2014 BMW i3 Electric Car Price: How Much Will It Cost?

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BMW i3 Concept MkII

BMW i3 Concept MkII

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With the 2014 BMW i3 electric car launch getting closer, the rumor mill is heating up.

BMW will unveil its first production battery electric car at this fall's Frankfurt Motor Show, after showing a number of concept cars in both four-door and coupe forms.

It has already given rides in BMW i3 test cars to a handful of lucky journalists (not us, sadly).

We know the basic specs of the car: It will have a 21- or 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the floorpan that powers a 125-kilowatt (170-hp) electric motor driving the rear wheels.

But one piece of information we don't have is the U.S. price.

Usually, we'd wait to speculate on this until closer to launch date. But there's been a great deal of online discussion about that very topic.

After reading multiple online sources, and adding a bit of our own informed speculation, what follows are our best guesses about price, timing, and other BMW i3 issues.

PRICE: We're guessing that base price will fall between $42,000 and $48,000. If we had to narrow it down, we'd put it between $44,000 and $46,000.

That is, of course, before the $7,500 Federal tax credit, a California $2,500 purchase rebate, and any number of other state, regional, local, and corporate incentives.

QUICK CHARGING: It's not clear whether the new CCS quick-charging system will be standard on the BMW i3 or whether it'll be an option. If it's optional, we'd expect the price to come in around $1,000--although it might also be bundled into a more expensive option package with other equipment.

RANGE: BMW has quoted only European test-cycle figures, but using a rough translation, we'd expect the BMW i3 to be rated at 85 to 100 miles of range on the U.S. test cycle.

RANGE EXTENDER: One of the most interesting features of the BMW i3 will be its "ReX" range-extending two-cylinder engine. Based on a motorcycle engine and nestled under the rear deck, the 0.65-liter ReX will power a generator that puts out 34 hp (25 kW).

That's enough to power the i3 on level ground, but not enough to move a heavily loaded car uphill without losing speed. BMW is pitching the ReX as an emergency backup, and the additional range it provides from a 2.3-gallon gas tank is expected to be less than the range rating of the battery itself.

The ReX seems likely to be offered as optional equipment for something like $3,000.

OPTIONS: Very little word yet on other options, but we suspect leather seats will be one extra-cost offering. Another will be 20-inch wheels to replace the standard 19-inch items.

PERFORMANCE: The BMW i3 is likely to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7 to 8 seconds under full throttle.

SCHEDULE: The BMW i3 will be launched next week as a 2014 model for Europe, with first deliveries to start this fall. It will arrive in the U.S. sometime between December and February, as either a 2014 or 2015 model.

RESERVATION PROCESS: BMW already allows interested buyers to "reserve a place in line" for an i3 in Germany. The company hasn't yet said whether it will do the same here in the States, as Nissan did to launch its Leaf and Tesla still does for its Model S.

If BMW does set up a U.S. reservation system, it most likely won't happen until closer to the launch date--perhaps late summer or sometime this fall.

Some BMW dealers may also offer to take deposits to guarantee interested parties an early delivery from among the first i3 electric cars they receive. But that's an individual dealership's choice, and not something BMW can necessarily control.

SO, that's our rundown of the BMW i3 rumor mill.

If you've seen other information, leave it below in the Comments.


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Comments (29)
  1. Is it just me or does a potential price range between 42-48k seem very high for such a car? Not very far from a base model Model S. A price around 30k seems more reasonable for a car this size, trim and features.

  2. I don't see it that way at all. If it's right in the middle of the estimate here an it $45k then it's $15,000 less than the least expensive Model S. It's going to outperform every other other mass produced EV's in speed, handling and range besides Tesla's cars. The interior of the concept cars is one of the most stunning interiors I have ever seen and it will charge L2 at 6.6kW as well as have DC quick charge. And you want it to sell at $10,000 less than a Ford Focus EV or a Volt and $5,000 less than a LEAF SL? Not sure you are really in tune with the price of the current electrics.

  3. I think at $15K the price difference between a subcompact city car and a large luxury sedan has never been so small.

  4. I can't wait to see pics of the final production version I'm sure they'll hit the net any day now.

  5. Pretty cool and very innovative. Pushes the envelope in many ways except where it really matters: range. Standard quick charging capability might be in order to compensate.

  6. Interesting...

    Two questions.

    1. If there is an extender in the back, then once the option is chosen, then are there still any storage space left? If the extender will be located in the back, what is in the front? A Frunk? Where is motor located? It would make sense for them to be in the back since it is a RWD. So, is the front where the storage space is?

    2. I assume the two cylinder engine will be air cooled for its compact size and cost. So, that engine won't be able to provide any heat? Is the battery going to be liquid cooled/heated? And will the cabin be heated and cooled electrically?

  7. 1) the REx fits under/behind the rear seats next to the e-motor. Both the e-motor and REx are housed over the rear axle. There should be no intrusion into the passenger or cargo compartment at all and will have the same space as the BEV i3. I can provide pictures of it(sans the REx) if you would like

    2)Yes, the battery is thermally managed with a liquid based system and the cabin is heated & cooled electrically as it is on the ActiveE.

  8. So, the REX doesn't require any additional space? If it doesn't, then why would BMW waste the space when the REX isn't an option?

    What is in the front of the car? An empty space?

  9. I think it should be sold for $35K-$39K at most - it has basically the same range as the Leaf and less room, actually. The $50K 40kWh Model S will have far more range and is a lot larger and much better performing.


  10. Neil, you can certainly assign any value you feel appropriate but there is no such thing as a $50K Tesla, the base price for the 40kW car is now $61,070 including the mandatory prep & personal delivery. Secondly, it has virtually the same interior room as a LEAF(99 cu-ft) It does have less cargo space though. Also the range isn't basically the same as a LEAF. It scored and official 140 miles on the European test cycle and the LEAF was certified at 107 miles, so that's 30% more. There is no EPA range rating yet but look for it to be between 92 & 96 MPC compared to the LEAF's 75. Those extra 20 miles make a big difference!

  11. I don't mean to nitpick, but the European test cycle (NEDC) electric range results for the 2011/2012 Nissan LEAF were 175 km or 109 miles. The latter is also the officially advertised range in the UK and Ireland. I just wanted to make sure that the correct number is used, since I saw the 107 miles on several occasions now. There will likely be a revised NEDC range the 2013 model year available soon.

  12. @George: Here's our coverage of the 2013 Nissan Leaf range ratings:

    The European ratings are on a much gentler test cycle than the calculations used by the EPA, and are far more optimistic than most U.S. drivers will ever achieve.

  13. Actually the 2013 Leaf would have been EPA rated at 84 miles except for EPAS's arbitrary decision to average standard and full charge range. Looks like paying up to $20K more will buy you very little extra range compared to the Leaf. Too bad, it would have been great if i3 would have shown some real progress in the range department considering the sort of money that's charged for it.

  14. I'm more interested in the performance and after reading the Car Magazine story and hearing it will do 0-60 in 7.2 seconds I'm definitely more interested now. If the EPA range is 90-95 then it's tops on my short EV list now. The extra money goes towards a lot more than the extra 10 or 15 miles per charge. This sounds like it's going to be a great package to me.

  15. "we'd expect the BMW i3 to be rated at 85 to 100 miles of range on the U.S. test cycle." and "the additional range it provides from a 2.3-gallon gas tank is expected to be less than the range rating of the battery itself"

    If both of those are true, then the extended range MPG is no better than 38 mpg...

    "the 0.65-liter ReX will power a generator that puts out 34 hp (25 kW)."

    38 MPG is a pretty poor efficiency number for a 34 HP engine... Then again, I seriously doubt the engine is powerful enough to have any meaningful speed. It is probably something that will allow you to "limp" to the next charging station...

  16. I'd expect the i3 to have better aerodynamics than the 2012 LEAF, which has a Cd of 0.29. The outside dimensions will be very similar. The LEAF driver community took a number of measurements over time, and I quoted some of the key values below. They are derived from Tony Williams' range chart:

    mph kW
    35 | 5.6
    40 | 6.8
    45 | 8.7
    50 | 10.9
    55 | 12.8
    60 | 15.4
    65 | 18.0
    70 | 21.2
    75 | 25.0

  17. Thanks for the table.

    Those are "constant" speed on flat surface consumption. If you do the math for 24KWh and the speed, then you will see that it "almost" matches Leaf's EPA range with those speed with no other energy draws.

    So, any acceleration will take far more energy than the power that you listed here.

    Did you list the amount of power it takes for Leaf to accelerate to 60 mph in 10 seconds? Also, what about small hills?

    Another thing to consider is that BMW probably care about handling. It might have better Cd, but I am pretty sure it will have wider or more "sporty" tires. Those sporty tires will be a much bigger drag at higher speed...

  18. Yes, these are constant speeds on flat terrain. I never said otherwise. This was supposed to counter the notion that the i3 will be a "limp mobile" when driven in range-extended mode.

    That's simply not true, and the real-world energy requirements to propel a similarly sized vehicle demonstrate that.

    The question of hill climbs came up before. It's difficult to answer without further information from BMW. There is the possibility that they will use battery power to augment the REx as necessary.

    This would be OK in urban driving, but not when crossing a mountain range. As to acceleration: 25 kW are adequate, but not for jack-rabbit starts. Battery power could be used to augment here too. The REx is likely not meant for every day use.

  19. I read something else for the range extender. Very different. What is the truth?


  20. That REX needs at least a couple of hundred extra miles of range in order for this car to make total sense.

  21. Real competitor to i3 will be Infiniti LE & RAV 4 EV - rather than Leaf. Will i3 be competitive ?

  22. Uh, I don't see many consumers deciding between a large SUV made by Toyota and a compact EV made by BMW. If you want a compact, you're not likely to get a large SUV instead. Similarly, how many consumers want a large SUV but will change instead to a compact? Not many, I suspect. Also, people get BMWs because they care about the driving performance of the car. I wouldn't claim the same for a RAV4 driver, EV or not.

    Until Infiniti provides more info on the LE, I'll wait to comment. Yes, it has potential but there are too many unknowns at this stage, IMHO.

  23. Quit sniffing the glue robok2. Rav4 is a SMALL suv offered by Toyota. The Highlander is the midsize n the Sequoia is the large suv offered by Toyota. However, the Rav4 is one of the larger small suvs within its class for size n cargo space.

    BTW, the Rav4 EV is clearly a compliance car whreas the i3 seems like it is not going to be a compliance car for BMW being designed, engineered, and built strictly as an ev.

  24. I think everyone needs to keep in mind that this *is* a BMW, it will have an emphasis on performance that a leaf or volt won't. It won't have as good a range, but the journey will be a little more fun.

  25. Again, don't compare to Leaf. Compare to Infiniti EV.

  26. Yes, the Infinity LE is kind of a dark horse. Nissan has been very tight lipped on it. I REALLY hope it delivers a range like the i3 (90-95EPA) or even a little better.

  27. Thank you, Ben. In the end, it's a BMW, not a bargain bin LEAF, not that I hate the LEAF at all. I'll hold off on commenting on the performance until the numbers are official. For me, the 8.8 0-60 time for the Volt isn't a major change from the expected 7-8 second time for the i3, but again, people expecting this to be priced under $40K seem to know very little about BMWs, EV pricing, etc...

  28. The total range needs to be over 200 miles... 4 or 5 gallon tank.


  29. Got EV ? New! yes we can. EV dynamic wireless charging, Battery go smaller, CES Las Vegas2013 . goto search on qualcommhalo

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