Tesla Model 3 Vs. VW ID.7 Vs. BYD Seal: Which Electric Sedan Is Best?

The Tesla Model 3 has had the global market for affordable electric sedans all for itself for the better part of the past five years.

But competition is getting stiff, both from China and Europe. Probably the most noteworthy rivals for the Tesla Model 3 at the moment are the BYD Seal and the Volkswagen ID.7.

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The (somewhat) affordable electric sedan segment is getting more crowded

The BYD Seal and Volkswagen ID.7 are some of the most serious rivals the Tesla Model 3 has seen so far. But the Model 3 hasn’t stood still and is a very compelling package in facelifted Highland guise.

Both are global models that will be sold pretty much everywhere around the world, with the notable exception of the United States for the BYD Seal—at least for now.

What Car? tested all three electric sedans side by side in the United Kingdom to find out which one is better; bear in mind that the Model 3 featured in the video is the facelifted Highland version that the U.S. doesn’t get yet.


The test consisted of a 556-mile roundtrip from London to Wales, which gave the testers plenty of time to assess the three EVs in various scenarios, including driving on the freeway, on secondary roads, and in the city.

The road trip also provided an opportunity to compare the charging experience for the three electric sedans. As you can imagine, the Tesla Model 3 has a big advantage over its competitors: the vast and reliable Supercharger network.

Mind you, some Tesla Superchargers are now accepting non-Tesla EVs as well, with the BYD Seal and VW ID.7 actually using one station in Wales during the test—albeit for a slightly higher price per kilowatt-hour than the Model 3.

Besides being the cheapest, the Tesla was also the quickest and the easiest to charge. The guys also agreed that the Tesla Model 3 has the best interior of the test, having taken a big step up from the pre-facelifted model.

The Tesla is also the cheapest of the three electric sedans, starting just under 40,000 pounds, whereas the BYD costs 45,700 and the Volkswagen is priced at 55,600 pounds. However, the ID.7 is a larger car and it comes in a fully loaded launch edition; more affordable variants will follow.

It wasn’t even a contest when it comes to charging costs and efficiency: the Model 3 Highland needed 59.2 pounds worth of charging to cover the trip—half the cost of what the ID.7 required—and it averaged 3.6 miles/kWh versus 3.1 for the BYD Seal and 2.8 for the VW ID.7.

To make the comparison as fair as possible, the guys took the electric sedans to the Milbrook Vehicle Proving Ground where they simulated freeway, rural, and city driving in winter conditions, rotating the drivers as well.

The Tesla won once again, but the real story here was that the ID.7’s cold weather range was 48 percent lower than the claimed range, compared to a drop of 33 percent for the Model 3 and 23 percent for the Seal.

Check out the video for the full details and numbers; as well as the overall winner, you’ve probably guessed it already.

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