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100% Electric Vehicles

Nissan LEAF vs BMW i3 vs Tesla Model S — Your Responses

About a month ago, I wrote a long article about my challenge deciding between a Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, or Tesla Model S. I buried a short poll on the bottom of the article and, honestly, didn’t think many of you would see or respond to it. Surprisingly, 1,651 people have responded to the poll!

For a few days, the three options were super close — basically split ⅓-⅓-⅓ — and I think each of them were #1 at some point or another. That matched my mindset pretty well.

However, I got more and more solid on a preference for the BMW i3, and the poll actually turned in that direction as well. Based on responses from EV Obsession and CleanTechnica readers, this is were it stands now:

Nissan LEAF vs BMW i3 vs Tesla Model S

That’s 699 (42%) voting that I’ll choose the BMW i3, 551 (33%) the Nissan LEAF, and 401 (24%) the Tesla Model S.

We’ll see, and despite heavily leaning toward the i3, I’m still not sure and intend to do two more test drives each (1 on my own while I’m in Florida to present at the EV Transportation & Technology Summit and 1 with my wife later on).

I’ve all but ruled out the LEAF since it can’t make a few trips I want to take and since, I think more importantly, the drive quality of the i3 and Model S is just stunning. So as a quick update, these are the strengths of the two models relative to each other (not any other cars) that are pulling me to them:

BMW i3

  • Compact but feels spacious.
  • Greenest car on the market.
  • ~50% cheaper.
  • Doesn’t have excess battery capacity I won’t need ~99% of the time, but still has the ability to make the road trips I want to take (with the REx, but primarily using electricity).
  • Will theoretically help to pull more people over to EVs since it’s more affordable and also similar to much more affordable models people could choose if the i3 was still too much for them.
  • Awesome regenerative braking package.
  • Looks cool.

Tesla Model S

  • Amazing acceleration and handling.
  • Safest car on the planet.
  • Produced by a company that is 100% for electric transport.
  • Produced by a company I’ve invested in.
  • Supercharger access that allows me to never touch a drop of gas again (in the US, at least).
  • Awesome tech/infotainment.
  • Looks super slick.

It’s a tough decision. I’m eager to get behind the wheel of these again. And, yes, I’m still going to test out the LEAF and probably some other EVs as well before making the decision.

Written By

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.


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