BMW i3 Concept
BMW i3 Concept (BMW Group)

The BMW i3 will start at $42,275 (including a $925 destination charge) when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2014. The all-electric i3 will join the ranks of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles that qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which currently include cars like the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. Edmunds points out that a full tax credit effectively will lower the i3’s starting price to $34,775.

“With this leading-edge vehicle and attractive price, we will provide customers with a compelling offer for electromobility,” says Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW in a press release. The i3’s starting price is $27,625 less than the base Tesla Model S, but also $13,475 more than the Nissan Leaf. Plug-in hybrid competitors like the 2013 Chevrolet Volt and 2014 Ford Fusion Energi start at $2,280 and $2,589 less, respectively.

(BMW Group)

The Los Angeles Times spoke with Gartner Auto Analyst Thilo Koslowski, who says that BMW’s entrance into the EV market could put some pressure on automakers like Tesla. “Gaining as much mind share as possible at this point is hugely important,” says Koslowski. “The clock is ticking for Tesla in its unique position. They have to leverage the thrust they have now.”

The BMW says that the i3 will come with an electric motor that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, as well as a 22-kilowatt-hour battery that will provide 80 to 100 miles of driving range. The i3 can be charged using a home charging system, or at standard Level 2 public charging stations. A fast-charging port will be optional, which BMW says can “provide an 80 percent charge from a fully depleted battery in just 20 minutes.” An optional two-cylinder engine will also be available, which acts as a generator to provide another 80 to 100 miles of driving range.

Edmunds expects the i3’s home charging station to start at between $2,000 and $3,000, while the range-extending engine should be available for roughly $2,000.

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