Here’s a Look at a BMW i3 Lease Quote of $930 Per Month


BMW i3 Lease Quote

BMW i3 Lease Quote

This is an actual lease quote for a BMW i3 obtained by InsideEVs contributor and BMW ActiveE driver George Betak.

There are a couple issues with this quote that we’ll point out.

    • 1. The money factor is higher than BMW’s preliminary finance/lease info lists for the i3.  This is due to dealer markup.
    • 2. This is a 12,000-mile per year quote, not the 15,000 miles listed in BMW’s  finance/lease info obtained exclusively by InsideEVs.
    • 3.  This is a high-side quote, as Betak and others note being able to obtain monthly i3 lease rates in the upper $700 range to mid $800s.
    • 4.  This quote was obtained in California.
    • 5. This quote is for a nearly loaded i3 REx

Finally, the finance/lease data first published by InsideEVs is marked “preliminary,” which means it’s subject to change.  We get the feeling that BMW may alter the document due to what most see as astronomically high lease rates.

Here's a Look at the i3 Preliminary Finance/Lease Document Obtained From a Dealer Contact by InsideEVs

Here’s a Look at the i3 Preliminary Finance/Lease Document Obtained From a Dealer Contact by InsideEVs

If BMW alters the i3’s financials downward, then we believe we’re deserving of a pat on the back for convincing the automaker that its lease terms are out of touch with the times.

If BMW doesn’t alter the financials, then this “preliminary” document will become final.

60 kWh Model S With No Options - Note: A Model S Cannot Be Leased - It's Basically a Long-Term Buy With a Guaranteed Residual

60 kWh Model S With No Options – Note: A Model S Cannot Be Leased – It’s Basically a Long-Term Buy With a Guaranteed Residual

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55 Comments on "Here’s a Look at a BMW i3 Lease Quote of $930 Per Month"

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This quote is pretty ridiculous but the official leasing rates have not been released yet by BMW. Compared to other EV lease offerings a lease price that starts at $399 seems more reasonable.

That ain’t gonna happen without a HUGE chunk of money down. The residual being only 40% is what makes this lease so high. After 3 years, they expect a fully-loaded i3 to be worth only $21K?

Yes, and also the high money factor. This alone adds $120 to the monthly payment.

Can anyone compare this to a Model S financing?

Sure…I’ll add that in. Note: You cannot actually lease a Model S. It’s basically a buy.

It should be possible to compare BMW’s Owners Choice to Tesla’s pseudo lease once the final terms are available.

We are all going to want to look at OwnersChoice with Flex as this will facilitate incorporating the $7500 Federal incentive into the financing at the contract signing to reduce the principal/monthly payment. Otherwise we will have to float the $7500 some other way until we submit our tax returns for the purchase year.

Yes, thank you, Darren. Since the Model S “lease” calculator already reflects the fed tax rebate, Owners Choice with Flex is indeed the appropriate financing option to compare against.

Most states liecsne brokers/agents. Call or go online with your state licensing agency and they will tell you his liecsne status.It is strange that he doesn’t have his office address on his card, but a hotmail or yahoo acount makes perfect sense (if he changes office or goes to work somewhere else he can keep his email account) and signing you in the apt makes sense to me also. That way you can get one final look at what you are getting so there’s no question about condition on delivery.Good luckI’m a CA, OR Broker, CO inactive broker

A base 60 kWh.

$7,107 down
$986 monthly payment x 72 months
After 36-39 months you can sell it back to Tesla if you want for 50% of base MSRP plus 43% of any options.

Above does not include fees, sales tax, registration nor rebates and credits you may be eligible for.

Well it depends on if you do the real math yourself or if you rely on the black magic math of Tesla.

Their webpage says it’s $600/month (used to be $500/month). That number is calculated by including money you save on gas, oil, maintenance, time spent at the gas stationg and other random BS. Then the fine print on the fine print states you forfeit the $7500 federal tax credit.. blah blah blah. In reality it’s about $1500/month for a base Tesla but they push this BS “equivalent” monthly payment.

So if you use that same magic math on the fully loaded i3 with markup, then it’s not actually $930/month. It’s $30/month for that i3.


You’re a bit behind the times, Ugh – Tesla made all of that stuff optional a while ago.

The quote listed above does not include any of those things…it just reflects the effective monthly payment incorporating the Fed + Cali tax incentives.

They are talking about leasing. Tesla says 610 a month for a 60k battery pack Tesla model S.
The bmw leasing plan is a joke.

$610 after deducting savings for gas.

And $10k in EV government rebates credits may not qualify fully for.

Yes, “may” — but I’d suggest that, if one can afford a Tesla in the first place, then that person probably has more than enough tax liability to benefit from the full $7500 federal credit. And, if that person lives in CA, the $2500 state rebate is just that, a straight incentive payment, which the Model S fully qualifies for.

5% of Tesla buyers make less than $50K/year.

Although the average household income is $160k.

It is “May” since the Federal credit can not be deferred.

The average Tesla owner uses $5500 of the $7500 credit.

Then again someone may qualify for more.

Interestingly, West Virginia offers $7500 credit.

This is interesting…where does this data come from?

As of 2010, the median household income (or average, I forget which, and there is a difference) in the US was almost exactly $50k.

According to 2010 IRS tax data, the top 10% of US households start at $116k.

Unless they are living in their parents’ basement, or in the middle of freaking nowhere with minimal costs of living, how the hell can someone afford a Tesla on less than $50k per year?!?!?

See my post above. That $600/month is an “equivalent” monthly payment.. It’s really about $1500/month all things considered. The quoted Tesla finance plan is a joke.

Still behing the times, genious…

Haha. Good luck with that BMW.

This quote also does not reflect the $2500 California state rebate. And the MF is for a credit score of 675-699.

This is incorrect. The MF simply reflects dealer’s markup. This is one of the ways the can legitimately use to make the deal richer, and add to their bottom line. It’s a negotiable item, and in the worst case the consumer has the choice to walk away, which is exactly what I did.

By the way, I did not in any way intend to suggest your credit is actually in that range, only that the MF correspnds to that range in their table. My apologies!!

That’s OK, no offense taken. I just wanted to correct this data point, since this was the very reason I solicited feedback on the quote. I wanted to see if all dealers marked up the MF. It’s easy to make the wrong assumption here as a consumer, particularly if the dealer buy rate is not known. To me, this was a key takeaway and a key learning point. Hence the comments 🙂

IMHO, all dealers are MFs.



On the rare occasion that my father buys a car new, he always offered the sales person 89% +$200 of the quoted price (we’re talking about vehicles less than $30k in 2013 US dollars). The sales rep talks to the manager, and then they agree.

I would do the same kind of thing if I was given a quote like that. Just to annoy them, and with a little luck, it might work.

The quote above:
1. Does not incude the $2500 CA state rebate
2. The quote reflects the $4875 Fed rebate instead of the full $7500
3. The quote is based on a credit score of 675-699

Definitely do not lease the vehicle, opt for the Ownerschoice with Flex to realize the full Fed incentive and get it in up front.

And pump up your credit scores 🙂

The Fed rebate is $4875 for i3, the rest is for BMW if you lease it, this was a matter of discussion in another article.

I can tell you that the credit score is incorrect and the dealer simply marked up the money factor by the maximum allowable amount. They were completely unapologetic about it.

I guessed as much, I would expect you are a guy with stellar credit.

I can vouch for the validity of the “Lease Offer” you posted. In fact, an i3, fully loaded here in California, using 10,000mi/year x 36, comes to $1,025/mo, without any dealer add ons.
In addition to the inordinately expensive lease/purchase offers, there remains many questions about the Rex’s usefulness in California, as reported by “insideevs”, plus todays report that there are tire concerns, availability and expense.

I am one of the 700 Active E drivers, who has been encouraged to use a special ID# and buy the i3. We were given 10 days which turned into 13 days, when we ignored the first offer.
It expired yesterday, January 20, 2014. We were incentivized by BMW, who has a “Special Electronaut Gift” for us, which to this day has never been identified. They further incentivized us by telling us to return our Active E’s in March unless we bought the i3. Stripped of our cars in March, we are not likely to walk or bike until May or June, when perhaps reality will catch up to BMW’s marketing plans.

So today, “Incentivized” by BMW, I ordered a new Volt,,,,
My lease was $250/mo. with $2,000, cash at signing.

Sorry to see you leave the program. I’m an electronaut too.

This “electronaut” moniker that BMW has come up for EV drivers just makes things seem silly. BMW is supposed to make “ultimate driving machines” for *drivers*, electric or not.

I mean, should we refer to the people who drive BMW’s gas-powered vehicles “gastronauts” for crying out loud?

Are owners buying BMW ICE vehicles pioneers in buying gas powered vehicles?

The owners switching from horse carriages to ICE cars might properly be referred to as “gastronauts.”

Thank you, well said.

Whatever… just seems like a vaguely self-congratulatory term that, the more I think about it, makes sense that BMW clientele would find appealing.

I think your perception and attitude is necessarily negative.That’s your prerogative, obviously, but perhaps it’s worth mentioning that most of the field trial participants are not serial BMW owners. They came from other brands, and were attracted to the program for various reasons. I particularly like the community aspect of it, and the close collaboration with the manufacturer. I think it would have been beneficial if other EV makers did something similar when designing a new vehicle platform based on a drivetrain they were not familiar with. I’m not sure if this will help, given your apparent bias, but I feel that it had to be stated in order to provide more context on this.

The electronaut moniker is specific to the ActiveE program, and it won’t be extended to i3 drivers. The MINI-E drivers were called pioneers. These were two distinct but related field trials. While one might not agree or like all the work BMW’s advertising agency does, the electronaut designation stuck pretty well, despite some initial hesitation. BMW reportedly had 20,000 hand-raisers and 700 cars. This group of drivers emerged from the pool of applicants by virtue of chance, luck, serendipity or all of the above. Whatever it was, the common experience of driving the car, and going through the similar trials and tribulations day in and day out has proven to be a significant bonding force. Electronauts have helped BMW not just to validate the i3 drivetrain, but also gain insights into consumer expectations, preferences and behaviors in the EV space. They were brand ambassadors on their behalf as well. This was a significant program with valuable contributions to founding the Project i at BMW by everyone involved. I hope this helps understand the origin and the context of the electronaut term a bit better.

Here is a description of the video by BMW’s ad agency (Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners): BMW asked the agency to create a short video to announce and create buzz around the BMW ActiveE Field Trial and recruit drivers—and also to introduce a new term for those pioneering drivers: ‘Electronauts’. This video would be used on the ActiveE website and be distributed through BMW’s social channels and targeted blogs, where we’d inspire viewers to visit the website and sign up for updates, so we could contact them when the vehicle- reservation process opened. Emails to hand-raisers and prospects, along with the BMW ActiveE e-Newsletter were used to drive users to the video and further excite them about the ActiveE. The video had to explain the Field Trial and create excitement around BMW’s electric vehicle mission in a way that would draw viewers in and hold their attention in a space dominated by short attention spans. By doing this effectively the video would go viral, pick up press and thereby reach a wider audience. This in turn would lead to more visits to the vehicle website and collect more hand-raisers to reach out to when the ActiveE became available. The Electronaut… Read more »

If the BMW dealers blow this, too bad. I have absolutely no problem looking at a Volt or Ford C-Max Energi.

how is a c max an option when compared to the volt? your either getting a good looking car or an ugly one, whats the obvious choice?

Some of us aren’t so shallow that the appearance of our cars affects how we feel as humans.

As much as I hate to admit it, looks are a selling point to me (efficiency comes first, followed closely by comfort). The Fusion Energi is a sharp-looking vehicle.

Dedicated electronaut disses BMW and leases a Volt. Take a lesson BMW , even the most devout will not put up with bmw confiscating 30% of the federal rebate and outrageous lease terms.

so lease 3 volts or one i3 LOL

With the $69/month lease on my i-MiEV, I could have a baker’s dozen i-MiEVs for the same price as one i3. Sorry, but the i3 is NOT 13 times better than the i-MiEV. Better, yes, but not that much better.

This is really expensive compared to most EV’s this size with $199 lease deals. Even my Rav4EV lease is a better deal at $488 with no money down and unlimited mileage. Maybe they will be like Toyota where one month they offer $4500 (or $4875 in BMW’s case) toward the lease and they don’t sell any (Toyota sold 28 in December) and the following month (Now through February 3rd) they offer $14,000 toward the lease.

That may end up being the case – BMW will want to maintain an image, but they will have to come down in price if they really want to move volume (ooh, conspiracy time – they don’t want to sell it!!).

There must be something off in this calculation/price. I can get how many Nissan LEAFs or how many Chevy Volts for that price? Even the $76,000 Cadillac ELR leases for $700 per month plus $5,000 down. Then again, I’ve never felt comfortable thinking about leases — there is something gluttonous about having a brand new car made for oneself with the intend of ditching it 3 years later. Aren’t we supposed to be in favor of being frugal in our use of resources? Not use too much energy or too much debt? Whatever happened to saving first, then buying a car for 100% cash with the intent of keeping it for a lifetime — or at least 10, 20 or 30 years? New cars made today should last longer than an average person’s lifespan, if properly maintained, so I expect to drive the same car 40 or 50 years from now, that I would be buying in 2014. If you buy a car now for 100% cash, and keep it for a lifetime, you have probably conserved the earth’s resources the best — debt as well as raw materials.

40 or 50 years? This is not the 1950s.

The parts won’t exist even after 20 years – technology jumps. Most of the things that will require maintenance/replacement are all the gadgets that change with the pace of technology, not to mention the fact that so much about cars are specialized and computer-controlled.

If you live in an area with 4 seasons, the thing will rust significantly before 30 years are up.

Once vehicles (at least regular ICE vehicles) get to about 200k miles, they need serious maintenance…rebuilt engine… usually on the second rebuilt transmission by then…new A/C unit…new paint job from 200k miles’ worth of chips and scratches from road debris, etc.

Except for the fun of driving, cars are a financial necessary evil…endless money pits…siphons out of your wallet.

I have a Ford hybrid, which do last a long time without significant repairs (taxi companies use them for over 300k and never even have to replace the transmission!).

This 2010 Mercury Mariner hybrid of mine will be the last ICE-based vehicle I will ever own.

Why not buy? Assuming you get the full credit and low interest loan from a third party what are BMW dealers offering for cash buys? Are they marking up?