Volkswagen Ridiculously Claims e-Up! Will Directly Compete With BMW i3

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 14

VW e-Up! to Compete With BMW i3?

VW e-Up! to Compete With BMW i3?

Oh boy! Volkswagen, what are you thinking?

BMW i3 if Far Too Zippy to be Considered an e-Up! Competitor...What is VW Smoking?

BMW i3 if Far Too Zippy to be Considered an e-Up! Competitor…What is VW Smoking?

VW’s head of electric-powertrain technology, Rudolf Krebs, was quoted as saying this at a press conference in Germany:

“We deliberately positioned the electric Up! against the i3.  The time is ripe to introduce electric mobility on a large scale.”

(insert  laughter here)

VW says that the e-Up! (you know, that overpriced and underperforming production electric from Volkswagen) will directly compete the technologically advanced BMW i3.

Admittedly, we could hardly believe it when we first encountered Krebs’ quote and still the absurdness of VW’s remark hasn’t worn off.

“The e-Up! will go on sale in October for 26,900 euros ($35,500) in Germany, 23 percent less than the BMW i3,” says Bloomberg.

So, the e-Up! and i3 will launch around the same time, but that’s all they have in common.

First, the Up! in gas-burning trim is priced from €9,890 in France, which means electric version of the Up! is based on one of the cheapest vehicles around, yet somehow its price soars to €26,900 when electrified.

Meanwhile, the i3 has no conventional vehicle upon which it is based.  It features carbon fiber galore, aluminum and all sorts of high-tech gadgetry that’s lacking in the e-Up!

It’s of our opinion that you’d have to be clueless to cross-shop the two vehicles, but what do we know.

Here are some specs so that you can decided for yourself if the e-Up! competes (lol) with the i3.

There's Simply No Way the e-Up! Competes With This

There’s Simply No Way the e-Up! Competes With This

VW e-Up!:

  • torque of 155 lb-ft (210 Nm)
  • 60 kW / 82 peak horsepower
  • 0-62 mph (0 to 100 km / h) in 12.4 seconds
  • top speed of 80 mph (130 km / h)
  • 18.7 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • 4 seats
  • 2,600lbs
  • range 65 to 70 miles

BMW i3:

  • estimated range of “80-100 miles,” although our own calculations peg the EPA rating to come out at around 93 miles
  • 170-hp, 184 lb-ft
  • 0-62 in 7.2 seconds, top speed of 93 mph (all electric version)
  • 19″ tires (155/70/19 low-rolling-resistance tires) with an option for 20 inchers
  • 2,634 pounds
  • 22 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • 4 seats

Hey…lookie there…they’re both electric and have 4 seats, therefore they must compete, right?  Or not…

Source: Bloomberg

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14 responses to "Volkswagen Ridiculously Claims e-Up! Will Directly Compete With BMW i3"

  1. vdiv says:

    You are looking at it the wrong way. 😉 The pasty e-UP! will compete with the i3 in two important categories, the bottom line and compliance. That is all VW cares about with regard to plugins.

  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    It was a press conference in Germany. I don’t believe that Germans quite see BMW the same way it’s seen in other countries, so it’s not unreasonable to say they’re positioned to compete.

    1. James says:

      It’s as if folks here believe when the letters Beee Emmm Dubbl uuuu are
      spoken together, the clouds part, angels sing and everything awesome
      reigns down.

      I think BMW’s i3 and i8 will be flops in North America. I think both of
      these cars are seen as second, third or fourth cars in a European
      “green” family’s garage, and thus, both cars will get you by the Euro
      high congestion and zero emissions zones. Both cars are small and
      will fit nicely in very tight Euro villages and narrow roads, and both
      cars technically are compliance cars. BMW cannot speak about i3
      without reminding everyone about all zeese new regulations around
      ze world….

      VW is holding back, not willing to put a whole lot of money into a
      non-profitable EV packed with hugely expensive batteries. This
      really isn’t any different than Ford, GM ( sans Volt )or Chrysler…..
      OR Honda.

      BMW will have a decided advantage if folks eventually decide
      to build and price EVs where average folks would consider one
      IF they had a range that more clearly matched a Tesla. All
      that carbon fiber reinforced plastic research and development
      will put their EVs far above those using the same heavy
      materials as they always have.

      It’s a big IF, and I hope BMW prevails. The current i cars
      are oddballs that cost too much and don’t fill any needs
      that can’t be filled with cars like the E-Up! .

      or….. etc etc etc….

      1. George B says:

        With all due respect, I think some folks read a bit too much into Steve Juvertson’s recent interview with Fox News. He delivered a snarky response to a provocative question. It was hardly meant as an exhaustive or authoritative analysis.

        The i3 should sell pretty well, particularly in Europe. It is not a compliance car. If BMW wanted to build one, it could have simply leased the ActiveE to the general public. Or a warmed over version of the MINI-E with a smaller battery. No need to invest into a new platform and new manufacturing capabilities. Slap a few hundred cars based on a gas-burner chassis together, and call it a day!

        I think it’s fair to say that established large car makers are faced with a dilemma. They don’t wang to cannibalize their existing business too soon, but if they wait too long, they could become another Kodak, a sad footnote in history. There are also CO2 and congestion regulations to comply with, that’s correct, but there are different ways to satisfy those. To call the i3 a compliance car and put it on the same footing with the disappointing offerings built with minimum effort and investmemt by other large car makers goes a bit too far.

      2. MTN Ranger says:

        Whatever. I’m looking at the i3 REx to replace my Volt. Simple as that.

        1. james says:

          Hey, if you have deep pockets and/or a very crafty accountant, more power to you. Heck, if you have that commute that extends past your 40-50 ev-mile Volt window and no work charge opportunities….again knock yourself out.

          Just know that nobody knows as of yet how big of a performance dog i3 will be when powering along using that tiny expensive ReX. Any hills or heavy
          tr
          affic requiring sufficient boost to safely get you in line just may not be there for ya.

          1. George B says:

            James, is there anything that you could make a positive comment about? If not, than I don’t quite understand why even bother to read about the i3. It sucks and you are obviously not going to purchase it. The comment you just made about the REx is not based on sound research.

            Why? The generator will kick in when the battery still has about 20% charge left. That’s enough to traverse an elevation of about 3,000 feet, thanks to the low weight of the i3, and more than enough energy to provide the typical level of acceleration in city traffic. The REx by itself can propel the car at 70 to 75 mph on flat terrain and about 40 to 45 mph on a 6% incline. While the battery has some power left, this is not the limit, since it will be able to complement the REx. Unless The steepest reported grade on a freeway in the US is 7% somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.

            So unless you drive up a steep grade for an hour or insisted on accelerating over 70 mph on the freeway for half an hour, you won’t see much of a difference in driving behavior. Certainly nothing that would warrant the designator “performance dog”.

          2. James says:

            More food for thought b4 you invest in an i3 is bodywork.

            Will a small fenderbender cost you your child’s college fund, or
            will your insurance company just call the car a complete total?

            Who is going to fix carbon-composite? Answer: Nobody but
            BMW and you can expect very high repair costs.

            So far, inquiries to BMW don’t get an answer. One BMW rep
            said, “I’m sure we’ll be able to fix it!”…. LOL

            One must also check into BMW maintenance cost. Because it’s
            a BMW, you won’t pay Chevy prices for parts, service and
            regular maintenance visits.

            I just don’t see $50,000 plus all sorts of BMW extras like
            loaner X-5s for those long trips. I say $50,000 because it
            is a BMW, and the prices being discussed don’t account for
            all those hidden gems surely involved in purchasing one.

            1. George B says:

              I think leasing is the answer here. I owned an EV before, and don’t plan to do that again until the development of this new tech has settled down a bit. BMW offers four years of free maintenance, and I wouldn’t worry about that part as a lessee.

              As to the repair costs, I owned some pricey carbon fiber racing equipment in the past. I was concerned about its durability when I acquired it a decade ago, but that material takes a lot of abuse. I had an accident, which would have totaled a comparable metal frame, but there was just a small crack on the carbon one. The manufacturer replaced a subsection of the frame, and the repair cost was very reasonable. Much, much less than a new frame, even a metal one.

              Most of the fender-benders will not as much as scratch the carbon frame of the passenger cabin. The crumple zones are made out of aluminum and body panels are made from detachable CRFP. No need for any bodywork there. BMW has reportedly invested into a program to ensure that body repair costs did not exceed those of regular 1 series. This reportedly involved development of the proper processes, component design and and some anticipation about the tools needed to do the job.

              While this is a fair concern and most folks don’t have much experience with carbon fibre, it’s an awesome material. It’s one of the reasons why I’m still excited about the i program. I think all the cars will move away from metal chassis in the future.

  3. zilm says:

    I know: 1 e-up + 1 XL1 will compete with 2(TWO) Teslas simultaneously.
    I wonder who will win in this death battle!

  4. James says:

    If one compares a Fiat 500e, SparkEV, FitEV or E-Up! to the i3,
    they will find the BMW does offer a very futuristic, modern
    approach to an interior with excellent design and gadgets galore.

    In today’s world, however, gadgets galore are only neato if you
    have the ELECTRIC RANGE to make all that expense sensible
    to the purchaser of an automobile. Since so far, we have a
    Motor Trend editor who drove one and said the experience is
    underwhelming, we are left with a BMW EV with a range of
    80 miles, give r’ take. Even if it’s range is 100 miles, it still
    has to be worth the $50 grand after tax, license and dealer prep.
    Folks who think because the i3 possesses a BMW logo on it’s
    hood, that automatically it will zig zag like a Mazda Miata are
    nuts. Just look at the itsy-bitsy narrow motorcycle wheels and
    tires.

    I like BMWs, especially the 3 series cars. I have never believed
    they were worth the money they asked for them, and I have
    generally seen the idiocy of BMW drivers on our roads for decades.
    Funny how advertising “The Ultimate Driving Machine” can make
    Americans drive like complete baffoons, endangering lives and
    pissing off everyone else.

    So far – All I can see about the BMW i Series is the same type
    of hype, and not a whole lot else. It’s funny seeing a bunch of
    EV aficionados getting excited over a 80 mile EV with a
    2 cylinder motorcycle engine attached.

    1. George B says:

      I wonder what this post makes you then. A Debbie Downer? I think the solution to this dilemma is simple: just don’t buy either the i3 or the i8. Perhaps BMW will eventually make something you might actually buy from them.

      1. James says:

        Hi George, my name is Debbie! LOL

        I think your suggested solution may well be the answer for most folks who now
        say they are considering an i3 purchase. As I said, the jury is still out, as reviewers haven’t been given the keys to do proper road and track tests.

        My point is that this is a $50,000 car. For that coin, one should expect it to
        be able to provide a transportation benefit and not a whole lot of sacrifices.
        $50,000 is just the first sacrifice of the i3 buyer. It then becomes how much
        are you willing to hassle with? For much less money, the Chevy Volt seats the
        same number of passengers and doesn’t give the driver the same conundrums
        as i3, such as: “Will this car get me up that pass – will I hold up traffic, and
        will I feel gipped because this car handles like an econobox?” At 20% buffer,
        the ICE kicks in and the car becomes a gas burner + gives you subpar
        road performance next to any ICE – sounds like. It’s just all so complex – to
        think about reduced performance, and how far I can go until I have even further
        reduced performance – and then it’s 200 miles to the next gas stop and/or
        3 hour charge session. It’s just seems to try to check off the boxes that the
        Volt didn’t – that GM didn’t feel were the correct boxes.

        0-60 in i3 is like noting Barry Bonds’ homerun record. It’ll need an asterisk or two
        next to it. Is it 0-60 in hybrid mode? 0-60 in pure EV or pure CS mode? I mean,
        this gets complicated! Will the car be kind of a Jekyl and Hyde affair where you
        have to really enjoy figuring out what parameters you’re in at the moment? That’d drive my wife nuts – she HATES that stuff! She wants to get in, turn it on,
        and go – Just like you would in a Tesla ( for 200-250 miles ) or a Volt (for 400 miles ). My Volt really doesn’t change personality or capability depending upon
        how much buffer I have or whether or not I’m in CS mode. It’s seemless. I don’t
        see i3 nor i8 as seemless in that manner.

        As far as positives, I’ve listed at least two in all my statements re: i3. If you glazed over them to get to your Debbie Downer points, I’ll reiterate. I said
        BMW’s extensive research on CFRP , aluminum and magnesium construction
        benefits it’s current extensive ICE lineup as well as placing them in a great
        position in case the EV market heats up and they decide to go further and
        actually produce a Tesla or BlueStar fighter. I also stated the i3’s interior was
        very futuristic, gadgety and nice – like a concept car interior that didn’t get
        domesticated between showcar and mass production. In my opinion, i3’s
        tall, boxy profile makes it less attractive than Volt as are it’s funky black
        panels and goofey Hyundai Genesis Coupe-esque jog in the rear quarter glass.
        It does represent some vision of a family people mover though…which does
        tug at the heartstrings of many Americans. It’s tallness doesn’t seem great for
        driving in crosswinds, however.

        I think i3 and i8 represent some very interesting engineering and captivating
        compromises. I’m glad BMW provided some American jobs in it’s introduction,
        such as the carbon fiber for it’s bodywork made in my state of Washington.

        In all, I see it as an expensive shot at problems highlighted by an EREV or PHEV like Volt or Fusion Energi. It’ll take you further on electrons than those
        cars and seems to be reasonably peppier from a stoplight in EV mode.
        The 200 mile putt putt on the 2 cyl. mill that could’ve been lithium cells taking
        up that void in the framework – should be lithium cells in that space, IMO. Even
        so, for all it’s lightweight whizbangery – it’s still a sub-150 mile, very expensive
        option to a LEAF or compliance EV.

  5. Chris O says:

    If one discounts for taxes the E-up! would probably cost exactly the same as the Spark EV if it were offered in the US. Now that’s a car it could really be compared to, both being ICE platform based compliance cars. Of course the Spark would kick the crap out of the E-up! with much better range (82 vs 65) and acceleration (0-60 in 7.6 vs 12.5) and possibly it’s 20 minutes/80% fast charge capability. VW should really keep this looser in Europe and pray the Spark doesn’t come over to kick it’s ass.