China is the big prize many automakers are eyeing, and with government efforts to support EVs and hybrids underway, automakers are drawing up their game plans. This September, BMW plans to launch its i3 and i8 electric cars in China starting initially with four metro cities, but with plenty of room to grow.
The BMW i3, which starts at $41,360 here in the U.S., will be priced at $72,000, which sounds expensive but is actually cheaper than many analysts predicted. Automakers have traditionally tacked on an additional price premium to luxury cars in China, but with Tesla leading the way with its “fair price” point, perhaps BMW decided to err on the side of value.
Initial sales estimates are around just 1,000 units for the first year, but 28,000 people have already signed up for test drives of the i3. With China wanting some 5 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on its roads, BMW is hoping to cut off a large slice of a market that could become the biggest EV market in the world in less than five years.
With BMW putting boots on the ground, it should be well situated once electric cars become the thing-to-have in Beijing and other well-to-do metros.