All-New Electric BMW i3 Video Review: Should Tesla Be Worried?

The electric BMW i3 is now becoming available across the U.S., offering EV enthusiasts a mid-range alternative to both the more expensive Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) Model S and lower-range, less expensive models.

Make no mistake: The hatchback i3 is not in the same class as the Tesla Model S sedan. The Tesla is a larger, more luxurious, higher-performance vehicle with a better ride. But the BMW does offer an intriguing compromise. What's more, i3 presales are off to a better than expected start, and the company has added production capacity in an effort to lessen wait times for the vehicle.

For price comparison purposes, the Tesla Model S ranges from around $69,900 on the low end, to over $100,000, depending on battery capacity and other options. The i3, on the other hand, has an MSRP of $41,350, and goes for $45,200 with the optional gasoline-powered range extender. (All prices exclude the $7,500 federal tax credit.)

The Tesla Model S EPA-tested driving range varies from 208 miles for the 60-kWh battery model to 265 miles for the 85-kWh equipped one. The i3's range is a bit more of a mystery: Some reports mention 80-100 miles for the 22-kWh battery. BMW's website lists 118 miles, and a "mean customer value" of 99 miles. Range is a squishy number, in any case, and largely dependent on driving conditions and driver style.

Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore raved about the Tesla Model S in his test drive and review several months ago. At this year's big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he and analyst Lyons George were able to take the i3 out for an extensive test drive. How did it do? Click the video below to go along for the ride!

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (18)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On June 15, 2014, at 12:03 PM, TMFDanielSparks wrote:

    Awesome review. Thanks!

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2014, at 12:28 PM, Johnny04 wrote:

    "Should Tesla Be Worried?"

    Really? Even after the patent announcement we still get this kind of questions?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2014, at 9:43 PM, germanaudiotech wrote:

    I am a long time BMW fan, but they are missing the mark with just about everything these days. Would never own an i3. Ever.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2014, at 10:08 PM, ifool100 wrote:

    Nice review, thank you. Sorry the car is ugly. OK, it's surrounded by a red plastic marshmallow so you won't get dents. That's nice. Answer me this, what kind of car does it look like? It looks like an EV! This is where Tesla gets it. I don't want an EV that says "hey look at me not using gas." I want a car that looks cool, goes fast, is well built and doesn't use gas. I drove a Tesla. It's awesome. In the BMW review I didn't see the smile that's hard to peel from your face, as is the case behind the wheel of a Model S. No worries for Tesla here. WTF BMW?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2014, at 11:39 PM, Minow wrote:

    I think TELSA is o.k. zoom, zoom!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2014, at 9:24 AM, TMFBiggles wrote:

    This car reminds me of Walter White's Aztek.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2014, at 2:30 PM, ibfool2 wrote:

    A unique looking wagon that seems sleeker each time I examine it's lines and functionality. The suicide doors are odd. However, It looks way more comfortable to slide into/out-of with my healthy but aging bag of bones. Now in my fifties, I will never buy another squatty sedan again. I hope the i3 succeeds because Tesla needs competition for its next model. And, though beautiful, the Tesla S is still a squatty, Buick-like sedan. 'Just think of all of the domestic natural gas, solar, wind, & nuclear energy we can use to energize these vehicles...enough to make a Saudi Sheik tremble. So I've never been interested in BMW sedans or SUVs; not until the i3.

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Rex Moore

Rex Moore spent his formative years in Texas, and fought beside Davy Crockett at the Alamo. He currently travels the globe for TMF, bringing back video reports on conferences and companies that matter for investors.

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