According to a report in a German newspaper, BMW will introduce an electric variant of its 3 Series at the Frankfurt auto show this September. The EV, with a range of approximately 248 miles, will be aiming its sights directly at Tesla, following Elon Musk’s rapid success and market dominance in the premium EV segment; not to mention the overwhelming response to the upcoming Model 3, with reservations and deposits going through the roof. According to the report, the EV sedan will go on sale towards the end of this year, hoping to win over some of the market before Tesla runs away with its customers.
Musk’s strategic business model looks at creating a premium vehicle, such as the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, and working its way down to mass-production and cost-effective EVs. The Model 3 is the most significant step for Tesla, as it will be priced around $30,000 in the US – almost half the price of the Model S. Although many have tipped the Model 3 for great success in the evolving market, there are concerns that this is a make or break for Tesla. And, with BMW now rushing to get out a direct competitor with the electric 3 Series, the German brand it will be hot on Tesla’s tail.
Similar to the i3, the typical BMW buyer does not strike me as type of person who would switch over to an electric alternative over the petrol and diesel variants that the brand is renowned for, especially in the sedan segment. Then again, did anyone predict that Tesla would be in this position, besting some of the biggest automakers in the world, so quickly? In addition to this, EVs have become so advanced that they boast the same – if not exceed – the driving pleasure and efficiency of conventional fuels. BMW’s EV would open up an alternative for those who want to move over to electric alternatives, but do not want to lose the premium feel they have been used to. However, if the German manufacturer doesn’t act fast, Tesla will quickly fill that gap and push further into global EV dominance.
Earlier this year, BMW confirmed a number of EVs set for production over the next decade, including the X3 compact SUV in 2020 and the BMW iNEXT autonomous car in 2021. This was a great move by the automaker, although this has left a huge gap since the release of the i3, handing Tesla a significant head start. There has already been rumours that the Model 3 is already impacting BMW sales.
I do believe that introducing an electric 3 Series is a vital move from BMW, as it would not only bridge the gap between the i3 and i8, but become a direct competitor with Tesla. Fundamentally, competition is the most important aspect of EV development. Tesla alone is not enough to push the development of EVs and, with the Frankfurt Motor Show around the corner, OEMs such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Volvo are also rumored to unveil EVs. This will add fuel to the fire and hopefully propel EV adoption around the world. As usual, this event will not be one to miss.