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.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 9 Months Ago
      The Audi R8 E-Tron(which will actually go on sale later this year) is more of a Tesla competitor - although it is also a limited production coupe which is much more expensive. http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/iron-mans-ride-goes-electric-audi-r8-e-tron-coming-second-half-2014/
      eric.sales
      • 9 Months Ago
      Not the same ones a hybrid the other is a pure ev...
      SteveM
      • 9 Months Ago
      Even not using much gas, is still using gas. The i8 isn't really a true competitor to the Model S. Model S buyers are buying the car because they don't want to use ANY gas. At the car's cost, the price of gas isn't the issue, so simply using "less" isn't going to make any difference to the people who would buy a Model S.
      dan.frederiksen
      • 9 Months Ago
      btw, if they make a different drivetrain option for it more like the i3 but still fast, they could salvage a lot of this failure. Make it a 4second EV and use the i3 range extender. Lower the price to 90. Or really less than that but I have no hope they will be completely reasonable. 56k$ would be much better. And should easily be doable for them.
      Carac
      • 9 Months Ago
      The only thing the Tesla and i8 have in common is that they have electric motors. One's a 3275lb 2+2 Sports Car, one's a 4650lb 7 person Sedan. Some people may crosshop them, but I'm first in line for a i8 at my dealership and have never even considered a Tesla. It just doesn't make sense for the way I use cars and I'm WAY more than a full charge away from any Supercharger station. Looking forward to June/July when it arrives at the dealership. There's not one car for everyone. People are different and want different things. I get a kick out of the people that act like choosing anything but a Tesla is something only a crazy person would do if they were in the market for Hybrid/EV.
        Marco Polo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Carac
        @ Carac Well said ! I really like, and admire, the Tesla model S, but it's not for everyone. It's great to see such diversity of models appearing incorporating EV technology.
      hessi
      • 9 Months Ago
      Living right next to Munich I see the i8 nearly daily for the last couple of months. At first as disguised prototypes, which made them look even more UFO like than the normal car, since end of last year in their final outfit with small stickers and (mostly) still covered BMW logos. The i8 is cool. It looks fricking amazing, the doors might be unpractical, but they are fantastic to look at. I've seen a father dropping of his kid at the kindergarten with an i8 a few times, and every time the two of them approach it, flocks of children (plus their dads) are there to greet them and look at the car. This is a modern day Countach. Yes, it is expensive, and yes, it's not as practical as a Tesla, but hell, I do not care. Good job BMW, you made a car people will still talk about in 20 years time.
        Luc K
        • 9 Months Ago
        @hessi
        It looks great but at that price range I think it's competing more with next year's Acura NSX which has similar lines. Or for that money the R8. That said the i8 does have bit more unusual design which is good or bad depending who you ask.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 9 Months Ago
      Is there a difference between the european cycle for MPGe and the USA one? Cuz that would be a pretty obvious explanation for the discrepancy. Anyway i think Tesla's lower price will still make their car keep it's spot as the king of EVs for quite a while. Especially when the Model E arrives.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 9 Months Ago
      Toray is building a $1 billion CF plant near the BMW factory in upstate SC. Just in case someone needs more CF, just saying. Sure, Boeing is getting some too...
      paulwesterberg
      • 9 Months Ago
      The i8 only has 23 miles of range and its base price is 136k. It is for people who want a plug-in hybrid vehicle but want something more exclusive and expensive than the Cadillac ELR.
        Spec
        • 9 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        The ELR comparison is funny . . . We've bashed the ELR for being way too expensive . . . and this car is nearly twice as expensive as the ELR.
          Marco Polo
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec Why do you think EV technology must be restricted to economy cars ?
          Spec
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          I don't think they should be restricted to economy cars. That is just you jumping to an incorrect conclusion. I think the Model S has done a great job of creating a luxury electric car. I think the ELR is just not priced right for the value proposition it provides . . . and looking at the sales numbers, the market has agreed. The same is true for the i8 .. . if they want such a high price for the car, they should have at least delivered better performance specs.
      Spec
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yeah, it is a really nice looking car. But it is hard to take seriously since it is an extremely expensive niche car. Why bother even being a plug-in with such a short electric range . . . is it for a carpool lane sticker?
      Kris Kuehl
      • 9 Months Ago
      I am merely one man. I want you to know my scientific findings. I have the solution to absolutely every problem in the universe. I have the Cure for Cancer, and I also prove the bible to you in one paragraph. I want the world to accept my gift. I have built a machine which will power itself and provides an infinite amount of electricity to anything. It only cost me $777.00 to make, and I highly recommend that you build one for yourself, and for the betterment of Humankind. It's as simple as a lawnmower: 1. a car battery. (the secret: a buffer, much like unto the subconcious, or temporary space.) 2. A power-inverter from Wal-mart. 3. A skilsaw circular saw that spins 5300 rpms, from Wal-mart. If a skilsaw powersaw is TOO LOUD...then you might try http://www.leesonmotors.com for a humming quiet electric motor.....HOWEVER...YOU NEED A BIGGER AMPERAGE BATTERY...like 40 amps to acheive it..and the crappy thing is: it would have to be a pulley driven system...unless you can convince leeson motors to bore a 5/8 inch thread hole... 4. a 5/8" axle bolt 5. A generator head from www.northerntool.com : item no. 165913 or 165928 for dryers and house. 6. A battery recharger from Wal-mart. Simply link all pieces in that order, and back into the battery, and you will have a house that will have it's own nuclear power plant, and never have to pay for electricity again. A machine, that requires no gasoline, no oil, no friction, no pollution, no supercollision, nor IRAN. I have solved the world's Energy Crisis. There is no patent on it. You have my express consent to expound upon it. I want nothing in return. Please visit my website! You may see video evidence of it there. Bless you, and I hope you have a very nice day. Sincerely, Kris Kuehl www.silvermix.org
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Months Ago
      If you read Motley Fool's for information, you are the bigger fool. BMW i8 will be a disaster. It is an expensive hybrid without the full environmental cache. Those who are willing to pay $90k for the 'Green" credential will go with a Tesla. There's nothing in the i8 that you can't get in a Prius, Honda Accord Hybrid or even the Volt. The BMW emblem over clever sheet metal just doesn't cut it anymore. Like the i3, the i8 is also doomed.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        "There's nothing in the i8 that you can't get in a Prius, Honda Accord Hybrid or even the Volt." Horsepower of Prius: 134 Horsepower of Accord Hybrid: 141 Horsepower of Volt: 149 Horsepower of i8: 362. Plus.. look at it compared to the other cars you mentioned. You're comparing apples to broccoli. But.. it's not really a true competitor to the Tesla because it's still a hybrid that uses gas..
        Actionable Mango
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        "There's nothing in the i8 that you can't get in a Prius, Honda Accord Hybrid or even the Volt. The BMW emblem over clever sheet metal just doesn't cut it anymore." Yes, there is literally no difference at all except for looks, luxury, exclusivity, nice components, German engineering, handling, speed, acceleration, braking, and acres of carbon fiber (not sheet metal).
        2 wheeled menace
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        This is an impressive display of ignorance, Levine :P
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