Monday, June 11, 2012

How Much Would You Pay For An i3?

There are a lot of questions still unanswered about BMW's first production electric car, the i3. Various sources have reported it will launch in September 2013 as an 2014 model, and BMW has gradually released technical information like the battery size(22kWh's) the motor specs (130kw, 184 lb-ft torque, 170 hp) and dimensions (151" long, 60" high, 101" wheelbase and 2,756lbs). However the only thing anyone from BMW has said regarding the price is that it will cost "less than a BMW 5-Series sedan", which starts at about $48,000US.

Which brings us to this poll today. How much would you be willing to pay for a BMW i3? Before you answer the poll, please read the specifications of the other available and soon to be available electric cars. This may give you a better understanding of where the i3 fits into the electric vehicle scene.

BMW i3 ???
Four passenger hatchback to be sold 3rd quarter 2013 as a 2014 model.
130 kW motor: Top speed 93mph: 0-60 in under 8 seconds
Rear wheel drive; 7.7kW level 2 charging standard, SAE DC quick charge optional
Active liquid thermal management battery system
22kWh battery, Carbon fiber passenger cell & aluminum frame (dedicated EV platform)
Range: EPA 92 miles per charge (estimated)

Nissan LEAF $35,200(SV) $37,250(SL)
Five passenger hatchback currently available
80 kW motor: Top speed: 90mph: 0-60 9.9 sec
Front wheel drive; 3.3kW level 2 standard, CHAdeMO quick charge optional(standard on SL)
Passive thermal management system
24kWh battery, conventional construction(dedicated EV platform)
Range: EPA rated 73 miles per charge

Coda Sedan $37,250
Five passenger sedan currently available
100 kW motor: Top speed 85mph: 0-60 9.5 sec
Front wheel drive; 6.6kW level 2 standard, no DC quick charge option available
Active liquid thermal management system
31kWh battery, conventional construction(dedicated EV platform)
Range: EPA rated 88 miles per charge


Ford Focus Electric $39,995
Five Passenger hatchback currently available
100 kW motor: Top speed 84mph: 0-60 9.5 sec
Front wheel drive; 6.6kW level 2 charging standard, no DC quick charge option available
Active liquid thermal management battery system
23kWh battery, conventional construction (converted ICE platform)
Range: EPA rated 76 miles per charge

Tesla Model S $57,400
Five Passenger hatchback(with 2 optional rear-facing child seats) available early 2013
Motor and performance figured not available, but expected to be good.
Rear wheel drive;10kw level 2 charging standard, no DC quick charge option for 40kW base Model S
Active liquid thermal management battery system
40kW battery, EV platform: "skateboard" battery design & extensive use of aluminum to reduce weight.
Range: 125-130mile EPA rating (estimated)

As you can see, the i3 motor's power, charging rate, top speed, 0-60 and range is better than all the currently available EV's but will in all likelihood be less than that of the Tesla Model S 40kW once Tesla releases that information. I believe this points to the fair market value of the i3 to be somewhere between the Model S and the other less expensive EV's. I have therefore listed the poll pricing options to be in between the Model S and the others.

Please vote fairly. Obviously, everybody would like the price to be as low as possible, but I'm asking for you to vote for what you would pay based on what you think is a fair price in the market for the i3. In my opinion, there is absolutely no way the car will list for under $40,000 but I put that in a a choice anyway. Of course all these vehicles qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit, so your final cost will be $7,500 less than the listed prices provided you qualify for the tax credit.





33 comments:

  1. I'm going to assume this is for base equipment. I'd like a version that goes light on the techno-lard (self drive/park, supercruise, etc). I'd pay extra for more battery, more on-board charger, more audio (sound quality, not feature baloney). Manual seats? Fine by me.

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    1. Yes, base MSRP. I believe you will probably get your way with the 'techno-lard'. I would be surprised if the advanced electronic features like traffic assist and parking assist are standard. I would expect them to be part of some kind of premium electronics package, but that's just me guess, I have no inside info on how what will be standard and what won't. I also think you'll get your manual seats. BMW took the electronic seats out of the MINI-E and ActiveE to save weight and I expect that trend to continue. I doubt if they will even be an available option on the i3.

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  2. I think the base MSRP will be about $43,000 and you will be able to load it up with options and push it all the way to $50K. I think it's a mistake if they price it over $45k though and I agree with you that's there's no way it will be under $40,000, not even a chance. The people that vote for that are either just wishful thinking or aren't in touch with what the i3 is going to be.

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  3. If it looks like the concept, I'd say 43k. If it's all watered down and boring looking then 35k for a base model. I mean, it looks pretty small. The battery can't be that huge then, and the motors can't be that big. So even with the BMW badge, it can't be too terribly expensive. Will they price it high anyway? I'm sure.

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    1. Hi Brad. The production version is said to be very close to the concept (obviously no glass doors and roof though). I'm not sure if you've followed the i3 at all but it's all carbon fiber and aluminum frame so it's very light allowing BMW to use a 22kWh battery and it will still get 100 miles per charge. You can also order a range extender as an option which will act like the volt and after the battery is depleted the range extender turns on and maintains the battery charge. It will still get 100 miles AER with the range extender option though, so it will probably get little use, but for some people, it's worth having. For this poll I excluded the range extender option as to not complicate things.

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  4. While it is a BMW, it still is a small car. You mention it's 151 inches long and that's basically a couple inches longer than a mini cooper, much smaller than any of the others here, but it is a BMW and will probably be high quality and filled with high end stuff. I think I'd pay $45,000 for one at the most. After the rebate it would be $37,500 and for that I would expect more than just the bare bones model. I want a premium sound system, leather and DC quick charge if it's not a standard feature. I don't need the self driving and self parking stuff I can drive very well myself than you. I wouldn't trust it anyway.

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  5. I love the car from what I've seen - I'll get to see it in person soon since I happen to be in Rome at the same time the tour goes through there. I voted for $45,000 which is the most I would pay for the car. If it's much more than that, I'll just jump to the Model S.
    I really like what BMW has done (aluminum frame, battery below the floor, carbon fiber reinforced plastic body), though I would gladly pay a premium for a larger battery. If the i3 is price comparable to the S, then Tesla gets my money.
    I've never owned a luxury car before, I'm kind of hoping BMW skimps on the luxury on the i3. I don't want an econo-box, but I really don't want or need all the fancy stuff they throw into the 5 series.

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  6. So I guess we are all voting for politicians that will continue the plugin car incentives since it looks like we are all counting on them. :)

    JeffU

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  7. I guess it doesn't matter what we would pay for an i3, since Autoblog says BMW is "shelving" both the i3 and i8!
    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/12/bmw-getting-cold-feet-with-i3-and-i8-electric-vehicle-plans/
    The article is of course unsubstantiated rumor - and in my opinion, ridiculous.

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    1. Yeah, what a joke. The folks at BMW that I talk to are laughing at it. Don't worry about this nonsense

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  8. I would request the larger battery, like in my ActiveE (32kWh)

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    1. Stuart: The i3 will have a 22kWh battery, but will have the same range as the ActiveE. the battery is 31% smaller than the ActiveE, but the car is 31% lighter(4,001lbs to 2,756lbs) It's not a coincidence! It also will have a lower drag coefficient, so expect the same range as the ActiveE.

      Personally I wish they would offer a bigger battery as an option like Tesla is doing. I'd pay $4,000 more for and additional 5-6kWh's. That would push the range up to 120-125 miles ans pretty much guarantee 190-100 miles even in the cold winters here on the North East

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  9. BMW needs to be very aware of two other electric cars, the Model S and one you left out the Infinity LE. These are the main competition the way I see it. Both are bigger and will have a greater range than the i3 so BMW needs to be positioned below them in the market. I think the i3 would be properly priced at $42,000 without major options like the driver assist, braking assist and parking assist, DC quick charge, premium sound package, wheel upgrade, leather interior, etc. Loaded up it should be just under 50 grand. It's just too small a car to cost over $50,000 no matter how loaded it is. Just my .02

    Bill

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  10. With or with out the REX? Without the REX, I'd pay $0 because I have a 125 mile trip I need to do at least once a month. With the REX, maybe $45K...

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  11. BMW has just announced a Mk II version of the i3 Concept and described sales channels for the i brand, including a 360 Electric package standard with every i3. Sounds like it will add to the cost. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1076919_first-bmw-i-store-opens-in-london-while-i3-concept-gets-new-interior

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    1. Just to be clear the 360 package isn't what I was talking about in a previous post about the electronics like Traffic Assist, Parking assist adaptive cruise control and automatic braking. I think they are the 'expensive' electronics and should be optional. What Nikki was talking about in the article is more of an advanced monitoring system that will be part of the cars software. I don't see it as something that would dive the cars price up like I do the CFRP and possibly all the extensive use environmental friendly materials for the interior

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    2. It was the "battery replacement, maintenance, charging and breakdowns" description that raised the red flag, especially "battery replacement." If it turns out to only be software that prompts owners to take action, then I agree that should not be cost significant. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Also, battery development is ongoing; I'm sure BMW is not going to limit themselves to what's available now, since volume production will not start for more than a year. Higher capacity, lower weight, cheaper is where batteries are headed.

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  12. Passenger capacity will be a factor of how much a lot of families are willing to pay for what will essentially be a second car. If the US Census is correct, most families have more than 4 people.

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  13. I agree a bit with anonymous. Only seating four knocks a couple thousand off the value in my view. Every other car you compared it to seats five. It looks like it could definitely fit another person in the back also, especially without the transmission tunnel in the way. It's a wide car considering its length so I'm sure there is enough room in there. Why not add the third seat belt and make it a five passenger car? I'm voting for $42,500 to $44,499. If the base model is over $45,000 I guarantee BMW won't sell many of them.

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    1. You make some good points Mark. Having seen the i3 concept in person a few times already, I agree there is sufficient room in the back for three people. I bet it has something to do with crash testing. Perhaps three passengers back there increase the chance of injury? I'm sure BMW wants the car to achieve a very high rating in crash tests. There is a lot of (unnecessary) speculation that electric vehicles are inherently unsafe (remember the volt fiasco), I'd bet BMW will be extra cautious with their crash testing.

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    2. Tom, I'm sure the folks at BMW can figure it out, I mean Nissan & Ford did and I'm sure they were concerned about safety too.

      Rick O

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    3. The i3 is going to be a four passenger car, that's not up for debate. I guess there has to be a good reason why. It can't only be that they didn't want the additional cost of a third rear seat belt! When I have the opportunity to talk to someone at BMW that would know, I'll ask them.

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  14. BMW is planning to sell just 30,000 of them per year. I'm guessing there are that many people in the country who don't need to carry more than four people in the car (or two people in front plus two dogs in the back seat).

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    1. I sure their projections are more from looking at how slow the EV market has been so far and the fact that this is an expensive car considering it's size - you could get a loaded 3 series sedan for less. Plus, as much as you and I may be interested in electric cars, it's clear we are a small niche right now when you look at the whole car market but that will change. Lets say they do sell 30,000 i3's in the first year. That would mean they sell more i3's than the combined sales of all volts, LEAF's, iMiEV's and focus EV's in their first year. That would be progress in my opinion. I think most automakers realize it's going to be a gradual evolution to electric cars, not a revolution.

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    2. I agree with everything you said, Tom. BEVs will remain niche cars for years to come, but there's always been room for niche cars in the market, and I'm very thankful for that. It means we can all find a car that suits our needs and style, rather than having to settle for a car designed for the mass-market.

      The first full year of i3 sales won't be until 2014. BEVs are just now entering the market, so it's no surprise sales are low, given engrained biases and the public's lack of experience with BEVs. Today, it's pretty much just the Leaf and the Mitsubishi i that people can readily go out and buy, if you eliminate the so-called "compliance cars" (the Volt is technically a plug-in hybrid). And yes, their up-front cost is high -- but not so high over the long-term, especially if you have a PV array on your roof. Unfortunately, most people don't think life-cycle costs because they are still in ICE-think.

      What surprises me (or perhaps amuses me) is the push-back from BMW owners, who seem to be a very conservative and traditional lot -- they seem to always be protesting BMW's apparent sacrileges: the i3's "bubble-car" design, turbo-charging, 4-cylinder engines, and (gasp) rumors of a V-6 in M-cars! They want BMW's BEVs to look like a Series-3 sedan? Which looks pretty much like a Honda Accord. Hmm, I suppose that's the point, if you don't want anyone to notice. But what would they put under that long hood where the ICE used to live? After looking at the photos and video of the i3 test cars, it doesn't take much imagination to figure out what the final production version will look like, and I love it! Aerodynamic, functional, and yes, stylish. Very cool.

      My first new car out of college was a not-too-reliable Alfa Romeo. I should have bought the BMW 2002, which a couple of friends owned. It was a light-weight, 4-cylinder, 4-passenger driver's car -- certainly not a luxury/status car. I think the "i" sub-brand will take BMW back to its roots, and bring in fresh blood: drivers who are focusing on the i3's cutting-edge technology and performance, special people who are not so much invested in the marque's prestige.

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    3. Chris, maybe the smart move by BMW would be to make the i3 under the MINI Badge and the i8 under the BMW badge.

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    4. I like that idea. I hear that the Mini-E was a lot of fun to drive, and the Minis I've seen have been driven more enthusiastically than the Bimmers around here (but I hate to stereotype). Presumably the BMW marketing people have a plan, and they seem to be aiming to mix it up. I read the new 1 Series cars will be front wheel drive, and at least some fitted with 3-cylinder engines. And what of the "i" cars that follow the 3 and 8; where should they fit in (if not in the "i" sub-brand)?

      Just read a quote over at bmwblog.com from Ian Robertson, BMW's global sales chief, saying the i3 will be priced "very competitively for the substance you get."

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  15. Agree.
    BMW i3 = Glass half empty. MINI i3 = I’ll have another.

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    1. I expect that BMW will build a Mini electric before too long that looks like a Mini (and with FWD). The Mini Rocketman concept made extensive use of carbon fiber; an electric Rocketman would be a blast to drive (a la go-kart). BMW's "i" sub-brand does not yet actually sell any cars; I think once the "i" cars are on the road, and there are more than two models out, the sub-brand will find its own identity (apart from the parent BMW brand). When that happens, BMW traditionalists will be more comfortable. Something for everyone.

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  16. Knowing BMW this going be 48k at least. I meen this is a luxury car maker making an electric car, their going to cram all the lastest tech and battery tech into this car making it an average 50k and the i3 cousin the i8 pssssh that car is 80k right there.

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    1. I don't think so. I'm guessing $43,999 for the base model. You can of course load it up with options and push it past 50k, but I think they are going to keep the base MSRP down under 45k.
      The i8 is going to cost about $140,000. That is NOT a car for the mortals.

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  17. If the rumors that the 2013 Leaf will have ~91mile EPA range, 6.6kw charger, battery heater, more efficient heater, a lower price, and more American styling, how do you think that will affect the i3 price? Can the base model i3 command a $10k premium over the cost of the Leaf?

    Who knows if the Leaf will be improved that much, but if it is...

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    1. Hi Lindsay,

      The rumors are promising, but they are really just rumors at this point. I can tell you that the 6.6kW charging and improved thermal management is for real though. I have had conversations with Nissan representatives and we had long conversations on this topic. I was very critical of Nissan's decision to launch the LEAF with 3.3kW charging and primitive(in my opinion) thermal management People at Nissan reached out to me on a couple occasions to discuss. I am very optimistic that they learned about the LEAFS deficiencies and will improve upon them. As for the increased range, we have to really wait and see. I don't expect it to be as high as 91mpc (EPA rating), but even a 15% that would bring the EPA range rating to 84mpc would be a great improvement. Also, I don't believe there will be any major styling change until 2015, but let's see.

      Whatever Nissan does with the LEAF will not change anything on the i3. For better or worse, BMW doesn't see the LEAF as a viable competitor for the i3. BMW is all about the driving experience and I've been promised the driving experience of the i3 will live up to the BMW brands reputation. We'll see...

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