Want To Test-Drive BMW's i3 Electric Car? Join The Other 100,000...

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No single automaker has yet sold 100,000 examples of an electric car.

BMW is no different, and won't be for quite some time--as its full production electric vehicles, notably the i3 city car, are yet to hit the streets.

But the German automaker has got that many people interested in its i3, at least--boasting that it has test drive reservations from 100,000 people around the world for the futuristic little vehicle.

That's according to BMW sales boss Ian Robertson, reports Automotive News Europe.

Robertson also says the company has "significant numbers of deposits" on the i3, which will be available as a full battery-electric vehicle and a range-extended electric car.

Neither test drive reservations nor even deposits will translate directly into i3 sales, but Robertson sees the high interest levels as signs the car will be a game-changer in the sector.

We're not entirely sure of that--back in 2010, Nissan quoted similar interest levels for its Leaf, and it took a good few years to reach even half that figure. Of course, Leaf sales are now accelerating, and BMW has previously stated global production capacity for the i3 is around 30,000 units per year, so the German marque presumably has realistic targets.

No solid pricing details have yet been released, but BMW has previously hinted pricing will be similar to that of a well-equipped 3-Series--our estimate is between $42,000-$46,000.

That price refers only to the battery electric version--not the twin-cylinder, motorcycle-engined range-extended car--and isn't a "net price", so doesn't include any federal or local incentives.

The i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, set to follow the i3 into production, will likely cost a whole lot more than that.

Robertson is confident both i3 and i8 will be profitable during their life-cycles--important for BMW, one of the world's more profitable automakers--and holds high hopes that improvements in battery technology will make them even more viable in future.

The production i3 will finally be unveiled at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

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Comments (10)
  1. Does anyone know where I can sign up for a test drive or deposit? I am in California. I couldn't find anything on website (www.bmw-i-usa.com) in my 5 minute search.
    Thanks

  2. Hi Mike. My best guess would be to register your interest with your local dealer - they probably keep a list of those wishing to test-drive the vehicle when it arrives.

    As far as deposits go, I'm not sure BMW USA is taking any yet. Only a handful of European countries have started doing so.

  3. I contacted several of my "local" BMW dealers more than 5 months ago to be on a "notify" list as soon as THEY had any concreto information. I am in the Sacramento area, by the way.

  4. That certainly sounds like a promising start for the i3. Could it be this car has a certain X-factor that is lacking from some of it's EV competitors? Or is it just that many people don't completely realize what sort of price BMW really has in mind for this car? It's going to be interesting to watch whether BMW really is on to something here.

  5. An almost all carbon-fiber battery electric BMW for "only" $42K?? Where do I sign up to test drive?!?!?! ;-)

  6. I am very interested in the i3, but I'm leery of the mystery pricing and september reveal on the production version. I know it's not in their best interest to tip their hand early, but the suspense is killing me.

  7. @Bret: To be fair, it's quite usual practice for carmakers to release pricing only a few weeks or months before the car goes on sale.

  8. Why would i8 cost significantly more if they are similarly in design except of the engine part? Also, i3 will have a larger battery pack than the i8 which should be the most expensive component of the car.

  9. The i8 has a complete dual power system and a different target market....one used to paying much more to "play."

  10. An engine/transmission shouldn't cost more than $10k for BMW. I think the "target market" will be different, but we all know how well the Tesla S is doing.

    So, the "play" market are less price senstive than the so called "green" market.

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