The initial demand for BMW’s i3 electric car surpassed the automaker’s expectations, possibly leading to an increase in production. BMW's Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said that the car will go on sale in Europe next month yet but already, it has received over 8,000 orders of the battery-powered i3 compact models.
At Monday’s press conference in Amsterdam, Eichiner said that BMW hopes to sell over 10,000 units of the i3s in 2014. He also said that the company "will adjust capacity according to demand.” He said that if the demand for the model is persistent, the company will have to invest more. The industry is glad about BMW's early success. Automakers have struggled to make these new electric cars gain traction with alternative-drive vehicles even as consumers are worried about the dislike for higher prices as well as the short distance driven before it has to be recharged.
On Nov. 16, the i3 is set to go on sale in Germany. Within the first half of 2014, it will arrive in the U.S., China and Japan. The i3 is priced at 34,950 euros in Germany and will cost $41,350 in the U.S. BMW says that it anticipates that the i3 will display a good sales potential for the i3 in affluent urban regions of California, Europe and Asia. Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Commerzbank, said that it’s a “good sign” for the i3 to attract plenty of interest.
He claimed that BMW has already absorbed the research and development costs for the vehicle and that the car is profitable. This means that each car sold results to profits. Analysts said that BMW has invested at least 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) on developing the "i" series.
BMW developed the i3 from scratch instead of converting an existing model, an approach to electric vehicles that is different from other conventional automakers. Actually, the i3 is the first car for BMW's i sub-brand. The i8 hybrid supercar is set to go on sale in 2013. It’s believed that there will soon be more models. Last July, BMW's sales chief Ian Robertson said that the brand has trademarked i1 through i9.
The BMW i3 is an expression of fluidity and freedom in both design and technology. This is made possible by the BMW eDrive technology and the LifeDrive architecture, both unique BMW revolutionary systems.
The BMW i3 has dynamic proportions that give both the driver and passenger liberty in space. The BMW i3 measures 3,999 mm long, 1,775 wide, and 1,578 high, its compact nature belying the spacious interior that gives occupants a comfortable ride. The i3’s enhanced proportions allow it flexibility in maneuvering and this is further aided by the car’s short overhangs. Also contributing to the BMW i3’s impressive agility is its low-weight design. This is due to the visible carbon structures, the large glass surfaces, and the passenger compartment made of CFRP, a type of material that is both extremely rigid and lighweight. All these help make the BMW i3 light and dynamic.
The BMW i3’s front design which contains the kidney grille has a powerful contoured apron. The car also features U-shaped LED bordering the headlights and rear lights that appear as large, fully glazed tailgate lights. By using the lightweight CFRP, BMW design engineers have made access to the two row seats easier as the i3 has been able to dispense with the B-pillars in the passenger compartment.
One distinct feature of the i models of BMW can be seen extending into the rear of the car from the bonnet over the roof. This is the signature “black belt” which along with the “stream flow” are features unique to the BMW i models. Both of these distinct features have also been installed in the BMW i3. The “stream flow” sweeps the side contours that provide side window surfaces that are larger at the rear, thereby enhancing the feeling of having more interior space.