BMW In The Midst Of An Electric Assault By Tesla

Tesla Model 3

JUL 3 2017 BY EVANNEX 58


Silver Tesla Model 3 Spotted With All-Glass Roof


“BMW is using a picture of me to scare their executives into taking electric vehicles seriously. I’m not kidding,” Tesla’s Elon Musk said in a recent interview. “It’s sort of a backhanded compliment.” Indeed.

And no — Musk isn’t exaggerating. Automotive News reported, “at an abandoned airfield near Munich, rows of [BMW’s] men and women gaze at images flashing by on a giant screen… [including] the face of Elon Musk. ‘We’re in the midst of an electric assault,’ the presenter intones as the Tesla chief’s photo pops up.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.


Tesla Model 3 trailed by a BMW

It’s no wonder BMW is beginning to fear Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA]. The Silicon Valley slayer recently surpassed BMW to become the world’s No. 3 car maker by market value. At that time, it was reported that Tesla “became the world’s No. 3 car maker by market capitalization, surpassing Germany’s BMW AG and getting further ahead of U.S. competitors General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.


Tesla overtakes BMW in market cap on June 9th (Image: Marketwatch)

After Tesla pulled ahead of BMW in market valuation, Fred Lambert at Electrek mused, “it’s clear that Tesla investors are looking ahead of current deliveries and at Tesla’s ambition to ramp up significantly over the next few years to reach an annual production of 1 million cars in 2020. Despite Tesla’s current small size, maybe BMW should worry. Facebook millionaire turned [billionaire] venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya recently suggested that the Model 3 is already stealing sales from the 3-Series even before they start deliveries.”


Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya notes that the Model 3 may have already eaten into BMW 3-Series demand (Source: Electrek via Social Capital)

It’s common knowledge that the Model S has taken over the premium sedan segment, but, is it possible the Model 3 is already having an impact on BMW’s sales as Palihapitiya forecasted? It’s premature to jump to any conclusions, but after reviewing BMW’s North American sales figures for May (see below), CleanTechnica’s Zach Shahan notes: “Perhaps I’m missing some useful context here, but if BMW doesn’t have a solid explanation for this massive drop in sales… I have a feeling Tesla does.”

BMW North America sales figures for May 2017 (Source: CleanTechnica)

Shahan elaborates: “BMW is perhaps the automaker most under threat from Tesla… The question on the broad car market — in the ‘lower-end’ premium sedan class — is how the Tesla Model 3 will perform against the high-selling BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, and 4 Series in consumer eyes (and in their buying/leasing decisions). Also, does the Model 3 compete against the BMW 5 Series as well, and if so, how well? Furthermore, one would assume the Model 3 is competing with the BMW i3, right? Will the i3 get wiped off the sales sheet, or will it maintain its appeal for certain reasons?” Check out some comparisons below.


A quick look at a handful of specs indicates that certain cars in BMW’s line-up could be threatened by Tesla’s Model 3 (Source: CleanTechnica)

Regardless, BMW appears woefully behind-the-times with its half-hearted EV line-up. Diesel cars account for a whopping 71% of BMW’s total sales in Europe according to Bloomberg. And it’s reported that even “BMW AG’s hometown of Munich is considering outlawing older diesel cars, [as it’s] the latest European city to crack down amid mounting evidence that the technology’s not that clean after all.” In response to Munich’s proposal to outlaw diesel cars, BMW spokesman Glenn Schmidt said, “There are better, more intelligent measures like incentives for car sharing and electric mobility that would lead to a sustainable improvement.”


A showdown is looming between the “3s” 

Meanwhile, BMW drags its feet. Jalopnik reported that, “BMW’s [electric] i division seems to have been going through an existential crisis… it has only offered two models to consumers, the i3 hatchback and the i8 supercar. So you’d think the next plug-in hybrid, the much-rumored i5, would be right on the horizon. Apparently not… the i5 has now been canceled.” Not surprising — last year reports emerged that “senior [BMW] executives are unwilling to plough more resources into electric cars until i3 sales improve and there is a clearer business case for such investment.”

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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58 Comments on "BMW In The Midst Of An Electric Assault By Tesla"

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Yeah right, Tesla sold few low quality cars sponsered bay the taxpayer and everybody thinks they gonna rule the world. The bmw 3 series would get 1 million reservations with those insane EV incentives

What? Low quality cars? Are you nuts? Tesla Model S is the best car made nowadays, including electric, hydrogen an ICE cars. And it sells more than other electric cars that costs 1/3 of it’s price! You are very, very, uninformed.

sells more ?? This is what happens after phaseout of tax exemption for electric vehicles

Spoken of like a true shorter!

I guess you didn’t bother to do the basic research that Tesla is relentlessly driving down the costs of its batteries, you know, the single largest cost of a PEV?

Maybe that explains how Tesla will sell millions of COMPELLING PEVs even after incentives phase out?

The truth is that Tesla quality is often confuse with innovation. Tesla is an innovative car for certain but parked next to a Mercedes S class, Audi A8, BMW 7 or Lexus you will find big panel gaps misfit interior and a level of quality in the Tesla that is nowhere near others. I speak from experience, put aside the “electricness” and Tesla can’t hold a candle. Buyers of the Model 3 will not be as forgiving of quality problems as Model S buyers.

Nobody cares about minor panel alignment when a stinky cancer causing gas car vibrates you to distraction and has lousy performance compared to an EV.

Some people want to own the first iPhone, but other people want to own the last Blackberry.

But then, and now, the future is clear.

So Kamran, explain to us why is it exactly that The Tesla Model S has outsold ALL its rivals like the MB S class, 7 series, etc. here in the US for the last 3 years?

Not to mention that Tesla Model S has done very well in Europe too???

I don’t like Dirty Oil & Gas period!

I have been driving Tesla for 3 years over 100.000 miles. No problems and no service. There is a lot of BS out there from trolls.
I have made reservations for two model3 cars.

The days of the ICE car are now numbered, people are starting to realise that tomorrows technology is starting to take shape, the days of petrol/gasoline or Diesel engines are finished, thanks to VW and their TDI (Toxic Diesel Ingestion !)

I have no doubt the old order will get on board eventually but not before Tesla and others have eaten a lot of their lunch in the meantime.

James – most of the later reservation holders will not be eligible for the US tax credit and they already know that….so it’s not the credit (I will buy 1 or maybe even 2 of them with or without the tax credit)

BMW Was the innovation leader for a long time — that time has past.

“…last year reports emerged that “senior [BMW] executives are unwilling to plough more resources into electric cars until i3 sales improve and there is a clearer business case for such investment..”

Yeah right. i3 sales are going to get devasted by the Bolt. Need to get that 3 series EV out now!

GM isn’t making enough Bolts to devastate i3 sales, most of which occur outside the U.S. where Bolts aren’t sold or are sold in very limited numbers.

The Bolt and i3 are quite different. Those of us who prefer rear wheel drive, lightweight, non-corrosive construction, and a very compact size but who do not need the Bolt’s long range and don’t want to drive a heavy car would consider an i3 over a Bolt. Different strokes for different folks.

Right. You’ve never driven an i3.
The suspension ALONE, kills the Bolt.

BMW is getting killed by it’s coward “status seeker” customer base. Anyone in a 7 series could be leasing an i8, and yet, look at the sales. These people are not “innovation” buyers.

BMW has made significant investment in the i brand, R&D and new factory, and yet they’ve been ABANDONED by their customer base.

With cowards like these BMW as a company is at risk.

Tesla has Won.

I just guess it’s about “the brand”
BMW Brand = “I’m rich” or “I’m well off” or “I’m ambitious”,
not “I’m smart”.

And Tesla Brand: “I’m Smart” and “I Want the Future Now”, and “I’m environmental AND performance oriented”

I guess it’s a tough job to build a different brand, because we now learn that “I’m rich” does not equal “I’m smart”.

Owning a BMW doesn’t make one rich.
If all the leased and credit funded BMWs were red painted….well that would be pretty boring, I guess 99%+ would be red.

BMW is a car for peaple who want to show off and beeing rich has a relative meaning in our world.

Don’t leave out the people who like to drive like jerks.

BMW had record global sales last year & have also taken a leadership role in EV for volume producers. They are building a new green manufacturing plant for 3 Series in Mexico, expanding Spartanburg. This page is laughable.

Both the BMW ‘i’ cars produced so far are strictly niche vehicles, by design.

i8 is an extremely expensive 2-seat sports car. The market for such cars will never be big. Most buyers of a big 4-door sedan, i.e. 7-series, will have little to no interest in an i8.

i3 is an expensive, strange looking sub-compact. If they aspired to large quantity sales of it, BMW would have given it 4 traditional doors and not handicapped it with such a the tiny gas tank on REx version.

Of course the 7 series has it’s advantages, and can hold 5 passengers in luxury. Just that if you’re selling a 7 series you’d think you could sell more than 1,000 i8’s. If you’re driving a 7 series to work, you could be driving an i8 to work too.

BMW’s customer base has no loyalty to BMW, or they’re not as rich as they pretend to be.

Many of the customers are low wage workers or small time thiefs

+1 on the i3 not having mass market looks or operation. I think in many ways it is an impressive piece of engineering but not priced, designed or styled to be a big seller.

What? The CEO of my company went directly from a 5 series to a 70D when his Bimmer’s lease expired.

That’s the whole problem. BWM customers are leaving for Tesla. Not all of them obviously, but a number big enough to hurt. With the Model 3 it’s about to hurt more.

Absolutely Bolt is the best value for money at this moment.
I wish GM could make more. 4000 cars are in back order in Norway alone.


It’s not only BMW. Entry level Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti all will suffer by Tesla 3. Looking around, I don’t see anything that compare with Tesla 3 and match the spec. 328i is close, but cost lot more. Even Hyundai Genesis and upcoming Kia Stinger will feel the pain.

Yep. If uptake of EV’s from the traditional customer base is this low, less than 5%, they’re all DEAD.

Nope if the clientele of the incumbents isn’t interested in EVs their position is golden cause they can keep doing what they do best: internal combustion.

Problem arises when it turns out that lower luxury class buyers are in fact interested in BEVs, that’s when the incumbents start to lose market share.

Important point.
BMW, etc, may hold on to their current ICE based customer, but going forward acquire No New Customers, as a younger crowd will just go to Tesla.

Eventually, even the old customer base will erode to Tesla.

Not entirely right: because of the cheating with the ICE tech, cities are starting to think about banning them and the ICE fans are starting to think that BEV may actually make sense.

328i is not BMW’s entry level model, the Germans are going down market with fwd., Tesla don’t even compete there.

I know 328 is not the entry level, but if you compare performance, that’s the one that comes close to Tesla 3, but 328 cost more.

Entry level BMW start around mid $35K range. Unless BMW start selling cars in low $20K range, BMW is not going “down market”.

anybody buying a luxury ICe car will be in for the shock of their life within 2 years.
How many ppl wants to buy a car for 50-100K and then in 2 years, have it be worth less than 20K, if not less than 10K?

Before end of 2018, Sales of ALL new luxury vehicles will drop a great deal around the globe. As in more than 50%.

Tesla does indeed seem to have stolen BMW’s mojo along with a good chunk of the industries most coveted customers (youngish and fairly high income). At least BMW recognizes there is a threat now which is certainly more than can be said for some of the other automakers. Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota seem to be blind.

Yes. BMW management has been exemplary.
It’s their sissy baby candy-ass coward customer base that’s killing BMW.

Only an idiot would buy a BMW ICE, or I3.
I3 is highly overrated junk.

The ride is far better then any other EV but Tesla, the acceleration is smooth and powerful, the interior materials are high quality, the battery blocking sound insulation provides a serene environment to enjoy music. It’s a great transportation vehicle.

It’s got fully independent suspension,
vented disk brakes around,
aluminum frame for the battery,
carbon fibre body and plastic panels for the body,
so, light weight and fast.
Fast and Efficient.

So, yeah, since almost no competitors can touch it it must be junk.

You BMW i3 owners seem to be trying so hard to justify your expensive purchase without actually doing a real comparison. The Chevy Bolt is about the same size and indeed blows it out of the water in nearly every way, except interior. I’d say that the BMW i3 has one of the best interiors in its price class, but then again, look how much it costs! ($55K fully loaded) Here’s how the funky, skinny-wheeled i3 REx stacks up to the Chevy Bolt: Price: $37,495 vs $48,300 Range: 238 miles vs 97 miles + 83 gas (180 miles EPA) Acceleration (0-30, 0-60): 2.7 and 6.3 sec. vs 2.9 and 7.0 sec. Interior Screen: 10.2″ touchscreen vs 6.5″ dial controlled Handling (figure 8): 27.6 sec. at .64G av. (.77G LA) vs 28.1 sec. at .61G av. (.75G LA) Turning Circle: 35.4″ ft. vs 32.3 ft. Dimensions (LWH): 164.0″ x 69.5″ x 62.8″ vs 157.8″ x 69.9″ x 62.1″ Rear seat leg and head room: 36.5″ and 37.9″ vs 31.9″ and 37.2″ Cargo space, total: 16.9 cu.ft. and 56.6 cu.ft. vs 15.5 cu.ft and 36.9 cu.ft. # of doors: 4 vs 2 + annoying suicide pocket doors # of seats: 5 vs… Read more »

The BMW is fine in fact any electric car is superior to any ice car and the plan is to accelerate the advent of renewable transportation .
So stop slagging off the bimah it’s fine.

Musk give me a call I have a few ideas .

I3 is a nice car.
Maybe the design is a bit strange looking but the ride is great.

I’m just curious if the remaining market for BMW cars will react positively to an electric push? Maybe the remaining customers want.a Tesla, not an electric BMW, or else they want an old-world growling car that can go to an old-fashioned gas station.

GM and Ford make tonzo money in America’s rural areas. Sort of the opposite is BMW, in the “heartland” of EV domain. Good reason to be nervous. If they did cancel i5, a 3-series EV in the oven seems more plausible. How do you trust the follow-through? Same old questions of custom EV unibody, charging infrastructure, and “are they really serious”, all come up. Rince, lather, repeat.

Market share losses will be in whole percentage points, before something un-competitive first shows up. My guess. Germany has conditioned people not to hold their breath. The only thing to poach Model 3’s order list, will be any shortcomings people judge it to have.

Guess of all the models mentioned in the diagram 3 Series is the closest Model 3 competitor so that 39.6% sales drop is interesting. Combined with the obvious panic amongst BMW’s ranks there could definitely be a link with Model 3.

I don’t read too much into a single month. YTD 3 Series sales are down significantly but x3 sales are up even more. So is it a Model 3 effect or a sedan->CUV effect?

Normal, there will be a new BMW 3-Series next year… might even include a BEV, coming out in September. I would more worry about Audi and Mercedes…

We’re just using BMW customer base as an example, Audi and MB are in the same boat. Their customer base isn’t buying EV innovation and everything that goes with it, and so they’re all dead, long term. But, just how “long term” is that, 1-3 years, 5 years?

It seems inescapable.

BMW and Co. still have considerable money from operations available, which Tesla has not. I was thinking to lease a Model-S in Germany. Way to expensive. Ended up with a combined lease for a fully equipped 530-IPerfomance and an also fully equipped i3 for the City. Was combined about 35% cheaper than the Model-S. The 530e will be build this week, the i3 next week. May post a picture, once I have them. Anyway, as long as two BMW´s are so much cheaper than one Model-S, Tesla won´t make it here in Germany. It is as simple as that. Not speaking about the built-quality…

Boss man any highbred is the worst possible poor decision most money losing thing you could possibly do . I would Recommend to anyone buy an ice car before they buy a highbred .
Go electric or walk !

Did you tried to lease the Tesla at a BMW dealer? Your math doesn’t really add up.
You can always buy 2 cheaper cars instead of a more expensive one. That doesn’t mean that the expensive one is too expensive.

The 530e is about 70K and the i3 about 45K, combined about the price for a Tesla in Europe incl. VAT. However the combined montly lease payment for the two cars is about 35% less than the montly payment for a pretty basic Model-S. So effectively the difference is probably even bigger.

I don’t think one can conclude that because the i3 doesn’t sell well that BMW customers don’t buy “EV innovation”. The i3 is impressive to me from an engineering perspective but the looks and operation are too out of the mainstream to sell well in my opinion. If Tesla had build the i3 instead of the model S would it have sold well? I doubt it. If Tesla had made the model S an ICE but with similar performance and cool technology would it have sold well? Quite possibly. So far only Telsa seems to have figured out that most EV buyers don’t want weird mobiles.


Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 3, 2017… Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 0.4 percent in June for a total of 28,962 compared to 28,855 vehicles sold in June 2016.

Oh and my Facebook page is The Electric Car Company Ltd, Elon give me a call I think we need to talk.!

As soon as 400k reservations was reached in as little as a month, traditional ICE should have been sitting up and taking notice. GM had produced the right product, but maybe the wrong packaging (the seating seems to be the single biggest complaint), but no doubt Tesla just has the wow factor. If BMW was to announce they have a 3 series EV, and actually changed their business model with all the whiz bang features a Tesla has, then I am sure they would get reservations as well, but they haven’t. With almost 100yrs of manufacturing, skills, factories and hopefully funds behind them, it is really time for BMW,MB,VW,etc. to go out on a limb and really invest and produce an EV. Copy Tesla, we know that formula works and it is what Elon wants. Don’t make i3’s, crazy looking EQ’s or big eyed Leaf’s. Just look at how the EV drive train and electronics can fit into your existing design, tweak it for those reasons and di the best EV 3 series, A3,MB design you can. It’s not rocket science, it’s not hard, it is expensive. I looked at i3, and yes it is technically a great car, but… Read more »

Jason great summary right on the sweet spot there.

i3 is like Leaf, been around awhile and no major update.
i3 is like no other BMW, so buying a regular BMW you instantly have that recognition, buying an i3 really has no immediate BMW recognition.
BMW should take the high priced i3 and be aggressive to drop that price, like we are seeing with Leaf. Then it becomes an attractive to buy around town car for your kids or as a second car. It gets people into a BMW who probably won’t normally, and it gets older BMW fans into an EV.
Really what they need to do is make the 3 series EV, get on with it, Tesla already shown how desirable an EV can be.
They also need to copy Tesla with OTA updates and all the interesting tech solutions Tesla does, or do it even better. It would be a couple $bil well spent.