BMW Group currently has two models in its i-series range – the i3 electric car and the i8 hybrid supercar -- and won’t add a third one until it has a better grasp of the demand, BMW production chief Harald Krueger said. "We need to see how demand for the cars develops," Krueger said. He remarked that BMW is not yet considering building the i3 in China since the infrastructure in the world's largest car market is still developing.
BMW operates a site with joint-venture partner Brilliance China Automotive in Shenyang, China, where it builds the BMW 3- and 5-series sedans together. BMW is building the i3 in Leipzig, Germany. The German luxury carmaker is increasing the use of lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in its i-range and has constructed a site in the YS in partnership with SGL Carbon to guarantee supply of the material for its vehicles.
Krueger remarked that for now, BMW will exclusively use its own carbon fiber capacity for its own production instead of selling the material to other carmakers. The carmaker is investing EUR2 billion ($2.7 billion) to develop the i-series, with the i3 compact hatchback becoming the first model to be launched.
The i3 has already exceeded BMW’s expectations as over 11,000 global orders were received since the electric car was rolled out to German showrooms in November 2013.This high demand means customers have to wait up to six months to receive their i3s. BMW has trademarked the i series through to number i9, which indicates the extent of its ambition. The i8 plug-in hybrid supercar will be launched this spring.