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BMW courting Tesla Model 3 customers with ‘Wait or Drive’ ads

BMW isn’t pulling punches in its efforts to appeal to Tesla Model 3 reservation holders. Two recent television commercials specifically address people who are waiting till at least 2017 to take delivery of their new Teslas, as reported in Green Car Reports. The common message of the two ads is, why keep waiting for a Model 3 when you can buy a BMW 330e today?

It’s safe to say the rush of pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 was a wake-up call for many in the automotive industry, including Tesla itself. With 373,000 refundable deposits on hand, the last number confirmed by the company, Tesla has ramped up its production schedule and is doubling the size of its Fremont, California factory.

Related: It’s ‘pencil down’ day on the Tesla Model 3, according to Musk

Other carmakers have now seen that, based on the volume of orders for an all-electric car with a per charge range of over 200 miles and a starting price tag in the mid $30s, there’s a market today for such cars. The Model 3 won’t start to deliver to the earliest reservation holders until late 2017, and that’s if the company hits all its aggressive production deadlines.

Many conventional auto industry commenters say Tesla’s plans are too ambitious and deliveries might be delayed even as long as two years. Of course, Tesla itself is anything but conventional, but by the end of the decade, the consensus is most major car companies will have all-electric cars priced at or near the current $33,666 average new car cost, though they are not there yet.

BMW does have an all-electric car for sale now, the BMW i3, which starts at $42,400 and has a range of 80 to 114 miles per charge. The two BMW commercials, however, show the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid, a car that has a 17-mile electric-only range and a $43,700 starting price. So neither of the Beemer alternatives in the Tesla-focused ads have anything near the Model 3’s promised range or starting price … but they are available now.

The voiceover for one of BMW’s television ads says in a droning voice that, “You will wait, and wait, and wait some more, all before that electric-car company’s new model ever even arrives.” It will be interesting to see if the BMWs ads are effective. and the best measure of that may be if they continue for more than just a month or two.