There is no direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3, merely because it is considered a premium compact sedan. We could argue for the BMW i3, but even with a range extender it doesn’t really come close at all.
And unless the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class arrives starts offering fully-electric models, its closest rivals would be the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf.
They actually stand up against the Model 3 pretty well. The Bolt, for one, is going to arrive sooner than the other two.
It’s also going to be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax incentive for more of its buyers; plus it boasts most occupant and storage space among all three vehicles in question.
Let’s not forget that in comparison to Tesla, GM has way more experience producing reliable vehicles, and has more infrastructure at hand. The same could be said for Nissan, which promises quite an interesting EV in the second-gen Leaf.
Besides contending with Tesla Autopilot with its own semi-autonomous driving system, the Leaf is reportedly arriving with a range extender option called e-Power that would help it match the larger battery variants of the Model 3.
Having noted all of that, there’s still one advantage Tesla has that GM and Nissan simply cannot equal, and it’s the growing Supercharger network. There’s no common standard adopted by other automakers for their EVs, and because of this alone Tesla overwhelms all of its competition.
Yes, Nissan Leaf owners do enjoy free charging from the stations built by Nissan, which won’t be the case for future Model 3 owners. However, there are currently more than 200 Supercharger sites in the US, compared to only 38 dedicated stations for the Leaf.