BMW Has Several Hundred Pre-Orders For i3, First Pre-Production i3s Completed

MAR 19 2013 BY JAY COLE 14

BMW Shows Of Their i3 Concept Coupe At The 2013 NAIAS

BMW Shows Of Their i3 Concept Coupe At The 2013 NAIAS

Today at BMW’s Annual Report Press Conference in Munich, Norbert Reithofer,  Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, gave us some interesting updates on the status of BMW’s i3 project while projecting what 2013 will hold for the automaker.

“The future belongs to those who dare to venture”,  said Reithofer, as “electromobility will be very much in the spotlight for the BMW Group  in 2013.”

BMW Does Some i3 Testing In Public View Earlier This Year

BMW Does Some i3 Testing In Public View Earlier This Year

Mr. Reithofer says that the i3’s production line is now currently active and has already produced its first pre-series BMW i3s, beginning this past January in anticipation of being on the market “by the end of the year.”

Although not readily available for the public to order yet, the BMW executive also added that, “Several hundred advance orders have already been received for  the BMW i3.”

During the conference, BMW again re-iterated that the i3 has an approximate range of 150 km (93 miles), and should weigh 250 to 350 kgs (550lbs to 770lbs) less than a “conventional” electric car.

Given the limited amount of EVs the public might consider as a “conventional” electric car, one has to assume Norbert is referencing the Nissan LEAF.  As a point of reference, the LEAF weighs about 3,350lbs, making the i3 tip the scales around 2,600 to 2,800 pounds.

The BMW i3 Is Designed With A Carbon-Fibre-Reinforced (made in Washington state) Plastic (CFRP) Passenger Compartment, And An Aluminium Chassis, Which Enables Some Big Weight Savings

The BMW i3 Is Designed With A Carbon-Fibre-Reinforced (made in Washington state) Plastic (CFRP) Passenger Compartment, And An Aluminium Chassis, Which Enables Some Big Weight Savings

Given this significant weight advantage, it is easy to see how BMW expects to eek out the additional miles from a 2 kWh smaller lithium battery (22 kWh).  BMW says that the expected 93 miles of range is “absolutely sufficient in most circumstances” thanks to the knowledge they have gained from both the MINIE and BMW Active E test fleets.

BMW’s Maximilian  Kellner, head of product management of BMW i division, does note that range has a lot to do with the driver, and how you operate your i3.

“…the i3 has a range on a single electrical charge of 130 to 160 kilometers, but with two eco modes the EV range could grow to 220 kilometers.”

  • EcoPro – reduces the torque delivered by the electric  motor and the energy consumption of features such as the air conditioning and heating.  Using this setting should add about 20km (12.5 miles) to the range according to Kellner.
  • EcoPro+- in addition to what EcoPro does, this setting basically shuts down all electricity systems outside of safety requirments like ABS/ESC.  Users can expect an additional 40 km of range (25 miles) using this setting.

The i3 also has an range extended option that will allow the consumer to drive up to approximately 200 miles (in total), thanks to a small motorcycle engine tucked in the back, and a 9 liter (2.3 gallon) gas tank in the front.

BMW also stressed at the meeting that production times on the i3 are reduced significantly over other BMW products.

“…by employing unique production methods and a significantly lower number of assembly parts. The BMW i3 will require only half the time needed to produce a conventional vehicle.”

The BMW i3 deliveries start November 16th, 2013, and the car will make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.  No pricing has yet been released on the vehicle, but figures starting in the mid-$40,000 range are widely expected.

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14 Comments on "BMW Has Several Hundred Pre-Orders For i3, First Pre-Production i3s Completed"

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If they priced it at $37,500 with REX, they’d sell as many as they make.


Not gonna happen. Think a street price closer to $54,000.

I agree on that price.

Interesting morsel about production times! Lord knows EVs are simpler. It’s a matter of time, folks. But also don’t be shy about kicking the old petrol dinosaur back down when it dares try to bow up on us with lies and paying off politicians.

Isn’t it interesting how many different ways manufacturers have combined electric and gasoline systems on PHEV? You have one extreme such as the PiP where it is essentially a gas car with a bit of electric drive capability thrown in. Then you have the BMW I3 on the other end of the scale where it is essentially an electric car with a bit of gasoline thrown in. Then in the middle you have the Chevy Volt which tries to give equal amounts of electric and gasoline capability.

I like the idea of the I3. That is, give the driver enough battery range that they’ll seldom need to use gas. And when they do, it will likely yield inferior performance to what they are used to when using battery power, meaning they’ll probably try to avoid gas if at all possible. It adds just enough of a safety net to eliminate range anxiety at minimal cost.

I’m pretty excited about this car. It is definitely unique w/ its carbon fiber body and emergency range extender. I almost bought a leaf but just could not make my 70 mile round trip and so I bought a Volt instead. I really love the Volt but this i3 would give me more electric and w/ the little RE O could make my 70 miles no problem. Aslo it will me even more peppy than the Volt so it should be one fun little rollerskate to drive.

Is Tom M. getting the RE option I forget.??

I haven’t really committed one way or the other yet George. If the EPA rating is in the 90’s as I expect then I really don’t need it, but it would still be a nice feature to have for the few times I’d use it.

There is the cost factor, bit also the sales tax issue. In NJ, pure electrics are tax exempt, but PHEV’s aren’t. So not only will I be paying for the REx, but I’ll then have to fork over the ~$3,500 in sales tax that I wouldn’t have to pay on the BEV i3.

There’s plenty of time to kick this around. Once the pricing is announced (probably in September) I’ll decide. BTW, I am a little more optimistic than you and Anton. I think the base i3 will be $44-$46K and the REx option about $3,500.

I think would would definitely tack on the range extender myself (if it does come as a ‘under 5k’ option from the base MSRP), just so handy to have in your back pocket.

That being said I am both annoyed and glad that BMW has not opened pre-orders on the car here…I really want to see the specs on the Infiniti LE (out Q1 2014) before I am forced to choose between the two.

I’m fairly sure any preorder will be not binding.

Yes, just like with the LEAF in the early days.

Perhaps if they offered the range extender as a dealer installed option, install it a couple of months after you take delivery of the car itself.

No Herm, that’s not the case. It needs to be ordered with it and built into the car at the factory.

I like the idea of the gas tank in the front.

Jay, you have a quote saying the i3 will be available “by the end of the year”, and then you finish the article by saying ” BMW i3 deliveries start November 16th, 2013.” Is that your estimate, or info from BMW?