a premium electric sedan cheaper than a Tesla Model 3?

BMW announces the arrival of a “small” version of its i4 with the eDrive35 version. First marketed in Canada, this model will soon arrive in France and should be displayed at prices very close to the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion.


It’s hard to overshadow the Tesla Model 3. The star of electric cars in France and Europe last year took advantage of government aid and particularly low prices to post an impressive increase in sales, even to the point of dethroning the Renault Zoé in France.

But since then, even if government aid has not changed in France this year, the price of access to the Tesla Model 3 has changed a lot. During the first half of the year, Tesla has revised the prices of its Model 3 several times, and the Populsion model, that is to say the entry level, is now displayed from €53,490excluding ecological bonus.

13,500 euros increase in six months

The Model 3 Propulsion was displayed last January from 43,990 euros, excluding the ecological bonus of 6,000 euros. If we deduct the ecological bonus, we could buy a Model 3 Propulsion at 37,990 euros in January versus 51,490 euros if you place your order now. And the Model 3 is not the only one concerned, since the observation is the same for the Model Y, the compact SUV. The Grande Autonomie model is at 64,990 euros – it no longer benefits from an ecological bonus at this price – against 69,990 euros for the Performance model. In January 2022, the Grande Autonomie model was sold for 59,990 euros, from which 2,000 euros of ecological bonus were removed.

And who could benefit from this increase in the price of Tesla? Its fiercest competitor, the BMW i4. Available from 59,000 euros in the eDrive40 version, the Bavarian firm will soon offer a more accessible model and which could come dangerously close to the price of a Model 3.

Less powerful, less enduring, but above all less expensive

This is the BMW i4 eDrive35, a less powerful model than the eDrive40 (340 hp) and M50 (544 hp), the Bavarian firm announcing 286 hp in total. However, this remains a more than respectable power for an electric sedan that wants to be dynamic. BMW does not yet provide all the information, but to reduce the price of access, we can imagine a reduced standard equipment endowment compared to the i4 eDrive40.

The German firm has also cut back on the battery. If the eDrive40 and M50 models are entitled to a battery with a capacity of 83.9 kWh, the BMW i4 eDrive35 will be satisfied with 70.2 kWh. This obviously plays on the level of autonomy, since BMW is already announcing 490km under the WLTP homologation cycle, i.e. 100 km less than an eDrive40 version. This remains, once again, comfortable for an electric sedan. For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 Propulsion is announced at 491 km of autonomy under the WLTP cycle.


The BMW i4 eDrive35 in numbers

  • Length: 4.78 meters
  • Wheelbase: 2.86 meters
  • Maximum power: 286 hp
  • Maximum torque: 400 Nm
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 6.0 seconds
  • Power consumption (WLTP): NC
  • Autonomy (WLTP): 490 km
  • High voltage battery capacity: 70.2 kWh (gross) / 66.0 kWh (net)
  • Max charging power: 180 kW (DC), 11 kW (AC)
  • Charging time 10 to 80% (DC): 32 min
  • Maximum charging power: 160 km in 10 minutes (DC)
  • Trunk: 470 to 1290 liters

A price very close to the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion?

The BMW i4 eDrive35 is already available to order in Canada. It will arrive on the Old Continent and in France soon, BMW having remained rather evasive on the launch date in its press release. The various shortages at the moment must certainly constrain the launch schedule. This version will be produced in Germany, at the BMW plant in Munich. Production will begin next November.

We estimate that its base price should be around €53,000, enough to clearly overshadow the Tesla Model 3 since the two models would be displayed at substantially the same price for almost similar powers and autonomy. It remains to be seen whether the endowment in terms of equipment will be as complete as on the American, the German brands being particularly fond of lists of options as long as the arm.

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