Hybrid BMW i8 VS Electric Tesla Model S – How Different They Are

All-electric and plug-in hybrids are becoming more and more popular among the enthusiasts of green-tech cars. If you are one who believes electric automobiles are the future, then you’ll be probably curious of comparing the basic characteristics of these two high-end vehicles.

Despite being in different categories, BMW i8 and Tesla Model S are quite interesting models to compare, as both are one of the most envied cars available today in the electric auto segment.

Now let’s see how different these 2 are! 


Tesla Model S is a revolutionary plug-in all-electric car produced by American automaker Tesla Motors. It is company’s second all-electric automobile after The Tesla Roadster, the sports car released in 2008. Being on sale since 2012, Tesla Model S won many awards, including World Green Car of the Year in 2013. In 2016, this plug-in car became the second best-seller in history after Nissan Leaf, hatchback electric car by Japanese carmaker Nissan.

Model S is a spacious 4-door liftback with great passenger capacity, quiet performance and a revolutionary driving range. The Model S exists in different configurations, depending on battery and motor size, as well as option and equipment. The basic S models are the 60, 60D, 70D, 75D, 85D, P85D and the Model S P100D (introduced in Aug 2016). In US, Tesla S Model is classified as a full-size luxury sedan. In EU – as Sports Car.

Who should consider Tesla Model S

In terms of comfort, Tesla Model S is spacious and practical. Being an eco-friendly car, it is also family-friendly and can carry up 5 to 7 passengers with maximum comfort. What’s more, the car has fully functional front and rear trunk. So, if you are a family man looking for an electric car for cross country driving – Tesla Model S would probably work just fine for you.

BMW i8

BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid sports model developed by German automaker BMW under sub-brand BMW i. BMW i8 comes after all-electric BMW i3, also known as Mega City Vehicle. Model i8 is on sale since 2014, and is the winner of World Green Car award in 2015. In 2016, the i8 became the world’s top selling electric plug-in sports car.

i8 is a 2-door coupe with the ability to carry up to 4 passengers (2+2) with a low seating position and narrow seats. This plug-in hybrid supercar is made from lightweight materials and uses a drive system comprising an electric motor and an efficient combustion engine. In the non-electric driving modes, the battery is charged directly by the petrol engine.

Who should consider BMW i8

If you want a compact and futuristic sporty car with high mobility and sustainability level, consider plug-in hybrid BMW i8. In terms of comfort, rear seats passengers would probably feel quite uncomfortable. If you have many guys or luggage to carry up, the i8 is not the best model choice. To carry some luggage anyway, BMW provides a custom-fit luggage created by Louis Vuitton specifically for the i8. It straps to car backseat and has a shocking price tag – $20,000.

A quick look at basics of BMW i8 vs Tesla Model S

BMW i8

  • Carmaker: BMW, Germany
  • Debuted in: 2014-present
  • 2015 World Green Car of The Year Award
  • Class: 2-door coupe, sports car
  • Design concept: futuristic, compact, low seating position, butterfly-style doors, very little cargo capacity
  • Base price starts at $ 136 000
  • Acceleration to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds
  • Engine: plug-in hybrid
  • Battery by: Samsung
  • Battery size: small; 7.1 kWh lithium-ion
  • Power: 362 hp
  • Passenger capacity: 4 passengers, narrow seats 

Tesla Model S

  • Carmaker: Tesla Motors, USA
  • Debuted in: 2012-present
  • 2013 World Green Car of The Year Award
  • Class: 4-door liftback
  • Design concept: full-size luxury, typical shape, cargo capacity (front and rear trunk), family-friendly
  • Base version price starts at $ 80,000
  • Acceleration to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds
  • Engine: all-electric
  • Battery by: Panasonic
  • Battery capacity: large; 75, 85, 90 or 100 kWh lithium ion
  • Power: 416 hp (in the top version)
  • Passenger capacity: up to 5-7 occupants + luggage

BMW i8 and Tesla Model S: Obviously Different Animals

Now to answer our question above, BMW i8 and Tesla Model S are obviously different cars, each with its own mission and driving performance. Despite both being battery-powered, amazingly fast and eco-friendly, one is a sporty hybrid model with futuristic design concept, compact body and smaller battery capacity; the other is all-electric family hatchback with classic appearance and comfortable passenger capacity. 

Which one would work fine for YOU? We’d like to hear what you think of these 2 models! Please leave a comment below.


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