Skip to comments.BMW's New Electric Car Just Became a Major Problem [a problem for its competitors]
Posted on 07/24/2013 1:27:04 AM PDT by grundle
On Monday, BMW announced that the U.S. base price for its all-electric i3 will be $41,350, not including any federal or state incentives. For General Motors' Chevy Volt, and possibly Tesla Motor's Model S, BMW's move spells major trouble. Here's why.
Bad news, GM
With a starting MSRP of $39,145 in 2012, the Volt was the best-selling EV, and it's not hard to see why. Really more of an electric hybrid than a straight EV, the Volt combines a 9.3-gallon fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery. This combination allows the Volt can go an estimated 38 miles on pure battery before switching to regular fuel, which extends the range to an estimated 380 miles. Because of this combination, the Volt cuts down on range anxiety, which is still a huge deterrent to getting consumers into EVs.
Now, compare the above to BMW's all-electric i3: According to BMW, the i3 has a pure-electric range of 80-100 miles, thanks to its lithium-ion battery, and has an optional range extender that lengthens that initial range by 80 miles. Plus, thanks to BMW's eDrive technology, a driver can extend the initial range up to 124 miles by putting the vehicle in one of the "EcoPro" modes.
Right away you can see the problem. Not only does BMW's i3 go farther on pure battery power, but with the purchase of the optional range extender, range anxiety goes way down. More pointedly, the base MSRP for the BMW is only $2,000 more than the Volt. I don't know about you, but if I had to decide between spending $39,000 for a Volt, or $2,000 more for a BMW, I'm going with the BMW, hands down.
Tesla, this is bad for you, too
Right now, Tesla is the crème-de-la-crème of EVs. But it's competing against all-electric EVs like Nissan Motors' Leaf, and Ford's Focus Electric. To put it simply, Tesla's Model S can drive circles around these cars. Yes, it's more expensive, but the technology, range, and precision of the Model S makes anything else seem almost silly in comparison. BMW, however, is a luxury brand with renowned German engineering, and its new i3, and the future i8 model, presents a new challenge for Tesla.
Consider this: The i3, designed from the ground up as an EV, has received praise from some of the industry's harshest EV critics. As BBC's "Top Gear" drivers put it:
At first sampling, then, this is a compelling electric car. It's not the first on the market, but BMW has put some original thinking into almost every part of its design and engineering. It drives sweetly, is distinctively designed, and has the reassuring range-extender option if you are anxious about running flat.
These are the same critics that gave Tesla's Roadster a less than glowing report -- in fact, Tesla sued the show for "libel and malicious falsehood" because of the review.
What to watch for
The i3 isn't set to hit showrooms until the second quarter of 2014, and right now it's too soon to predict exactly how this will affect GM and Tesla's sales. However, given BMW's reputation, the i3's reviews, and the just released base price, this is something investors would do well to monitor.
Electric cars are gaining in popularity, but they're still a niche market. Ford, however, has its hand in EVs and is starting to make its presence known in China. China is already the world's largest auto market -- and it's set to grow even bigger in coming years. A recent Motley Fool report, "2 Automakers to Buy for a Surging Chinese Market", names Ford and one other global giant, poised to reap big gains that could drive big rewards for investors. You can read this report right now for free -- just click here for instant access.
Out of 10,000 possible owners...when you tell them it’s only got 80-100 miles of range....that takes out 9,999 potential buyers. I wouldn’t get too excited here. I admit...if you live in NYC or Washington DC...there might be a logical reason to buy it. Otherwise? It’s worthless, if you ask me.
I agree with you that it’s only for people in cities with short commutes. But I think there are a lot more of those people than what you claim in your numbers.
It is an expensive Nissan Leaf without the gas powered generator. With the generator is a much better Volt.
I agree, I would rather have the BMW than the Volt.
I would still rather have the Tesla Model S.
BMWs start at $31k
Teslas start at $70.
Tesla has world renowned Silicon Valley engineering.
Plus the expanding Tesla supercharging network.
What is the expanding Tesla supercharging network?
Why don’t we refit the highways to be like slot car tracks. Unlimited range and other than some serious electrocution hazards a real alternative to gasoline. Of course with the EPA shutting down power plants we may have trouble getting a sufficient electrical supply. No big deal I’m only in this for the Green Energy stimulus money. I don’t even like electric golf carts.
Obama will likely raid BMW’s factories and ban the sale in America because their batteries endanger some such endangered creature.
Remember Gibson guitar?
1) Never buy new tech because it's new and you have to give these guys a while to work out the bugs. A rule to live by, in my book.
2) I would still need a 'normal' car for longer trips.
3)They cost too darn much.
4)Battery life is 6-8 years and replacement is $6000-8000. That's double or more the cost of a new engine in my present car. A car I wouldn't consider if I had a guess that I would have to replace the engine in 6-8 years.
5) Has there been an honest positive review of any electric car? One that didn't make a bunch of excuses for high cost/ low overall performance. I haven't seen one yet.
6) Once I was driving home from work and instead of going right to home, just decided to go left and spend the long weekend in Florida. That's 1000 miles out of the way. Any electric/ hybrids out there that will allow me to do that? I didn't think so.
I guess that internal combustion will be in a lot of garages for a while yet. It's a good thing because coal is so dirty.
>>>I guess that internal combustion will be in a lot of garages for a while yet. It’s a good thing because coal is so dirty.<<<
There is a little drity secret that a European turbocharged diesel engines outperforms both hybrid and electric cars in terms or enviromental footprint for 10 years and counting. It also outperformes gas engines in terms of torque and horsepower in similiar displacement. They aren’t noisy or smoky anymore.
What about a 3 liter diesel BMW 7-er?
Full-size sports sedan, inline 6, 330 horsepower, accelerates in 6 seconds 0-60, cruising at 170 mp/h on Autobahn.
Twice better fuel/mileage than Prius.
All these “green” madness on the road is simply unbelievable in green Europe.
There is no Prius, Volt etc on their markets.
Why won’t bring hi-end diesels here?
My round trip to work is 96 miles. I also like to drive with air conditioning (fully functional)and a better than average sound system which includes satellite radio, cd player and ipod options. Sometimes, there are traffic foul ups and delays. Not much margin for error.
1) Choosing not to be an early adopter is a fair philosophy. Hybrids have been on the road for 15 years.
2)Not if you buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle with a gas powered range extender.
3) Right now hybrids can be had for a price below the average price of a new car. A real functional electric will be within reach of the average new car buyer within 5-10 years.
4)Tesla is offering an 8 year unlimited mile warranty. We shall see how long they last, what the salvage value of used batteries are(they will be perfect for home solar systems)and how much the new batteries cost.
5) If you define every positive review as dishonest then there can’t be one. Consumer Reports gave the Model S a 99 out of 100 rating. The highest rating ever. It is a direct replacement for the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes S class, and Lexus LS. The way the vast majority of those owners use them. They don’t drive from Texas to North Dakota.
6) Every hybrid and extended range electric vehicle can do a 1000 mile journey. Like a convectional ICE car you just need to add gas. By the end of 2014 you will be able to do that in a Model S.
I agree. Even with the range extender... 160 miles? I couldn’t even get to the next major city without a recharge. Don’t know who thinks that wouldn’t have range anxiety.
In summer the A/C is going to cut range.
Now let's also have mrs p6 in the car and at least one other passenger. Range takes another hit.
The terrain here is very hilly... another range hit.
Finally mrs p6 and I were just tonight seeing if an electric car could take us to Volant PA from south of Pittsburgh. We often make that trip because there is a specialty/antiques & crafts shopping area.
The trip is around 50 miles one way. Making it in an electric is very borderline, probably immpossible. We looked into charging stations but there are none reasonably close to that route. Plus what do you do if you get to a charging station and someone else is there ahead of you?
And what if we wanted to make a spur of the moment side trip to a restaurant we like to visit?
Add in the expense of the car and replacement battery...it just doesn't make sense.
The extender takes it closer to 200 miles, and BMW is also introducing a hybrid. Yeah, it’s for a second-car, urban/suburban market. But I can see the wanna-be-eco-chic wife being able to talk the indifferent husband into it because it’s a beemer.
They have an optional convertible electrical trailer. Simply tow it behind the car.
It has a solar panel array for sunny days. And for cloudy and night driving you remove the panels and installs the wind turbine. g
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“In summer the A/C is going to cut range. “
It is going to cut the range by the same percentage as in an ICE car, 12-16%.
Same for adding weight or hilly terrain.
A Tesla Model S has about 250-265 mile range under normal conditions, up to 420 if driven at a constant 20 mph without AC or Heat. 200 miles if driven like a bat out of hell. Plenty to go antiquing.