Does BMW's Electric Car Really Matter?

The BMW i3, launched earlier this week, is the German automaker's first all-electric car. Photo credit: BMW

BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) just launched its first electric car this month, the i3, with a series of star-studded events around the world. The car has generated breathless headlines -- but is it really all that special? Or put another way, is it really likely to do any better than all of the other slow-selling electric cars on the market?

In this video, contributor John Rosevear takes a hard look at BMW's new electric ride -- and at why it may not be able to get the kind of market traction that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) has with its hot Model S sedan.

Electric cars like the BMW i3 are just one response to rising energy prices -- and for investors, they may not hold a lot of promise. If you'd like some more promising ways to profit from the increasing cost of energy, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." For free access to this special report, simply click here now.

Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2013, at 11:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    Why does it feel like a sales pitch.

    BMW did pay the fool for ad space so they get a negative review!

    I would tell them to lick my gold nuts too

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2013, at 11:38 PM, prginww wrote:

    John R. I thought the BMW ActiveE was their first all electric (especially if you don't count the Mini).

    I am disappointed in a great company like BMW going forward with such a mediocre product. IMO, no: style, grace, range, performance, or value.

    BMW should have developed a 3 Series size sedan/coupe with a 150 mile range and a $50K MSRP and get a 2-3 year jump on the Gen III Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 3:55 AM, prginww wrote:

    BMW is losing it...

    Tesla Model S, "The Ultimate Driving Machine".

    BMW i3, "The Best City EV Car".

    I'm not saying BMW i3 is a bad EV car, but BMW as a brand doesn't yet seem to have a desire to place EV as a premier drivetrain technology.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 7:48 AM, prginww wrote:

    Do you think that General Motors should sue BMW for usurping the Pontiac Aztek design without licensing it from them?

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 8:31 AM, prginww wrote:

    Mr Rosevear is technically uninformed. A few facts: California and other States REQUIRE zero emission vehicles be sold in the States and BMW decided to invest in a technically significant product to sell where required and concurrently make this product available worldwide. The i3 is the first mass produced vehicle with a very strong and lightweight carbon fiber reinforced body. This carbon fiber technology is very significant for weight savings and might revolutionize vehicles globally if all challenges are met. The i3 range extender is NOT like the Volt because the i3 is a true battery electric with a recharge option only when the battery is depleted. Technically and regulatorywise this is very significant. This forces full battery use and will eliminate range anxiety. The design is recognized by California regulators as revolutionary and helpful to zero emission vehicle proliferation.

    I have driven the i3 and it is roomy and lots of fun.

    There is so much more to tell.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 8:48 AM, prginww wrote:

    Underpowered, horrible styling, limited range, and it's "range extender" option is further underpowered and only provides reduced performance when the battery is depleted. Even with the "extender" it has less range than the Tesla Model S. All that carbon fiber technology in an underwhelming vehicle. BMW had two test fleets of EV's to get it right, the MiniE and the ActiveE, and they ended up getting it wrong.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 10:32 AM, prginww wrote:

    Just another electric car you can noit go from here to San Fran and back to CD on one charge.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 11:04 AM, prginww wrote:

    There are plenty of car companies in the world, there's not really a need for a new car company or another gasoline car company. Elon Musk @ Teslive 2013 @

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2013, at 3:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    The i3 is atypical city car, designed for a special consumer group.The next alternative from BMW is about ot be presented this fall on the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt : the Hybrid i8 - a powerful Sports car-combining some advantages of both technologies. Wait and see - some people just take some high-tech issues too simple, and worldwide market penetration of new technologies takes time- and the world is BMW`playground with a huge palette of different models to be in focus of future success - and not just two models.

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