How Much Horsepower Does a Tesla Model 3 Performance Actually Have?

As far as electric cars go, the Tesla Model 3 is one of the current best-sellers. While Tesla boasts some serious performance figures on its site, the model’s exact horsepower output is not one of them.

Thankfully, Misha Charoudin on YouTube recently took a 2021 Model 3 Performance to a dyno to see exactly how much power it develops. It seems Tesla might be a bit conservative with its stated horsepower figure in a bit of a surprising twist. However, testing it isn’t a simple task.

How much power should the Tesla Model 3 Performance have?

Tesla Model 3 on the pavement
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

The 2021 Tesla Model 3 is available in three trim levels. However, the one we’re looking at today is the top Performance trim. The Performance starts at a fairly expensive $55,990 without options. If you factor in all of the available options, you’ll pay around $67,990. For this, you get an EV that can hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph.

According to GuideAutoWeb, the Tesla Model 3 develops a combined output of 480 hp. 283 hp comes from the rear electric motor, while 197 hp comes from the front motor. According to Charoudin’s video, the Model 3 should produce around 450 hp from the factory. Unfortunately, Tesla does not publicly state how much horsepower this specific trim level develops, so take these figures with a grain of salt.

Regardless, even if these Tesla Model 3 estimates are accurate, the EV manages to surpass them easily.

How do you test an EV on a dyno?

An image of a white Tesla Model 3 Performance on the dyno.
Tesla Model 3 Performance | Misha Charoudin

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Since the Tesla Model 3’s design has aerodynamics and efficiency as its main priorities, it takes some preparation to get it on the dyno. In Charoudin’s video, the team takes off some of the EV’s under panels first. This is so straps can hold the car in place as it does its runs on the dyno.

Since the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t need airflow to cool down an engine, the large fan that cars typically need on the dyno isn’t necessary in this case. Regardless, Charoudin opted to run the EV with and without the fan to compare results.

One of the final and most important parts of this Tesla Model 3 test is engaging a hidden dyno mode. In short, the mode turns off all safety features and any systems that could hinder performance on a dyno. Last year, the brand issued an update to remove it, however as Charoudin shows, the mode is still there, just hidden in plain sight.

During the first run without dyno mode engaged, the EV began to steer itself off the dyno. As a result, activating it is necessary to conduct a safety test.

This Tesla is making significantly more HP than expected

Once the technician strapped the Tesla Model 3 into the dyno, things got very interesting. As far as the video shows, the EV ran several runs back to back to test max power, and how it holds up over a few tests. Additionally, a 2020 model ran on this dyno previously, so we have data to compare as well.

For starters, the 2020 Model 3 developed 523 hp and 707 lb-ft to at the wheels. In contrast, the newer 2021 car developed 522 hp and 650 lb-ft. However, the most important bit of information has to do with the actual power delivery. While the 2020 car’s power output tapered off fairly quickly, the 2021 held more power over higher speeds. As a result, the 2021 car should feel quicker on the street.

In a normal internal combustion car, you lose horsepower as power leaves the flywheel and goes through the powertrain. However, on an electric vehicle, there isn’t an exact formula to calculate any losses. As a result, we don’t know exactly how Tesla measures horsepower at the factory. What we do know is that the Model 3 is seriously powerful.