It's official. The first U.S. BMW i3 customer is now happily zipping along somewhere in his new car. Or possibly staring lovingly at it in his garage – we're not sure which. That man, Tufts University professor and electric vehicle aficionado Charles Rabie, was handed the keys at the BMW of Boston dealership earlier today, thus beginning a flood of upcoming deliveries from the pool of hundreds currently awaiting for their owners at the Port Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center in Jersey City, NJ.

And now, when Mr. Rabie sets off in his spiffy electric Bimmer, he'll know exactly how far the EPA thinks he can go on a full charge of its 22-kWh battery. Speaking with Dave Buchko from BMW Corporate Communications, we learned the government agency has given the i3 an official range rating of 81 miles. Efficiency-wise, that breaks down to 138 MPGe city, 111 hwy, and 124 combined for the city car.

Of course, we don't expect the good professor to experience any difficulties dealing with the sub-100 mile range. As a former BMW ActiveE driver, he's had plenty of opportunity to become accustomed to the foibles (and advantages) of piloting a battery-powered vehicle. You can read our First Drive impression of the BMW i3 here. Scroll down for the official press release.
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BMW Delivers First All-Electric i3 in the U.S.

Tufts University professor of practice Charles Rabie to receive the first U.S. BMW i3.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – May 2, 2014... Today, BMW delivered the first all-electric BMW i3 in the U.S. to Boston resident and Tufts University professor of practice Charles Rabie at the BMW of Boston dealership. Hundreds of BMW i3 vehicles are currently at U.S. facilities and ready to be delivered to customers nationwide, ushering in a new era of electromobility.

Rabie is an electric vehicle advocate and has been driving the BMW ActiveE since 2012. Also among this first group set to receive a BMW i3 is Los Angeles-based former E! Entertainment leading correspondent Ashlan Gorse Cousteau, married to renowned documentary filmmaker and environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

"Today marks a big day at BMW of North America - What started out as a dream for an innovative sustainable vehicle under the BMW i brand can now be found on streets across the U.S.," said Ludwig Willisch, President & CEO, BMW of North America.

The BMW i3 is the first of the BMW i vehicles constructed from the ground up primarily of carbon fiber to enter the U.S. market. With 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque hybrid-synchronous electric motor, the fully electric BMW i3 is electrified by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 80-100 miles of emission-free driving. Agile and engaging to drive, the BMW i3 is ideally suited for dense urban areas. The BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $41,350 and the range-extender model will have a starting MSRP of $45,200.

BMW i is the BMW Group's forward-looking and sustainable brand dedicated to solving many of the mobility challenges faced by the world's most densely populated cities. The all-encompassing approach of BMW i includes the extensive use of recycled, renewable raw and naturally treated materials, alongside an extremely resource-efficient production method.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.


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  • 124 Comments
      SethG
      • 7 Months Ago
      Saw this car at the NY Auto Show. It was getting next to zero attention. Run of the mill 3 Series was getting more love from showers. The i8 was getting lots of love but the i3 wasn't doing it with the NY crowd. That could change. People in NYC buy minis buy the boatload and you even find a lot of Smarts so there is clearly an appetite for small, frugal cars with brand cache. But if the auto show crowd is any indication, the i3 isn't really going to resonate.
        Zoom
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SethG
        I think the 6-month waitlist says more than gearheads at the autoshow in NY that I saw. Those guys didn't pay much attention to the Smart either, but like you said, you see them a lot in NYC.
      W. Gregory
      • 7 Months Ago
      81 miles huh....and how long does a full recharge take (providing you can find a recharge station). That would get me about half way to my friends house, and have enough juice for the return trip home (providing I eschewed Air Conditioning on the way). --or-- I could fill up the tank on my Hemi Charger and be happy as a clam the whole trip, and still have enough gas for my daily commute for the next week. Decisions decisions...
        hboi18
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        it only takes 3 hours to charge...thats less time than most laptops.. and your friend lives 81 miles from you?? how the hell does that work
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @hboi18
          A friend in needs a friend indeed, A friend with weed is better, A friend with breasts and all the rest, A friend who's dressed in leather, A friend in needs a friend indeed, A friend who'll tease is better , Our thoughts compressed, Which makes us blessed, And makes for stormy weather, A friend in needs a friend indeed, My Japanese is better, And when she's pressed she will undress, And then she's boxing clever, A friend in needs a friend indeed, A friend who bleeds is better, My friend confessed she passed the test, And we will never sever,
          Marco Polo
          • 7 Months Ago
          @hboi18
          @ Joeviocoe Lol ! ( I've been missing Ezee's sense of humour : )
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Oh yeah, well a Gulfstream flies much better than your charger, and apples taste much better. You are comparing two completely different things.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        So... don't buy a BMW i3? What has that got to do with whether it's useful for anyone else? Gee, a pickup truck won't fit in my garage. Therefore they are useless for everybody, no one should buy one. (As for "finding" a recharge station - people generally have one at their house. The EV can be charged while you sleep.)
        Koenigsegg
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        your hemi charger sucks ass and cant be powered forever
        CoolWaters
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Most of the population in the USA does NOT drive more then 40 miles a day, so an 80 mile range, means NEVER Even Looking At the "Fuel" gauge.
          behinddawindow
          • 7 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          I wonder if it requires "Premium" like the Chevy Volt does. If the gas doesn't get used, won't the gasoline turn to a different chemical?
        W. Gregory
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Oooo, the Envirnazis are in full effect today...I figured they'd all be at Co-op farmers markets while drinking free trade responsibly grown organic soy moch-lattes while shopping for the latest in pure hemp Birkenstocks.
          axiomatik
          • 7 Months Ago
          @W. Gregory
          It has nothing to do with "Envirnazis", but rather people with common sense who can decide whether a particular car meets their needs or not.
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Provided you can find an SAE Combo charge station, then it takes about 20 minutes to recharge to 80% capacity (64 miles). There are not a lot of these in the US right now though. There's not one near your friends' house. At least not yet.
      chasegarcia
      • 7 Months Ago
      Haters are going to hate I guess but, look at the sales on the latest controversial car designs. i3=6 month waiting list Cherokee= outsold the Wrangler Juke= 3,000+ sales a month
      steve
      • 7 Months Ago
      I have seen a bronze one around Thousand Oaks California for a couple of weeks!!??
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @steve
        There have been several in the US for a while now. All are European models, all are owned by BMW. All are metallic orange. None of those can be sold in the US.
          Grendal
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Are they using them for test drives? Car reviews? Or just to look at?
          Rotation
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          I like it. I'd much rather have it than my LEAF. It's basically a super-LEAF. Even though it's a bit shorter, the front seat backs are thinner to regain most of the space. It loses some trunk space compared to the LEAF, but what remains is quite good and usable. It drives well, although not really sporty, even if the engine is peppy. It really follows the city car ethos from Europe, which means even if it is affordable, it is well appointed (feature-wise) and well built. But despite that, it still feels like a car which is trying to either cut costs or weight, because the interior materials just aren't $50K-type materials. The dash is a new style of design, one which is also trying to hide that there really is a lot less stuff inside than you usually would expect from a BMW. You're getting less there too. The first one I saw had (on top of the above mentioned interior concerns) horrible plastic mould marks on the front seats and trim pieces, but that turned out to just be because it was a prototype, later ones don't have that problem. So the only problem there was BMW shouldn't have sent that out as a show car if it wasn't finished inside. Some of the stuff I just can't understand. The instrument cluster is about 6"x10" but only about 1/2 of that is actual screen. The rest is at best indicator lights (check engine, etc.). This looks cheap and is inexcusable. Laptops and TVs are all "thin framed" now meaning the front of it is almost all display, this, by not being that way, looks cheap. The power inlet is in a pop-in panel, it doesn't look like it is attached well, it looks like they just put in an oversized hole and pop-in whichever inlet they car demands. This is quite likely the case given there are 4 configurations of inlets world-wide. But it shouldn't look like that. Other cars don't. And the styling is ugly in person. I actually don't mind it from the back, I like big black rear ends on cars (heck, I liked the Beretta for it), and this one works for me like others. But others don't like the rear, and I don't see how anyone likes the sides or front. It has weird styling and I'm tired of it. Giving EVs weird styling is a cheat to get attention on the road. But it also reinforces the idea that EVs are for weirdos. I'm ready for regular styling because the cars are for regular people. Finally the doors don't slam nicely because of the detachable B pillar. The suicide doors do give a nice opening, but other than that are a bad idea. Wait until you try to get 4 people out of the car in a narrow parking spot. The front person must open his door first and go to the back of the car before the rear person can exit. 4 people cannot exit at once.
          Grendal
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Thanks. That was an excellent review. You explain things well. There's not a chance I could be interested in one simply because cities in New Mexico are too far apart for any of the "city EVs" to be useful. At least once a month I have to drive 120 miles. The airport is 80 miles away and all of it highway driving. It makes it too impractical for my driving needs. I would rather have the Leaf or the i3 if I lived in one of the big cities though. I would pick them over the Tesla Model S just because of their size, range, and practicality. Thanks again.
          Grendal
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Well. What did you think? Please give a review. I vaguely remember that you already did that so I apologize ahead of time if I'm asking you to repeat yourself.
          Rotation
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Grendal: All of the above. Many of them were gathered for test drives at the LA Auto Show. Otherwise they seem to be all over the country doing different things. Some of them are just shown, some of them are sent around for test drives. Some are used for testing by BMW. One I test drove was a daily driver for a BMW employee in the SF Bay Area. Some have different configs than others. The one I first got a good look at was equipped with everything including the range extender. None of the ones I've seen test driven in the US (including the one I drove) have the range extender. Every one of them I've seen has the sunroof too although no US models will have the sunroof for the near future.
      swanmic12
      • 7 Months Ago
      Knowing BMW owners and studying countless CarFax Reports from them in my day, he'll probably just trade it in when the next best thing comes along in a few months so I don't see how this is newsworthy.
      e46mike
      • 7 Months Ago
      It reminds me of the cars in the movie Idiocracy.
        JB
        • 7 Months Ago
        @e46mike
        I would not say that. I would say that it is lot like the Honda Element. Some of the colors are a dead match.
      purrpullberra
      • 7 Months Ago
      I really like this car. It seems like a perfect city car. Maybe the range is too small for some but I think it is good enough. Should they make a longer range version for some commuters? I think a bit bigger issue is it's sorta big for a city car. I'd like it more if it were smaller and15% cheaper. (That's probably impossible.) As a city car it should be a perfect second car for many urban, well-off consumers. I can't justify a $40k+ second car. But they will sell quite a few of these, there are plenty of well-off people who want a product like this. This car owns the premium, small crossover EV segment until what... the mini ModelX comes out in ??? Tesla has shown the way (probably): purpose-built, highly engineered EV's priced for well-off individuals will sell well enough to capture a good % of the segment they join... probably. (Supposed ModelX reservations, supposed high #'s of i3 and i8 orders are what I refer to.)
      Snowdog
      • 7 Months Ago
      http://bmwi3.blogspot.ca/2014/05/breaking-bmw-i3-rex-gets-2500-cvrp.html It looks like the Range extender version will be classified as a BEVx in California. This was speculated as a reason for the fuel tank size reduction in the USA. Possibly it was worth chasing to get another $2500 in rebates, otherwise it would make the i3 Rex that much more expensive than it's pure BEV counterpart. Though I do think the stipulations make the i3 Rex less usable. A smaller tank and no ability to turn on the RE early, mean you get essentially a limp home experience with a very small gas tank. Making this almost unusable as a road trip car, where something like the GM Volt is totally usable as a road trip car.
      Linux64
      • 7 Months Ago
      Freddy Kruger bought a i3?
        dude
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Linux64
        i was just thinking that....who the hell is that ugly beast of a man
      turbomonkey2k
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'm unimpressed by the looks but highly impressed by the car. Between this and the i8 BMW has leapfrogged Tesla in electric car offerings. I've spend some time in the i3 and while it's design is a bit "interesting" it's a car I could easily live with if I needed something with more utility. That they can make an electric 4 door 4 seater that's as light as a Toyobaru is pretty damned impressive.
        Snowdog
        • 7 Months Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        Not really. That is very much an apples and oranges comparison. The i8 is mainly a gas/hybrid with a short/weak ev range. It is VERY slow in EV mode (0-60 in 9.4 seconds). The i3 is really more of a Leaf competitor with 81 mile range. The RE version will get a limp home mode RE that you never really want to use. In short, one primarily gas powered car with a weak/short range EV mode(i8), and one medium range EV to with an optional weak range extender(i3). The Tesla Model S, remains pretty much the only long range EV and is top scoring car everywhere.
        purrpullberra
        • 7 Months Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        Leapfrogged? I like the i3 and i8 a lot but I don't know in what ways they have leapfrogged Tesla technology. Range, energy density of battery, acceleration, materials, build quality? i3 is very impressive, I agree. But I'd say going from Tesla's all-aluminum car is a single step away from a 1/2 aluminum, 1/2 carbon fiber car. And the i8 isn't all electric. I'd say they are all equally impressive achievements and they stand beyond even the Leaf or Volt as far as displaying a company that changed nearly everything about their car biz in order to shatter the current industry molds.
        Bernard
        • 7 Months Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        BMW and Audi are both distant specs in Tesla's rear view mirror. They may have a few nice hybrids, but they have no pure EV's on the market to date. Not a single one. Neither i3 or i8 can match the practicality of a Model S, the electric range of a Model S, zero C02 output of the Model S, or the low maintenance of the Model S because both of those cars still require an ICE.
      fairfireman21
      • 7 Months Ago
      $41,000 price. WOW!! For the extender $45,000. DANG!! Defenatly a rich mans toy. 81 mile range for $41K, are people insane, OH never mind the only people that can afford these toys make 6 figures a year anyways.
      skoobey
      • 7 Months Ago
      Looks cute, will get you nowhere. Even with range extender it only has 150mile radius??? Really? Useless.
        Lachmund
        • 7 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        you do know you can just refill the tank, do you?
          ElectricAvenue
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          You can even recharge the battery too! What will they think of next?
        Technoir
        • 7 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        Radius? Really?
        hboi18
        • 7 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        DO you drive 150 miles a day....? i think not.... most people drive like 30-50 miles a day then when you get home you charge it overnight... dont see the big deal
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