BMW's i3 Takes On the Mercedes-Benz B-Class: Who Will Win This EV Showdown?


2014 B-Class Electric Drive. Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz 

Two of the biggest luxury auto brands in the world are throwing their respective hats into the electric-car ring. In one corner is BMW's (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) i3. In the other corner is Daimler's (NASDAQOTH: DDAIF  ) Mercedes-Benz B-Class. So, which one will end up the EV winner?

BMW's i3


BMW's i3. Photo credit: BMW

As I wrote before, BMW's i3 has a starting MSRP of $41,350, and was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle. Further, it comes standard with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, and an all-electric 170-horsepower and 184-pound-feet-of-torque motor. This allows the i3 to go zero to 60 in approximately seven seconds and have a range of 80-100 miles in "Comfort" mode. That range can be increased by 24% by putting the i3 in "Eco Pro +" mode, or by opting for the two-cylinder gasoline range extender that increases the range up to 186 miles in "Comfort" mode.

Additionally, the i3 seats four, is rear wheel drive, and was just recently launched in the U.S.

Mercedes' B-Class

2014 B-Class Electric Drive. Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Similar to the i3, the B-Class has a starting price of $41,450. Additionally, it comes standard with a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery, and an all-electric 177-horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque in a Tesla Motors-built motor. Further, it can go zero to 60 in 7.9 seconds, and has an EPA estimated driving range of 85 miles. But unlike the i3, which was built from the ground-up as an EV, the B-Class is available in European markets as a gasoline- or diesel-powered car, and its vehicle architecture is akin to that of a CLA. 

In addition, the B-Class seats five, is front-wheel-drive, and will have limited availability starting in mid-July 2014. It will be available in all 50 states sometime in 2015. 

Which is best?

BMW i3. Photo credit: BMW

When it comes to base price and range, both the i3 and B-Class are comparable. The same can be said for acceleration and top speed -- the B-Class is electronically limited to 100 mph, while the i3 is limited to 93 mph. When it comes to size, the i3 is 157 inches long, while the B-Class is a little over 171 inches. Of course, the B-Class is also substantially heavier than the i3. And then there's appearance.

The i3 definitely stands out as a futuristic car, but that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your tastes. The B-Class, on the other hand, looks like a cross between a Mercedes R-Class and an ML -- that is to say, it looks like a Mercedes; although it does seem to lack a bit of the styling Mercedes' enthusiasts have come to enjoy.

What this means
Personally, I'm partial to the Mercedes based on size and appearance, but I'll be the first to admit that that's subjective. Nevertheless, what we do know so far is that the i3 had a strong launch with 2,022 EVs sold worldwide in the first quarter -- approximately 1,000 of that was for March alone. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait to see how the B-Class fairs. Regardless, both Mercedes and BMW offer investors impressive reasons to consider investing. In their recent April U.S. sales results, BMW reported a 10.7% year-to-date gain compared to the same time last year, and Mercedes reported a 6.1% gain. This is even more impressive when you consider that last year, both BMW and Mercedes posted record-breaking sales. Consequently, no matter who wins when it comes to electric-vehicles sales, both Mercedes and BMW are worth a second look when it comes to investing in your next auto stock.

Warren Buffett just bought nearly 9 million shares of this company
Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000... per hour (that's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!). And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report details this company that already has over 50% market share. Just click HERE to discover more about this industry-leading stock... and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable landslide of profits!


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2946659, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/24/2014 3:50:51 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement