Now that BMW has revealed the production version of the i3, including most of its specifications and the MSRP with and without the range extender option, it seems journalists are struggling a bit when they are deciding what other car to compare it to. The result is, they are comparing it to just about everything else with a plug.
|A LEAF charging at my restaurant|
Others have pit the i3 against the Chevy Volt. There is a lot of sense to this comparison because the i3 and the Volt are the only two electric vehicles that have a range extender. The range extender is standard on the Volt; you can't order one without it, while on the i3 it is an option. BMW has stated that they expect the vast
|A Volt on display at Nauna's|
|The i3's interior is nicer than any other IMO|
|My Model S for a day!|
I haven't seen anybody compare it to any of the low volume compliance cars currently being offered and I avoided using any of them here also. As compliance cars the manufacturers only goal is to get them leased or sold as quickly and as painlessly as possible and they can accept huge losses in doing so by heavily discounting them, offering unlimited mileage leases and even giving away free charging equipment. This is all great for the customer, but it doesn't allow a fair comparison.
I've seen a few people say it reminds them of an iMiEV and granted the stubby nose can draw some similarities to the shape, but having driven a few iMiEV's and have sat in a few i3's now I'd advise people to see and drive the i3 before you try to lump them together because they really aren't similar once you've seen the i3 in person. The i3 is more than a foot longer and 7 1/2 inches wider than an iMiEV and has much more interior volume, plus it has 40% more range and the performance isn't really comparable.
So while there is no perfect apples to apples comparison, I think the Chevy Volt is probably what makes sense the most to compare it to and that's only if you are comparing it to the i3 with range extender. However I believe the i3 is different enough that it's going to draw people that may not have bought a LEAF or a Volt, which is good for the plug-in industry. More choices will get more EV's on the road and as they say, a rising tide raises all boats.