BMW’s New Electric Car Might Beat Tesla in a Key Way

BMW’s upcoming i4 will beat the Tesla Model 3 on range, according to a new report.

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Wilfried Wulff

By now, quite a few automakers have thrown their hats into the electric car ring. Yet even the global likes of Audi, Porsche, Chevrolet, Nissan, Jaguar, Hyundai and the rest haven’t been able to beat the range packed into the EVs flowing out of California-based Tesla. The full-size Model S Long Range sedan can travel 373 miles on a charge, according to the EPA, while the midsize Model 3 Long Range can do 322 miles; in contrast, no other automaker has broken the 300-mile mark with their EVs.

BMW, however, might be able to change that trend — and even beat Tesla at its own game. The carmaker’s new all-electric i4, seen above in camouflaged prototype form, may be able to travel 373 miles on a charge, according to internal information Roadshow says they’ve obtained.

Admittedly, that’s based on the WLTP cycle used abroad that’s a tad more generous than the EPA’s ratings, but considering the Tesla Model 3’s WLTP ranges max out at 372 miles, that’s still enough to beat the i4’s key competitor — even if it’s more a tight victory on points than a knockout. (Expect the EPA to give the new Bimmer a rated range of around 330-340 miles for us Stateside buyers.)

That range comes courtesy of an 80-kWh battery, according to Roadshow, which serves up 530 horsepower — apparently to both front and rear axles via two electric motors, as BMW’s new EV drive units max out at 402 ponies, according to the report.

0-60 mph should flash by in four seconds, while the i4 should top out at 120 mph — perhaps not fast by autobahn standards, but certainly zippy for an electric car.

Once you do deplete that battery, recharging should be fairly zippy, as well. Hooked up to a 150-kW Level 3 charger — the de facto standard for fast chargers right now, though even more potent ones are beginning to appear — the i4 will reportedly be able to add 62 miles of range in just six minutes, and reach an 80 percent state of charge in 35 minutes. Given that 80 percent of the battery works out to roughly 300 miles, that should be enough to knock out most trips.

Keep in mind, however, that this is just the debut version of the BMW i4 we’re discussing here. BMW, of course, is notorious for cranking out an endless series of model variants that differ in performance levels and body styles; Roadshow says other versions will be available, though it’s unclear whether those will be above or below the launch one. (Knowing BMW, probably both.)

Expect to see the BMW i4 in final form late next year, with the first cars going on sale in 2021.

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