In launching and marketing the BMW i3, executives commonly referred to the electric vehicle as an urban mobility vehicle meant for transporting city folk to and from their destinations within the 82-mile driving range. However, the inclusion of a gas-powered range-extender that effectively doubles that i3’s driving range has made it a big hit outside of cities, reports Automotive News.
Unsurprisingly, California is the largest market for the BMW i3, and two BMW dealers have even opened standalone i-dealerships solely for selling the i3 and its in-demand sibling, the i8. But Texas and South Florida have also proven popular hotspots for the i3. But the typically-liberal Northeast, specifically places like New York City, have apparently turned up their nose at the electric Bimmer. According to Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, New Yorkers apparently don’t put the same priority on electric vehicles as other parts of the country.
It actually makes sense for the i3 to be more popular with EV enthusiasts who live outside of major metro areas. Sales of the i3 are already approaching 1,000 units a month, and at 20,000 units sold the i3 starts to make money for BMW. The optional range-extender turns the i3 into an extended-range electric car with a 150 mile range and the option to quickly refill the two-gallon gas tank. While all-electric range drops by about 10 miles per charge, the extra range from the gas generator means you can take the i3 all the way to its battery limitations, and still have a couple of hours of range left.
Makes sense to me, and for BMW the i3 is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional combustion vehicles for both country and city folk.