BMW's New Electric Car Just Became a Major Problem

On Monday, BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) announced that the U.S. base price for its all-electric i3 will be $41,350, not including any federal or state incentives. For General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Chevy Volt, and possibly Tesla Motor's (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) Model S, BMW's move spells major trouble. Here's why.


The BMW i-Concepts i3. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Motohide Miwa

Bad news, GM
With a starting MSRP of $39,145 in 2012, the Volt was the best-selling EV, and it's not hard to see why. Really more of an electric hybrid than a straight EV, the Volt combines a 9.3-gallon fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery. This combination allows the Volt can go an estimated 38 miles on pure battery before switching to regular fuel, which extends the range to an estimated 380 miles. Because of this combination, the Volt cuts down on range anxiety, which is still a huge deterrent to getting consumers into EVs.

Now, compare the above to BMW's all-electric i3: According to BMW, the i3 has a pure-electric range of 80-100 miles, thanks to its lithium-ion battery, and has an optional range extender that lengthens that initial range by 80 miles. Plus, thanks to BMW's eDrive technology, a driver can extend the initial range up to 124 miles by putting the vehicle in one of the "EcoPro" modes.  

Right away you can see the problem. Not only does BMW's i3 go farther on pure battery power, but with the purchase of the optional range extender, range anxiety goes way down. More pointedly, the base MSRP for the BMW is only $2,000 more than the Volt. I don't know about you, but if I had to decide between spending $39,000 for a Volt, or $2,000 more for a BMW, I'm going with the BMW, hands down.

Tesla, this is bad for you, too
Right now, Tesla is the crème-de-la-crème of EVs. But it's competing against all-electric EVs like Nissan Motors' (NASDAQOTH: NSANY  ) Leaf, and Ford's (NYSE: F  ) Focus Electric. To put it simply, Tesla's Model S can drive circles around these cars. Yes, it's more expensive, but the technology, range, and precision of the Model S makes anything else seem almost silly in comparison. BMW, however, is a luxury brand with renowned German engineering, and its new i3, and the future i8 model, presents a new challenge for Tesla.

Consider this: The i3, designed from the ground up as an EV, has received praise from some of the industry's harshest EV critics. As BBC's "Top Gear" drivers put it:

At first sampling, then, this is a compelling electric car. It's not the first on the market, but BMW has put some original thinking into almost every part of its design and engineering. It drives sweetly, is distinctively designed, and has the reassuring range-extender option if you are anxious about running flat. 

These are the same critics that gave Tesla's Roadster a less than glowing report -- in fact, Tesla sued the show for "libel and malicious falsehood" because of the review.  

What to watch for
The i3 isn't set to hit showrooms until the second quarter of 2014, and right now it's too soon to predict exactly how this will affect GM and Tesla's sales. However, given BMW's reputation, the i3's reviews, and the just released base price, this is something investors would do well to monitor.

Electric cars are gaining in popularity, but they're still a niche market. Ford, however, has its hand in EVs and is starting to make its presence known in China. China is already the world's largest auto market -- and it's set to grow even bigger in coming years. A recent Motley Fool report, "2 Automakers to Buy for a Surging Chinese Market", names Ford and one other global giant, poised to reap big gains that could drive big rewards for investors. You can read this report right now for free -- just click here for instant access.


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  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:17 AM, megadylan wrote:

    This article is completely wrong. First off the I3 has similar range to a leaf, but $15,000 dollars more. The Volts now are going for 35k not 40k and has the generator on it, yet the I3 has not even given out the price at a premium of the 41k EV only price.

    This car is also not a comparison to Tesla at all because 80 to 100 mile range in a sub compact does not compare to a 285 mile range in a full sized car. If you add the generator option your range could be 180 miles, but then you need to stop at a gas station every 80 miles afterwards to fill up your 3 gallon gas tank.

    I don't think this categorizes as a major problem, more like a minor annoyance.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:18 AM, AlaaSadek wrote:

    Is this a joke?

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:42 AM, Capt601 wrote:

    Wow. Another short writing an article trying to downplay Tesla. Maybe next an article how a miata competes against a Ferrari?

    Range anxiety is non-existent in a tesla. Once you own one you realize that. But than again, you would have to either own one or seek out owners for their thoughts. And that would be journalism. An 80-100 mile range EV competing against a tesla. Come on folks. THe BMW competes against a volt and that's it. Even the upcoming Cadillac hybrid will Compete against the volt or this BMW, but not even in the same class as Tesla.

    Hybrids are it EV's.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:42 AM, Johncyc wrote:

    So let me get this straight it has a Range extender that is a generator. So how is this different from the Volt.

    Also TSLA's Gen 3 car will have more range than any of these other cars.

    Details missing from the article are things like pick up power (0-60???), Charge time, etc. I have owned a BMW and I can tell you then did a really bad job on my ICE car with the electronics. The power windows broke, motor on window wiper broke, etc. They did a horrible job on my ICE car that I wouldn't trust BMW's offering.

    I bet the range extender cuts down on the range of the EV mode. This is for sure. You carry around extra weight of the fuel and generator. You would also need an exhaust system for that as well. So for the author to say this is an all electric car with a GAS range extender is an oxymoron.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:44 AM, drax7 wrote:

    Another pretender, this is no tesla and its a hybrid.

    Two engines , and neither is very good.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:45 AM, grcor wrote:

    If your going to write about cars, you better know what you talking about.

    "the Volt cuts down on range anxiety" The Volt has No range anxiety, al long as you put gas in it, it can keep going.

    The optional BMW "Range Extender" is a small gas engine and cost $5900 in the Netherlands. Pricing in the US should be about $5000. When you hear about all its limitations, who will pay that?

    Here is what David Buchko of BMW said

    "The i3 range extender is meant to enable the car to go a little further than the pure BEV on those rare occasions when driver needs to go a little further. It is not intended for daily use. "

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:09 PM, exautoengineer wrote:

    "range anxiety is non-extistent in a Tesla".

    Righhhhhhht. Hope that is still the case for you when your admittedly long range EV runs out of juice sometime - maybe in a not so nice neighborhood. You may learn about all sorts of anxiety at that point. Tesla makes a great car, there is certainly a niche for them. BMW will sell a bunch of these on reputation alone. But the more EV's get on the road - the more the Volt design will shine. Range Anxiety is something GM learned quite a bit about 20 years ago, with the EV-1. For people who just putz around a city, where there are plenty of charging stations at prime parking spots - a pure EV may work out ok. For those who want to take an occasional longer trip, or those who live out here in "flyover" country - the Volt is the only practical electric vehicle - period. As soon as the (False) impression that Obama somehow had something to do with the Volt design (he did NOT - it was on the cover of Barron's on June 2, 2008 - when Obama was not even the nominee yet) - the Volt will be a much greater success.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:18 PM, d51c wrote:

    As someone who has been living with a BMW Active-E, the prototype for the i3, for more than a year as a daily commuter, and as a Tesla Model S owner, I assure you that there is no threat here. (I like the EV concept so much I decided to buy a serious EV, of which there is presently only one.)

    Had BMW offered an extended battery pack instead of a gas range extender, it would be much more interesting. As it is, its just another 80-100 mile EV amongst many others. For practical purposes, the gas range extender is a marketing gimmick.

    I have not yet driven an i3, and I'm excited about BMW getting more serious about this market, but based on what I've seen so far, Tesla is a revolutionary vehicle that will wow you in every aspect, and BMW is providing yet another copy of the same old concept as their competition without any serious distinguishing characteristics other than the BMW logo.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:18 PM, BungeeBob wrote:

    Power Grid Infrastructure simply can not support a surge in electric vehicles. Unless you live in a newly developed area with direct pwoer from a major source, electric vehicles will overload the already strained existing power feeds to residential areas with attendant outages. Just look at the ourages we have with mild storms and squirrels. Many homes were originally built with 100 amp service and have been upgraded to 200 amp service or more with out any new lines being brought in by the power companies. Add the demands of electric transportation to the load will bring about overloads. Perhaps the best advantage of some electric or hybrid vehicles is that they may be used for emergency power to you house. Just make sure you disconnect from the grid first so you do not electrocute the repairment trying to get your power restored.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:20 PM, ironhide196 wrote:

    Silly rabbit.

    Tesla is not in the market to make cars. They are in it to create and control an EV infrastructure that all manufactures will want/need to adhere to.

    Please don't be so short sited when thinking of the future of EV. Telsa already has us by the balls and you aren't even aware of this.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:21 PM, srq231 wrote:

    Nice ad for BMW............

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:23 PM, JRUwing wrote:

    @Katie Spence: The Model S competes with Audi A6 / A7 / S6 / S7 BMW 5 series range and Mercedes E-Class. You are mistaking the power source as the mode of competition, but that is not the case. The i3 styling is a little awkward but should do well.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:28 PM, OldFatGuy99 wrote:

    For intown commutes I guess these EVs are O.K. but pricey. I need a vehicle that is econmical and useable so I can travel 400 miles plus. This is why my Prius 3 is such a great deal, only cost about $25,000 with Nav system and Toyotas Entune, also seats 5 adults. I have been averaging 46.4 mpg in everyday driving and topping 50 on several trips. Keep your Tessla, Volt, Focus, and Leaf.......just look for a long extension cord and a place to plug in.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:28 PM, bagwell005 wrote:

    Geeez, just because it has a bmw badge reviewers are loving it. If the Volt had those specs they would crucify it. Did I mention its ugly as hell too!

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:36 PM, Oseo wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the BMW cars that BMW is offering as "electrics" are as fallow's:

    - A compact EV with a range of up to 80 miles (120 if driven lightly) for $41,000 base price, with an option to turn it into a hybrid (gas consuming) for an unspecified lot more

    - A large, expensive, hybrid that underperforms a Tesla Model S. Which has two trunks.

    Another key point is that Tesla has built an infrastructure of charging stations across the country for its customers. Where are BMW's charging stations? Nowhere. There is a lot of pressure from other car manufacturers to strut whatever stuff they have in the face of a product like Tesla. There's a good reason: they are quite aware they have nothing that compares to a Tesla. The challenge to writers of articles is to report hybrids as hybrids (not range extenders), electric vehicles as electrics (they aren't if they consume gas), and gasoline cars as gasoline cars. Given the amount of investment that a company like BMW seems to have put into a large hybrid, as above, and a low-range-electric-with-option-to-become-hybrid, you can expect that, in the near future, you will be standing facing a Tesla crowd (with a vastly superior car) that will judge you by the validity of the content of your articles.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:37 PM, Oseo wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the BMW cars that BMW is offering as "electrics" are as fallow's:

    - A compact EV with a range of up to 80 miles (120 if driven lightly) for $41,000 base price, with an option to turn it into a hybrid (gas consuming) for an unspecified lot more

    - A large, expensive, hybrid that underperforms a Tesla Model S. Which has two trunks.

    Another key point is that Tesla has built an infrastructure of charging stations across the country for its customers. Where are BMW's charging stations? Nowhere. There is a lot of pressure from other car manufacturers to strut whatever stuff they have in the face of a product like Tesla. There's a good reason: they are quite aware they have nothing that compares to a Tesla. The challenge to writers of articles is to report hybrids as hybrids (not range extenders), electric vehicles as electrics (they aren't if they consume gas), and gasoline cars as gasoline cars. Given the amount of investment that a company like BMW seems to have put into a large hybrid, as above, and a low-range-electric-with-option-to-become-hybrid, you can expect that, in the near future, you will be standing facing a Tesla crowd (with a vastly superior car) that will judge you by the validity of the content of your articles.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:41 PM, ericday wrote:

    The major auto manufacturers just don't get it. Consumers don't want some weird thing that LOOKS like an electric car..

    They want an awesome car that also just so happens to be electric, like the Model S.

    If BMW started pumping out 325i's in full electric, 250+ mile range, and 0 to 60 under 6 seconds, they would outsell the gas versions.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:43 PM, TheCodeWrangler wrote:

    The BMW fails to impress me on most counts. If they put more batteries in place of the range extending engine compartment, they could get a decent range without the extender (so, for that matter, could Chevrolet).

    The Tesla remains the only production BEV with a decent size and styling.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:44 PM, Connelky wrote:

    I love bmw, drive one, but 80 to 100 miles is just not enough. And by the time you add the range extender, (please define what this is, I have no idea), you are probably starting to get into tesla pricing territory.

    Also love top gear, watch it all the time. But in your article you make it sound like tesla was just a poor loser taking a bad review. In reality top gear implied the roadster could only drive about 50 miles when driven aggressively, which was not true and a misunderstanding with top gear trying to do a funny bit.

    But if you are an electric car maker trying to sell high performance cars to rich guys, this is something you don't want misunderstood.

    If you are going to bring up topics outside the scope of the article, please commit and give a full explanation .

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:44 PM, jmyers6670 wrote:

    Is there a little logic gap here? The point is made that the BMW will win buyers from the Volt because the Volt is too expensive, then in the discusion of the Tesla, it is said that buyers will spend more money for the better solution.

    Frankly if the Volt will give me 380 miles and the 'extended' BMW range is 124 miles, I'll take the Volt before sitting on the side of the road in my luxurious BMW. Plus when the BMW or Leaf etc die, what's the recharge time assuming you can find a place? Most likely it is hours, but with the Volt, just top off the 9 Gal tank and keep going. And I'm betting that extended BMW range is sans air conditioning. Let's hope performance brings success.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:49 PM, exautoengineer wrote:

    Oldfatguy99,

    You seem to be yet another of the "misinformed". Extension cord for a Volt? Not needed. EVER. Range is unlimited - as long as there are fuel stations every 300 miles or so. During the week for commuting, when your Prius is getting 46 mpg - the Volt can run on electricity only, at about $0.03 per mile.

    There is a reason that Volt owners have the had the highest satisfaction of ANY model car the last two years. It is a highly practical design.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 12:57 PM, sdchanman wrote:

    Thank You BMW.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:08 PM, Anonymyz wrote:

    80 divided by 3 is 26.6.......so basically the "range extender" gives you 26.6 mpg? .....not too great when cars like the volt get close to 40MPG on its range extender

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:09 PM, phillipzx3 wrote:

    "The major auto manufacturers just don't get it. Consumers don't want some weird thing that LOOKS like an electric car..

    They want an awesome car that also just so happens to be electric, like the Model S.

    If BMW started pumping out 325i's in full electric, 250+ mile range, and 0 to 60 under 6 seconds, they would outsell the gas versions."

    Quoted for truth!

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:09 PM, flafreethinker wrote:

    Electric cars need to be made affordable. 15k for most of us is as high as we can go. How about it? I'm all for eco friendly,non polluting cars. Just can't afford it.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:44 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    This appears to be an advertisement, not an article. And a laughable advertisement at that. I had to read the comments to figure out what was meant by a "range extender". Then it turns out that even with the range extender, range is less than the Tesla! So how is that a threat? Its not.

    The range extender appears to be primarily marketing Flack to try to position this vehicle as a competitor to Tesla, which it isn't. And it tries to position it as a competitor to Volt - which it isn't. Both are better at what they do.

    The customer for this car is a stupid spoiled rich kid who wants to brag about his Beamer to his friends while partying and in a drunken stupor. That is the only time it will make any sense.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:50 PM, vlstrade wrote:

    I'm glad to see BMW enter the race, but let's be fair, this isn't Tesla competition for the most part. The i3 most closely matches the Volt, Leaf and ELR. It matches the Leaf in poor looks and electric range, the Volt in it's ability to have Hybrid mode and it's size, and the ELR in badge snobbery.

    The writer should have done a little more research. Top Gear deliberately pretended the Tesla Roadster ran out of juice for entertainment purposes. That's why you won't ever see a Model S on that show. The show is also devoted to "petrol heads".

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 1:54 PM, Grumpycat wrote:

    Oseo wrote

    "Another key point is that Tesla has built an infrastructure of charging stations across the country for its customers."

    Really? When did they do that? Where are they?

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 2:02 PM, jamesdan567 wrote:

    the I-8 EV is planned to have a $140K price tag so it will not compete with the Model S from Tesla. At that price, its simply a custom EV car that looks pretty and gives BMW some bragging rights among the very wealthy. I'd be surprised if it sold more than 1000 units a year.

    The I-3 is not an EV so its basically dead on arrival against Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 2:11 PM, Hevrgo2409 wrote:

    The Tesla is the only electric car with the "brick effect", a $40,000 repair. Anyone who would buy a Tesla has the "brick effect" in their head.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 2:21 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    Meanwhile, the people who think in terms of hp instead of $$ have a different POV:

    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/1307_2014_bm...

    BMW is certainly doing things to advance our idea of personal transportation, but let's be frank and understand that gee-wiz is not a good reason to tout anything.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 2:37 PM, syrgrad91 wrote:

    For those who have issues about the limited range, please keep in mind that the i3 is a city car, designed for the daily commute into town, and perhaps running an assortment of errands. For most owners the 80-120 mile range is more than enough to accomplish that. At the end of the day, you simply plug it in and have a recharged battery in the morning. It was never designed for long road trips, and the range extender option is to reassure those with range anxiety that they won't be stranded. If you want an efficient long range vehicle then consider the six figure Tesla or a more practical diesel vehicle.

    As for the comparison to the Nissan Leaf, keep in mind that the i3 has better range, is lighter and has better acceleration. Yes, it's pricier, but it's also a premium product.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:01 PM, DanielGoodwin wrote:

    The i3 might have been a serious threat had not it been designed to look like a fisher price toy somehow blown up to adult size. This Fiat crossover abomination isn't going to move very many units in the U.S. What car manufacturers has failed to realize (over and over and over again) is that Americans want an EV vehicle that looks sleek and sophisticated and drives almost exactly like a combustion powered vehicle. THIS is why Tesla is the only one who has done it right and why they'll still be selling Model S while the i3 sits in dealer showrooms collecting dust on their bubbly toylike exteriors. BMW is brand that excudes elegance...at least it did prior to this eyesore upon mankind. Oh the shame...now if they could have released this in a 3 series body, they'd have a killer car. This, quite simply, won't sell to anyone.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:22 PM, TurbulentTime wrote:

    Wow, the styling leaves a lot for desire, meaning I actually dont really like it that much. It is a big departure from BMW's signature styling, boxy now!

    I have been a BMW fan, but electric car is not what BMW is known for. It is a whole new game.

    The author says, " the i3 has a pure-electric range of 80-100 miles, thanks to its lithium-ion battery, and has an optional range extender that lengthens that initial range by 80 miles."

    Wow, really? 80-100 miles? The next Gen III or Model C will be good for more than 200 miles for sure even without any gadget sounding range extender. And in the case of the BMW i3, I bet that once you hit the range extender, it limited torgue and power to the wheels and you may find it difficult to merge to traffic on freeways and trouble going uphill. Wow, for that over $41,000 with options as BMW is famous for, it could shoot up to over $50,000 easy. I am still waiting for the Gen III then. Thank you for a half-effort approach to electric car, BMW.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:22 PM, hunter3203 wrote:

    Let's compare apples to apples. What's the price of the i3 with the range extender? That would be the vehicle that would be most like the Volt that will have been on the market for nearly 4 years by the time the BMW is on the market. Chevy's update of the Volt is expected in 2014 and one of the things they've promised is a price reduction. So don't be surprised if the cost differential is closer to $10k for a like model.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:34 PM, TurbulentTime wrote:

    By the way, I have just notice that when Model S was first announced that it would have a range of more than 265 miles per charge, Moltey Fool said at that time that it would cause range anxiety.

    How about the i3's mere 80-100 miles range? it is only 37% of range compared to that of a Model S. So Motley Fool, your prejudice is very apparent here. You guys twists facts and try to push up or down stocks. I have observed that from you guys already.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:49 PM, merco170 wrote:

    The BMW brand carries way to much weight with the writer. Tesla offers a far superior model, and has become a marquee brand in its own right. While the i3 is good competition for the Volt, it is not in Tesla's league.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 3:59 PM, AcuraT wrote:

    I love that range extender on the BMW. A three gallon tank that goes 80 miles is like 26 mpg. My gasoline 2006 Saab 93 gets that in city driving, and I get 36 on the highway. I am better off with my gas car than driving that BMW beyond its limited 100 mile range (without the range extending engine which will certainly shorten it). Not sure who this car is targeting, definately not the new Cadillac hybrid, Chevy Hybrid, Toyota Hybrid, Ford Hybrid (all can go much further) or even the Tesla EV (bigger range). It seems like BMW sees a marktet different from everyone else. I wonder if that will work for them?

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 4:00 PM, hikarateboy wrote:

    In my immediate family alone we own 1 - Tesla Model S, 3 - Volts and 2 - Prius. Two of my previous vehicles were BMWs. So have a bit of experience around electric, hybrid and BMW vehicles and feel comfortable commenting here.

    This article is absolute rubbish and obviously written by someone with only a casual understanding of the space trying to present as an authority. It is articles like this are fodder for bad information which cause bad decisions and investments. Shame on you MF'ers we expected more.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 4:37 PM, bobert1234 wrote:

    "Another key point is that Tesla has built an infrastructure of charging stations across the country for its customers"

    This just isn't true. How many Tasla charging stations do you have where you live? How many are in AZ, NM, TX, OK, TN, or GA? Until there is a charging station everywhere there is a fuel station it simply it's going to be good at road trips and what's the point in having such a nice car if you can't take in on trips that involve being in your car for many hours at a time? Also who wants to sit at a fuel station for at least an hour every 200-300 miles?

    @ TurbulentTime the "range extender" simply charges the battery, the car drives the same as if the batteries didn't run out of power. Why would you make up something then present it as a "fact"

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 5:09 PM, JohnyRoberts wrote:

    I'm surprised that no one's mentioned this. But this looks like a 2 seater car. All the other cars are sedans. As others have pointed out, this is a hybrid with the range extender and competes with the Volt (which has a much smaller electric range and bigger gas tank). Without the range extender, it's comparable to the Leaf which has a slightly smaller range, but is a great second car for city driving and about $10K cheaper and drives my family of 4 comfortably. Still, good to see BMW entering the market. This should help spur better fully EVs. If I want to drive an EV and not carry an additional ICE along which just defeats the purpose.

    I can't afford the Tesla. In two years, when my Nissan Leaf lease expires, hopefully, Tesla will have a new Model 3 (or 4) at this price range giving 200-250 miles on a charge.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 6:29 PM, EdwardInFlorida wrote:

    I just signed up on Motley Fool just to respond to this article.

    Is it just me, or does Motley Fool have a gripe against Tesla? It seems that everything they write about this progressive company always seems to have a negative tone.

    There is no way the i3 poses a threat to Tesla. The Model S is intended for an entirely different market, and is the "sweet spot" where they can build and sell cars to the affluent, and actually make a lot of money that can be used to further develop more affordable models.

    When the Tesla Gen III starts rolling off the assembly lines, it will have no trouble overtaking the i3 or any other EVs in the $35K to $45K price range.

    Tesla will have established by then, a rabid brand loyalty, and recognition. That in addition to the fact that the Gen III will have way more range on a charge than it's peers, and will be able to use that Super Charger network Elon Musk's company is building.

    BMW is a legend in it's niche but it's reputation won't be enough to be the big play in the EV market. And I'm not a Tesla "fanboy", nor do I work for them, and admit I can't afford their product even if it sold at half price. It's my responsibility to "upgrade" my career, and pay scale to be able to do that.

    I sincerely hope BMW does well with their entry into the EV market but don't expect it to become mainstream anytime soon.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 6:33 PM, Nohurry1 wrote:

    I think there are problems for each of these and that problem is, MOST people worldwide simply DO NOT CARE for or about EV's. Most are simply another waste of money for the majority of the world and really, very few people in the scheme of things actually stand to benefit from these highly over-priced and/or generally short-ranged vehicles. The Volt is probably the best example listed and that's only because it really isn't an EV, it's a Hybrid.

    Until an EV can be fully recharged in under 5 minutes or have a range of about 1,000 miles between overnight charges, I can't imagine most of us, at least in America, wanting one enough to waste our money on the purchase.

    In America, we need to have more focus on diesel power, not battery power. Or we might benefit from SOLAR power cars. There's no reason we don't already have them, except that they would save money over time.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 7:56 PM, volcan357 wrote:

    The more companies that enter the electric car market the better. In the long run that will make electric cars more affordable and more available to the average consumer.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 8:20 PM, chrischamb1 wrote:

    Another lame article by Katie......first you say that the Volt with its gas powered generator that can give the car almost 400 miles of range and can be filled up at ANY gas station "cuts down range anxiety" Really?? How about it eliminates it altogether! Which was the exact point why Bob Lutz went with that drivetrain! Then she fails to mention how much this so-called "range extender" adds to the cost and that it is one of BMW's modified motorcycle engines. Again, anybody who believes the manufacturers "mileage estimates" will be in for a rude awakening when conducting real-world driving. That's why every other manufacturer EXCEPT Tesla is hedging their bets with these lame plug in vehicles. In 2-3 years, Tesla will be selling a "real world" 200 mile per charge vehicle for around $40,000 (before any remaining incentives) that will completely blow away any of today's offerings, whether it be Nissan, Ford OR BMW!!

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 8:50 PM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Another dumb comment by chrischamb1. At least this one's less sexist than his last one... Hey chris why bother reading and commenting on these articles if they're so "lame?"

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 8:53 PM, bobchr58 wrote:

    The i3 will barely compete with Chevy's new EV Spark, in my opinion. The Spark will have be one of the most efficient EV's on the market , will match the i3 in 0-60 time and travel about the same distance end of with a similar size battery pack. While initially it will only be sold in California and Oregon it is expected that by the end of 2014 it will be sold nation wide. The i3 is in no way a threat to the Volt. The Volt can be a single car for a family that can only afford one car, estimated life would be about 5 times your typical ICE vehicle with way lower total cost of ownership. The i3 is at best a second car or at least you would have to rent something to go long distances. AS far as I know no one has a fast charge DC infrastructure out there not even Nissan, and Tesla's supercharger network is 2 years away from being complete with a unique connector that is not industry standard. My 2 cents.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 9:13 PM, chrischamb1 wrote:

    Oh boy!! Here comes Diggitydog27 with another one of his pointless comments that adds absolutely nothing to the discussion, refutes nothing and proves nothing other than he is very ill-informed.......Way to go "Dude"

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 9:41 PM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Hahaha, ah crischam1. More witless comments again? Hey good news! The author found the price! Now you can stop looking in your crystal ball. BTW, still waiting on an answer as to why you're here reading and commenting if this article is so "lame." Oh, that's right. You don't know how to answer a question to save your life. You're better with the "dodge the question and look like an idiot" approach.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 10:16 PM, RaymondEmerson wrote:

    Due to a death in the family I drove 266 miles between 10 AM Sunday morning and 6 AM Monday. I would not have had to buy gasoline but I did for a safety measure. With a Tesla I would have needed to have a charge. At one time it was 98 degrees inside a hospital parking garage. The heat index was off the scale. I have no idea how much battery the air conditioner would have used. I can tell you that it cost 2 or more miles per gallon. Those of you that live in easy climates are going to be able use a pure battery car before we can. I use a heater as much as three months. I hate to say it but the only car I could have used was the Volt. The reason I say "hate" is because General Motors has such a history of building lemons. I have owned a '62 Buick Special from new and a Fiat 128 from new. The Fiat was more trouble free.

    The locals tell this. Do you know why Fiat dropped out of the U. S. market? They thought they had to reputation for building the worst car sold here all sewed up. But General Motors was moving up on them so fast they just gave up and dropped out.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 10:18 PM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    This just proves a very basic point. For $40k you can't get more than 100 miles per charge. If you want 300 miles you are going to be at twice that amount. It doesn't matter what name is on the car, the cost of battery is the limited.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 10:46 PM, fredjohnson55343 wrote:

    TESLA will be bankrupt within 5 years, with or without the new BMW.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 11:53 PM, chrischamb1 wrote:

    Diggitydog27.....

    I try to read ALL articles, blogs, posts, etc. regarding Tesla, EV cars in general and alternative energy, to understand the whole spectrum better. (You should try it sometime) I'm really sorry that your "Masters" in Engineering does not help you to understand this entire cutting edge technology better (whether it applies to Tesla or not)

    PS: I have NEVER read one answer you have ever given on MF. You simply resort to trying name calling when someone doesn't agree with you........One problem: It doesn't work, with me or anyone else for that matter

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 12:17 AM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    @EdwardinFlorida:

    You're completely mistaken - the Fool love the Tesla. Not sure how you could come to the opposite conclusion.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 12:26 AM, BlackYellow wrote:

    I have noticed a few Motley Fool articles lately that essentially have the tone or an implied underlying message of "Tesla shareholders beware." One of the articles didn't even use correct financial terminology and had glaring inaccuracies (to someone who understands valuation and financial theory that is) in its financial analysis. After reading this article I am curious to hear your input on a few points.

    First, I believe the reviewers that Tesla tried to sue (Top Gear, is the show I believe being referenced) were mocking Tesla for its range; BMW's i3/i8 literally has 1/2 the range. It is beginning to seem that there are just a lot of people out there that trying to shed negative light on Tesla in general, and many of them show blatant favoritism to longer established companies. What are your views, comments, or reactions to this? Also, considering it is known for its comedy as well, I'm not sure that citing Top Gear as a credible source is the most powerful statement to be made.

    Secondly, the BMW i3/i8 has 1/2 the range of a Tesla model. If you want to talk about possible range anxiety (which has even been done for the Roadster and Model S) how do you not mention that BMW is getting dominated by Tesla in EV technology still?

    Third, 170hp at 250 lb-ft torque for the i3, or 354hp (couldn't find torque) for the i8? Not to mention, both the i8 and i3 are hybrids, not even all EV. I mean I guess the 402hp at 306 lb-ft torque that you get from the Model S isn't completely necessary, but I think it's clear that the Model S isn't designed or marketed to the everyday driver; it's designed for someone who wants to DRIVE. BMW does brag about their 0-60 acceleration in under 5 seconds. Congratulations! The Roadster (more comparable in design and size to the i8) was at 0-60 in 3.7 sec. 5 years ago and the much bigger Model S is still at 4.4 sec.

    If I were Elon I wouldn't be too concerned with BMW stealing the targeted market share that the Model S is seeking, and possibly not even the Model X.

    Oh by the way, BMW is insanely leveraged, doesn't have a NASA contracted rocket scientist designing it's batteries, and didn't recently hire an Aston Martin design engineer.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 1:13 AM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Chrischamb1, your inability to understand my points on li-ion batteries in comments is a reflection on you, not me. This author has exained the challenges Tesla faces eloquently, and I added to her argument when you made up "facts" (much like you assertion in this strain about Tesla. Stop throwing out your opinion as if it's truth. It's not). You don't like being called names but you call people "Neanderthals" and make sexist statements. Your comments are so offensive another commenter on the last thread told you to eat some carbs and chill. To top it off this author explained the threats to li-ion batteries in the follow up to her original Tesla article, and basically shut you, and all the other Teslaites, down (I noticed you had nothing to say there). So before climbing up on your high horse and crying over me calling you a cult follower (which you are), you might want to change your approach first. You've had nothing factual to say so there is no debate to be had with you.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 2:35 AM, BlackYellow wrote:

    BungeeBob: read into TSLA's planned infrastructure a little more. For that much needed major power source, I think the sun will do... look into SCTY if you don't think there is technology, financing, or maintenance to do it.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 3:08 AM, Bpcls1 wrote:

    It's obvious the author does not much about cars in general. Have you looked at this BMW? It's a hideous looking thing. The look alone will scare away buyers let alone the $40k+ or the 100-mile range or the range extender. BMW or not the Nissan Leaf looks better. Sorry but no thanks. I'll save a little longer for the smaller Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 4:40 AM, chrischamb1 wrote:

    Blah, blah, blah.......yada, yada, yada, Diggitydog27 I feel that you like this author just because you might think she's hot, not because she has any valid or unbiased articles on Tesla, EV's or any other alternative energy topics. Is that why you are a "follower" of hers??

    PS: Do you really beleive that Tesla (and other manufacturers) won't upgrade, modify, reengineer and produce battery packs based on whatever is the state-of-art in cost effective long range, easily rechargeable battery packs as the technology evolves??

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 10:24 AM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Chrischamb1 wow, good job proving you're a sexist idiot that knows nothing about battery technology. Good luck in your Tesla cult. You might ask your idol, Musk if switching to a better battery is so easy, why he hasn't done it. After all Tesla has unlimited resources right? And you'll believe whatever he responds with cuz he's never made promises he can't keep. Oh wait. Remind me again when was the Model X originally scheduled for launch? And now what's the date? Haha you're a joke.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2013, at 9:15 PM, joenjensen wrote:

    This guy must be kidding or he is shorting, there is no difference, but how he can compare that BMw i3 with a Yesla Model S is beyond me. The car isn't much bigger than an Italian Fiat, and to tell you the truth the Fiat looks bigger and better.

    The Model S has two trunks one in front and one in the rear, and it can carry seven passengers, that BMw can handle two people, how can they compare those two cars is a reach, but these people are desperate to kill Tesla before it kills them.

    I read lately that the big boys at GM are soiling their pants when they saw what the Model S can do, so they formed a small group of jealous not so big boys with almost clean pants who are going to try to come up with a few lies to see if they can convince people not to buy it, or to tell others about the Model S, because it's earth shaking and it will change the whole World and they know it, so they need to stop it, before it stops their comfortable life. So I wouldn't be to concerned about this guy, he is just another one of the people I just explained about.

  • Report this Comment On July 25, 2013, at 3:01 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    Yes I did say eat some carbs and chill. But diggitydtwoseven, don't think of that as approval of any one else' short on fact long on rhetoric posts. And true to form I believe the authors idea of competition with the Tesla S is entirely lacking. Shades of a Mercedes S Class vs Mazda 6 competition.

    Interestingly enough as each new OEM participant enters the fray, existing EV's and EREV's don't simply fall off the map. Each appears to be finding it's own level, even as new entrants expose their existing customers to EV's. For example Nissan - Renault just passed the 100,000 mark for it's own EV's. That is not unfounded rhetoric, it's recorded sales data.

    Markets exhibit differences. Simply because Mercedes sells an S Class and Mazda a 6, doesn't mean they are in hot competition, Without showing a nexus - that is simply rhetoric.

  • Report this Comment On July 25, 2013, at 3:11 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    Speaking of a nexus, let's go to first principles, (Aristotle would love it immensely).

    The Tesla S is affected by range anxiety. The i3 is affected by range anxiety. Therefore they compete.

    LOL, thank you, that was hilarious!!!

  • Report this Comment On July 25, 2013, at 12:16 PM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Jeffhre, I meet people where they're at, and like I said, call it like I see it. Sexism is unacceptable and I'll call it out every time I see it. My Mom raised me right. With that being said...

    I think you're missing the point of BMW's "possible" (author's word) impact to Tesla. EVs are still a niche market and prob won't go mainstream without adequate infrastructure and a decrease in price (plus I personally think there's better options for powering cars. I used to live in LA where the grid can't handle the electricity that's being consumed and we had rolling blackouts). Tesla is the only luxury EV available, but now that BMW is releasing its own EV that's changing. You might want to head over to the Tesla forum for proof. http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/19311-How-can-... The fact remains that all EVs are competing for limited market share and when something better or comparable comes along, that can impact profits. And as Tesla's business model is based on x amount of sales for the Model S, that could be a problem. Tesla's stock price is based on speculation and Musk's promises for the future, not car sales. If it was based on car sales, it'd be a lot lower.

  • Report this Comment On July 25, 2013, at 1:03 PM, Diggitydog27 wrote:

    Tesla's Model S is a luxury brand EV. BMW's i3 is a luxury brand EV. Therefore they compete.

  • Report this Comment On August 06, 2013, at 3:04 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    Actually Diggitydog27, I believe you had a very good point. With respect to competition with Chevy, Nissan and even Ford as well. Based on announced prices if nothing else.

    At least until Nissan and more recently Chevy announced major price cuts. It appears now that BMW will be sitting alone at a mid range between Tesla and the rest. This may be a very good spot for them.

    There is most certainly a limit to market absorption for electrified vehicles. Though with each new model introduced, the existing models to continue to find their levels as the new models seek theirs.

    As far as competing with Tesla, snappy phrases and witty rhetoric still won't count as proof, though I will leave the last word on that to you. At least until my crystal ball is fixed.

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