Can the I-series challenge Tesla to be the ultimate EVs?
BMW is one of the most iconic brands in the world of automobiles. They have always represented a great balance between luxury and affordability. While they might not have the prestige of Porsche or Mercedes, BMW has always held a respectable place in the automobile market. Telsa is changing all of that.
In the last decade Telsa has consistently risen in the automobile market. As of today, the Model S and Model X dominate the premium automobile market, and with the Model 3 on the way Telsa is poised to transform the automobile industry. The success of Telsa is largely due to the showmanship of its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, but it also shows that there is a real market for electric vehicles, especially in the premium space. BMW has been learning that lesson and the expansion of the BMW i-series might pose a threat to the superiority of Telsa Motors.
The First Born - The BMW i8
Full disclosure, this is one of my favorite cars. When the BMW i8 concept car was unveiled in 2012, it won concept car of the year. When it finally went into production in 2016, that concept car feeling started to appear on the road. The BMW i8 is far from the fastest eco-friendly car on the road. In truth, it only taps into a faction of the potential of electric vehicles, something Telsa Motors is exploiting without abandon. What made the i8 exciting though was the bold design. On the interior you have the carbon fiber accents and a digital display. On the exterior, you have the LED headlights, and gullwing doors. The i8 looks like a car from a science fiction movie, and it shows that you can care about the environment and still look great.
BMW i8 has its drawbacks, though. The first one is that it is not a fully electric car. The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid with a range of about 37 pure electric kilometers. While the i8 does feature regenerative braking to help improve that range, there are still hybrids with more competitive range. Now for most people the fact the that the BMW i8 is only a hybrid is not a deal breaker, the real consideration is the cost. With a price of over 135,000 CAD, the BMW i8 is a considerable investment. While it is personally my dream car you might be able to get something a lot faster or something that is fully electric at the price point.
The Second Child That No One Loves - BMW i3
Now the next entry into the BMW i-series is the BMW i3. The i3 solves a lot of the problems that the i8 has, but personally I don’t like it. I’m probably in the minority though. At a cost of about 50,000 CAD the i3 is less then half the cost of a i8. Furthermore, it carries twice as many people with a roomy back row of seating. The other big improvement is that it features a fully electric version with a range of about 130 pure electric kilometers, and it is competitive with other leaders in the field like Telsa and Prius.
The deal breaker for me with the BMW i3 is the look. While the i3 clearly took design ques from the i8, it falls to create the same head turning excitement. While the BMW i8 has a lean and sexy design, the BMW i3 remembers me of the dad body trend. When you consider the stiff competition that Telsa has in the mid size sport utility vehicle in the Model X, the i3 has a tough road ahead. The BMW i3 does get a passing grade though due to the retro wooden accents on the interior
The newest member of the family - BMW I4
The naming session at BMW must be incredibly boring, but they really know how to design automobiles. The i4 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September of 2017 and it has been creating a lot of buzz. Again the stand out feature is the design and it really represents a balance between the i8 and the i3. Furthermore, the i4 will have incredible range with BMW executives promising that it will have a range of somewhere 500 to 700 kilometers. Outside of the vehicle design, BMW has improved their overall offering with wireless charging.
Unfortunately the BMW i4 will not be available until 2020. EV tech and infrastructure will advance substantial in that time. We are going to have to wait a few years for the BMW vs Telsa showdown