How to Save Money on the BMW You Have Always Wanted

EVs usually have elevated price points that might scare buyers away, especially if it’s a luxury BMW model. However, you can help offset these costs if your vehicle qualifies for the federal tax credit. It’s usually as high as $7,500 for fully electric vehicles, but some plug-in hybrids are still eligible for at least $4,000.

To see if your vehicle qualifies, you can check the most updated list on the IRS website. Considering BMW’s rapid progression toward EV technology, it’s no surprise that several of its vehicles are eligible. If you’ve ever wanted a BMW for less, consider buying one of these models.

Which BMW sedans qualify for the federal tax credit?

If you want the full $7,500 credit, we recommend the BMW i3 and the same model with the range extender. The 2021 i3 is a cute, bean-shaped little car powered by a 42-kWh battery. It generates 168 hp and can get 153 miles of range. The optional range extender can increase its efficiency up to 205 miles. This mechanism kicks in while the battery is low to keep the car in constant motion. If the main battery charger runs out, it supplies a minimal amount of gasoline from a 2.3-gallon tank. 

However, models with the range extender are less efficient from the get-go with 125 miles of range. It’s a little disappointing in a segment where 200-250 miles has been considered the baseline range. Fortunately, the BMW i3 is also equipped with the fast-charging capability to encourage drivers to keep their vehicles juiced up. 

Although it doesn’t have too much power on tap, the BMW i3’s lightweight chassis makes it an agile driver. When Car and Driver tested its speed, it reached 60 mph in a respectable 6.6 seconds. You also won’t hear any excessive exterior noise or feel intrusive bumps or woes common for this weight class.

The 2021 BMW i3s is close to the same car, but it has a higher power output of 181 hp. It also sets itself apart with black exterior accents and bigger wheels. On the inside, both vehicles come standard with upscale recycled cloth upholstery and some nice bits of tech like Apple CarPlay. Passenger space isn’t terrible, but taller riders will feel cramped.

Do any BMW SUVs qualify?

We’d recommend the 2021 BMW X3 SUV, which receives a credit of up to $5,836. The electric xDrive30e is powered by a hybrid four-cylinder engine generating 288 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It can get 17 miles of range in electric mode but only gets 24 mpg combined with gasoline. Charging times are also relatively slow compared to other PHEVs.

Still, the BMW X3 xDrive30e redeems itself with quick acceleration combined with a fun and comfortable drive. It’s also more spacious than the BMW i3 and comes with standard synthetic leather seats. Optional upgrades include a panoramic moonroof, a 16-speaker premium audio system, and even some sporty equipment like an adaptive suspension.

How does the federal tax credit work?

An extra $7,500 sounds enticing, but Electrek says it’s not that simple. The government also factors in the size of the battery, which is why hybrid vehicles get lower credits. You also won’t get the total amount if you owe less income tax than the specified credit.

There are also some exceptions to the credit, as detailed by the EPA website. You can’t receive the credit for any Tesla made beyond 2019, and the same applies to specific Chevy EVs. Still, if you can take advantage of it, the federal tax credit is a great way to snag a fancy BMW.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About EV Tax Credits