i3 will tilt Bmw’s image toward innovation and sustainability, CEO says

Article by Christian A., on August 5, 2013

If the Bmw i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe will be marketed as a rival for Porsche and Ferrari, we can’t say the same thing about the recently introduced i3. According to Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, the smaller i3 will be marketed as a showpiece of innovation. Moreover, the Bmw i3 will tilt company’s image towards innovation and sustainability, according to the same Willisch.

CEO of BMW of North America says that Bmw cars are still perceived as fuel-hungry performance cars in the United States, despite fuel consumption has been greatly improved over the years. Although electric cars are not quite popular in the United States, Willisch predicts that the Bmw i3 will be in high demand but the bad news is that the Bavarian carmaker will bring a limited number of vehicles stateside.

For those who don’t know, the Bmw i3 will cost $42,275, including shipping, before a $7,500 federal tax credit or any state incentives. The i3 will offer a range of 80 to 100 miles, while with the range extender the mileage will be double. For those who are not willing to pay the mentioned amount of money on the i3, the German company will not offer the low-price deals people saw at the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Spark EV or the Fiat 500e.

"We put a lot of resources into it so we have no plans to sell it cheap," Willisch said. Bmw has 338 dealers in the United States, but 50 of them decided not to sell the car. According to Jacob Harb, head of electric vehicles and strategy for BMW of North America, the dealers that don’t sell the car in the United States are either small or in rural areas.

Designers were able to experience a greater degree of freedom in designing the new BMW i3 thanks to the LifeDrive architecture and BMW eDrive drive technology. Blessed with looks exuding space and enjoyable driving experience, the BMW is provided with compact proportions -- 3,999 mm in length, 1,775 mm in width and 1,578 mm in height – that properly convey its dynamism and agility. Also helping underline the agility and nimbleness of the new i3 are its short overhangs.

Meanwhile, the lightness and low-weight design of the new BMW i3 are communicated through its large glass surfaces and visible carbon structures. Interestingly, the i3 has no B-pillars, allowing occupants to access the cabin with breeze – thanks to the fact the passenger compartment was constructed using CFRP.

The new i3 features a number of design cues common with i models. These include the "black belt" that passed by the hood through the roof and flows into the rear end. Another of these cues is the "stream flow" sweep of the side contours, which allowed the i3 to have larger side window surfaces at the rear.

Topics: bmw, bmw i3, electric car, ceo

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