Memo to Elon Musk: objects in the rear-view mirror may be closer than they appear. In this case, it's a couple of plug-in BMWs. And they represent the closest thing to a true competitor for Musk and the Tesla Motors electric vehicles.
The German automaker re-confirmed that demand for its upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid will exceed the initial supply batch, though BMW didn't release any specific numbers, Reuters says. BMW will start production next month with deliveries commencing in June for the 362-horsepower i8. The news is consistent with a November estimate from BMW that indicated that the first year of i8s were essentially spoken for in advance. We learned in late January that the number of i3 battery-electric vehicles imported to the US won't meet demand during that vehicle's first year of sales either.
Here's the thing: all these people were interested in the i8 when BMW said the car got the equivalent of 94 miles per gallon. Turns out, those calculations were a bit off. Reuters also notes that the new numbers show the i8 gets 112 MPGe. That's on the lenient European cycle, but if anyone was holding out for an i8 with triple-figure fuel economy, your time (to get on the waiting list) has come.
Motley Fool proposed late last month that BMW is positioned to be Tesla's only real competition when it comes to high-performance plug-in vehicles. The reasoning was that the BMW plug-ins, like the Teslas, are being built from scratch and don't just have EV powertrains dropped into existing vehicle platforms. Whether or not the competition is truly a two-team race is something we're not sure is completely decided yet, but we know it'll be fun to watch unfold either way. Want proof? Check out Autoblog's enjoyable First Drive of the i8 here.
Posted Mar 12th 2014 8:15PM