Advertisement

2014 BMW i3 Electric Car Price To Be Similar To BMW 3-Series?

Follow John

BMW i3 electric car undergoing winter testing, February 2013

BMW i3 electric car undergoing winter testing, February 2013

Enlarge Photo

The production version of the BMW i3 electric car will be unveiled at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, and anticipation is building.

How much BMW's first battery-electric car will cost is one of the biggest open questions.

Now Ludwig Willisch, the CEO of the Bavarian maker's North American arm, has given a hint.

The BMW i3, he told Automotive News, will be priced about the same as a well-equipped version of the company's famous 3-Series compact sport sedan.

That puts the price at about $40,000, he said.

We had a few questions about the story, so we reached out to BMW.

BEV or ReX?

First, is Willisch discussing the price for the battery-only version of the BMW i3, which will likely have an EPA-rated range of 80 to 100 miles?

Or is he discussing the version fitted with the ReX range-extending two-cylinder engine, which roughly doubles that range--but with reduced performance compared to its operation on battery power?

Dave Buchko, of BMW's technical and product communications team, responded that BMW i3 pricing hadn't been finalized, so he couldn't offer specifics.

However, he said, "any indication any of our executives may have given about a base price for the i3 has always been in reference to the battery-electric version"--not the model with the optional ReX range extender.

Not net pricing

Second, is Willisch using the deceptive practice of 'net pricing', in which the manufacturer quotes the price after the $7,500 Federal income-tax credit is netted out?

Buchko said that Willisch's figure was not net pricing.

But, he reiterated, Willisch said in the interview that the i3 will have a price "on par with a well-equipped 3-Series"--which he noted "falls more in the $45,000 to $50,000 range."

BMW 3-Series model prices range from $32,550 for the base 320i model up to $49,650 for the ActiveHybrid 3 sedan before any options--or, if you include the high-performance M line, up to $68,750 for the M3 Convertible.

In the end, we'll stick with our prediction that the 2014 BMW i3 will have a base price between $42,000 and $46,000.

BMW i3 Concept live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

BMW i3 Concept live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

ReX version eligible for credit?

We note the Automotive News article suggests that BMW is "waiting to hear" from the EPA whether buyers of the range-extended version of the 2014 BMW i3 can get the full $7,500 tax credit.

That's confusing, since the credit is based on battery-pack size: any plug-in electric passenger car with a pack of 16 kilowatt-hours or larger qualifies for the credit, with or without an engine.

That's why the Chevrolet Volt (16-kWh pack, range-extending engine) qualifies for the full credit, just as the Nissan Leaf (24-kWh pack, no range extender) does.

"The i3 is expected to qualify for the tax credit," Buchko said, "but until all of the t’s are dotted and the i’s are crossed [sic], we’re not factoring that in."

Electric cars at most BMW dealers

Willisch also told Automotive News that BMW expects the majority of its 338 U.S. dealers will sign up to sell the i3, along with the plug-in hybrid i8 sports coupe.

Dealers would have to decline to take the cars by June, he said.

Actual U.S. prices for the 2014 BMW i3 won't be set until sometime this fall, after the car has been launched in Frankfurt.

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (12)
  1. Great reporting. Please keep us up to date.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

  2. Thanks for following up and straightening it out John. The only thing I would change, and perhaps I'm nitpicking, is that I don't think Willisch ever mentioned $40,000 like this article implies: "That puts the price at about $40,000, he said". After reading the Automotive News piece I came away with the impression Willisch only said the i3 would be comparably priced to a "well-appointed 3 Series" and the author Diana Kurylko added the $40,000 figure herself. A "well-appointed" 3 series costs more than $40k and close to the $42-$45k that most people seem to believe the i3 will begin at.

    Thanks for getting the facts correct on the tax credit qualification, range extender and whether the price estimate was pre or post any tax incentives.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

     
  3. Great comments, Tom, I read the Automotive News article, too, and thought "Uh, you're not getting a 'well-appointed' 3-series for $40K." But if you're looking for an EV/PHEV from BMW, I doubt that the minor difference between $40K and $42K-$45K will be a big difference.

    I'll join others in congratulating John V. here for good work. I'm very interested in this car...
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

  4. On the subject of net pricing I agree that it is deceptive, using Tesla's design studio an 85 kwh Model S with almost every option appears to cost nearly the same as the BMW I'm driving now. I started to think the price is pretty good but oops, I realized I needed to add in $7,500. to get the actual price and then add sales tax, tag, and title. If companies want to net price they should give you the actual price first and the net price second so the tax insentive looks like a discount. Rather then luring you in with net pricing only to find out as you get close to buying the car that "surprise!" the car is actually almost eight grand more then the price you were first shown.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  5. Agree 100%. I don't mind if they want to show the tax incentives also, but they have to first make it clear what the real "out the door" price is first. Not everyone qualifies for the tax credits anyway.
     
    Post Reply
    +3
    Bad stuff?

     
  6. The biggest problem that could result from this I think is people might walk away from making the purchase because the net price that lured the buyer in is actually 7,500 more then they may have been aware of.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

  7. I am also very interested in this car. It seems like BMW is holding back a lot of critical information about the i3. I really do hope the true (not net) price of the i3 is around $40K or $43-45 with the REx. I would definitely be a buyer at that price. If the i3 starts around $50K, I may wait for the promised cheaper model from Tesla. By then, the batteries will probably be better and a REx may not be necessary.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  8. Almost verbatim what I'm thinking, Bret. But it would probably have to be the Model S for me, I'm not a fan of crossovers at all, although I'll certainly give the Model X a close look when it's possible. Even a $50K i3 would allow me to get a nice, new motorcycle, too. The Model S... probably not.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  9. I kind of like the hatch back models. I had two Dodge Daytonas and I really loved them. They drove like sports cars, but I could still fold down the rear seats and put my surfboard or mountain bike in them.

    I'm not so interested in the Tesla Model X as the model after it. The S and X are too big for my tastes. I like smaller, more nimble cars. After the Model X, Elon has promised a more affordable EV for the masses. I'm hoping for a smaller car with around 200 miles of pure EV range. It's about 2-3 years away and I hope it costs around $30-40K. I would be all over it.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  10. Bret, I understand the great utility of the crossovers/hatchbacks and I agree, but like you, for smaller vehicles only. Even if they were the same price, I'd take a Focus hatchback over an Escape/Kuga, for example.

    I'd also prefer the post-Model X, but just don't want to wait longer than 2015 for an EV, 2015 since my Volt lease will be up then. Now, if I can get my wife out of her 2012 Prius to the post Model X, great, I'd drive it a fair bit anyway.

    In my/our case, no kids, though, so I'm very aware that our needs are not typical. I'll join you in hoping Tesla can put out the post-Model X in a timely manner and at a reasonable price. I personally am willing to pay more, but to truly become mainstream, it's essential.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  11. Any news on i8 price?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  12. Just rumors, as far as I have seen, Xialong...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
New Car Price Quotes
Update ZIP
I understand that all data I provide is subject to your Privacy Policy and Terms. I consent to being contacted by dealers checked above by various means, including by phone at the number provided, email, text message, autodialing systems and/or artificial or prerecorded voice. Consent is not a condition of purchase.

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.