This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Tesla vs. BMW i3 Electric: First Comparison Test

Stocks in this article: TSLA GM

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The time has finally come. Not since the 1971 Ali vs. Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden has a duel this controversial hit American shores. And this time it's about electric cars, not boxers.

In one corner, the undisputed heavyweight electric car champion of the world, Tesla (TSLA) Model S. It has knocked out the competition in luxury car sales in Silicon Valley, and gotten a record 99% customer satisfaction rating by Consumer Reports.

In the other corner, the fresh German challenger, BMW i3, which begins deliveries to U.S. customers in April. The world's first mass-produced carbon fiber car, the overall geometry of this electric car makes Tesla seem downright conservative.

The judge: Me. I have now driven both cars, and with well over 30,000 miles of overall electric car driving experience, having driven almost every plug-in electric car that's been made available for sale under the sun over three years, I may be the most qualified person for this comparison task.

And since you are going to ask: No, I have not taken these two cars to the racetrack. I have not measured G-forces in an eight-figure slalom. I have not taken them drifting like a rally driver. Not yet, anyway. I just drove them like a normal city/suburban commuter.

There are some obvious caveats to this comparison. For starters, these two cars are very different in many important dimensions. If these were two conventional gasoline/diesel cars, we wouldn't be comparing them at all.

Tesla is a much larger footprint car. It fits five adults, and you can even stash two short kids in the trunk. With only five people in the car, the luggage space is gigantic -- more than any other sedan. The car is also very wide.

BMW i3 is much shorter and narrower, but taller. It fits only four people, and the luggage space is on the small side, even for a small car.

Tesla has conventional doors. BMW has so-called "suicide" doors for the back passengers, with the doors opening like many of those "extended cab" pickup trucks.

1 of 5

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,089.04 +58.83 0.33%
S&P 500 2,090.24 +8.36 0.40%
NASDAQ 4,797.9970 +24.5250 0.51%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs