2014 BMW i3 debuts
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  • 2014 BMW i3 official debut
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  • 2014 BMW i3 official debut
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  • 2014 BMW i3 official debut
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  • 2014 BMW i3 official debut
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  • 2014 BMW i3 official debut
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Nothing boosts the mystique of a new product like a "sold out" sign, and it appears likely that BMW will go that route with its first plug-in sold in the US. The German automaker won't likely import enough of its new i3 plug-in vehicles to meet US demand, Bloomberg News says, citing BMW North America chief Ludwig Willisch. Willisch added that once everything is up and running, the US will be the world's largest market for the i sub-brand of plug-in vehicles, which we know will also include the far racier i8 plug-in hybrid and likely other models as well.

The i3 will arrive at US dealerships by the end of May and US dealers are investing $2.5 million in upgrades in part to accommodate the new i sub-brand. Last summer, BMW said its i3 would have a starting price of $41,350, not factoring in government tax credits nor the gas-powered range extender (which tacks on another $3,950). Both versions will be allowed into the high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, even with only one driver, in California though battery-powered version will get the unlimited white sticker (as opposed to limited green one). Check out our review of the i3 here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      sebringc5
      • 1 Year Ago
      2.5mil seemed low/inaccurate. All the best, Aaron Lephart smartcar451.com
      karlInSanDiego
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat said the same thing about the 500E. In the end, it's been a hard sell. Anyone have figures on how that Sold Out car, really did? My local dealer in San Diego has 19 in stock, 13 of which are 2013 leftovers, and the 500e has good value, pickup, and range. Not that I'm anti-BEV, but this is spin, not fact. Many BMW drivers will go in to look at an i3 and come out with a 2 or 3 series.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        500es sell like hotcakes for a short-run vehicle out here. I see more 500es than 500s. It's the #3 selling EV from what I can tell, LEAF and Model S being ahead (well ahead). I'm not exactly sure why, other than it is cute. It's probably in short supply around here due to demand, but I have to imagine there are many areas where you can get one with ease.
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        Inside EVs guessed 800 Fiat 500e for the whole year of 2013: http://insideevs.com/fiat-500e-posts-big-july-sales-result-takes-all-time-first-month-scorecard-lead/ Cars.com says there's 167 in inventory right now (51 2014s, 116 2013s). I think BMW will bank on the strength of their brand. Fiat still needs to work on it.
      GreenDriver
      • 1 Year Ago
      I got to drive one a couple of months age at EVS 27 in Barcelona and loved it. They actually let me thrash it on an empty industrial street. Significantly quicker than my Volt and even though it's a taller car, I felt like it would out handle the Volt too. Not surprising given that it's a BMW. The Volt handles really well too, dare I say, almost BMW like.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GreenDriver
        @ GreenDriver I think both the Ampera/Volt and i3 are great vehicles. Like you I really liked the BMW as a city car, but I think the Ampera is a more practical all round EREV.
          GreenDriver
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I would agree. Given that the i3 hybrid can only operate as a series hybrid and that the Volt can switch between parallel and series hybrid modes gives it an edge efficiency wise, especially on the highway. Also, I've read that when the i3 hybrid prototypes go into charge sustaining mode, acceleration really sags. Hopefully they clear this up in the production vehicles. Lastly I would say the Volt is just a great cruiser. I've taken mine on several long roadtrips and have always been very impressed by it's performance.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          GreenDriver: It's not just the prototypes. It's the production one too. The California BEVx mandates require reduced performance. If this were "fixed" then they couldn't claim ZEV credits for the range extended versions.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      BMW NA chief: " US won't get enough i3 EVs to satisfy demand " Great to see an EV so well received ! But the solution seems simple, just build more ! ( I know, I know, it's not so easy, supply chain problems etc ). The more I see of this car, and each time I have the opportunity to drive one, it impresses me more and more.
      JCAL0820
      • 1 Year Ago
      Test drove the BEV version at the LA Auto Show. Nice ride and really impressed. I really want to test out the REx version. Maybe local dealer will have one avail for a test drive.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Might have to step up production and actually make a profit on it.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      It must be provide great performance and utility. Because it certainly isn't selling on its looks.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll say. I heard a BMW guy speak and IIRC he said BMW planned to make about 20,000 a year. But in Germany they had already sold 11,000, even though Germany in total only bought 8,000 total EVs the year before. So demand is way off he charts there. And from what I see from talking to people in the US, demand will be very high here. Even if they sent all the other 9,000 to the US it wouldn't be enough. The BMW guy did say they had some ability to scale up production, but I'm guessing that won't be instant.
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        I'm not surprised. Germany (purposefully?) held back some incentives, like the Corporate EV Tax Incentive, had only limited quick charging station deployment, and didn't do much promotion of EVs until the i3 was ready. Now that it is, I'm pretty sure they'll make sure it sells much better than EVs before it.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          The VW E-Up is also out now, and the E-Golf soon, so Germany is likely to take measures to encourage EVs.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      For anyone who cares, you can option up an i3 now. http://www.bmwusa.com/ElectronautEffect No more just going by base prices, you can find the price for your own config. Dealers placed electronaut orders last weekend (18th, 19th) and now are taking non-electronaut orders too and entering them.
      AT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone who can afford full EV, will for the most part take a model S over this midgety thing anyday, or probably just throw their money at a ICE BMW. This thing got hit with the ugly stick, barely has any range on it compared to other full EV's of lesser value, and for a ICE addition it costs more, lol, I guess BMW thinks they can just throw their grill on something and give it a name that starts with a "i" whatever, and it's probably sold out b/c only like 10 is being made for the US.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AT
        This is a full EV. Heck, there are full EVs that cost half what this does. And you think everyone is going to buy a $75K Tesla instead of those and this? And no, an ICE BMW is not a substitute for this.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is true for every product for at least a small time period as long as there are at least two interested buyers.
      CarNut
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another autoblog article states that 2.5 Billion is being invested in dealerships, not the 2.5 Million stated in this article. Get your numbers straight autoblog.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CarNut
        Only out by a factor of 1,000? Nice to see ABG is improving its accuracy!
        Edge
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CarNut
        That $2.5 Billion is over 5 years, and basically an upgrade to BMW dealerships in general, to make them look more like Apple's stores.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Edge
          Will they include Solar panels? I hear the Honda Dealerships that installed the solar panels, are now making a profit on the solar energy they produce.
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