Testing the i4 M50 in the real world
Edmunds tests every new electric vehicle on the same real-world driving loop to see just how far it can travel from a full charge down to zero miles remaining. If you scroll through our EV range leaderboard, you'll see that most EVs have matched or exceeded their EPA range estimates in our testing. Much of that has to do with our ability to test in near ideal conditions year-round.
Our i4 M50 test car was extremely well equipped, including the optional 20-inch wheels and summer tires (Pirelli P Zero Elect 255/35 R20 front, 285/30 R20 rear) inflated to the factory-recommended pressure of 39 psi and 45 psi front and rear, respectively. We weighed our i4 in at a burly 5,086 pounds, a half-ton more than the Tesla Model 3 Performance (4,092 pounds), which also plays a role in how efficient a car is.
Over the course of a full day of driving at an average temperature of 75 degrees, we managed to travel a total of 268 miles. That's 41 miles more than the EPA estimate, an appreciable improvement of 18.1%. By comparison, the Tesla didn't even match its EPA range estimate, let alone outperform it.
So how much did those 268 miles cost?
While the total range of a vehicle continues to dominate the EV conversation and will likely be a popular talking point for the i4, energy consumption is an important factor as well. Energy consumption is what determines how much your miles will cost you. The unit of measurement for consumption, the kilowatt-hour, can be thought of as the EV equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. Just like gas, the price of electricity varies depending on where you live. For example, you'll pay about 9 cents per kWh in Nebraska as of this writing, whereas in Hawaii it'll run you about 37 cents.
So, what can BMW owners expect to pay at "the pump"? After charging the battery back to full, we calculated an Edmunds consumption rate of 34.1 kWh/100 miles, which is 18.8% more efficient than the EPA estimate of 42 kWh/100 miles. If we lived in Hawaii, our 268-mile trip in the i4 would have cost us $33.81, while if we lived in Nebraska, that same trip would cost just $8.23.
If we compare the i4 to its most efficient competition, the Tesla Model 3 Performance, the same 268 miles would have cost $29.75 in Hawaii and $7.24 in Nebraska. So the differences in your fuel bill will be marginal if choosing between the BMW and any one of its closest competitors. Although the BMW is a lot less efficient per the EPA's estimates, it closes the gap in the real world to the point that most people likely wouldn't even give it a second thought.