Will the Chevrolet Bolt hurt the BMW i3?

BMW i, Interesting | December 1st, 2015 by 22
2015 Chevrolet BoltEV Concept exterior 001 750x500

We’ve gone on and on about how the Tesla Model S is the biggest competitor to BMW’s i Division cars and that cars like the …

We’ve gone on and on about how the Tesla Model S is the biggest competitor to BMW’s i Division cars and that cars like the BMW i3 don’t have anywhere near the range capacity. The truth is, the i3 and Model S aren’t ever going to be cross shopped because they’re in vastly different price ranges and are drastically different cars. So the Model S isn’t too much of a threat to the i3, being that you can buy two BMW i3’s for the price of one higher-end Model S. However, there is a newcomer that might pose more of a threat to the BMW i3 than anything else on the market — the Chevrolet Bolt.

ChevroletBoltConceptReveal03 750x317

Chevy Bolt Concept

Chevy first showed us its Bolt concept at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and promised quite a bit with it. Just looking at the Bolt, it’s hard not to see the similarities between the BMW i3. They’re both around the same size, both are hatchbacks and both have a sort of floating C-Pillar. However, that’s where the similarities stop and where the Chevy actually starts to seem like the better car, on paper at least.

Chevy is claiming the Bolt to start life at around $30,000 after incetives, undercutting the BMW i3 by a couple of grand, depending on where it actually does end up starting. Chevy is also claiming that the Bolt will have around a 200 mile range, crushing the BMW i3’s measly 80 miles in BEV form and getting into Tesla Model S P85D territory. That would be a swift kick in the gut to BMW, Tesla, the Audi A3 e-tron and the Nissan Leaf. Those specs would leave the entire automotive industry in the dust.

2015 Chevrolet BoltEV Concept exterior 005 750x499

Now, admittedly, these are just claims and, even if the claims are true, just numbers. We have no way of knowing how the Bolt will drive, how it will be on the inside, if it can get that sort of range if driven like a real human and not hypermiling or how fast it will be. It might be able to get 200 miles on a single charge because it’s as slow as a turtle wearing a backpack full of cinder blocks. It could also handle like it’s made from wet cardboard, as it will be built on the Chevy Sonic platform. We won’t know anything for sure until Chevy can put rubber to road and show us what it can do (it could debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January or the 2016 Detroit Auto Show). However, it’s spec sheet does look mighty promising.

If Chevy can deliver on its promises of both price, range and performance, the Bolt could be most all-around EV on the market, as it would have Tesla-rivaling range at Nissan Leaf-rivaling pricing. If it’s halfway decent to drive and decently luxurious on the inside, the Bolt would be hard to pass up for anyone looking for an EV, as it would have a range that crushes the BMW i3’s at a lower price. It’s weird saying this about Chevy, but if the Bolt turns out as good as advertised, the Detroit giant could leave BMW and Tesla for dead.

22 responses to “Will the Chevrolet Bolt hurt the BMW i3?”

  1. Great article about BMW i3 . provide very good information about this car . I Really like it .

    thanks for sharing with us .


  2. johnbl says:

    There is no doubt that BMW’s i brand will be hurt by a $30K Bolt.. especially when BMW service tries to stick me with a $209 charge to complete a 4 wheel alignment for my 1 yr old i3 BEV that was in for a software upgrade.

    • Jørgen Mo says:

      How much did you pay for the software upgrade? I paid $235, which is the standard upgrade price here in Norway. Rumours says it’s free in the US?

      • Russel says:

        Upgrades should be free in the US.. I’ve had 2 done and both have been free..

      • johnbl says:

        Och…Yes it is free…(unless that will be another surprise I’m getting the car this morning), and they should be completed at no charge everywhere! I guess BMW likes being third in the market place.

      • johnbl says:

        As mentioned by Russel..I did get my car back and the KLE and software upgrades were all at no charge.so I’d say it’s no longer a rumour..Wheel alignment was a futile attempt to get some cash business from me ..the wear on my tires looks even, nothing irregular and the car drives straight as an arrow..

    • Tommolog says:

      Remember pricing hasn’t been established yet and GM has said $30k AFTER incentives. It will undoubtedly be a compelling addition to the EV marketplace. The more the merrier!

  3. CDspeed says:

    GM will not leave BMW and Tesla for dead. Tesla has no direct competition as of yet, because no other competitors offer anything nearly as good. BMW i is no threat to Tesla, and no one would cross shop an i3 with a Model S mostly because one is a low range hatchback, and the other is a long range sports sedan. Which seems kind of odd to say because you expect the BMW to be the sports sedan not the other way around. I don’t think the Bolt will hurt the i3 to those of us who love German cars. But the average consumer will cross shop the i3 against the Bolt, and that is where the i3 will suffer. The i3 is credited with bringing new customers to BMW, but those customers could easily migrate to Chevrolet.

    • johnbl says:

      YES very easy to cross over..but I’m trying to hold out for the Tesla 3 as my second BEV. BMW and the dealers just are not totally committed to pure EV technology..for me the i3 was perfect as a first run-around BEV luxury car with all the range I needed, and it filled the niche between the Tesla S and the Leaf..but I’m afraid that as the marketplace matures BMW will be left behind because they are playing around with hybrids and “fool” cells trying to cover all bases.

      • CDspeed says:

        I went with an i3 thinking BMW i was going to take off as BMW’s intent to go electric. But, the only way you can get a pure BEV is to not opt for the REx, so BMW’s i brand still burns gas. And being that they are tied up with Toyota, I suspect that has a lot to do with BMW dragging their heels in the electric field. I kept my 5-series only to realize shortly after buying my i3, that I’d now prefer to stay away from gas altogether. Next year I’m going to trade my 5 most likely for a Model S 90D, though I would like an SUV so I’m hoping to get a chance to check out the Model X first, and I could wait a bit longer to consider Audi’s Q6 e-tron. And since I’ll be keeping my i3, I’ve even left my number with my local Audi dealer to take a look at the R8 e-tron.

        • johnbl says:

          As with all disruptive technology the past players just have to much baggage to play by the new rules.. exec who just can’t think outside the box, a huge dealership network that is fighting change tooth and nail, manufacturing investments that have to be replaced, and a single minded devotion to the ICE…Tesla suffers from none of these today so they are free to innovate and adapt…one day I suspect the gigafactory will present the same problem for Tesla as BMW is facing today.. how to let go of the past…

          I still have one ICE and I want to replace it so badly but I have to be patient and just enjoy the i3 as BEVs mature with ongoing improvements..

  4. GreenMonkeyPants says:

    more speculation for a car that does not exist.

  5. steven75 says:

    As a current i3 owner, you better believe this will hurt i3 sales! ~120 mi AER vs ~200 mi AER FOR SIGNIFICANTLY LESS MONEY means I will be checking out the Bolt the day it is available locally. The i3 becomes a lot more difficult to justify without heavy discounts (and the associated headaches that come with playing those games with salespeople).

  6. O hello says:

    I love my I3 with Range extender, but if the bolt goes 200 miles on a charge, and drives halfway decent. Good bye BMW!

  7. Perttu Lehtinen says:

    I can’t believe I’m actually considering a Chevrolet…

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