Ahead Of US Orders, BMW i3 Wait Times Extend Up To 5 Months

NOV 8 2013 BY JAY COLE 28

BMW's Production Line In Leipzig Is Now Producing Electric i3s For German Release On The 16th Of This Month

BMW’s Production Line In Leipzig Is Now Producing Electric i3s For German Release On The 16th Of This Month

How much demand is there for the BMW i3?  Quite a bit if you take BMW’s Chief Financial Officer’s word for it.

Even With US Demand Not Quantified New Orders Today Are 5 Months Backlogged

Even With US Demand Not Quantified New Orders Today Are 5 Months Backlogged

During a conference call, CFO Friedrich Eichiner pinned a number on early reservations for the i3 saying, “Currently there are 8000-9000 pre-orders.” 

And that is ahead of US orders, which will open this month according to Jacob Harb, who is the Head of Electric Vehicle Operations at BMW USA,

 ”We’ll take (US) orders in November and deliveries will start in the Spring.”

The first BMW i3 rolls off the line in Leipzig, Germany and into an anxious customers hands on November 16th, but with limited initial plant capacity, BMW is now reporting long back-order waiting times.

In a report filed by kfz-betrieb (German), Mr. Eichner says that “If you order an i3 today, have to wait for the delivery of up to five months. The delivery times would roughly correspond to the times attractive models with internal combustion engine.”

BMW i3 In "Solar Orange"

BMW i3 In “Solar Orange”


In other words, if you are looking for your own BMW i3, you probably shouldn’t take a lot of time deciding between the Arravani Grey and Solar Orange…otherwise you might end up with a 2015 model!

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28 Comments on "Ahead Of US Orders, BMW i3 Wait Times Extend Up To 5 Months"

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A lot of this has to do with the fact that the entire manufacturing process for the i3 is completely different than the rest of their cars. The first few months of production they will be making a small percentage of what their full capacity, which I believe is around 3,000-3,300 i3’s per month. It’s great to see strong demand, but I don’t think that is the real cause of the initial wait as much as it is BMW slowly ramping up production.

So… Tesla will be sitting good with the Germans with only a 4 week wait?

assuming you have the dough to spend twice the value of the i3.

Well, congrats to BMW. I knew that Germany would buy EVs once a decent GERMAN EV became available.

As a german Renault ZOE Zen driver: congrats to BMW as well from my side for the high demand.

What I am missing for a premium Product is the possibility to fast load on public AC Stations. We have 1300 public AC Loading Stations with 22kw in Germany, where the i3 just takes 3,7kw. Same Thing at home, just slow loading there, where my ZOE is full in 60 Minutes with 22kw.

3-phase AC is everywhere. Each Home has to have it. My home can deliver up to 32kw AC, which is no Problem for ZOE, but I use 11kw to 22kw, dependent on my Photovoltaics.

For a premium product I expect more range and better recharge possibilities not same range as Leaf/ZOE/Imiev etc. and much worse recharge times.

Engine is fine if not perfect, no doubt but using the power for acceleration and autobah speed, the i3 has I expect 80-120km real range, especially in Winter conditions with mandatory winter tires we face here in a few weeks.

Greetings from Germany

Thanks for the background…was very interesting. We could almost turn your post into a story if you wanted to flush it out, a lot of interesting moving pieces there (*cough* insideevs@gmail.com *cough*)

Sidenote: very jealous of your 3-phase AC infrastructure and Chameleon charger

Thanks for the insight. Having never left the north american continent myself, I’m not familiar with standards on your side of the pond. 3-phase AC is foreign to me, even as an electrical engineer – we gloss over it in school because it doesn’t really exist here. At home, I have 200A, 240V “two-phase” service, which is 48kW. That’s pretty much the standard for new homes here, although 150A was common not long ago (32kW). My 2012 Leaf draws 3.7kW from the wall, and that’s good enough for me at home. I don’t really care if it charges in 1 hour or 8 hours, because it will last me all day, and I recharge overnight. When on the road, 22kW seems too slow. This may be a cultural thing, but when I travel, it is 3-4x the range of the i3. Charging 2 or 3 times for an hour each is just too long. Having the SAE CCS plug would allow me to recharge in 20 minutes each time (provided the chargers exist, which they currently don’t), which is much more acceptable. Having a REx would be even quicker, but I’d rather not burn gasoline in an EV… Interesting that… Read more »

He is talking about europeans being able to charge AT HOME right now at 32 kWh if they also have a Zoe. would be great to so that in us instead of the 3.3/6.6

I guess I wasn’t clear, because so was I. I really don’t care if my car charges faster than 3.3kW at home. In fact, I have been using L1 lately, which is 1.4kW. It just doesn’t need to be any faster for my use case.

He was also talking about charging on the road at one of their 1300 public 22kW AC charge points. The SAE version is rated up to 120kW. I’m not sure what the i3 supports, but it’s probably at least 90kW. The problem is that there are no chargers in Germany that the i3 can use. Put another way, BMW made the decision to go with a much faster standard which isn’t available – yet. Time will tell if they made the right choice, or if they need to upgrade the onboard charger to accept 22kW.

It can be nice to charge faster for TOU (hourly electrical rate plans). I charge my Volt from 2am to ~5am when my rates are low low low.

Actually a lot of commercial service here in the states is 3-phase AC, but I digress. Still good points.

It is still an electric car. Its owners would still use far far less petrol than when they buy an ICE car. please step back and think about it….BMW actually made an electric car. do you see where we are heading….don’t you see it?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Meh, I’ll hold out for a Black/Black edition..

You know they will have to make the clear coated carbon version with black wheels at some point. That could put me over the edge as well.

Hi Brian the i3 has 50kw DC Charging called CCS Combined Charging Standard. This is inkompatible to Chademo (Nissan) an of course inkompatible to Teslas 135kw DC Charging. CCS can use DC up to 170kw, but BMW currently uses 50kw. We have 5 public 50kw DC chargers right now in Germany which is nothing. ZOE, Tesla Model S and Smart as well as Mercedes B-Class can use cheap 3-phase AC infrastructure for charging. Tesla has 3-phase 11kw as standard and 22kw via twin loader as an Option, ZOE 43kw, smart 22kw as option and Mercedes B-Class 11kw as standard. My 22kw Wallbox at home did cost me a 400€ (520$) plus, thats it. Renault includes a 1100€ Wallbox which can be deselected when you choose your own. And I can adjust the speed from 9kw, 11kw, 14kw to 22kw. A 43kw Box costs another 500€ (600$) plus, a 50kw DC BOX is 15.000€ !! Whats the charging speed benefit of 50kw DC vs 43KW AC with a 22kwh battery size ? Nothing. Just much more expensive. Its law to have 3 x 63A@230V as a minimum for new single family houses since 1960, so I am allowed to have 44kva.… Read more »

Thanks for commenting here. I have a question for you. I was trading emails with a Zoe owner about 6 months ago and he was frustrated because he couldn’t charge from home at all, something about the car not being compatible with a simple home wall socket. He even tried to return the car because he wasn’t told this when he bought it. Do you know anything about this?


Sounds like the Zoe owner hasn’t a clue and doesn’t deserve to be an EV owner.

If your going to buy an EV why not spend the extra and set up a proper charging station at home. Shocked people could be that silly.


i can update you. All current ZOEs can not be charged on a standard home wall socket. Renault includes a free Wallbox 1-phase, 3,7kw, Type2 including installation (to a certain degree) with each ZOE to bring charging to a more secure and powerful level at home.

But people want the home wall socket charging, even it they get a professional Wallbox and installation for free.

So beginning 2014, Renault wll ship a “emergency charger cable” which will charge the ZOE on any home wall socket in Europe. This is much less efficient and lasts much longer but for 200€ its yours. And Yes, its backward compatible with all 7000 ZOEs already shipped in Europe.

5 month wait… is “patient German” an oxymoron?

(i kid, i kid)

Man have you seen there high tech German manufacturing line…. for this model.

The problem is the high tech robotic line cannot literally glue the cars together fast enough!
– yes a lot of the i3 car is plastic welded / glued together.
(how else do you make money in country with high labour wages) LOL!

ot, but:
plan your trip thru Spartanburg, South Carolina, and see one of the (ahem, Large > 1ton) X5s, handled by robots, flipping & flopping in ways and at speeds you wouldn’t believe possible during the processes of welding/glueing all ‘joints’. Impressive & free tour. Most BMW joints are glued as well as welded, metal or carbon fiber.

I’ve spent many weeks in the Mercedes plant in Alabama, and gluing is used a lot (along w/spot welding of course)

Wonder how insurance / crash repair goes, most panel shops are still having fun welding all the different steels used properly – aluminium included.
Now they have to learn gluing techniques,
oh my this is going to be fun for second hand owners of damaged cars later down the track…..

@ zoe-driver

I am jealous! In my house, I have 2x120v 65A service. If I wanted 3-phase service, it would cost me $10,000 or more to get the power run to the house. Damn you Edison and your legacy of 120v!

Must be nice to be able to sell in the EC without VAT taxes then come to the big dumb USA and get $7500 and more to sell them.

We should put the same barriers on this German car as they put on our Chevy Volt. then see how the “demand” is.

I think the Volt is cheaper in the UK than the i3.

and btw, I just ordered an i3 and was told the wait is now 6 months.