German luxury car manufacturer BMW, has over 100,000 reservations globally from people who want to test drive its first electric vehicle, sales boss Ian Robertson said. Additionally, the automaker has “significant numbers of deposits” to buy the new and highly coveted car.
Robertson says he believes the new Concept Coupe with edrive i3 will be an industry game-changer.
“We are confident that with the i3 and i8 we will shift the needle because we will shape some of this technology” in the EV sector, Robertson said at the Automotive News Europe Congress today.
The production version of the i3 compact car will be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September and go on sale before the end of the year. Robertson said the i3 differs from many of the EVs on the road today because it was developed as an EV from the start, rather than being a conventional car with an electric power train dropped in.
The base price of the new car will be similar to the current price of BMW’s 3 series–ranging between $31K and $33K for a 2013 model.
The car’s Frankfurt arrival will come about 30 months after BMW announced the creation of its “i” sub-brand, which will also include the i8 plug-in hybrid super-car.
Siting the current research and develpment in EV batteries, Robertson seems fearlessly convinced that BMW’s direction is the only way forward. “It is an investment in a future agenda, and it’s an agenda where we think zero-emission vehicles have a very, very key part to play.”
“In the next three to four years we’ll see more development of the batteries than we have in the last 100,” he said, adding that the prospects for lithium air batteries are particularly positive because they charge faster and provide a range more in line with what people believe they need.