BMW i3 Pricing and Performance Estimates

We ‘ve known for a few months now that BMW will be using basically the same powertrain in the i3 as is scheduled for the soon to be release BMW ActiveE. In the 1 Series based ActiveE that equates to roughly 100 miles on a charge with 170 horsepower and maximum torque of 184 lb-ft. But the theory goes that BMW may tune the i3 with slightly less power given that it will weight less (approximately 300 kg or 660 lbs less than a standard steel unibody car). Car & Driver suggests that may mean around 150 hp with a 160 mile range.

But less weight means more than better range. Less weight also means that BMW will almost surely use less batteries to motivate the i3. More specifically the ActiveE uses 192 battery cells versus the i3 that is expected to use around half the cells. Since batteries are typically the most pricey part of an EV this should allow BMW to reduce costs and price the i3 more aggressively than some have expected.

Car and Driver has recently chimed in with their guess that the i3 will ring up around $35,000. However based on our sources we believe BMW may only allow leasing initially on the i3 with pricing very close to the $499 a month that the ActiveE has been aggressively priced at. That ‘s almost half the cost of BMW ‘s first EV the $850 a month MINI E and much more affordable than the almost $50,000 price-point we initially heard rumored.

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  • Anonymous

     only complaint is that sleek looking car in the rendering looks nothing like that boxy mule we saw winter testing

  • Tom Moloughney

    I’m a bit surprised about the price (thought it would be around 40K) and the range. I think C&D got this wrong and the target range is 100 miles per charge, but it would be a great bonus if it will go further than expected. There were some internal discussions about leasing, but they realized they HAVE to eventually actually sell and EV, and after five years of the MINI-E and ActiveE lease only programs they need to sell the i3 to be taken seriously. You will be able to buy an i3, I’m certain of that.

  • Anonymous

    The pricing they suggest is based on the equivalent value of a comparable leased vehicle. Early indication is that these cars will be lease only. This would allow BMW to still own the valuable CF safety cell- which in theory could be re mounted on a different chassis/drivetrain in the future-making the vehicle upgradable. A concept that is not that outlandish but has not been used in cars in quite sometime. The CF portion while being ultimately cheaper for BMW to produce than anyone else is still expensive.

  • Tom Moloughney

    Michael: If you get a chance, bring up the question with your contact again, If he’s in the know he will tell you that the i3 will be available for sale in 4qtr 2013. Also, as I said in the comment above it will have a 100 mile range for sure, not 160 I can guarantee that. Plan on seeing a retraction by Car & Driver soon. 🙂 Of course they could make the car go 160 miles per charge, but all their research including the MINI-E trials pointed to 100 miles being the sweet spot for a commuter car. It’s of course a balance between cost and range and adding another 5K to the price to squeeze out 60 more miles isn’t really worth it. You have to carry around all the added weight of the batteries all the time, reducing the cars efficiency and only use the extra range once in a while, not worth it in my book. I drive 30,000 miles a year and have been driving a 100 MPC MINI-E for the past two years and it works perfectly fine for my daily commuting and 95% of all my driving.