As I approach middle age (I am 47), I have noticed a change on the roads. The kind of vehicles that are on the road are beginning to look more and more “futuristic”. They are starting to resemble what sci-fi film makers of the 70s and 80s believed vehicles would look like in the future.
They are sleek, streamlined, and packed with digital gadgets that light up the interior. They are powered by electric drive trains. And most importantly for people like me who are sensitive to noise, they are silent.
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Tesla pioneered the electric car and revolutionized the automobile industry. Since then, a number of automakers have come out with electric vehicles. This has challenged Tesla’s dominant position in the industry, but not completely overtaken it.
On the heels of its successful Model S and Model X electric vehicles, Tesla came out with the Model 3 in 2017. BMW introduced its BMW i4 last year. The BMWi4 is a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3. A comparison of the two vehicles gives some insight into the state of the industry.
What is Tesla Model 3?
It is the newest model of the wildly successful Tesla electric vehicle, the first of which hit the market in 2012. The official launch of the Model 3 occurred on July 28th, 2017. It has been another huge success for the company.
Customers like its good range high battery efficiency, strong acceleration, and attractive appearance.
What is BMW i4?
This is the company’s battery-electric compact car. It has succeeded the BMW i3 which came out in 2013. The i4 is a four-door sedan with a liftback body style. It is known for its engaging powertrains, excellent handling, and long range.
Tesla Model 3 and BMWi4: The Differences
Tesla is not known for extravagant or luxurious interiors. The Model 3 is no different. It has a rather sparse and spartan look, which is nevertheless spacious. All Model 3s get a panoramic roof as standard, along with power-folding heated mirrors.
What the vehicle lacks in flashy appearance it makes up for with an infotainment system that is quite impressive. The horizontal display consists of a 15-inch screen that controls everything. There is Bluetooth connectivity.
However, it must be pointed out that the vehicle lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Tesla-made versions of such digital devices come with the car instead. These include sat nav with live traffic, music streaming, and an Internet browser.
The BMW i4 is longer, taller and has more boot space than the Tesla Model 3. It has the kind of luxuriant interior that is a signature of the brand. The is more spacious inside. But it has about the same amount of boot space as the Model 3.
The i4 contains two screens—a 12.3-inch driver’s screen and a 14.9-inch infotainment display. Many drivers prefer this arrangement as it separates important driving information from the entertainment system.
As for range and performance, there are significant differences between the two vehicles. The Tesla Model 3 has a range of 360 miles before recharging. It can go from zero to 60 mph in less than two seconds.
The i4 offers a choice of two drive trains: the Drive 40 and M50. The M50 can go from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. The Drive 40 does the same in 5.7 seconds. The BMW i4 has a range of 365 miles.
The cost of electric vehicles in general have decreased significantly over the last decade. Nothing proves that more than the base price of the Tesla Model 3, which is $58,990. This separates it from the BMW i4, which has a starting price of $65,900.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of buying a Tesla Model 3 is the access it will give you Tesla’s Supercharger Network. There is no substitute for this massive organization. The charging stations are spread out throughout the country.
They allow you to charge your battery in less than 30 minutes. Although you will have to pay each time you do, the price is reasonable and the network is more extensive and reliable than the public stations.
The Model 3 also includes climate control, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, and keyless entry using a smartphone app.
In 2012, the Tesla Model S hit the market. The company followed up on this success with the Tesla Model X SUV in 2015. The Tesla Model 3 is a further development of what worked well for the company in its two previous electric car models. It too has been a resounding success.
A concept car on which the BMWi4 is based was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017. It would take another 3 years before the current model was ready for market. One more interesting thing to note about this vehicle.
Nearly 90% of it incorporates technology used in other BMW vehicles. Unlike Tesla, BMW did not invest the money and energy necessary to design and produce a completely new kind of vehicle.
Choosing between the two vehicles
The name BMW has always been associated with luxury, style, reliability, and performance. Its new electric car certainly continues that legacy. It has some impressive features and is a good-looking car besides.
However, Tesla is still the best in this field. Its electric vehicles continue to surpass the competition in every category. The Model 3 remains the best all-round electric car on the market. It is also the best value. There is nothing that justifies the $7,000 price difference between the two vehicles.