“Here’s Why Our New Electric Car Is Better Than Tesla’s” says BMW

BMW i | January 24th, 2014 by 11
bmw i3 vs tesla s 750x500 Heres Why Our New Electric Car Is Better Than Teslas says BMW

In an interview with Business Insider, CEO of BMW North America Ludwig Willisch, talks about the “war” between BMW and Tesla. Before jumping into the …

In an interview with Business Insider, CEO of BMW North America Ludwig Willisch, talks about the “war” between BMW and Tesla. Before jumping into the comments made by Willisch, allow us to give you the background story.

Back in August 2013, during the quarterly earnings conference call, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, poked fun at the BMW i3 electric vehicle.

Musk was asked to give his opinion on the i3 and after a fairly long chuckle, Musk said the i3 has ways to go. “I’m glad to see did BMW is bringing in electric car to market. That’s cool. There’s room to improve on the i3 and I hope that they will.”

Tesla Model S vs BMW M51 750x469 Heres Why Our New Electric Car Is Better Than Teslas says BMW

Furthermore, Laughter inside his room caused more giggling from the Tesla CEO. It lasted about 10 seconds. He then eventually finished his speech.

In a more gracious note, Willisch explained to Business Insider (and Musk) why the i3 is “the ultimate driving machine among the EVs.”

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3 – Comparison & Test Drive

When we asked Willisch how the i3 compares to the Model S, he started off by explaining how BMW makes its little electric ride. “You need to look at the whole concept,” he said.

“We start off by producing carbon fiber in Moses Lake, Washington, with hydropower. Then we use fully recyclable materials to build the car. We build the car with wind power. So the whole production cycle is fully sustainable.”

Meanwhile, he said, “others build electric cars the conventional way,” he said, adding, “you need to look at the carbon footprint of the whole thing. I would dare say that nobody’s at this point in time where we are, as far as the whole production process is concerned.” (We got Willisch to mention Tesla by name only once.)

Willisch also explained that by weighing less than the Tesla S, the BMW i3 offers great fun on the road. “What you feel is a normal feel of a car, yet you have the instant acceleration that an electric motor will give you,” including the instant torque, Willisch said. “That’s really great fun.”

BMW and Tesla are not yet directly competing for the same segment, but within two years additional “i” models, and most likely other Teslas, will run head-to-head in the premium EV segment.

READ: Tesla S Test Drive

  • David Lee

    Great article and yes you have to look at the bigger picture, I am surprised they didn’t mention Toyota Prius because there are articles about how much carbon footprint that car makes in order to be “super efficient” on the road. Ironic it that the car takes so much resources to build and would take years of driving before it can combat the harm it did in the beginning. I believe BMW is going in the right direction with the new “i” model range.

  • CDspeed

    They are both great cars, and both have good points, as a car the Tesla is better and represents the goal but, the i3 has a more advanced structure and sustainable manufacturing. If you could combine the Model S with the i3 you would have the perfect car of the future. So if the i5 or i7 is built like an i3, and the end product is competitive with the Model S, BMW could be Tesla’s number one competitor. Right now Tesla is running unchallenged, and BMW only has to take one more step to challenge them, in the end though the competition will be good for both of them.

    • Marley71

      “as a car the Tesla is better and represents the goal but,…” Represents THE goal? The goal of being a “great car”? I think this is where the argument devolves to just opinion, what makes a car great. BMW says they’ve done it, and Tesla says they have done it. Objectively BMW has made the more “environmentally conscious” car, and again objectively Tesla has had a runaway sales success.

      • CDspeed

        No, not the goal of being a great car, the goal of going electric. The Model S being a full size luxury sedan with a range over 200 miles puts it on the level with gasoline cars.

  • Bruce Parmenter

    BMW makes a nice EV, but it only offers the combo ccs Level-3 (L3) coupler. With nil combo L3 EVSE in N. America, the lower priced BMW i3 EV is reduced to only having a L2 charging ability (not as good for long trips like a Tesla is).

    Now, if BMW offered a CHAdeMO L3 coupler option, that would be a different situation altogether. There is a large amount of CHAdeMO L3 EVSE out in the public


  • Brandon

    Comical to the highest degree. i3 = a clown car and a half ass EV. Less than 80 miles of electric range how exactly does it come close to the Tesla which is the greatest car ever made?

    Mindless BMW fanboys will only praise the i3, it is nothing to praise except being electric lol

    doesnt hold a candle to the Model S, sit down bmw.

    • kodey

      Lol… When is the last time you see BMW take a seat? Oh yea, that’s right they haven’t, You seem to be directing your point to the fact that the model S is merely faster as a car, and its on some different level with it’s EV ability’s.. Perhaps the I3 is a runt in comparison to a full size sedan, but if that’s the game then what about the I8? Yes, two doors less than the S but hey, you compare the compact I3 to a full size car, lets take a 2 door and place it against the full size sedan? Just think you jumped the gun on “Greatest car ever made” point… Don’t get me wrong I find Tesla to be a great innovator, just rather cocky with it.. BMW is now onto something with the I brand, and Tesla know’s it.

      • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

        They are both onto something. Tesla created a fantastic car with less knowledge but a good vision, great battery tech also. BMW does what it does best: creates the most balanced piece of engineering. Maybe not the fastest, not the slowest, not the most expensive, but certainly one that excites people enough to buy it. If the i3 is a great car, I can only imagine what the i5 would be. BMW learned sooooo many lessons from the i3, probably more than any other car they built in the last 20 yrs, or ever.

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