Starting in 2014, BMW AG will aim to sell at least 30,000 units of its i3 electric vehicle annually. Ian Robertson, BMW’s global sales and marketing boss, said that the company is targeting volume production for the i3.
He added that the sales volume for the i3 could be comparable to one of the lower-volume Mini derivatives but if there are opportunities, the company can easily raise the output. In 2010, Mini sold about 30,000 units of its Clubman model worldwide.
BMW is preparing to launch in 2013 the i3 EV, formerly known as the Megacity Vehicle, and the i8 plug-in hybrid under its i subbrand, which is a product of its Project i group.
The company based the i8 two-door coupe on the 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. BMW said the plug-in hybrid boasts of having sports car-like performance but with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car. Pricing of the i3 has yet to be decided but according to BMW sources, it will be priced higher than 40,000 euros in Europe.
Robertson said that just like all BMW Group products, the BMW i3 will be a premium car. It has yet to be confirmed what the initial pricing for the i8 would be.
Robertson said that its sales “strongly depend on legislation” and the taxation terms not just in big markets such as the U.S. or China, but also in local city authorities.
He said that sales are expected to rise in cities, such as Amsterdam or London, which decide to give the customers a tax reduction. Presently, Ireland and France give a one-time subsidy of 5,000 euros to EV buyers.
While the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept are both underpinned by the LifeDrive architecture, their geometric implementations are different since the platform has been adapted to match their varied usages.
As for the BMW i3 Concept, it comes with a horizontal-split variant of the LifeDrive concept that has been optimized to contain its electric drive system. The Life cell simply sits on top of the Drive module whose functional design revolves around the battery that has been made as large as it can get to provide the BMW i3 Concept with a better range.
Because of its size, the battery of the BMW i3 Concept was accommodated in the vehicle underfloor section, occupying the entire central section of the Drive module, giving the car optimum weight distribution and a low centre of gravity and therefore enhancing its dynamics.
The battery is penned in by aluminium profiles, which protect it from external impact. Crash-active structures in front and behind it provide the necessary energy absorption in the event of a front- or rear-end collision.
The electric drive system is, as a whole, much more compact than a comparable combustion engine, cleverly accommodating the electric motor, gear assembly and drive electronics - in space-saving fashion - within a small area over the driven rear axle. The BMW i3 Concept therefore features the optimum LifeDrive architecture configuration for a purely electric vehicle.