• Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
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  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
Those waiting for a full-out brawl between Tesla Motors head Elon Musk and BMW North America chief Ludwig Willisch will have to wait a bit. For the bloodthirsty, there are signs of some healthy competition and a little bit of green-car sniping between the two automakers.

Willisch, speaking at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month and responding to questions about Tesla, noted (without mentioning that company by name) that the production process of the German automaker's i3 plug-in was "greener" than any other. According to Business Insider, Willisch highlighted the fully recyclable materials used to construct the i3 as well as the hydropower used at the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA.

Willisch also noted that the Tesla Model S is "very heavy on the braking. Our car feels just like a normal car. That's a big difference when it comes to driving," Automotive News said in a separate report. The latter model weighs about a third less than the Tesla, though it also has an EV range about a third as big. The BMW executive did allow that the Tesla did make a good proverbial "snowplow," not for its driving characteristics but for its ability to get more people conformable with electric vehicle technology.

Musk was asked about the i3 in an August conference call and laughed before noting that the i3 had "room to improve." No word on whether Musk and Willisch will be sending each other Valentine's Day cards next month.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      Weapon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ok, and how well did it do say compared to a Nissan Leaf?
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whut-choo talkin' 'bout Willisch ? Sad all these fake engineers with no * patents *( my name is M.H. Kane if you want to look up how many patents I have: some expired, I lost count. ) don't realize that: *FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION *( all caps for 2EZEE's amusement) with the Tesla vehicles. The weight is proportionate to the power and safety, you don't want to get hit in the back of the head with the motor and battery if you run into something solid...right ? How does the i3 (or any other car made to game the system.) do against a 2014 Stingray ? Do you compare a Ford Fiesta vs. Maybach because they both use gas ? In conclusion: thanks for the free ads making Tesla vehicles the bench-mark by comparison. :-)
        Marco Polo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1
        @ bluepongo1 Last week you claimed to be a Aero space engineer and an employee of Tesla. ( Unfortunately, the only references to M.H. Kane I can find is; ' M.H. Kane @MistrssLadyJane ' and Dr Micheal Harvey Kane a scientist, inventor, and patent holder,... but he departed this life in 1967 Since last week you also claimed that M.M. Kane was your brother, I would change medication, or seek professional help.
          bluepongo1
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Like I said before, you can't keep your lies and strawmen straight anymore, re-read what you think you are referencing and realize you are projecting again. You're like your mate Dan... not worth arguing with because you think you know everything.
          bluepongo1
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Marco BTW are you an inbred English toff or an Aussie dandy this week ? Just wondering.
        DarylMc
        • 6 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1
        M.H. Kane Sadly Google seems to have also lost track of your patents. I'm sure most people who are interested in electric cars have no desire to run down Tesla? But I can't understand you doing it to another electric car the i3? Marcopolo's is a bit confident of his inbuilt builsh## meter but my tossometer is reading off the charts with your petty self affirmation. Frankly I think it is damaging to the Tesla business so you have no sympathy from me whatsoever. If you do want to provide a link to even one of your patents I am sure it will go some way towards improving your credibility. But I doubt it will help the need to reaffirm your opinions.
          bluepongo1
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          OH NOES !!! I never looked them up online... and I have no plans to go to D.C. just to satisfy two poor Aussie trolls. I don't need your opinion, sympathy, money, perception of credibility or anything else that really doesn't matter to me . Have a nice day.
          DarylMc
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          And EV's in general
          raktmn
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          DarylMc -- your google-fu is weak. I was able to quickly find lots of patents related to print heads and other printing inventions notated with M.H Kane. It looks like a possible IBM connection from my quick 20 seconds of research. I have no idea if anyone is who they claim to be on the internet, but google works just fine if you know how to use it.
          bluepongo1
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          @ raktmn I wouldn't bother with Marco & his minion... How does someone described as mentally ill, builsh## (er) , toss (er) , with a " credibility ' problem & " petty self-affirmation " issues: damage Tesla Motors and EVs in general? !!!! LOL!!!! Two Aussie's from failed business models with EV messiah complexes!!!!!!!! :-P
          DarylMc
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi raktmn I do wonder sometimes about the results Google supplies. Maybe my Google fu is weak but I cant even get directly to Google.com in Australia. Zero results from google.com and google.com.au for me. In any case the rant from bluepongo1 about batteries and motors hitting people in the head is absurd. He aligns himself with Tesla Motors and I stand by my opinion that it is damaging to the company.
          DarylMc
          • 6 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi bluepongo1 Well I certainly give you credit for being polite about it but I am still interested in what those patents were. I'm sure everyone here no matter where they come from thinks they have some good ideas and I was serious when I asked. You did put out an invitation to look up how many patents you have after all.
      Edge
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lighter means more efficient, and Tesla main goal was efficiency, but both cars are for different market segments. The true comparison will be comparing Telsa's upcoming sub-compact (Model E?) with this car. Personally I think the Leaf beats the i3 overall (not on weight though!), especially with it's $10,000 cheaper price. But more EV's the better, and hope the i3 does really well.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Edge
        I think Tesla's main goal was balls-out acceleration. If they'd been willing to have slower 0-60 times, they probably could have had a more efficient drive train. But Musk was trying to prove a specific point - BEVs don't have to be boring and slow - and was staggeringly successful in achieving it.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I agree that the "problem" of EVs today is the range. But that is why Elon's plan was so genius. He knew that regardless of the number of batteries used... an EV in this generation would not compete with a gasoline car. He needed some other factor to make an EV appealing. When Elon talks about why EVs of the past have failed, and how he planned for Tesla to change that stigma... he does NOT talk about EVs being short range (although he acknowledges that separately). When he branded Tesla... he wanted to change the Electric Car stigma of them being "Slow and Ugly" punishment boxes. How quickly are we forgetting the recent past?
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          The drive train on the Tesla is very efficient, but the battery is the limiter. Yes, they could have put some high C rate cells in parallel, but the car would have to be heavier or the range would have had to be shortened. I think they came to a good compromise. They can build an insane performance car once they've made some actual profits.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Joe, if they were going for high performance primarily, they'd have used a different battery and pumped up the motor even further, maybe even fitted the car with a larger one. There are batteries that are readily available which are 50 times more powerful than what Tesla is using; but they picked using a huge and wimpy pack to provide the power that the car needs.. they clearly chose that chemistry for range; because the problem with an EV is not performance, it is definitely range.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Joevicoe: It was Martin Eberhard's idea actually. He started Tesla and it was his idea to make long range vehicles.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          At the time the Roadster was designed... there was no way for an EV (without a swappable battery pack) to achieve top tier ZEV credits. Tesla's vision, even when Eberhard was CEO, was ACCELERATION. and range was a nice side effect. So Jeff, I think you've got it backwards. Tesla went for performance and the side effect was long range. Range could not compete with gassers... even with the largest of packs... and there were ZERO other EVs on the market (or even close to market) for Tesla to want to put Range as a competitive factor. By the time the Model S hit the design board. They could follow the same formula. Bottom line... a 265 mile range is very nice... but Elon knows that it is still not enough to justify the cost premium... the only thing that does justify the high costs... is the performance and styling.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I'm willing to concede that range might also have been a greater motivating goal than efficiency, especially considering that Musk was very squarely aiming for the highest tier of CARB ZEV credits.
          jeff
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I am not sure about that one. To give an EV a lot of range, you have to have a lot of batteries. A side effect of this is that at a low C rating the battery can generate a lot of current and not hurt the batteries. This let Tesla put in a more powerful inverter and motor. However, unlike the ICE, the slightly bigger motor and controller do not really impact efficiency that much... They kind of got the performance as a side effect of the desire for more range....
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Listen to the interviews from Elon, JB, and Marc... the cells were chosen because of their commodity. Nobody was selling large format cells at the time. And those selling 'more powerful' batteries would not sell to Tesla because of what they were planning to do with them. Stringing them together seemed too dangerous. Bloomberg did a great expose' with Elon.... he said it himself... performance was key, and they chose those cells because it was what was available to them. The Tesla drivetrain was born (and later redesigned) from the AC Propulsion T-Zero... an race car of sorts. Range was NOT the first priority.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Video review on Fully Charged: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp6SlupSy8I
        DarylMc
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Thanks for the link. Lovely to watch. The i3 certainly seems to have some oomph from a standing start.
      Weapon
      • 1 Year Ago
      The i3 also got the worst safety rating of any EV.
        Aaron
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Weapon
        No, the award for worst safety rating of any EV goes to Coda. Their car got a 2 star rating.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Weapon
        Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet tested a BMW i3 for crash safety. Regarding Euro NACP: "The truth is, the car actually did very well in crash tests, in fact it did actually score 5 star rating in crash tests for passenger protection, but the overall combined score fell a couple points under the threshold for 5 stars. What held them back? When I tell you you’ll either laugh off your seat or shake your head at the foolishness that allowed them to miss the coveted 5 star rating. Ready? Here goes: For some crazy reason, they made the seat belt warning light for the rear seats not a standard feature, instead you have to get it in a package that is an optional. Therefore, if you don’t have the option, you don’t get the warning light that tells you if the rear seat passengers buckled up. That, plus the fact that the speed regulation is optional in most European countries (that is the feature that displays the current speed limit of the road you are driving on and it’s a standard feature on all US i3′s) conspired to give the i3 an extremely low score in the “Safety Assist” category. Those two oversights caused the overall score to dip just below the 85% needed to achieve a 5 star rating. The fact that they were rated 4 of 5 stars really had nothing to do with how the passengers fared in the crash tests, because the i3 actually had high scores in that area. In fact, the i3 achieved a higher score for passenger safety than a Chevy Volt, which did achieve an overall 5 star rating." http://www.bmwblog.com/2013/11/29/bmw-i3-earns-4-stars-euro-ncap-crash-tests-led/
      Aaron
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...very heavy on the braking..." Are you kidding me? Now good brakes are a bad thing? If he's talking about the regen, it's adjustable on the Tesla. If he wants to compare weight, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV weighs less than the i3, and does it without the expensive CFRP the i3 is made from. BMW, you're picking a fight with the wrong company. Go compare your four-seater to a four-seater Volt. That's going to be a much better comparison.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        I believe he's talking about the car feeling heavy, not about braking strongly.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        The i3 is substantially larger than the i-Miev. 12.5 inches longer, and 7.5 inches wider. The battery is certainly the greatest factor in the weight difference, 22kWh in the i3 vs. 16kWh in the i-Miev. And no doubt, the i3 is much, much better equipped. Once we see the EPA range est. for the i3, we'll have a better idea if the 255lb difference really affects the range.
          ElectricAvenue
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "The i3 is substantially larger than the i-Miev." Yeah, and the Model S is substantially larger than an i3. Surprise, surprise, the i-Miev is the lightest, the i3 next lightest, and the Model S the heaviest. Who would have thought it? i-Miev length 3475 mm width 1475 mm height 1610 mm curb weight 1070 kg i3 length 3999 mm width excluding mirrors 1775 mm height 1578 mm curb weight 1195 kg (without REX) Model S length 4976 mm width mirrors folded 1963 mm height 1435 mm curb weight 2108 kg (85 kWh)
          Aaron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          The i3 is NOT substantially larger than the i-MiEV. It has a longer nose, which accounts for most of the increased length. It is about 8" wider, making it about the same width as a Honda Civic. Even though the i3 is longer, the i-MiEV has more cargo space (seats up or down) and more passenger room. Is the i3 better equipped and faster? Yep. However it's also double the price.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Aaron: 8 inches wider alone is already substantially larger, it doesn't have to be longer to be larger. Oh, and it actually is longer to boot. The car is 17% larger just by virtual of being wider alone! That's substantially larger. Oh yeah, and it's almost 20% taller too. So, ignoring length, it's already 40% larger right there.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Aaron, your original point was that the i-Miev weighed less than the i3, without resorting to CFRP. I simply pointed out that the i3's weight predominately comes from a battery that is 37% bigger. Interior cargo and passenger space has absolutely nothing to do with weight, mostly because that interior volume is empty space. The fact remains, the i3 is longer, and wider, and heavier than the i-Miev, but because of the use of CFRP, the additional weight is minimized to an extraordinary degree. The mere extra 255 lbs earns a lot more value in terms of performance and amenities. Of course the i3 is more expensive, it's a vastly more stylish, complex, and technologically innovative car than the i-Miev.
        fly by wireless
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        ROFLOL! Forget the IMiEV, how about comparing this stinker to the Leaf? The Leaf gets the same range, is equally as safe, weighs about the same... with no fancy bragg-and-beat-your-chest CFRP. And as a cherry on top, you can have two for the price of the BMW. The Leaf smokes this thing.
      methos1999
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ok serious question here - how does the CFRP get recycled? I know most carbon fiber uses thermoset plastics (ie epoxy), making them a no-go for recycling. I believe the EU has some more stringent guidelines or rules about design lifecycle of products including recycling, so I don't doubt BMW has thought of how to recycle CFRP. All I can figure is that they aren't using a thermoset plastic and are instead using a thermoplastic. Still, I would think to recover the carbon fiber cloth would still be expensive...
        Peter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @methos1999
        The practical answer the i3 body won't be recycled in North America any time soon to any degree. Perhaps in Germany where manufacturers have a responsibility for the life cycle of their product if its not exported. But then only by BMW and at a cost to the company. Obviously the high energy value of aluminium and its ease of recycling (=scrap price) will ensure that Tesla S bodies will be recycled around the globe.
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @methos1999
        Probably like all other plastics. It will be incinerated or chopped up and used as filler in things like asphalt. In fact it would probably be a great additive to asphalt... I know some people claim that plastics are recycled, but it is more a feel good than reality...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jeff
          CFRP is indeed chemically processed, pyrolyzed, and/or chopped up, but the chopped fibers are still quite valuable in manufacturing. Lamborghini uses recycled CFRP to make certain parts. It's not as strong as virgin CF, but still immensely strong and light. No doubt, as more CFRP makes its way into the waste stream, we will see more and more products manufactured using the recycled material. http://www.lambolab.org/wp-content/uploads/03research/pub/09recycling/2012-JCM-Recyclability.pdf
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think BMW is making a big mistake by pushing this green angle so heavily. Maybe that will work in Germany but I don't think it will work very well in the USA. It will work with some people but with many others in the USA, they'll go out of their way to avoid anything associated with 'green'. You know . . . because 'green is the new red', that green stuff is for Vermont Lesbians, etc.
        danfred311
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Spec
        lol, wow. Did you just OD on a bottle of stupid pills? :) The target audience of the i3 is not inbred pickup drivers. Pretending they are better than Tesla does seem a little foolish though.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Who cares what the majority thinks? people rejected computers & the internet because there was a stigma attached.. then that stigma eventually went away.. don't cave into ignorance, even if it is on a massive scale.
        raktmn
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Spec
        "green stuff is for Vermont Lesbians" Dude, (Dudette?) Are you trying to come out or something? I didn't even know you were from Vermont. I did know you were interested in green stuff like green cars, so if what you are saying is true...... Jokes aside, the boneheads who talk like that even call the 1-Series convertibles "Chick Cars", despite some of them being rear wheel drive 300 horsepower manual transmission turbo powered torque beasts. I don't think BMW can worry about what folks like that say. Those folks already aren't going to buy a green car. Well, not until they get tired of high performance EV's like the Model S blowing their doors off everywhere they go, badly damaging their sense of their own masculinity....
        purrpullberra
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Dude, were you hacked? I don't remember you making such simpleminded comments. You're always wrong, that's consistent, ��
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess my hopped up 2 door Nissan Sentra beats than a Dodge Charger because it is cheaper and lighter. Now if i could only convince women to believe this ...
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Apparently, women prefer men in black pickups. http://www.insure.com/ir/releases/attractive-men-drive-black-ford-pickup-trucks.html
          DarylMc
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Awesome link:) Sadly I knew the truth without it.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        To be honest, i'm happily married, but this is the thought process of many single men buying a car.. is it not? :)
        danfred311
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        You don't need a flash car to find a girl. Women typically don't even know which car is which. An old Miata can impress more than a Ferrari but no particular car is needed at all. A woman sees you. Physical appearance first and then personality. Women respond to sincerity, calm confidence, maturity, compliments, romantic intent, comedy. But they easily spot an act. Don't be a machismo idiot. Casual conversation works. There are some tricks as well but I don't care for those. The moment you manipulate a woman you are in dark territory. It can be as easy as saying she looks nice and you'd like a kiss. The right way. She might not respond right away and then it's important to not flee in panic. The female psyche might test your confidence so if you are calm in the face of defeat (again not an act or posing) then she might be pleased. Recognize a no though. Some subtlety to read. If you are very good looking then it doesn't matter what you do... :) you could wet yourself in a panic and she would still wrap her legs around you. But it's also sometimes true that women will enjoy being with a fairly ugly guy. Even marry. Cute girls. You might think women only want Arnold Schwarzenegger's body with millions of dollars and a Ferrari. But to understand women you have to remember Justin Bieber and John Mayer and maybe Sleepless in Seattle. Sandra Bullock is a lesson too. And then there is God and the truth behind the surface to complicate to an unlimited degree. What a world. Oh, and if you are overweight, it helps to lose some weight.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Wise words from Danfred311. Women couldn't care less what car you drive, or even if you drive one at all. At least, the ones you really want to keep around don't care... For the others, just rent a car for the weekend. They'll never know your secret. ;)
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Besides that , it's the ugliest car I have ever seen.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        I agree. The Pontiac Aztek looks better than this thing. Might be okay in black.. but that two tone business is heinous.
          DarylMc
          • 6 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I've heard lots of references to this Pontiac so I finally Googled it. If it is the gold standard for ugly design then maybe the i3 is close but I don't think so. Personally I think VW E-UP looks cool but the i3 makes it look very 20th century.
        purrpullberra
        • 6 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        I can't help myself but like it. The underbite front bumper is awkward but its just quirky enough to make me like it. Maybe everything else I know about it is seeping in to influence my feelings. I do HATE the orange version, as I hate every orange paint job, from McLaren to Chevy, yuck. But the silver one is awesome to my eyes.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Leaf did better in Euro NCAP. Adult Occupant safety: i3 - 86% Leaf - 89% Child Occupant safety: i3 - 81% Leaf - 83% http://www.euroncap.com/results/bmw/i3/533.aspx http://www.euroncap.com/results/nissan/leaf/2012/432.aspx Both cars are extremely safe, and to try to spread FUD that the BMW is somehow unsafe is really quite shameful.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Elon never bashed the i3. I'm sure he's very happy it exists. He was laughing at the interviewer trying to say it was a threat to the Model S. They aren't anywhere near the same class. The same is happening here with Willisch. He's being asked comparison questions which force him to come up with strengths his car has over the Model S. Efficiency is an area that it beats the S. If it didn't as a small lightweight car it would be sad. Happily it is pretty good at efficiency.
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