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Published on January 20th, 2015 | by Jake Richardson


BMW i3 Sales Higher Than Expected

January 20th, 2015 by  

BMW-i3-closeupSales of the BMW i3 all-electric car only began in North America in May of 2014. BMW said recently that it sold 16,053 i3s during 2014; these sales were higher than some analysts predicted. BMW has also said it has the capacity to produce about 30,000 of the i3s each year.

“Meanwhile, more than 100 BMW i3’s leave the plant each day. The success of these cars speaks for itself,” explained Harald Krüger, a BMW executive.

What is the most energy-efficient car sold in the United States? You might be surprised to hear that it’s the BMW i3. The Tesla Model S generates far more press, and perhaps deservedly so, since it has been a breakthrough vehicle in a number of ways. The much greater range is one of the most notable things that sets the Model S apart.

However, the i3 is also very appealing with its distinctive design, which might be right at home in a sci-fi movie. Of course, the i3 is also considerably less expensive than a Model S.

If you like the i3 but worry about range, there is also an optional two-cylinder gas engine that extends it by about 70–80 miles.

So, what would be the difference between an i3 with a range extender and a Chevy Volt? At conceptual level, they are both hybrid vehicles, but the i3 electric range is more than twice that of the Volt. A more environmentally concerned driver would probably prefer the i3. The Volt has a much larger electricity-and-gas combined range, so a driver that needs to travel long distances regularly would want a Volt.

The i3 costs more too, but it is somewhat more unique with its carbon fiber design and the BMW pedigree. Things like handling and fit and finish on BMWs are very impressive in some vehicles.

In some sense, the BMW i3 has to stand out because it is a revered car company making an EV. Anything new from BMW will probably receive a high level of interest and scrutiny. It is actually a fairly risky venture, because if it failed the fallout could give BMW a blow. However, the i3 is much “cooler” looking than just about any other EV for many buyers. Although this may seem like a shallow point, design is often what consumers respond to emotionally.

It’s actually interesting that, on the design level, the forthcoming all-electric Chevy Bolt bears so much resemblance to the i3.

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica

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