Tesla Model S, BMW i3 Vie For European Car Of The Year Award

Some EV fans say the Tesla Model S sedan and all-new BMW i3 hatchback are the first two mass-market cars to capture the imagination of those whose interest in electric cars isn’t purely environmental. Others say they’re the two best plug-in cars made to date.  Now the two luxury plug-in cars get to duke it out for the coveted European Car of the Year award.

Tesla Model S or BMW i3? Which car would you pick?

Tesla Model S or BMW i3? Which car would you pick?

Announced this morning, the shortlist for the 2014 European Car of the Year contains just seven potential winners from a total list of more than 30 nominees. While five of the cars — the Citroën C4 Picasso, the Mazda 3, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Peugeot 308 and Skoda Octavia  — rely on gasoline or diesel to provide their motive power, the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S fly the flag for the new wave of luxury plug-in cars.

From this point on until the 2014 Geneva Motor Show — when the winner will be announced — the European team of judges will spend an extensive amount of time with each car, putting them through a series of tests and tasks to determine which of the seven contenders deserve to be crowned winner. While the Model S and BMW i3 have some tough competition from the other finalists, the competition itself is known for its love of electric cars.

BMW's i3 is on the shortlist for 2014 European Car of the Year, along with the Tesla Model S.

BMW’s i3 is on the shortlist for 2014 European Car of the Year, along with the Tesla Model S.

Back in 2011, the Nissan LEAF became the first ever electric car to be  crowned European Car of the Year, followed in 2012 by the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall Ampera. While the 2013 award went to the Volkswagen Golf — a car which will soon offer an electric variant but doesn’t yet — we think the judges will likely place the BMW i3 or Tesla Model S in the top three.

With its fresh styling and use of innovative lightweight materials, the BMW i3 is certainly unlike any electric car offered on the market before. Playing on BMW’s reputation for high-performance luxury vehicles, the BMW i3 has carved its own niche in the market. Thanks to an optional on-board range extending engine too, it offers versatility for European buyers who want to use its 100-mile expected all-electric range on a day to day basis but need something with longer legs at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the U.S. made Tesla Model S has for the past two years, redefined what an electric car could — or should — be. Blowing away the competition both in terms of  performance and range, the Model S offers European buyers their own slice of Silicon Valley — including a buying and ownership experience which owes more to a consumer electronics device than a car — that has never before been seen. And with its free-to-use network of ultra-fast supercharger refuelling points already rolling out across Europe, we think it’s likely Tesla will soon be adding European Car of the Year to its already impressive list of awards.

But what do you think, and why? Which car do you think deserves to win 2014 European Car of the Year? And does the presence of two plug-in models on this year’s shortlist prove that electric cars are finally becoming mainstream?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments Below.


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  • Kieron

    Even though the model s is awesome, I think there are two reasons why it should not win:n1. Price: It’s not affordable for almost everyone on the planetn2. It’s not European (just being picky!)nTwo reasons why it should go to the i3:n1. It’s built by Europeansn2. Its revolutionary construction and real world useability (ok that’s 2 reasons!)nHaving said all that, the model E will get my vote when it gets off the drawing board. If the model E pushes 200 miles range in a golf sized car for under 30k then I am going to start saving now!

    • Jonathan Tracey

      ok to play devils advocate :-)nnPrice should not enter into the judging since its about the best car, not the cheapest.nnMy leaf was voted car of the year 2011 thats Japanese so are you saying only european designed and built cars should be entered ?nnThe model S is a better car (IMHO) in just about every way, however its clearly built up to a price and spec level that does put it out of reach of a lot of people. However the i3 is not exactly being given away, if you spec up the i3 it costs a pretty penny so its not exactly the paupers choice.nnnI heard someone who went to test drive the i3 say the options price list was delivered by a man on a horse in a black mask shouting “stand and deliver”.nnBoth cars are designed for different jobs, one is a luxury cruiser and one is a city car, so comparing them is like comparing a bulldozer and a hot air balloon.nnThat said I do believe the i3 will win, as there is no way a bunch of Europeans are going to choose a crass american car as European car of the year.nnFull disclosure . Model S on order 🙂

      • Kieron

        Good reply!nI did have my tongue in my cheek at the time. Of course the model s is better, but I cannot bring myself to think of something costing upwards of u00a360k as a car at all, more a pipe dream. Surely affordability must come into the equation (bang for the buck) rather than pure performance?n I reckon someone would have to be on 6 figures to afford a model s i. e. Top 0.3% of earners globally.nu00a350k per year might mean you can afford an i3 so opening the market up to the top 0.8% of earners!nHang on a minute, I am undermining my argument!nNow, hot air balloons and bulldozers…….n:)