BMW Challenges Tesla Motors With i3, i8 Is Next

BMW Challenges Tesla Motors With i3, i8 Is Next

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW) is aggressively trying to increase the sales of environment-friendly vehicles to meet regulatory requirements by 2025. The German automaker launched Monday its first mass production electric vehicle i3. BMW will start selling the latest electric car on November 16 and bookings will start in August. However, the U.S. buyers will have to wait until the second quarter of 2014.

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BMW Challenges Tesla Motors With i3, i8 Is Next

BMW i3 to come with optional range extender

Joseph B. White of the Wall Street Journal says that the i3 can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour of speed in less than 7 seconds. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW)  CEO Norbert Reithofer said that it will have a range of 100 miles. The basic model of BMW i3 will be priced at $41,350  in the United States before tax breaks and federal incentives.

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The car will also have an optional gasoline motor, that Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW) calls “range extender”, which will take the price tag to about $45,000. Both the versions will have the same electric power train. But BMW has equipped the Range Extender model with a 34bhp, 650 cc two-cylinder petrol engine that will boost the car’s overall range. The standard i3 model will have a range of about 100 miles, while the range extender version can go between 160 and 180 miles in one tank of fuel. The car weighs just about 2,700 pounds.

i8 to compete directly with Model S

BMW chief Norbert Reithofer said that i3 is a good start. The company takes a long-term view with electric cars. Emission regulations in Europe, the U.S. and other countries will make it necessary to have a car like the i3. The company needs to sell about 30 percent plug-in and battery electric vehicles annually by 2025 to meet regulatory requirements. The car will earn the company emission credits in markets like California.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW)’s electric line-up will have the biggest rival in Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S car. After i3, BMW AG will be launching i8, which will compete directly with Model S. Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S is a luxury electric car priced at around $69,000. Though i3 doesn’t have a range like Model S, which can go about 265 miles in one full charge, it is much more affordable and suitable for urban users.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW) shares were down 0.09 percent to 74 euros at the close of European trading.

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