BMW i3 Versus Nissan LEAF Versus Volkswagen e-Golf – Comparison

AUG 30 2014 BY STAFF 32

German magazine Autobild compares the BMW i3 against the Nissan Leaf and VW e-Golf.

Worldwide Nissan Leaf is already the best-selling electric car in history, with 130,000 sold globally since December 2011. The e-Golf is VW’s first bet for the electric market and will launch this fall. The i3 is the only one of the three electric vehicles to be considered a premium product and has recently launched in the United States.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out here.

As tested, the i3 is priced at 36.310 euros, only 1,300 euros more expensive than the Leaf. The e-Golf has a base price just below 35,000 euros.

Two Germans and One Japanese EV Face Off

Two Germans and One Japanese EV Face Off

The e-Golf and Leaf follow a conventional design with seating five passengers and a look and feel that resembles a “regular” vehicle. BMW gave the i3 a more futuristic look and a departure from the classic BMW design, a move that is equally loved and hated by the media and consumers.

Autobild reveals that the i3 had the longest driving range in the test: 105 miles from a 22 kWh battery pack. The e-Golf followed with 102.5 miles from a 24.2 kWh battery pack. The Leaf came in last with 90 miles (24 kWh battery). In Europe, the Leaf is officially rated at 123 miles, compared to the 118-mile BMW and Volkswagen.

Out of the three, the i3 also tested as being “the most green” with 12.8 kWh per 100 kilometers. CO2 output is rated at 74 g/km on a regular electricity mix. The e-Golf and Leaf followed in that order.

Inside the cabin, at 130 km/h, the VW e-Golf recorded 68 decibels of cabin noise, while the i3 and Leaf reported 70 db.

Interesting enough, the e-Golf comes on top at the end of this comprehensive test drive.

Source: Autobild & Green Car Reports

Categories: BMW, Nissan, Videos, Volkswagen

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32 Comments on "BMW i3 Versus Nissan LEAF Versus Volkswagen e-Golf – Comparison"

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German magazine bashes Japanese cars, surprise!


Haha, and also somehow contradicts both the EU and EPA range ratings which place the Leaf as the longest-range of the three.


EPA rates i3 at 81 miles Total Range and EPA rates the Leaf at 84 miles total range.

Yet Autobild finds the i3 goes 15 miles further. Go Figure.

For some reason I trust the EPA rating more. Maybe because it’s their business to rate EV range – while Bild’s business is to sell ads in the German market 🙂

…to sell ads in the German market…

Recently the high-circulation magazine “Auto, Motor & Sport” (I call it Audi, Motor & Sport) has published a so called real world “test”, in which they “unmask” the real world range of the Model S as of only 115 miles at 90 mph constant driving.

The outrage about that ridiculous “test” was huge among EV drivers, so a crowd initiative was started to show REAL real world results.
One guy even offered the editor to give him his already ordered Model X, if he can prove these results to him. Of course, he refused…

115 miles at 75 mph (not 90) constant driving is what they claim!

Wow . . . that is pretty sleazy of them.

If the i3 really was only $2000 more than the Leaf, rather than the $20,000 it actually is, it would be a good buy.

This !!!

How is that possible? Some protectionist measures I presume?

A fully optioned leaf is about $39k. Base model i3 is about $42,350. Not close to $20k difference you mention.

The base 2015 leaf is $29,860 or $11,490 less than the i3.

The only way to get $20,000 prices difference is if you compare a base leaf to a fully optioned i3.

Note to self. Don’t trust autobild.

Here at, le party continue, as the Frenchies say. You vill like dis car. You vill buy dis car. This is not a Tesla, it is better, ve say so. You will pay no attention to those $199 a month cars that look and do pretty much the same thing and go just as far (unless ve test dem, ya?), because you will spend more money. Because it is good for you. You want to go far we have de Range Extender which will work wunderbar on the flat Landstrasse, but it’s nicht gehen on the hills and the Autobahn, ya? Can I write a blog post about my trip to Costco today in my Fiat 500e? I fit $150 worth of crap and two kids in the car. To make me thinK I was in the much better BMW, I stuck my Sony Xperia Z Ultra to the dash and played some music on it. I was fine until I realized that the trip cost me about one third what the bus fare would have been for the same trip counting insurance and electrons, then I felt all guilty and stuff and wanted to call BMW and pay… Read more »

It sounds good, but you’ll need to add a couple pics to the story Don Diego…no one reads stories without pics anymore, (=

I’d do just that, but if I were to follow the formula (you must follow the formula) I’d have to include at least one shot of moi leaning against my car with a “I’m saving da Planet/No more Burkas, evah”(<—-depending upon your politics) smile on my face. I don't think anyone would want to see the Battalion sized box of Fruit Loops or the six gallons of white vinegar I bought.

And besides, I'm proud of that fact that although I've been internetting since the Compuserve days, a Google Image Search of my name produces zero results. Save for the mugshots.

I would love to see you going to Florida or so and try to buy a Fiat 500e.

That would be an article I would read…


From the Fiat 500e Google+ page…

“Saw a Fiat 500e on Oahu, Hawaii. Talked to the nice lady who said they just moved back from CA so had the car shipped over. First electric car I’ve seen in Oahu, although plenty of charging stations, including a couple at Target.

BTW, was able to use the Fiat Pass to get free car rental here as well!”

The New e-Golf will give the competition a run for the money Globally. With 100 mile range and standard CCS charger it’s expected to increase traffic at VW dealerships in the states with Golf sales down over -28%, especially with the $299/mo lease. ($299 – $160 gas = $139)

It’s clearly the best looking of the three in the comparison. Just look at the back of the i3….what was BMW thinking???
The i3 looks like one car giving birth to another…

1.) CCS charger is not included in Germany it is extra cost
2.) In Germany AC charging is limited to 3,6 kw. No Option for 7,2 kw is available.
3.) Heat pump is an extra cost in Germany
4.) Public charging cable is an extra in Germany

And so on.

I wish they would bring a stripped down model to the USA so we have a choice as to whether we want certain premium features or not.

AutoBild is the magazin-version of UKs Top Gear if it comes to facts. They are heavily sponsored by German carmakers. Even ADAC had to admit that they had manipulat there famous user rating in favor for German brands. AMS (Auto, Motor und Sport Magazin) recently claimed, a Tesla S 85 would have a range of 110 miles if driven with 72 mph constantly.

Also, regarding popular EVs in Europe, they constantly forget to include Renault Zoe in these tests. Zoe would win at the charging-front, because there are like 50 CSS and 50 CHAdeMO but 3000 AC-fastchargers in Germany.

If you want to DRIVE with your car, you should have either a Renault ZOE or a Tesla ModelS or a SMART ED with optional 22kw Brusa charger in Germany.

The Facts for JUST charging in Germany

AC: TYP2: 19 x 43kw, 3440 x 22kw, 1130 x 11kw
DC: Tesla: 101 x 120 kw
DC: CHAdeMo: 40 x 50kw, 31 x 20kw
DC: CCS: 42 x 50kw, 16 x 20kw

ZOE would win in the charging contest, because ist the only car with up to 43kw AC fast charging without extra cost and offering access to more than 3450 fast charger >= 22kw in just ONE small country like Germany.

And everybody forgets:
SOME People like fast charging at home or in the office or at work as well.

Good points.

Honestly I didn’t consider the Zoe because of the battery lease thing. It’s a deal breaker for me and many other potential buyers.

You are right that currently the Zoe outsells the e-Golf in Germany, but it has not been on sale for more than a month so that is an unfair comparison. The i3 has outsold the cheaper Zoe for almost every single month it has been on sale. The Leaf is also quite expensive over here, I did a comparison a while ago and it was only slightly cheaper than an i3.

I think Renault would be able to sell more if they sold the battery along with the car. They started offering it like that in Norway but there I’ve seen way more CCS and CHAdeMO than Type 2 chargers.

Sponsored test

Some comments:

1.) VW cant ship e-Golfs in Volume like Nissan, if they sell 5000 in 2014 Worldwide its a lot. Its designed as a marketing car and for optimizing the CO2 footprint of VW. Their goal fpr mass market is plugIn Hybrid.

2.) VW for example “sells” their cars through government sponsored “Schaufenster Elektromobilität”. 150 x e-UPs have been “sold” that way as a research project. So the sales numbers in Germany are looking good.

3.) All 3 cars can just charge 1-phase which is most ineffective. Tesla and Renault ZOE and upcoming B-Class can carge much more efficient 3-phase. In real world CO2 footprint must be measured including charging losses.

4.) ZOE sells better than Leaf or e-Golf in Germany. Of COURSE is is not tested. For 20.600€ you get 3-phase charging, a charging Cable and Heat Pump included. An addl. 49€ Battery charge shows extreme good in a 2-3 year TCO. Almost all e-cars in Germany (> 70%) are leased for just 2-3 years.

The problem with Ac 3 phase charging on Zoe is that it is not very reliable as it is heavily influenced by grid conditions which fluctuates throughout the day.

In France the Zoe trip regularly the 43 kW chargers or simply refuse to charge. Of course their owners blame the chargers but the issue is really related to the so called chameleon charger whose efficiency is also extremely low at low power … Which caused Renault to delay the introduction on a domestic Mode 2 cable.

Finally as all other oems use dc quick charge either with Ccs or chademo or tesla, it seems unlikely that Ac quick charge will last long given the drawbacks previously raised.

Good idea.. Poorly executed. Similarly to the unique French TV standard of the 80s and the ridiculous type 3 stand for public infrastructure socket which just happened while the rest of Europe was going type 2.


Can’t speak for France, but I did about 100 AC fast charges (22 kW or more) with Zoe and NEVER faced any grid-related problems. Yes, it has high losses if charged below 3 kW, but thanks to EU-three-phase-system, any household has at least the capability to charge with 11 kW, most can do 22. Why would you even want to charge slower…

Still DC is most likely to be the future, because you don’t need an inverter in your car which makes it cheaper and lighter. Especially with a DC motor and a solar array, which works also with DC current.

When the eathing is good, 22Kw seems to be relatively ok once the high resistance breaker is installed.
The problems are mainly with 43KW for Quick Charger.


The Leaf Price is Tekna!! Starts at 28000€. The Price from e-Golf and i3 are Basis.
You should really don’t write German autobild :-)…

I just wonder why the range of EV are still so small, despite 500kms batteries are a reality for some years before (source: “Who kill the electric car ?”) Have no doubt, dirty oil is here to remain.

I’ve got a Leaf. Lovely car, nice ride!
Last week I drove 220 miles in a day (330Km). Hoping that’s it for this year.

If one never drives all this distance all the time, why drag around all that dead weight to go shopping or to work?

and what’s this all about..

“In April 2014, Volkswagen announced that the U.S. version of the 2015 e-Golf would not have a liquid-cooled battery pack because strict testing showed high ambient temperatures did not affect battery performance, but the European version will.”

So if high temperatures did not affect the battery performance, why did VW add liquid cooling to the same battery pack for Europe????????

Which is why there is a Capacity Warranty at 70% for 8 years or 100k miles.

Clearly this is VW going the cheap route for the US where VW sales are already down over -30% YTD.