BMW i3

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk probably isn't losing a ton of sleep over the new plug-in efforts by the makers of the "Ultimate Driving Machine," but maybe he should. That's what the Motley Fool is saying, presenting the case that the California company's real competition will come from BMW. What about the plug-in efforts of General Motors or Ford? Musk can hit the snooze, Motley Fool says.

Unlike automakers that are "jamming battery packs into the existing vehicle design," BMW has built its i3 battery-electric and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar from the ground up. Like Tesla, BMW puts its battery packs into the floor of its vehicles. Most importantly, the i3 - and especially the i8 - are real performers. While the i8 is about 40-percent more expensive than the Tesla, it matches the Model S's 0-60 mile per hour acceleration times and handily beats its top speed figures.

Tesla sold about 6,900 vehicles during the last three months of 2013 and BMW had more than 10,000 i3 orders on the books by late November and the first year's allotment of i8s is already sold out. The German automaker has what the Fool calls an "outside chance" of selling more plug-in vehicles than Tesla by next year, but Tesla is gearing up its gigafactory to get ready to sell a half-million EVs in 2020, so the race is most certainly on. You can read more over on the Fool.
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