BMW warns of months-long wait to test drive i3 in London

Article by Anita Panait, on December 7, 2013

If you live in London and wanting to test drive BMW’s new i3 electric car, then you would have to wait around five months before you could have your turn. UK i subbrand boss Suzanne Gray told Nick Gibbs of Automotive News that BMW’s 47 dealers in the country have arranged 1,000 test drives -- resulting in 300 sales -- in three weeks.

She added that another 6,000 test drives were booked. Gibbs decided to try booking a test drive for the new i3 in the UK, and was told that he only has to wait a week to be able to get one. According to BMW head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson, the process of getting all those who want to test drive the BMW i3 a chance to do so has been slowed by the fact that there is a need to recharge the electric vehicle between uses.

He disclosed that so far, interest for the i3 has been great around the world, as evidenced by around 100,000 people waiting for a test drive. The delay, however, has failed to dampen interest on the i3 as BMW has already taken more than 10,000 orders for the i3 in its first three weeks of availability in Europe.

According to Robertson, BMW considers London as crucial to the success of the i3 in Europe. If BMW can't sell the i3 in London, "then we're in trouble," the executive added. The BMW i3 has a starting price of GBP25,680 (31,000 euros) in the UK after factoring in the GBP5,000 government incentive.

Thanks to the LifeDrive platform and BMW eDrive drive technology, designers were given a great degree of freedom in creating a BMW i3 with exterior looks that are as mesmerizing as the driving experience it provides.

BMW has made sure that the i3 comes with dynamic characteristic and compact proportions that convey its agility suited for urban driving, as evident on its body that measures 3,999 mm in length, 1,775 mm in width and 1,578 mm in height. It also comes with short overhangs, indicating its nimbleness on the road. The lightweight nature of the BMW i3 is manifested through its large glass surfaces as well as through its visible carbon structures.

By employing carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) – a light yet extremely rigid material -- in the construction of the passenger compartment, the i3 could do without B-pillars, which in turn allowed occupants to access the cabin a lot easier.

Like BMW i models, the new i3 comes with the "black belt" signature element that extends from the bonnet over the roof and into the rear. Another signature element is the so-called "stream flow" sweep of the side contours, allowing the new BMW i3 to feature larger side window surfaces at the rear.

Meanwhile, the front end of the new BMW i3 is marked by a dynamically contoured apron and by a very unique interpretation of the BMW kidney grille. This grille is flanked by headlights that are likewise bordered by U-shaped LED light units. LED rear lights also feature a U-shape, and are integrated as "floating" elements into the i3’s large glazed tailgate.

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Topics: bmw, bmw i3, electric car



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