2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 official debut 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts 2014 BMW i3 debuts
Jacob Harb, head of electric vehicle operations and strategy for BMW, is excited these days. He's got a lot to sort out as the company's first large-scale production electric vehicle, the i3. Extending Electronaut leases, arranging tens of thousands of EV test drives and making sure there will be enough of the little city cars in the US when customer deliveries will start in May. Oh, and he's already working on the next BMW EV, which we think is likely to be the i5.

During the Detroit Auto Show this week, Harb declined to name the model (surprise) but he did tell AutoblogGreen, "You can probably take an educated guess at the next thought process, something a little bigger, maybe a little more range, relative to the i3. We've got everything trademarked and we're exploring the best, next iteration. It is coming. It's in development now." [See update below.] An i5 has been rumored for years, but Harb said he's flying to Munich next week to "start the discussions further" on BMW's next-gen EVs.

The Electronaut Edition i3 is "a thank you to them for being part of this broad journey with us" - BMW's Jacob Harb

But there's much more to do, given the upcoming i3 launch. For one thing, leases for the first participants in BMW's Active E electronaut program - which started in January 20121 - will end in the next week or so, and those who want to get an i3 – and an "overwhelming majority" have said they are interested - may get their leases extended so they don't have to revert back to a gas car in the meantime. BMW dealers will be able to start ordering the i3 in "the next few days" and the Active E Electronauts will get the first of those cars off the production line, "as a thank you to them for being part of this broad journey with us," Harb said.

There will also be a special Electronaut Edition of the i3, that will be upgraded from the standard i3 at not cost. Harb wouldn't say what's different, just that the "options and features" will serve to identify the car from the outside. It will be "as unique and compelling as possible," he said, with details coming in the next few weeks. The i3 is already on sale in Europe, the company won't start making US-bound vehicles until March.

BMW i3

Since there are no official i3 orders in the system yet, Harb didn't know exactly what the split will be between pure EV and the range extender version, but that his estimate is 50/50. He also wouldn't talk about production numbers, but did say that. "It's full series production, there are thousands of units. We never talk about production of an X5 let alone the i3, but it is full series production, 50 state, like a normal car. If we need more, we can get more."

The Mini E was a crawl, the Active E was a walk and the i project is, finally, a run.

And there might be more, if BMW's promotional efforts pan out. At CES last week, for example, BMW conducted over 2,800 test drives over four days, Harb said, with some people waiting a half hour to get behind the wheel. There are 60,000 hand raisers, which means people who have taken a test ride or gone to the BMW i Facebook page or the official BMW website and requested more information. "We expected that demand would be pretty high in the United States so we have already started to explore what we need to do to get more volume," Harb said.

We likely would not be at 60,000 without the Electronauts and all those original Mini E drivers, Harb said. "From an infrastructure standpoint, we benefited a lot from the Mini E and the Active E," he said. "I always use a 'crawl, walk, run' analogy. So, it was crawl with the Mini E - there wasn't even J1772 then, there wasn't even a uniform format for public charging - and we cut our teeth with the Mini E and streamlined it with the Active E, rolling out a home solar unit and embraced that true EV lifestyle, and with i, now we run." We only have a few more months to see if it's a sprint or a marathon.

*UPDATE: So, it appears that different BMW messengers have different messages. BMW Product and Technology Communications' Dave Buchko told AutoblogGreen that what Harb said was not correct. While Harb never specifically said BMW was working on an i5 - he said we could make a guess the next i vehicle was "something a little bigger" - Buchko made clear that an i5 "is not a model in our pipeline at this point," Buchko said. "Jacob's suggestion of a BMW i model larger than the i3 is hypothetical at this point."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      vi_per
      • 11 Months Ago
      Ugh. Soon they will have an i7. Then a i5 GT. Then an i3 GT.
        no1bondfan
        • 2 Days Ago
        @vi_per
        Wow, the idea of this ugly i3, with the extra ugliness included in their "GT" line, is hard to comprehend. It may chart new territory in ugliness.
      stevenh
      • 11 Months Ago
      ...and I thought that the 1 series was ugly
      ferps
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is the most smug car ever created.
        Technoir
        • 2 Days Ago
        @ferps
        Please shove your smugness up your arse and shut up. Thank you.
          axiomatik
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Technoir
          I find it humorous that everyone that calls Prius owners smug or other car owners smug are blind to their own smugness.
      • 11 Months Ago
      waiting for the i1. commuter need small and realy efficient cars
      Pop
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wish that I still had an old vw beetle chassis kicking around. A kit body like this would look really cool. Best slap-together since the old Saab Sonnets. (the underlying ideas seem OK, but what were they thinking?)
      Herman
      • 11 Months Ago
      I got to say, that is the ugliest BMW ever built.
      carnut0913
      • 11 Months Ago
      the mini-Aztek reincarnate
      axiomatik
      • 2 Days Ago
      Agreed. The i3's styling might not be for everyone, but it is a refreshing departure from the sea of cars that all pretty much look the same.
      jtciti
      • 11 Months Ago
      4 things they need to fix: 1. the godawful looks. Pull the black part of the hood up and forwards so it lines up with the bumper, and get rid of the rear window bottom and rear cutouts. I get they want to be edgy and appeal to people with more money than sense, but they went way, way, too far 2. The range. BMW has painted themselves in a corner with target demo because most cities have no chargers on the street or private parking lots and suburbanites need at least tesla level range. 3. The performance. 0-60 in 8 seconds, 93MPH top speed screams prius, not BMW. 4. The price - how can you justify 41K base price for an ugly, slow car which has limited real world application?
        Spec
        • 2 Days Ago
        @jtciti
        They don't need Tesla levels of range but it would be really nice if that were available as an OPTION. I think EVs have been over-staying their welcome at the ~80mile range level though and need to up their game to 100+ or 120+ range level.
      Samuel H
      • 11 Months Ago
      The BMW i5 will compete with the Tesla Model E which will be less expensive, have more performance, a lot more range, Supercharging capability, comparable looks only if the i5 takes after the i8 not i3, a lot more cargo space, and an intuitive touchscreen interface as opposed to knobs and buttons. In short, the BMW i5 will be good competition and probably have a lot more features, but the Tesla Model E will be the better car.
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Samuel H
        We have no information about the i5. I like Teslas as much as the next guy, but your post is a bit much.
      diffrunt
      • 11 Months Ago
      Why is the i3 so ugly?
        vi_per
        • 2 Days Ago
        @diffrunt
        It's a BMW, what did you expect?
          Jai
          • 2 Days Ago
          @vi_per
          People expect better from BMW than they do from Vipers. After all nobody wants to spend 100k on a 2 seat sports car with 8.4L of displacement and get their ass handed to them by a 4.4L sedan.
      jeff
      • 11 Months Ago
      The BMW i3 is a very comfortable little car. It i easy to get in and out of. It drive well and is fun to drive. I like it's quirky looks. I like the interior except for the weird Knaf material around the dash an door panels. It looks like something that you would insulate a trunk with and cover with cheap carpet so the trunk does not look so bad. It HAS NO PLACE in a $40-$50k car.... I liked the little i3 and almost ordered one. However, I would have had to order the REx version as I exceed the 80 mile range a couple of times a week with no ability to charge during the day. So, at the end of the day I realized that I did not want to own an EV that had a place where you put gas in it. I ordered a Tesla Model S instead....
        Rotation
        • 2 Days Ago
        @jeff
        But the mould marks on the back of the front seats are okay?
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