myself than anything there also.
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
892
948
SF Bay Area
Is this the only car that is going to be in your fleet?

Logically the economic utility of the SR+ is probably better. But if you are not financially over constrained you will be happier with the LR in my opinion (I'm extrapolating from your posts in this thread).

I've been driving EV's for almost 20 years now (2002 RAV4-EV, 2011 Nissan LEAF, 2012 RAV4-EV, 2018 Model 3 LR, 2020 Model Y LR). I don't think I've ever thought about wishing I had more money in my pocket and less range. I bought the most battery I could afford at each time. Well I might have been able to get a model S instead of the Y but for the form factor/size was not what we were looking for. We've been been a two EV family for a while. I don't really think about range on every day driving. For road trips it still matters (although less and less). Personally I need to get to about 400 rated miles before the utility of the extra range starts really dropping for me. Your battery will never more capacity in its life compared to the first day you own it.

I think the SR+ might be a great second car. When our family goes out these days we take the Y.
 

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
370
324
South Carolina
Is this the only car that is going to be in your fleet?

Logically the economic utility of the SR+ is probably better. But if you are not financially over constrained you will be happier with the LR in my opinion (I'm extrapolating from your posts in this thread).

I've been driving EV's for almost 20 years now (2002 RAV4-EV, 2011 Nissan LEAF, 2012 RAV4-EV, 2018 Model 3 LR, 2020 Model Y LR). I don't think I've ever thought about wishing I had more money in my pocket and less range. I bought the most battery I could afford at each time. Well I might have been able to get a model S instead of the Y but for the form factor/size was not what we were looking for. We've been been a two EV family for a while. I don't really think about range on every day driving. For road trips it still matters (although less and less). Personally I need to get to about 400 rated miles before the utility of the extra range starts really dropping for me. Your battery will never more capacity in its life compared to the first day you own it.

I think the SR+ might be a great second car. When our family goes out these days we take the Y.
Thank you for posting this as it is a good summary of some of the thoughts I was having as well. I am currently have a girlfriend and we may get engaged within a year or so but I do not want to make any assumptions regarding future vehicles available. For arguments sake she drives a nice ICE SUV so if we are projecting in 2 years or so in the future then yes I would have that car at my disposal as well as my Model 3. I don’t anticipate having the Model 3 for more than 6 years or so as I’ll probably upgrade after that to whatever the latest and greatest Tesla is at the time. I also very much agree with your 400 mile utility - 400 real world miles that is. $50k for the LR is probably the max I would feel comfortable with and I can certainly afford it and it not be a financial constraint but I wanted to vet my thinking before making any hasty decisions.
 

Zacster

Member
Sep 11, 2017
206
102
NYC
I guess the other thing I saw when I bought mine is that the prices had come down from when I started to look. Suddenly the SR+ didn't seem so expensive anymore. An LR was still more than I was looking to spend, but in retrospect I would do that today. I paid 36,990 back in Feb, and the LR I think was 45,990? But now $3k of that was eaten with price increases. I don't think I'd have bought it at 39,990, that seems high.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,819
5,752
I got my SR+ last year when it was $37,900 before options and I believe the LR was $46,900 so the ratio in price was bigger (the price increases since then have changed that ratio). I wanted a Model Y SR+, but that didn't exist as an option back then, and if I was going to get a LR at the time I would have spent the extra money on a Model Y instead. So I decided to pocket the money and get a Model 3 SR+ instead.

My commute is similar (80 miles round trip) although I don't have to do it daily due to Covid. However, I'm in California where I have plenty of SCs available, near my destinations and along the way, so I have no fear of "range anxiety" even if I had to make a last minute trip. There were some longer trips that I made that are close to 150-200 miles round trip that if I had an LR I wouldn't have had to make a charge stop, but another factor is I'm still using level 1 charging in my house (going to add a 14-50 soon). If you get a SR+, I think it's a must to get L2 charging, just so you have the option of getting your charge up decently quickly at home for certain trips. With an LR, you would have more flexibility.
 
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