BMW had a pretty fanciful unveiling of its first electric car, the BMW i3, last week. It was fun. But beyond that, it also seemed to convey a true seriousness about a transformation to electric vehicles. Many times, the BMW leaders at the London, New York City, and Beijing made comments about this being the future of transportation.
“We’re not entering to be a niche player,” BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said at the London event.
Sure, words are not worth a lot these days, and BMW didn’t announce any hard targets as far as sales go. But I’m buying it — I think BMW is now committed to becoming an EV leader. The BMW i3 is a good car that has been built electric from the ground up (“born electric,” as BMW advertises), and it’s clear the company has put a lot of time and effort into its development. At €34,950 ($46,126), it’s also rather competitively priced. With all that looking good, the company already has about 100,000 reservations for test drives, and “many” of those people have reportedly put money down on the car (no indication yet, afaik, of what “many” actually means).
When it comes to mass-market electric cars currently on the market, the BMW i3 is in my top three or four. It’s a real contender. I’m curious to see how it sells, what people think of it, how quickly BMW ramps up production, and how soon BMW gets the BMW i8 to market.