Tesla has long been the undisputed king of electric range in the industry. One of the reasons Teslas get such impressive range is their powertrain efficiency, which is usually superior to their competitors’. If a Tesla can eek out one more mile per kilowatt hour than its competition, that’s an additional 80-100 miles of range, depending on battery size. Which is why efficiency is even more important than battery capacity. While Tesla has always been more efficient than everyone else, it seems as though the BMW i4 has caught up.
During a recent test from German publication EFAHRER, the BMW i4 went head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3, in similar conditions, to see which was more efficient. In this test, EFAHRER tested everything about the cars; their practicality, interior comfort, tech, driving dynamics, range, and efficiency. But it’s the last bit we want to discuss, as we already know how they compare otherwise.
The two exact cars in question were the BMW i4 eDrive40 and the standard range Tesla Model 3, which provided both cars with similar specs. The BMW i4 40 uses a single rear-mounted motor, making 250 kW (335 horsepower), which is fed electricity by an 84 kWh battery pack. While the Tesla also uses a single rear-mounted motor but it makes 239 kW (320 horsepower), and it gets a smaller 60 kWh battery. However, the Tesla is 300 kg (661 lbs) lighter.
EFAHRER tested the cars to see how many kWh it took to drive 100 km. On the same freeway lap, at the same ambient temperatures, the BMW i4 40 managed 22 kWh per 100 km. The standard range Tesla Model 3 just edged out the i4, with 21.1 kWh per 100 km, but the Bimmer beat the long-range Model 3, which needed 23.1 kWh per 100 km.
The BMW i4 doesn’t sacrifice any charge time versus the Tesla Model 3, either. The Model 3 can technically charge faster, at 250 kW compared to the i4’s 200 kW, however the BMW i4 can charge at its peak speed for longer, allowing both cars to recharge about 80 percent of their battery in 30 minutes.
None of these are massive victories for the BMW i4, as it really just shows it can match the Model 3 in most efficiency tests. However, considering the BMW i4 is superior in many other ways; driving dynamics, braking, interior quality, build quality, dealership network, customer service, and practicality; it’s now the better overall car. Tesla’s dominance is over.