BMW intends to unveil an all-electric 3 Series at the MunichÂ Auto Show in September, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
Will BMW report the intake of hundreds of thousands of $1,000 deposits for an all-electric, next-generation BMW 3 Series? Probably not.
But which car are you more likely to purchase: a 3 Series EV from long-heralded BMW with roughly 250 miles of range, or the much-hyped, oft-discussed Model 3 from nascent Tesla, production of which should be in full swing by the time the 3 Series EV appears?
If the next iteration of the 3 Series, codename G20, was designed from the get-go to utilize a pure electric drivetrain, the 3 Series, a global premiumÂ performance leader, could be poised to steal some of Tesla’s thunder.Yet part of Tesla’s appeal is the anti-establishment tenor of the company.
Say what you will about the poor quality of construction, the flighty ambitions, the delays, the odd decisions, and the lack of clear sales reporting (there’s plenty to say). But it’s difficult to deny that Tesla has its finger on the pulse of a certain demographic, and it’s not a small demographic. Is a regular, entry-level BMW sedan that looks like every other 3 Series really going to make the same statement that a Tesla Model 3 could?
Moreover, Tesla is fostering a reputation, deserved or not, as the electric automaker, with some consumers perceiving Tesla to be at the leading edge of electric cars simply because Tesla doesn’t build anything other than electric cars.
The question in the mind ofÂ the average car buyer isn’t whether they want an electric car from an established automaker, an electric version of one of the world’s most popular premium vehicles. Rather, the average car buyer is attempting to determine just how badly he or she wants to buy a semi-affordable electric car from an electric car specialist.
But what about you? BMW 3 Series EV or Tesla Model 3?
And while you’re waiting on both, don’t forget that there’s already a BMW 33oe iPerformance, a $45,095, 248-horsepower plug-in hybrid that operates in EV mode for up to 14 miles.
That’s likely an insufficient partway measure for next year’s Model 3 buyer. 6 percent of U.S. 3 Series buyers in the first five months of 2017 chose the plug-in model, according to HybridCars.com.
[Images: BMW, Tesla]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.