Tesla

Electric cars are the future, so BMW’s finally getting on board. German news outlet Handelsblatt reports that the company will unveil an electric version of its 3 series sedan, the crown jewel of its vehicle lineup, at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

The car will compete with Tesla’s highly-anticipated Model 3 in both range and price. BMW’s offering will have a range of 248 miles to the Model 3’s 215 miles, and though its cost has not yet been revealed, it’s expected to be similar to the Model 3’s $35,000 starting price.

That said, Elon Musk doesn’t need to quake in his boots yet: Tesla’s already got a running head start. The vehicle that BMW shows off in September will likely only be an initial prototype, whereas Tesla has almost completed its final version of the Model 3 and plans to unveil it in July. Mass production of the Model 3 will start soon after this reveal, meaning that customers who made an early reservation could receive their vehicle before the end of 2017. It could be years before BMW’s car is ready for release.

F34
The sixth (and newest) generation of the BMW 3 Series sedan.

Plus, Tesla’s already received hundreds of thousands of reservations for the Model 3.

Electric Car Vehicle
Tesla's Model 3.

BMW’s 3 series sedan — of which the company has made six generations, the earliest of which was manufactured in 1975 — is its flagship car. Thirty percent of BMW’s 2010 car sales came from this vehicle alone. As the company’s best-known model, it makes sense that BMW would use this sedan to enter the electric vehicle market.

Tesla and BMW aren’t the only ones competing to make relatively affordable electric cars these days: Volvo and VW have skin in the game, too. May the best company win.