Is BMW About To Price Itself Out of the EV Market With Expensive Lease Plans?

Contrary to what a lot of people outside of the EV world think, people who buy electric cars are not all rich jet-setters looking for their next toy. In fact, in our experience they are people who are stretching themselves finically to support technology they think will be important to the world.

Due to this lease prices are a hot topic in the world of EVs. This week some BMW i3 lease offers found their way onto the Internet which show that the i3 may be pricing itself out of a lot of potential buyer’s budgets.

Could Lease Prices Put Buyers Off the i3?

Could Lease Prices Put Buyers Off the i3?

George Betak, a current ActiveE driver, was given a quote for a BMW i3REx  from Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara, CA which required a Drive Off payment of $1899.48 with a monthly cost of $930.42 for 36 months. A price that came as a shock.

The Rate/Money Factor of 0.00165  also seems higher than expected. This converts to an APR of 3.96%.

Would You Accept This Quote?

Would You Accept This Quote?

To put this into perspective, this cost is close to a base level Model S ($63,750 in full or $986 per month) – to put it another way – multiple Nissan Leafs or Chevy Volts.

With BMW putting increasing pressure on their Electronauts – those people who leased MiniEs and/or ActiveEs when BMW was running tries – to confirm whether they would like to get an i3, these numbers may cause some consternation for some.

We spoke to a source close to BMW Finance who said that these lease figures have been based off an unfinished internal bulletin and are not final. We were told they are currently working on the official i3 financing figures at the moment and they will be released soon. Along with this a new product is being created for the i3 called OwnersChoice with Flex, this will be a purchase option that is structured like a lease.  We’ll bring you more information as we get it.

With the official figures still to be released it remains to be seen how close to the official figures the quote above will be. But at the moment, official or not, this quote has got potential buyers very concerned.

What makes this quote all the more worrying is that it could still increase. The quote was not for a fully-laden i3 REx, there was no Tera interior or Parking Assist included in this lease. In the UK we also know we’ll have the option for an additional monthly payment to provide access to the UK charging infrastructure and a number of ‘BMW points’ which can then be exchanged for rental of other BMW cars for longer trips – BMW has hinted at something similar in the US but there are no details as yet.

How much would spend a month on a i3 REx lease? How much is too much? When does an i3 lease become a ‘let’s just get a Tesla’ lease? Let us know below:


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  • Grant Thomas

    I looked at the cost and it was so much more than a Tekna or Accenta LEAF that it’s ruled out an i3 lease for me.

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  • vdiv

    Multiple security deposits would lower the money factor significantly, accrue interest, and the leasee will get them back at the end of the lease.nnnnSince unfortunately I am a bit of a “pestimist” in attempt to fight this shortcoming I’d like to look at the value proposition from the “glass half full” perspective. Ok, $1000 a month, fine. What do I get for that? Is the i3 or the ELR or whatever expensive plugin we are considering a vehicle with technological and practical capabilities as well as an emotional appeal deserving my interest?nnnNo. Even if the i3 had a price parity with a LEAF, and the ELR with a Volt I would still opt for the LEAF and the Volt. They are simply better vehicles. They have been around for a while so the good and the bad is better known. Many of the bugs have been figured out. More people drive them so one has a larger community for support.nnnThe Tesla Model S is whole different proposition. It is worth every penny and then some… if I had that many pennies.

  • vdiv

    BTW, I like the 80×24 character terminal app that they use to calculate the lease. Can only imagine a 9″ green monochromatic CRT and a giant clicky keyboard plugged into a mainframe. It reminds me of the ’80s…nnF8=TrdnnSeriously?!

  • Surya

    OK, BMW on average is more expensive than Nissan or Renault of course, but the premium you are paying for the badge on this car is – for me – not worth it. It’s a very solid car, and the acceleration is awesome, but in a market where other EV makers – except Tesla of course – are getting competititve when it comes to pricing, the i3 does seem too expensive.

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  • rconaway

    For that price, I’d be getting a Tesla.