BMW preparing to refresh the i3, i8 vehicles as sales go down

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 2, 2016

During the first quarter of the year, BMW has only sold a total of 5,128 units of the i3 and i8 combined around the world. This demonstrates a sales decline of about 23% from the same period last year. For the full-year of 2015, the German carmaker sold 24,057 units of the i3 and 5,456 units of the i8.

The slump can widely be attributed to the growing competition and relatively expensive price tag. For a short mile range of about 80 miles, the i3 already has a base price of $42,400. This can be improved up to 160 miles with a two-cylinder engine for an additional $3,850.

Moreover, the BMW i3 is said to not be able to live up to its looks and environmental friendliness. Its eco-friendly eDrive setting is not even practical for today’s driving era as it offers a mile range of 22 miles and a maximum speed of 75 mph.

To give sales a boost, BMW is planning to increase the mile range of the i3 up to 120 miles. With this update, the i3 will be able to deliver better, improving overall driving experience. Speculations have it that the carmaker is also working on the i5, a possible third installment in the iSeries. Accordingly, the i5 is likely a sedan that offers a mile range of about 200 miles, competing with the Tesla Model 3.

The i3 will be offered in two variants: 1) a fully electric vehicle (EV) packed with the new battery; and 2) a Rex model with the same battery solution. Presently, the i3 is made up of 8 x 2.7 kWh packs cells, each of which contains 12 x 3.75 V, 60 Ah actual cells that are wired in series for a nominal capacity of 21.80 kWh, 360 V.

Growing EV Market Competition

The worst thing about the sudden drop in sales of the iSeries is that BMW just lost to a Chinese start-up, Future Mobility Corporation. This underscores how emerging companies can easily oust established carmakers in the world when it comes to EVs and hybrids.

Leading BMW i8 hybrid sports vehicle developer Carsten Breitfeld, for example, left BMW and joined Future Mobility as its CEO. Three major iSeries executives followed him to the Chinese start-up as well.

iSeries electric powertrain developer Dirk Abendroth, BMW iSeries Design Head Benoit Jacob, and BMW iSeries Product Management Head Henrik Wenders joined Future Mobility recently. However, BMW has not yet released a statement regarding the matter.

Topics: bmw, bmw i3, bmw i8, sales

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