Tesla Motors' Challengers Are Coming

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) success in electric vehicles won't go unchallenged for long, and challengers are improving their offerings. In fact, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) Chevy Volt was actually the best-selling electric vehicle in the country last year. 

But the bigger challenge is coming from BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) , which is already seeing commercial success with two new offerings, the all-electric i3 and the electric hybrid i8. Unlike other early entrants into the EV market, BMW seems to be willing to completely redesign its vehicles to take advantage of the technology advantages EVs provides. It's even built the i3's chassis out of carbon fiber, lowering weight and introducing technology that may eventually be pushed to the larger line of vehicles. 

In the video below, specialist Travis Hoium covers why BMW is going to be the company to watch as a competitor to Tesla. 

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  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 5:26 PM, krohleder wrote:

    It is just too bad the i3 did not follow the most fundamental rule in auto design: Do not disrupt the flow lines! It is not getting great reviews in terms of its look. The i8 is irrelevant since it is a hybrid.

    So close yet so far away once again.

    The Mercedes B-Class has a comparable range to the i3 and although it is not ugly like the i3 it is very boring in its design.

    Both the B-Class and i3 are close but not there yet.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 6:10 PM, pvgo wrote:


    I have been reading your SPWR posts and I thought you 'get it'.... Let me remind you: I3/I8 are electric-fossil hybrids. In other words, if the entire world will switch to this kind of hybrids, we will still be addicted to oil.

    In other words, why bother with solar and all that green stuff if we (still) will be burning fossil fuels when we can avoid it....

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 6:35 PM, RobertFaheyJr wrote:
  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 7:31 PM, Jackl1956 wrote:

    BMW is a marque that has been refined decade after decade. Their affluent customer base can only be described as discriminating buyers. Many of the same BMW owners having owned the brand for years and years have purchased the Tesla Model S.

    Switching from such an established standard bearer to an upstart EV manufacturer from California of all places, must take tremendous reflection.

    Will Tesla be able to compete? Bank on it.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 7:50 PM, ffbj wrote:

    Since Tesla only makes electric vehicles a priori to compete with them you must have an electric vehicle. As others have pointed some of the vehicles you mention are not fully electric, So that was pointless of you. Otherwise the i3 does compete but, imo, it is an inferior vehicle. Check out the water test on the i3, pitiful. I might buy it in CA or the desert

    where not there is little rain. Others coming are mostly compliance cars. A true luxury ev does not look to be on the horizon, nor an Suv like the Model X will be. So contrarwise I would say there seems to be little competition for Tesla in these areas, mayhaps for the Model III when it comes out, but that is years away.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2014, at 8:21 PM, AjitC wrote:

    The i3 is lame in performance. 0-60 mph in 8 sec is too risky for interstates these days in the US. Let alone in Germany. Range will fall quickly at highway speeds. Limited use in cities. Better off with BMW 3 hybrid or diesel.

    Model S is a different kind of ride, quality, space, performance and range.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 2:52 AM, evlover wrote:

    It's way behind!

    I3 seats 4 while Tesla Model S seats 5 adults + 2 kids.

    I3's range is 81 miles while Tesla's is 265 rated or 300 ideal miles.

    I3 is incapable of charging at Tesla Supercharger to gain 170 miles in just 30 minutes (It's free forever once you bought your Supercharger option.)

    I3 is incapable of beating Edmund's electric-only Coast to Coast record in 67 hours and 21 minutes.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 5:49 AM, Modern wrote:

    So many wrong things in the comments.

    *the i3 is fully electric, you can get an i3 with a small gas range extender, more options is a good thing

    *the i8 is in direct competition with the Tesla, it's exactly the same price if you tack on similar options on the Tesla

    *the i3 is not in the same category of the Tesla Model S at all, it is less than half the price of a Model S, it competes against the Nissan leaf

    One of the things I think Tesla has wrong, is that they don't have a reasonably priced car for the masses. BMW, Mercedes, VW and Nissan are starting from the ground up and are coming out with reasonably priced cars that cost less than half what a Tesla costs. Meanwhile Tesla has no car to compete.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 8:54 AM, Capt601 wrote:

    So 100 years of building cars and the i3 and I8 are all they can come up with? And they we going to take over tej EV world? Wow. Just wow!

    A short range EV , with hybrid option and an overpriced hybrid sports car. Wow. Impressive. Next a 110 mile EV? Watch out for BMW!

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 8:54 AM, Capt601 wrote:

    So 100 years of building cars and the i3 and I8 are all they can come up with? And they we going to take over tej EV world? Wow. Just wow!

    A short range EV , with hybrid option and an overpriced hybrid sports car. Wow. Impressive. Next a 110 mile EV? Watch out for BMW!

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 10:49 AM, txfilmguy wrote:

    The Chevy Volt is also an excellent car, but like the i8, it is hybrid. Tesla still rides ahead of the competition by miles.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2014, at 11:12 AM, DrDauger wrote:

    First, let's acknowledge the fact that that Tesla's mission is "to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport":

    Therefore Tesla would welcome a viable entry from BMW, and the whole notion that anyone else is a "Challenger" is nothing more than SEO and FUD.

    Setting that fact aside, having no more than 90 or so miles of electric range, BMW's offerings are several years behind Tesla. The i3 is much like the Leaf, and the i8 challenges the defunct Fisker Karma (also a high-priced hybrid). The $135k i8 has 1/10 the electric range range and less than half the carrying capacity of the $90k 85kWh Tesla, so at best the i8 is simply in a different market.

    The egregious blind spot in this article is Tesla's Gigafactory:

    which will give Tesla a MONOPOLY on LiIon batteries costing 30% less $/kWh than any other source on Earth, making possible a mass-market long-range pure EV. Tesla will be duty-bound to use their battery supply to satisfy their own Model S/3/X demand rather than sell any to BMW.

    The consequence: A 2017 consumer with $40k to spend on a car will see the Tesla Model 3 has twice the range of a future BMW i3. BMW won't have a chance.

    Come back when BMW builds their own Gigafactory. The lead time of such projects are enormous, so BMW, and everyone else, will continue to be several years behind.

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Travis Hoium

Travis Hoium has been writing for since July 2010 and covers the solar industry, renewable energy, and gaming stocks among other things.

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