Published on November 30th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro


BMW i8 Sold Out, BMW i3 Gets 10,000 Early Orders

November 30th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


BMW i8 (left) and BMW i3 (right).

Via a slow-burning marketing campaign that consisted of many concept cars and changes in design and direction, BMW has amped up the buying public for its line of electric i-brand of vehicles. According to executives, over 10,000 orders have been placed for the BMW i3 electric commuter, and the BMW i8 has sold out entirely in its first year of availability.

You know executives have got to be happy with the instant success of the BMW i3 and i8, and the first vehicles are being delivered to excited buyers in Germany. The BMW i3 will come to America in the first quarter of 2014, where it will start at about $42,275 before adding the $3,950 range extender, which effectively doubles the amount of driving you can do between charges. Despite production delays though, early orders have been promising.

While its funky looks are certainly polarizing, the BMW i3 is both rear-wheel drive and offers perhaps the best option for EV drivers looking for a premium-feeling vehicle, but don’t have Tesla Model S money to spend. Think of it as the car Tesla will eventually build, just a few years ahead of time a decidedly more…German. And for those with Tesla money, there’s the 184 mph BMW i8, a hybrid muscle car with power to spare, which has already been sold out of its first-year production run.

Anyone out there eagerly awaiting a test drive in the BMW i3?

Source: Reuters

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Doug

    I’ve also driven the i3. Light, nimble and responsive. The i3 is an excellent choice for drivers that want exceptional performance and a luxury interior at an affordable price. I love the i3 and will be first in line when they go for sale in the US.

  • H2Power

    I drove the i3 at the LA auto show this weekend and it was absolutely amazing. The regen is set pretty high (compared to what I drive) but I just loved the car!

    • Doug

      Me too. I loved the i3 at the LA auto show!

  • yamahr1 .

    “Think of it as the car Tesla will eventually build, just a few years ahead of time”. You must be joking. Tesla would never build an electric car with the severely limited electric range of the i3, and they will never do a gasoline range extender. I agree with others who’ve stated the obvious, the Chevy Volt is a better car, better engineered, likely drives better, goes anywhere any time, and comes in at a much lower price with a REAL range extender, not a limp home lump of recycled motorcycle engine with only 2 gallons of fuel. If the brands were reversed and it was Chevy coming out with the i3 after BMW had a Volt, there would be howls of laughter and derision from the press. But because they’re so biased against GM and pro-BMW, people are treating the i3 like it’s God’s gift to alternatively fueled vehicles. If you’re looking at an i3, you really should at least test drive a Volt before you decide.

    • eject

      The only real let down of the i3 is the small battery and the fact that it can’t be charged 3-Phase 400V AC (neither 3×16, 3×32, 3×64). The charging issues might suggest that it is not designed to be sold much in Germany, every house owner has 3-Phases. By coincidence (not really) they tend to be the ones able to buy new cars every couple of years not minding the economic lunacy of it.
      The range extender is designed to meet EU regulations. They aim to still call them electric cars although they have tailpipes. They achieve this by limiting the combustion fuel range to the electrical one. Another example of car manufacturers writing legislation. Clearly if it has a combustion engine it is not a electric car and should be taxed like every other one.

      To compare the i3 to the Chevy Volt or the Ampera is a bit nonsensical. I don’t think they aim at the same Audience, the price might suggest so. What BMW has done is introduce a new platform, the Drive Cell. They Will be able to simply bolt different Life Cells on top of them and make lots of different variations. Maybe even for other brands they own. The Life Cell is Carbon Fiber Composite and can be carried by two people with ease (before they put the seat in ect). And this is the big one, being able to manufacture a Carbon Fiber Body on a production scale and claiming it comes even cheaper than using steel or aluminium. They said they imagine a market of 60000 of them a year. They wouldn’t say this if they weren’t able to ramp the production accordingly. That is just the i3 Personally I can’t wait to see the i5.

    • “Chevy Volt is a better car, better engineered, likely drives better”

      Well, to begin with, the Volt weighs almost half a ton more than the i3, and is two seconds slower 0-100 km/h. The battery running down the center has all the hallmarks of a “o s#!t we forgot something” solution. In The Netherlands the Volt/Ampera is about € 4000 more expensive than the i3 with REx.

      So there goes your theory about superior engineering and driving.

      But indeed the big advantage of the Volt is that it doesn’t lose any performance once the battery is depleted. And it has some real rear doors, instead of the half size suicide doors from the i3.

      So you choose whatever suits you, both cars have their pros and cons.

      • Doug

        The big advantage of the volt is the ability to use gasoline for long trips. It takes patience to charge an EV on the road. I prefer BEVs, but I can understand the appeal of the Volt.

    • Wayne Williamson

      Remember the only reason Elon is in the EV thing is to get others there(the non believers). Looks to me like its happening….

      • Wayne Williamson

        Watch all his videos and he states it many times.

  • Will E

    waiting for the INDUCTION CHARGE WHILE DRIVING technic.
    An onboard range of 200 km is enough. energy induction charge while driving in the highway. and the EV has no limits in range.
    Use green stream and go wherever whenever. co2 free gas free diesel free.
    freight trucks included.

  • Marion Meads

    Ampera used to have 7,000 pre-orders worldwide and no news after production started. I hope tha bmw i3 would have better luck.

    GM-Volt outperforms BMW i3 by light years. The only range extending feature of BMW i3 is limping back home. BMW i3 can be left behind by the Volt when climbing mountains. The BMW i3 is priced at $10K more than the Volt. Only Americans who are unpatriotic would buy such crappy performing car simply because they hate GM.

    • Dan Hue

      There’s enough information out there about the i3’s REx mode to justify calling those who still describe it as “limp home mode” as liars. For the record, the i3 is designed as a pure EV. The range extender is a 650cc detuned motorcycle engine provided as an OPTION, for those who think they will occasionally reach the EV range limit and want peace of mind. In that case, the extender will work as a generator to charge the battery and maintain a 5% buffer. It’s not particularly fuel efficient (~30 miles per gallon, I believe), nor does it pretend to be. The engine’s average power output is such that it should be sufficient to maintain decent performance in most circumstances (think 75 miles/hour on flat terrain), but not enough to maintain charge at those kind of speed on more challenging courses (e.g., long hills, very cold weather). In those kind of situations, performance will degrade, but nowhere near down to a crawl, like “limp mode” would suggest.

      As a Volt owner, who drives 10K miles/year in a car that only offers 40 miles EV range (v. ~90 for the i3) and barely use the engine at all, I think this design is brilliant. I love my Volt, but the fact is that the complete dual powertrain is overkill in my circumstances, and those of many other people, I suspect.

    • Patriotty stuff. Silly.

    • Doug

      The volt does not outperform the i3. I suggest driving both before making the comparison.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    I wonder if BMW i8 can maintain almost 300 km/h cruising speed? High speeds are very demanding for the structures.

    Ultra high cruising speeds are the future of driving especially when self-driving starts to be more mainstream. Self-driving cars do not collide on road debris, because they can react on obstacles in milliseconds.

    It would be nice to have i3 with more energy dense and cheaper Tesla battery.

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