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BMW i3

I had the pleasure of viewing this vehicle in RIGHT HAND DRIVE, pre production in Australia this morning. It will be a direct competitor for the model E. Let me say that this is a very impressive car, albeit with funky looks. Yes, it is a commuter car, but BMW with its ICE package loaner for those rare occasions when one wants to travel long distance make it a compelling and realistic alternative for those of us waiting and waiting on the list (now for 3 plus years), with no store or sales staff in Australia to really give us realistic hope that the car really will be delivered here in the first half of 2014.
The car comes either in full electric or with range extender motorcycle 650cc engine, which gives it an extra 100 km (60miles) of range. Range with battery only is 130 - 160 km and with range extender quoted as 240 to 300 km.
Tesla really need to come forward with pricing for this market, since if they come in at say $150000 to $160000, they are going to lose sales, that to me included.
Yes, i know the advantages of the Tesla only too well. I have been to the factory in 2011 and had the test ride then, and have been assiduously following the forums ever since. A startup company in Australia is different to the USA especially since the factory is there. BMW has the advantage of gravitas.
In truth, the modelS is probably too large a vehicle for my needs now, but i am sold on the electric vehicle concept. The Volt does not appeal, mainly because it is a GM product, and i have had bad experiences with GM products previously.

Lots of wanna bee low end short range cars coming into the market. I bought Nissan Leafs to drive while I waited for a "real" EV. Tesla is the only true EV that can replace an existing ICE car.

You may have to learn EV on a shorter range less capable car while you wait for Tesla to deliver there. I had to do it for a few years while I waited for the Tesla to be available. The limited range and limited performance cars being rushed out by all the legacy automakers will just make you appreciate the Tesla more when you can finally get one.

The major car companies are all market cowards. They are trying to get into EV with econo box low end electric that are pricy for normal low end econo box buyers. Tesla was brilliant to start at the high end with a higher end high performance product. That is the market segment that can afford what it costs to go full EV with performance and quality. Everyone else is cautiously dipping their toe into the market with short range econo boxes.

Not a big fan of plug in hybrids liked the Volt. You end up wit the least of both worlds, a crappy ICE married to a limited short range EV with all the maintenance of both car types rolled into one. Go big or go home.

Right now Tesla is the only company that has gone big.

I don't think i3 is any competition for Tesla. Not even close. Just like Leaf is not a competition nor Chevy Volt. Tesla is in a different class. If BMW wants to compete with Tesla they need to first hire someone who can design a better car.

The I3 looks like a high speed collision between a Leaf and a Smart car. Would have to drive it with a bag over my head. That from someone that has owned and driven lots of BMW products over the years.

Good thing you liked the i3 since the Model S doesn't seem to be an option--good luck with that.

Nissan has been offering loaners to LEAF buyers for years.

What currency are you using $150-160k for the GenIII? Surely, that can't be AUD as the exchange ratio is close to 1:1. Everything so far indicates it will be around $35-40k USD, which will be less than the base model for the i3, much less with the range extender. Note that even with the range extender (which they don't want you to use in normal situations), you don't have as much combined range as the 85kWh Model S.

I think the I3 is more evidence that other EV manufacturers (with the exception of Ford) are trying to out ugly each other!

The model S may come in here at 150 to 160 Australian dolls even at parity with the US dollar. If so, that will be too rich for me. 125 to 130 then yes, i will get the Model S.

What are your customs and taxes like? What are you basing your price estimate on? Also, do you have any incentives for EVs? While a Volt isn't in the same league as a Tesla by any means, it could help you wait for it (maybe a used one or smth) but I think it is easiest if you email Tesla and ask them when they expect to be operational in Australia and have steering wheels on the wrong side :) Do you plan on placing a roadkill bumper on it? :)

Skip the i3 but you may consider a Fiat 500 electric in between since it is a fun little bastard but I don't think they sell them in Australia.

dborn, not sure what your time frame is, but it sounds like you've been waiting anxiously for quite some time (3 plus years).

Is there any great urgency to buy a car right now? If not, is it possible to wait, continue to save and make up the difference in the next 2 years through saving?

I had a similar experience about 3-4 years ago (with model S). I was in the market for a second car (one for wife and me). instead of buying something we held off for 4 years, and we basically saved and saved and saved. In the end, was able to afford the Model S because we planned and put aside money each month. Our main car was a honda civic hybrid (and you can imagine that the MS was an upgrade for us).

When that time rolls around, you can see what the differences will be between the GenIII and model S. If you opt for BMW i3 or Gen III, keep the 100K AUD and invest it. If you opt for the Model S, congrats and enjoy it ... you've earned it.

I guess the key is ... do you NEED a new car right now, or can you hold off?

I saw prototype i3 and i8 at BMW Welt during a recent trip to Munich. Both of them are very credible competitors to the MS. In terms of built-quality and fit / finishing and comfort / conv features, BMW is probably miles ahead of the MS. Though I'm anxiously waiting for my MS, but currently drive both BMW and Mini.

Having said that, I just don't get that spark within me to desire a i3 or i8 when comparing to the MS when I looked at them. If you're a rational person, you should go for i3 or i8 with BMW behind them; but if you like your car or the drive, this is going to be an emotional decision. I placed my order for the MS (unsight / un-test drive) because it looks cool and it's an awesome product concept.

Shame about Australian pricing for the MS (as well as i3 and i8), Australia is an unlucky country when it comes to buying a new car... hope this changes with Tesla. I was told for Asia-Pac markets, the base price will be similar to "Other European Markets", plus local applicable taxes.

If you can afford to wait for 2-3 more years, I believe Gen III and BMW i5 should be out by 2015 with similar and lower pricings. Hopefully you can decide with your heart then!

Always happy to hear when ICE manufacturers are (often against their will) begrudgingly taking the plunge into EVs. Especially BMW. But, it's frustrating that the range of the i3 is that of the Leaf for twice the price... and that they offer a side-by-side lawnmower engine - as if an EV drivetrain is still not enough for your driving needs.

There is one excellent analysis of the BMW i3 that really captures the essence of this:

I don't get it how i3 is competitor of MS? is like saying that BMW 3 series is competitor of Mercedes S class. i3 is competitor of Volt and the Leaf 44 Kw/h will be competitor of i3. Now that you love i3 "I'm BMW lover" tell me how the small ICE motor sound while charging like a blender?

Tesla gets glowing testimonials from those in the racing industry (Leilani Munter), those in the automotive media (Car and Driver, Motortrend), and Consumer Reports. Who does BMW have to say good things about the i3? Hold on to your pants, people...



Didn't click--are they using it as a golf cart?

Exactly. This video is posted at the BMW i3 web site. It's almost absurd to watch pro golfers drive an i3 and proclaim how wonderful it is. Maybe it's an inside joke at BMW, but why promote your flagship hybrid-in-EV-clothing as a golf cart?

Now, that is funny. Although didn't click.

Well, golfers do like carbon fiber.

Is there any automaker (besides Tesla) that has a pure EV in development that gets over 150 miles of range on a single charge? I don't count that fake GM announcement. Is there any other EV with a name on it?

This has always been the issue with the “traditional” car manufacturers. They don’t want to cannibalize their mainstream money makers. Billions of R&D dollars were invested into their internal combustion engines and all related parts (transmission, exhaust system, etc.). Their supply management is fine-tuned to deliver the best pricing to support building an ICE vehicle. Their dealership networks are working in concert to squeeze as much money out of you in acquisition and ongoing maintenance. For them, it make little business sense to switch gears (pun intended) to build an EV that a consumer will want to drive.

"why promote your flagship hybrid-in-EV-clothing as a golf cart?"

Maybe they don't want to promote it at all.

Folks, I am a Tesla fan. However, don't get too blinded. This car makes a great deal of sense for those living in crowded cities such as New York, Chicago or San Fran. It does not make a lot of sense in other areas of the USA . It makes a great deal of sense in most of Europe. If you rarely drive more than 30 or 40 miles a day, then this car could well work for you. It's displays are hi res and the main screen is 10 odd inches. If only two people are likely to use it most of the time such as retirees, it is a really good option. It has a high level of equipment and safety features and all the latest technology. Yes the appearance is funky, but google the reviews, they are universally positive with some detractions such as looks especially from the rear, but from a technical standpoint the reviews are basically all favorable.

BMW i8 Official Launch Video

The first clear demonstration that the BMW grill is mean to subliminally suggest a bust! Sex sells.

mean meant

No kidney, BrianH? ;-)

I always think of this when I read the word "bust":

Is that the first archeological evidence of an afro hairdo?

Another Roman invention? Who would have known!

I would not expect much love for the i3 on a Tesla forum.

For the record, I have a reservation for the Model X. I firmly believe that my Model X is about two years away since I am number 6336 and will not order a loaded X for cost reasons.

So far, I really like what I see in the i3. It is a quirky little city car with decent performance, luxury and range for it's cost. I actually like the looks. I really like the interior. It will have a higher ride height and seating position for people like me (and my wife) with bad backs. This is why I did not order a Model S. We are going to order one next month with delivery in the spring of 2014. We are going to order the REX version as we will probably make a trip or two each month just over the 80-90 mile range of the pure BEV model.

I realize that the models S is better in almost every way, but it is also at least $28,000 more expensive. I still think i3 will be a comfortable and fun little car to drive around town. The 0-60 in 7-8 sec performance is not exactly a "golf cart" as a few of you have stated. I also own a converted EV with a similar range (and even less performance) and find it extremely fun to drive. Admittedly it is mostly a toy.

You can see it at if you like.

The wife likes my little car too, but wants a modern EV with all of the creature comforts. The i3 is a bit of a compromise, but if her i3 performs well over the next year I would be very tempted to cancel the Model X and just get an REX i3 for myself. If the i3 does everything I need and it is fun to drive, I would have a hard time justifying the extra $30,000 to $40,000 to get the Model X.

I know I would prefer a Tesla Model ___ (GEN III), but that is at least 4-5 years away and I do not want to wait that long so the Model X is the only real alternative for me...


I like you reasoning but its seems odd that you would have such a wide range of what you want out of an EV. The Model X and the i3 are so different. Why even consider an EV like the Model X if you don't need or really want it?

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