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

Zacster

Member
Sep 11, 2017
206
102
NYC
I should mention too that I'm retired so I don't use the car to commute, not that I ever drove to work anyway. In NYC you don't drive to an office in Manhattan unless you are crazy.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,352
11,693
Riverside Co. CA
In So. Cal, we basically drive everywhere, as public transportation is very inconvenient. Even Nor. Cal is much better in this regard, and back where you are its another level, lol. Im a born and raised native Southern Californian. First time I went to NY on a work trip a long time ago, I was seriously shocked that people could actually get places efficiently on public transportation.

I went to Japan (Tokyo) on vacation in 2012 for a couple of weeks, and that was seriously amazing on a lot of levels, but public transportation was certainly one of them.
 

freeAgent

Member
Oct 29, 2020
145
127
SoCal
I have a LR while one of my brother-in-laws has a SR+ and the other has one of the rare Model Y SR+ that Tesla made for a few weeks. Anyway, both of my BILs complain about the range of their SR+ vehicles here in SoCal, but particularly the one with the Y SR+ (and, to be fair, he frequently commutes over 150 miles per day). I think the LR is the way to go if you will ever be road tripping in the car. Road trips are doable in the SR+, but you will have to stop quite frequently and always be on the hunt for chargers. You may also make less use of features like Sentry Mode because they eat battery.

Things in the SR+'s favor:
  1. The interior is basically the same as the LR (minus the sound system, though there are 3rd party solutions to that problem, or so I hear)
  2. They are significantly cheaper, I assume insurance is also slightly cheaper (FYI, Tesla insurance rates can be quite high...get some quotes before buying)
  3. They weigh less and RWD generally has a more sporty feel
  4. They are slightly more efficient than the LR model so your charging costs will be very slightly lower
I feel like the main reason to get a SR+ is the price. If your budget is stretched too far with the LR, the SR+ is a good option. It also makes sense as a local-area-only vehicle or when paired with an ICE/Hybrid for road trips. Otherwise, I feel that the range is too compromised to recommend it over the LR. As folks have said, you'll spend 99.99% of the time bouncing between 10-90% SOC and actual driving efficiency is about 90% of what Tesla promises. Therefore, you're looking at 353*.8*.9=254 miles of comfortable real world miles in the LR and only 263*.8*.9=190 real world miles in the SR+. Even on a road trip, you'll VERY rarely want to take the car over 90% SOC because charging becomes very slow at that point. You'll also want to give yourself at least a 10% safety buffer since road trips usually mean passing through lots of areas where you aren't able to charge at all.
 

dusty_dev

Member
Aug 9, 2021
54
128
Colorado
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.
you clearly spent some time putting these together. thank you for that!
 

rpiotro

Member
Aug 18, 2021
34
15
42°57'34"N 88°3'35" W
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!
For me it was the $10,000 and 604 lbs. A relatively light weight, rear drive sport sedan can be a lot of fun.
 

Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
52
57
Waterloo, ON
For me it was the $10,000 and 604 lbs. A relatively light weight, rear drive sport sedan can be a lot of fun.
Some of the weight savings from the battery pack maybe disappearing on future M3 SR+. It is rumoured that future SR vehicles will be using LFP batteries (already the case in Europe) that is nominally 165 kg heavier than corresponding capacity Nickel Cobalt batteries. The weight increase will be offset by the ability to charge to 100% without long term impact to battery life and more consistent power delivery across charge range due to flatter voltage curve.

I just completed a a 1650 km (990 mile) trip across a day and half between Waterloo ON and Moncton NB along the trans-canada highway in my 2021 M3 SR+. The average SC stop distance was between 150-240 km (90-140 mi) with a charge time of 15-20 mins (8 SC charge stops for approx 2 hrs total). I expect a LR version would be able to do same trip with 5-6 charge stops with 1.5 hrs total. So if you expect to do many long trips in excess of 800 km, I would expect some significant charge stop time savings. LR will also give you the option to skip certain SC stations that are known to have long lines which is typically not an option with SR+.
 

2021srplus

Member
Jul 10, 2021
60
98
SF Bay Area
IMO, it ultimately boils down to how you value/need:

1) the additional range for long trips and how often you take them
2) the increased DC charging rate
3) the additional acceleration/traction of AWD. Note that the difference in acceleration is mostly when starting from a standstill. If the vehicle is already at speed, the acceleration difference is much less.
4) niceties of the AWD version, which are limited to carpeted floor mats, footwell lights, upgraded sound, rear heated seats (you have to pay $300 extra on the SR+) and fog lights

Only you can answer if the above is worth the additional $11,000* difference. Notice the asterisk, which assumes the initial $10,000 price difference + $1000 difference in taxes/fees. The difference is actually higher if you're financing the car because you're financing $11,000 more, but you may recoup some of that if/when you sell the vehicle. I've noticed that the SR+ seems to have the lowest rate of depreciation, since the AWD versions tend to prop up their resale value.

Carpeted floor mats I consider wasteful since all weather mats provide superior coverage for less $$$. Footwell lights I can live without, although they do add some nighttime ambiance. Fog lights can be easily retrofitted and are mostly decoration since the brightness/beam pattern of the headlights is already very good. Upgraded sound is subjective as it is highly dependent on the type of music, quality of the source, the listening levels you're accustomed to, and the number of hours you're spending in the vehicle. Understand that any moving car is a terrible soundstage for true audiophile listening - reverberation from the huge glass area, road/wind noise, and background noise from adjacent traffic.
 
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Proflig8tor

Member
Jun 23, 2019
92
129
Marietta, GA
Drove all versions of the Model 3 before buying mine.

My priority was handling and driving fun. The SR+ had an obviously lighter front end which felt more effortless, compared to the other cars where the front mass was apparent. The regen transfers weight to the front and makes for the nicest front-end "bite" with a little bit of off-power oversteer; very Porsche 911 like. When I drive this car hard, I drive it very hard. However, most of the time I'm maximizing range for fun and average 190 wh/mi around town and about 225 on the highway. Driven like this we rotated the tires once at 10,000 miles and the wear was identical across all four tires (more even than we've seen on any of our other cars). Currently, the car is at 28,000 and there is plenty of tread left while we wait for the new Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires to hit the market. The SR+ is plenty fast enough; faster than Mustang GT's, a Porsche Cayman GT, AMG C43, since you will be across the intersection before they get all their shafts spinning and torque transferred through their gearboxes. Besides "slow car fast" is always more fun than "fast car slow."

Maybe the fast charging and range make a real-world difference, I don't know. It seems efficiency is it's own form of quick charging. We never have a problem charging this car during the reduced rates (free) offered by our utility provider. In contrast a much faster charging Model X P100D we borrowed needed all night and frankly, it felt like riding an elephant compared to the SR+. Of course, what really affects charging speed is how depleted your battery is before you charge. The lower, the better. I now aim to arrive at a SC at around 10 to 15% and leave at 60 to 80%. That last bit above 80% is s l o w.

As for road trips, the seats and autopilot make the SR+ such a great car that it gets more use than our Grumman Tiger that we bought just for family trips. I'd imagine the LR would be even better.

I'm kind of in the market for a Plaid, but want to experience the handling. My friend's Model S P100D is tremendously fun in a straight line, but too heavy to throw around some of the excellent roads we have around us (tail of the Dragon is just north of me). I understand the new Plaid's suspension has been revised with different struts and a completely new rear suspension. Look forward to giving it a try.

Compared to a LR, about all I lust after is the better interior lights of the LR and the improved sound system. A SR+ can buy enhanced productivity, but we can't get the indirect lighting subwoofer or speakers that the LR buyers enjoy. The SR+ sound system is fine for podcasts but pretty terrible if you are at all a sound nerd. Range just hasn't been an issue at all. Electricity is everywhere; campgrounds, etc ....

All the Model 3 cars are going to be a lot of fun to own and drive. I prefer the bookends of the line; the SR+ and the Performance. However, the SR+ on 19's is the goldilocks car for enthusiasts.
 
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iamnid

Member
Dec 4, 2019
714
682
Riverside, CA
We have a Model 3 SR+ and a Model Y LR. The SR+ is a great car. It's plenty fast and WAAAY more efficient than the LR Model Y. I can't really speak to the efficiency of a LR Model 3 but the SR+ gets much closer to the stated range than the Model Y. The interiors are all but identical except for footwell lights and the stereo. In my opinion, and experience, unless you regularly anticipate taking trips where you will have to charge along the way, there's no reason to get the LR (unless you feel you need AWD). Our SR+ regularly commutes 65 miles each way. I'm always amazed at how far one charge will go in the Model 3 SR+ and always disappointed in the range of the Model Y LR.
 

Zacster

Member
Sep 11, 2017
206
102
NYC
We have a Model 3 SR+ and a Model Y LR. The SR+ is a great car. It's plenty fast and WAAAY more efficient than the LR Model Y. I can't really speak to the efficiency of a LR Model 3 but the SR+ gets much closer to the stated range than the Model Y. The interiors are all but identical except for footwell lights and the stereo. In my opinion, and experience, unless you regularly anticipate taking trips where you will have to charge along the way, there's no reason to get the LR (unless you feel you need AWD). Our SR+ regularly commutes 65 miles each way. I'm always amazed at how far one charge will go in the Model 3 SR+ and always disappointed in the range of the Model Y LR.
I'm beginning to think the same. I sometimes get better than stated range on my SR+, although certainly not all the time. I've owned it for 6 months now and the longest trip so far has been 250 or so miles. That is just barely within stated range and I'd never take the chance, but that also means it is just a quick charge. Since we do this trip regularly we have a routine now to stop more than midway through for 20 minutes so we have a decent charge when we get to our destination or home, and we'd stop for that long anyway.

OTOH, I'm going to be driving from Albuquerque to NYC this weekend in my daughter's Camry. I don't think I'd want to do this trip in my SR+. It would be too many stops even if quick. And you know what the issue is? When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. So while you can plan charging stops you can't plan for that and you may end up making even more stops.
 

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