Tesla Model 3 or Polestar 2

First world problems: Choosing a new company car

After three and a half years of loyal service, my current BMW 330e is due to be replaced in 6 months’ time and it’s that wonderful time again when I get to select my new company car. 

I’m lucky enough to work for an organisation with a very open car policy which not only let me have a pretty free hand in selecting the make and model but also allows me to top up my allowance through salary sacrifice.

I selected the 330e last time because of the significant Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax advantages of opting for a Plug-In Hybrid however, with the ever-evolving electrification of cars and the associated government incentives, PHEVs are no longer the cheap option they once were.

In an effort to cut CO2 emissions and incentivise fleets to adopt fully electric vehicles, the UK Government has introduced new tax rates from April 2020 that virtually eliminate BiK on electric company cars.  This together with the fact that these vehicles are not subject to BiK for private usage fuel make them too financially attractive not to turn down.

Although the list price of these cars is way above my allowance, the BiK savings mean that it is cheaper for me to make the salary sacrifice to step up, than to press on with a conventional car.

So financially it makes sense but what about the practicality of running a fully electric company car?

I currently drive approximately 16,000 miles per year.  My daily commute to work is about 20 miles each way and I have existing charging facilities both at work and at home.  So far so good.

Although my role is primarily office based, I do have to make a handful of project visits each month and these could be anywhere throughout the UK and often include overnight stopovers.  How well suited to this style of work can an electric car be?

zap-map.com

First, I have set a few basic parameters; any car I consider must have a WLTP range of over 250 miles, the ability to recharge at a reasonably quick rate and I must convince myself that there is a sufficient network of charging stations on my typical routes that I can use.

Having poured over Zap-Map for what seems like hours on end, I have concluded that so long as I sensibly pre-plan journeys, it is possible for me to successfully navigate around the UK without running out of juice and during the fours years that I have the car, this should only get easier as more fast chargers are installed.  The major downside of this research is that my phone now has a plethora of various charging apps installed to ensure that wherever I stop, I will always be registered to plug in.

A year too early?

Skoda Vision IV

The next 24 months will see the introduction of a host of new EVs from manufacturers such as VW, Audi, BMW, Seat, Skoda etc.  This is of no use to me as I need a replacement car by then end of 2020.

With the stipulation of at least a 250 mile range my sensible options appear to be:

  • Audi Q4 e-tron (Not available until 2021)
  • Ford Mach-E
  • Hyundai Kona / Kia e-Niro
  • Mercedes EQA (Not available until 2021)
  • Nissan Leaf e+
  • Polestar 2
  • SEAT el-Born (Not available until 2021)
  • Skoda Vision IV (Not available until 2021)
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Volkswagen ID.3 (Long range only has 4 seats and not available until 2021)

Having reviewed all these cars, I have drawn up my final shortlist:

  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range
  • Polestar 2
  • Ford Mustang Mach-e RWD Extended Range
Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is available to order now and surprisingly has relatively short delivery times, currently about 6 weeks.  On the other hand, both the Polestar and Mach-e aren’t scheduled to hit UK roads until later in 2020 but both can be pre-ordered by placing a refundable deposit of £1000.

So how do Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 and Mustang Mach-e compare?

EV database is an excellent repository for all kinds of EV related data and a great place to go to compare facts and figures.  Interestingly they also have estimated figures for those vehicles yet to be released.  Quite how they go about estimating this information is unknown but at least it gives motorists some idea of what is coming up soon.

Ford Mustang Mach-e
Tesla Model 3Polestar 2Mustang Mach-e
Battery Capacity75 kWh78 kWh99 kWh
Range (Claimed)348 miles292 miles370 miles
Range (Real)285 miles265 miles275 miles
Highway – Cold Weather205 miles190 milestba
Combined – Mild Weather330 miles305 milestba
Max Fast Charge250 kW DC150 kW DC150 kW DC
7.4kW Charge Time11h 45m11h 45m14h 30m
22kW Charge Time7h 45m7h 45m9h 45m
150kW Charge Time27m44m
350kW Charge Time25mn/an/a
Tesla Supercharger 250kW22mn/an/a
Torque443 lb-ft487 lb-ft306 lb-ft
0-62 mph4.6 seconds4.7 seconds7.0 seconds
AvailabilityNowLate 2020Late 2020
Facts and Figures

Beyond range and charging anxiety, I will be spending 16,000 miles per year behind the wheel of the car and therefore it is also natural to pay attention to the equipment specification of each vehicle.

Tesla Model 3Polestar 2Mustang Mach-e
Body StyleSaloonHatchbackHatchback
DriveAWDAWDRWD
Wheels18″19″18″
Cargo Volume542 litres405 litres402 litres
Control DisplaysSingle 15.4″11″ plus cockpit15.5″ plus cockpit
Panoramic roofYesYesYes
Power seatsYes X-wayYes X-wayYes X-way
Heated SeatsFront & RearFront, Rear and Steering WheelFront Only
Adaptive cruise controlYesYesYes
Blind spot monitoringYesYesNo
Steering assistYesYesNo
Road sign informationOptionalYesNo
Auto parkingOptionalNoYes
360° cameraNoYesYes
InfotainmentTesla / Internet browserAndroid InfotainmentApple CarPlay / Android Auto
AudioTesla PremiumHartman KardonB&O
SpotifyYesYesVia Phone
Digital phone keyYesYesYes
Other featuresEmergency brake, collision warning, sentry securityCross traffic alert and auto brake, smart pixel headlightsHands free tailgate, no door handles
Equipment List

What does that mean for me?

Polestar 2

Having carefully considered all the above and having poured over a multitude of online images, I have come to the following conclusions.

  • The Mach-e comes less well equipment for a similar price
  • It’s a close-run thing between the Tesla and Polestar and therefore it is worth putting down a deposit on the Polestar to at least secure my position in the queue.
  • The main drawback on the Tesla is that it is a saloon rather than a 5 door, however it is available now and grants me access to Tesla’s network of Superchargers which is a point not to ignore.

I’m waiting to hear from Polestar when I may expect to take delivery should I confirm my order and I need to let Tesla know by the beginning of August if I want delivery by my target date.  So I have a few more months to weigh it up before I have to make a final call.

As I say, first world problems…

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