Published on October 6th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


U.S. Dealers To Get Additional BMW i3, i8 Allotment

October 6th, 2014 by  


Originally posted on GAS2

EV sales are doing so well in Europe that it’s become the fastest growing car segment in the Old World, and in America sales of plug-in cars are picking up as well. BMW has taken note, and is earmarking extra supplies of the i3 and i8 for American dealers, reports Automotive News.

Worldwide, BMW i3 sales have crossed the 10,000 unit mark even though it only went on sale this summer in the U.S. (it’s been available in Europe since late last year). This has exceeded BMW’s expectations, and in August, i3 sales actually crossed the 1,000 unit threshold in the U.S., and BMW is ready to send more cars to dealers who have seen plenty of interest worldwide in the electric Bimmer.

Meanwhile sales of the i8 have been brisk too, with 280 customers happily paying more than $136,000 for the plug-in hybrid supercar. The i8 is sold out through 2015, though BMW is considering increasing supply to meet demand. Still, that has allowed dealers to markup the i8 as much as 50% over its already substantial MSRP.

BMW has emerged as an unlikely leader in the electric vehicle field, and other automakers should take note; it’s certainly not too late for conventional car companies to get involved with EVs. BMW certainly didn’t go all in, but they did devote the time and resources to building dedicated EV platforms. That is what makes all the difference, and it shows in the growing sales.

130,000 people worldwide have test driven an i3, including our own Zak Coffey. Were you among them, and if so, what was your impression of BMW’s first EV?

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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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.

  • Padmini

    I test drove the i3 three times and decided that I’m going to buy it when the right mix of components arrives at my local dealer. Simply – I love it. It’s the right next car for me. Additionally, I want to support a company that has built an electric car from the ground up and attended to my needs as a solo driver in the inner city. Also, I can afford a BMW – a technologically advanced car – because of the tax incentives. It’s made engineering which is beautifully realized as a mix of comfort and practicality possible for someone like me (a teacher). Without having to pay a penny for the privilege, I will appreciate its amenities as I commute in the FastTrack (saving 10 minutes each way on my daily commute): I’m buying the BEV without the extended range. My greatest concern was safety at high speed. I had considered the Chevy Spark (for economic incentives), but just couldn’t bring myself to buying it. It’s too small; I don’t love it. The reality is – I drive 50 miles, day in and day out and my commuting car need not go much further. The i3’s fast charger will provide me with additional miles on my occasional longer jaunts to San Diego. If I need to take a long trip, I’ll plan breaks at fast chargers. Big Deal!

  • Morris Meyer

    I took a test drive in an i3 in June and ordered one on the spot. I have had it for over 3000 miles and absolutely love it. Yeah I’d love 200 mile electric range, but I get 180-190 miles range with the range extender. It is really quick and heck of a fun car to drive.

    • Matt

      And people riding with people like Morris will have a big ripple effect.

  • mike

    I don’t agree that BMW are an unlikely leader at all. They took the time to develop a completely new process to make cars, a completely new platform unconnected to their current range.
    They were the first in this segment so must be a leader, they sure aren’t following anyone else with their designs for sure 🙂

    • Steve Grinwis

      They’re an unlikely leader, I think for two reasons:

      They’re years behind the first to market companies with dedicated platforms, those being the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevrolet Volt.

      Toyota had a huge market advantage in this segment if they’d wanted to persue it, but chose to invest elsewhere instead.

      They’re late to market, but with an interesting product, apparently.

      • Philip W

        It´s gonna be interesting for sure. Personally I´m optimistic that they will be one of the leaders. German Automakers have a special reputation that will help them sell a lot of cars to people that still don´t have EVs on their radar.

        • Steve Grinwis

          I think they already are a leader, given that they’re outselling a lot of their more mature competitors.

          I just think that even 2 years ago, no one would have believed you that an i3 would sell at a brisk 1000 per month rate.

          • Philip W

            And they will probably invest a lot more now since the i-series is doing so well. So we should expect some nice cars in the next years. 🙂

          • Steve Grinwis


          • Ninong

            Today’s i3, and even the i8, are nothing compared to what BMW will put on the market within the next three or four years.

            Instead of using a 3L gas engine in the i8, BMW intends to use either a 4L or 6L, along with a much more powerful battery. Total hp will be well over 500 and 0-60 with be around 3.5 sec. That will probably be a limited edition i8s to celebrate their 100-yr anniversary but it could lead to a more conventional i9 with more spacious rear seats than today’s i8.

            The i3’s all-electric range will no doubt double over the next couple of years because that’s how fast battery technology is growing. The i5 will certainly have at least double the current i3 all-electric range by the time it hits the market in another 3 or 4 years.
            Tesla has proven that Americans will buy BEVs that are sexy and marketed properly. BMW is doing the same. BMW has already sold more than 10,000 i3 cars worldwide and more than 1,000 of those were in the US even though the i3 just came out in the US a few months ago.

            Oil isn’t going to stay $80/bbl forever.

  • Sam

    BMW is not an “unlikely leader”.

    They are a likely leader, but they are still not leading.

    80 miles of range is an insult to drivers and a joke.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The average daily drive for US cars is less than 40 miles and drivers exceed 80 miles infrequently.

      For many drivers an 80 mile range is not a joke. YMMV

      • mike

        The problem that gets missed with using the “average” is that you will not meet the requirements for the half of the drivers that are higher than average. Making a journey of 60 miles with only 80 mile capacity is entirely dependent on everything going well, with very limited options. Bad traffic, construction, need to stop and pickup groceries all mean getting stressed about having enough battery to get home.
        Sure you can charge up on the way, but at 25Mile per hour of charge from L2 is pretty darned slow and not suited to “on the way” charging.

        • Bob_Wallace

          And half of all drivers, especially those who don’t take long trips or have another car available for the long drives, will find an 80 mile range acceptable.

          I don’t think anyone said that an 80 mile range would work for all drivers. It won’t work for some, but that does not mean that it won’t work for any.

          I think if you will read reports from people who have an EV find that range anxiety dissipates in a fairly short time.

          If you are an ‘average or less miles’ driver traffic, construction won’t cause you to use the difference between <40 and 80 miles. And stopping for groceries is already part of your <40 mile driving routine.

        • Steve Grinwis

          I routinely push my EV well past the 75% battery used, without the stress you describe. This happens about once a month-ish

          L2 is fine for most trips, especially as a destination charging method, or if you just need a top up. Obviously, for 500 mile road trips it’s not viable, but if you’re going 100 miles on a range of 80 miles, but you can sneak in an hour of charging somewhere, you’re fine. I’ve done this many times.

          Recently, I made a special trip to a neighbouring city to meet an old friend. We met at the mall, and I plugged my car in. We stopped, chatted, grabbed some dinner, and talked shop for about 2 hours. When I came back out, my car was almost entirely charged back up. It was great!

    • NRG4All

      80 miles if fine for a two car family. We have a Mini Cooper for long trips. It sits on the battery tender with the hood up. Our 2014 LEAF gets driven about 1,000 miles per month and saves us about $200/mo. To say that 80 miles is a joke and an insult only applies if your driving habits are consistently different and then it becomes rather egocentric to make such a claim.

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