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This could make one real expensive decision a little easier to make. The latest official word is that BMW remains undecided if or when it will expand its sub-brand of i plug-in vehicles beyond the i3 and i8, but the i3 city EV has certainly struck a chord in Europe.

Citing BMW executive Ian Robertson, Automotive News Europe reports that the German automaker is running a six-month wait list for the i3, which started sales in Europe in November. Bimmer has taken about 11,000 orders globally, and about 1,200 of those are from the US, where the car will debut in May.

BMW executive Harald Krueger recently said that the German automaker will hold off on making plans to broaden the i sub-brand until more sales results come in. That said, BMW has trademarked all of the single-digit "i" names from i1 through i9, so should these EVs remain popular, BMW has room to grow. We won't be surprised if we do see more vehicles, since BMW North America chief Ludwig Willisch is already on record as saying the US demand for the i3 will likely exceed supply this year. For a taste of why, check out our first drive here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      Spec
      • 11 Months Ago
      Cool. I'm glad to see people lining up to buy the i3. It certainly does bring some new interesting things to the plug-in market. Of course, I'd like to see BMW do some other body styles . . .
      korblalak
      • 11 Months Ago
      BMW has stated that they are more than able to ramp up the i3 production if the demand is there. Well what are they waiting for?
        Mike
        • 11 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        They are waiting to satisfy the demand from early adopters and then see if anybody else wants it.
      cynicalrick
      • 3 Months Ago
      Well there wasn't staying power to that demand. They're very plentiful on BMW lots today.
      • 11 Months Ago
      I GUESS THEY ARE. GAS IN THAT COUNTRY IS MORE THAN LIKELY 8 DOLLARS A LITER. I WOULD BUY ELECTRIC TOO.
        Marco Polo
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ Randy Lowery , Gasoline in Germany is less than $ 8 per gallon ! (Oh, and by the way, clean your keyboard, your caps lock key seems to have stuck...)
      Irvin
      • 11 Months Ago
      Leaf is still better, cost less and gets about the same go to wrok and home millage. But the some like the BMR, to say look at me "I have BMR".
        jeff
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Irvin
        I seriously thought about getting and i3. I do think the Leaf is a much bette value, but it does not have enough range for my needs. I have to keep a milage log so I know this to be true. The REx version was the ONLY reason I would have chosen it over the Leaf. In the end, as I learned more about the car, I decided that the REx was not a good option for me. In the US it can't be started until the battery is below 5% state of charge. This opens the possibility of restricted power in some situations. This was done to get more California ZEV credits and I did not think it was fair to cripple the car that much for something that does not benefit the customers in any way... They also are NOT going to offer a sun roof in US models. I think that has something to do with the Crush test for the highway safety ratings.... Also, I just did not want a place to put gas in my electric car...
        Rotation
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Irvin
        I own a Leaf and I've ridden in the i3. The i3 seems better to me. And yes, a big reason for this is is costs almost twice as much. That's a big difference in costs.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          GreenDriver: No, RWD versus FWD doesn't matter in life and death emergency lane changing maneuvers either. It makes a difference when you overload the grip circle on the tires due to application of power, not due to steering or braking. Steering is front-wheel on both cars and braking is all-wheel on both cars. Effectively, FWD versus RWD matters when you apply copious power while steering out of a corner. An FWD car will reduce power due to traction control (or plow understeer) and an RWD car is much less likely to do so. Edge: Take off the $7500 (or in my state, $10K total) rebates you get. That makes the Leaf $18.8K and an i3 $31.4K. It's still not double but it's getting close. Hence my comment of twice as much.
          GreenDriver
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          For some reason Autoblog wouldn't let me reply to your previous post, so I'm replying here. So you're saying RWD vs FWS only matters in life and death emergency lane change maneuvers, good point! Regarding regen, lithium batteries can only absorb a limited amount of charge before they overheat leading to a premature deterioration of their cycle life. Might be why Tesla found RWD to be acceptable in the S.
          SublimeKnight
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Edge, When you look at leases (which is the way most EVs are "purchased") its more than double the price. i3 is about $450/mo + $2000 down for 36 months LEAF is about $199/mo + $2000 down for 36 months
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          GreenDriver: Weight distribution is a different issue than FWD versus RWD. With electric cars, the motor isn't that heavy, the batteries are. So moving the motor to the front or back doesn't change the weight distribution in the same way. Torque steer a problem during emergency maneuvers? You're not going to get torque steer unless you call for a lot of power. And you really shouldn't be calling for a lot of power in an emergency maneuver, whether your car is FWD or RWD. Applying a lot of acceleration will cause the center of gravity of the car to shift reward, reducing your steering. It also of course accelerates you, increasing your closing rate on what you are trying to avoid. Trust me, in an emergency maneuver torque steer is the least of your problems. There's a reason cars, FWD, RWD or AWD have stability control. Those systems are more likely to get you out of trouble than stomping and steering will, regardless of drive. There is a reason high performance cars are RWD. But the i3 isn't a high performance car, and the Leaf even less so. The power they produce can be handled well by an FWD drivetrain.
          Edge
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          The Leaf is $28,800, and the i3 is $41,350 based on the MSRP. No where near twice as expensive, but quite a bit more expensive.
          GreenDriver
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          You bring up many good points. Well played, well played indeed!
          Spec
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          I'm not understanding . . . the fact that it costs more makes the i3 better? To me, a higher price is not a good thing from the consumer perspective. Perhaps the features that higher price enables are good, but the higher price itself is definitely a downside for me.
          GreenDriver
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          When you ask the wheels that steer a car to also provide propulsion you run into things like torque steer. Combine this with FWD's poor weight distribution and you get FUD during emergency maneuvers. There is a reason most high performance cars are RWD.
        CoolWaters
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Irvin
        I guess the Germans want a german car.
        Edge
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Irvin
        Depends on what you want: i3 weighs 2,899 lb versus the Leaf's 3,291 lb i3 has a 130 kW motor versus the Leaf's 80 kW i3 battery is 22 kWh versus the Leaf's 24 kWh. i3 MSRP is $41,350 versus the Leaf's is $28,800. i3 offers a ranger extender option, but that model costs $45,200 MSRP. i3 has a 7.4 kW charger versus the Leaf's 3.3 kW charger. i3 has a Anti-lock braking system (ABS), and the Leaf does not. You can get the Leaf with ABS and 6.6 kW charger, but that is the SL model for $34,840 MSRP. Leaf's EPA range is 73 mi, and we don't know the i3 EPA range yet, but I'm sure it will be a little higher based on car weighing 400 pound lighter than the Leaf, even though it has a slightly smaller battery. i3 has a reinforced carbon fiber frame that would shatter on impact (still safe, as it micro splinters only in the impact area). But the Leaf being made out of steel, would be cheaper/easier to repair. If you want more power, and money is not an issue, get the BMW. If you want a lower cost of ownership, get the Leaf.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Edge
          Edge: I'm not saying Nissan's site is great. But... http://www.nissanusa.com/electric-cars/leaf/charging-range/charging/ 'All you have to do is plug it in. It takes about four hours [*] to go from empty to a full charge with the 6.6 kW onboard charger [*]—and you don’t have to wait for the battery to be completely drained to charge it.' Asterisk text: Available on the S trim with charge package. Standard feature on the SV and SL trims. The specs page also shows that a 3.6kW charger is standard on the S and 6.6 is optional (standard on SV and SL). I didn't know the i3 had a 7.4kW charger. I assumed it was 6.6kW.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Edge
          All 2013 Leafs except the S model had 6.6kW chargers (and even S had it if you bought the CHAdeMO add-on). And all 2014 Leafs have 6.6kW chargers. I've been enjoying 6.6kW charging in my Leaf for 11 months already. Heck, I'm charging at 6kW at this very moment! All cars have ABS now. It's mandated by law and has been for half a decade.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Edge
          paulwesterberg: Good point about the range change. Also note the actual range is unchanged from 2013, the 2013 figure was lower because you were expected to only charge the battery to 80% unless you were planning a long trip. This 80% feature has been removed in 2014, so the rating went up. Either Leaf (2013 or 2014) gets the same range when 100% charged.
          Edge
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Edge
          I missed that about the ABS, and that's good to know. > "I've been enjoying 6.6kW charging in my Leaf for 11 months already. Heck, I'm charging at 6kW at this very moment!" Well good for you! I checked the 2013 models, as per Nissan's CURRENT Leaf website, and they listed 3.3 kW charging for the base model. btw, I prefer the Leaf myself, but just thought I would make a list pointing out differences.
          paulwesterberg
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Edge
          The 2014 leaf is EPA rated at 84miles of range.
        GreenDriver
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Irvin
        I've driven both and while I like the Leaf, the i3 accelerates much faster and handles much better. The i3 is RWD vs FWD in the Leaf which gives it better driving dynamics. Is that worth the premium? For many drivers the answer is yes; ergo the six months waiting list.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GreenDriver
          unhooktone: The article doesn't make clear that the waiting list is 6 months long in the US. I think they are talking about European waits. And the European market is already receiving a relatively full rate of deliveries. I do agree BMW's 20,000/year production rate seems rather low. Whether it's designed to reduce risk or create waits I don't know. But I'm sure it will accomplish the latter either way.
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GreenDriver
          My i-MiEV is rear-engine, rear-wheel drive too. It's one of the cheapest EVs out there. Why is there a premium on rear-wheel drive?
          Spec
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GreenDriver
          I find the interest in RWD odd. FWD is much better in the snow. I guess if you want to be some street-racer drifting the car, you need RWD. But that doesn't seem to be the i3 market.
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GreenDriver
          Actually, the six months waiting list is the result of artificially induced demand resulting from underproduction. Read the article. Only 1,200 have been ordered in the U.S. More Leafs were sold in the US just last month alone.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GreenDriver
          RWD vs FWD only matters when you start overloading the grip circle of the tires. I doubt anyone driving this is doing to do that. It's not a sports car. It's practically a minivan (hello, Honda Element). FWD gives the opportunity for better regenerative braking, because most of your braking is done by the front wheels. This is not to say the i3's regen braking is bad.
      • 11 Months Ago
      thats good if there is an improvent in technology everyday
      danfred311
      • 11 Months Ago
      I know I'm only a genius (and so modest) but if US is the biggest market and it only gets a couple of thousand per year then my math says that 11000 orders is quite a bit more than 6 months. So far the EV market is USA and Europe. Nothing else.
      diffrunt
      • 11 Months Ago
      Why is it so UGLY?
      Val
      • 11 Months Ago
      BMW has promised a FREE loaner regular 3-series (or was it 1 series) for every owner who wants to make a longer trip. At least I recall reading that somewhere. And therein lies the problem for BMW. If too many people buy the i3, then BMW has to have a fleet of regular 3 series sitting on hand, in case anybody wants one. They can't just give a coupon for sixt, because on holidays, regular sixt customers will be left without a vehicle. So it is in BMWs best interest to keep production low, waiting lists long, and create the illusion that there is this huge demand they cannot satisfy. That's good for stocks, ask tesla.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Val
        BMW can do the same as Tesla does, and start using rental companies or limo services.
        Rotation
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Val
        BMW said nothing about it being free. They will rent a car for you and pass the cost on. http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/car-news/212512/bmw-i3-drivers-offered-conventional-loaner-vehicle.jsp
      Vlad
      • 11 Months Ago
      Better than Leaf, cheaper than Tesla - there's definitely a market for an EV like that.
        Spec
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Vlad
        Yeah, they did seem to hit an opening in the EV market. However, I think they made a big mistake by not offering an option for a pure EV version with a larger battery. Perhaps they will correct that eventually.
          paulwesterberg
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I know right, there is a huge empty space where the REx is designed to go. If you could put 8-10kWh of batteries there the range might approach 150 miles which would be a lot more useful.
          MTN RANGER
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Of course they will. I guarantee there will be an i3 in three or four years that has double the battery range - through either improved chemistry or larger physical battery size. Just in time for the Model E.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I'm with you paulwesterberg. I have already joked with friends about how I'd like to fill that space with a range extender made from more batteries instead of an ICE genset. Why not 3 models? No REx, battery REx and ICE REx?
      Marco Polo
      • 11 Months Ago
      Well done BMW. That's certainly answered all those who greeted the unusually styled i3 with cries of, " too ugly, will never sell ! " The BMW i3 EV, while not everyone's choice, is a very welcome addition to the growing ranks of EV available in the market place.
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