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BMW i3 vs Nissan LEAF, or Bang vs Buck

BMW i3 vs Nissan LEAF
BMW i3 vs Nissan LEAF

What is it about the BMW i3 that makes it somewhat more expensive than other electric vehicles? How much bang for your buck do you get for the i3?

It should be no surprise that, here at The Green Optimistic, we love electric vehicles. Thanks to innovative automakers, such as Tesla Motors, General Motors, and Nissan, electric vehicles are becoming more common and more “acceptable” to the general public. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, less than 1% of American drivers use an electric vehicle, but some 42% of Americans could make the switch, if only they realized that the “limitations” are not really limiting, but liberating. The ever-widening variety of electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt, BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf, not to mention the Tesla Model S, is making electric vehicle adoption even more attractive.

Recently, we’ve been covering news about these companies and, while the Tesla Model S is a groundbreaking electric vehicles, we also realize it’s not the most affordable electric vehicle, even when you count how much money you’ll save by eliminating gas station visits. The BMW i3 and Nissan LEAF, along with other cars, like the Chevy Volt, Chevy Spark, Ford Focus Electric, and Fiat 500e, fall into a more acceptable price bracket. Taking a look at just two of these, garnering from another discussion of the BMW i3, seemed like a good idea.

What is it, exactly, that makes people want to buy an electric vehicle? Taking a look at the data from an official BMW comparison chart, we can quickly see how the BMW i3 and Nissan LEAF have a different tack when it comes to attracting customers and getting them into electric vehicles. After incentives, the BMW i3 comes in at about $6,400 more than the Nissan LEAF, which one might expect when comparing luxury to mass-market marques, but what do you get for $6,400, besides the classic blue-and-white logo?

As covered before, it isn’t range, because the BMW i3 is only rated between 80 and 100 miles, depending on how you drive it and if you use the ECO PRO mode to maximize it. Actually, the Nissan LEAF is rated at 84 miles, but uses a bigger lithium-ion battery pack, 24 kWh compared to the i3’s 22 kWh. The LEAF’s 187 lb•ft of torque is only just slightly higher than the i3’s 184 lb•ft, although the LEAF’s overall electric motor power is lower, just 80 kW compared to the i3’s 127 kW. The BMW i3 has it for performance, speed, and a gaggle of luxury accoutrements, which might be all that it needs, really, in spite of range in the same realm as the Nissan LEAF. Really, does it need to be more?

Image © BMW

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