The BMW i3 began rolling off the assembly line in November and the automaker has seen a deluge of requests for the car that far exceeds the demand the automaker anticipated. While the i3 is a fully electric car, BMW will begin offering its hybrid sports car the i8 in June. The automaker is presently building a second production hall at the jointly-run plant with SGL Carbon SE (SGL) to ramp up production of carbon fiber that is used in both vehicles’ chassis to save weight and increase fuel efficiency.
BMW i3’s demand nearly doubles before U.S. rollout
Since January 1, the company has already built more than 5,000 i3s with the expectation of delivering 20,000, a number that nearly doubles BMW’s sales forecast. “Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the U.S.,” Krueger said in the statement. “The U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”
The i3 is expected to list at $41,350 and will fill a niche for those unwilling or unable to pay the $70,000 starting price of the Tesla Model S sedan. BMW has already seen 11,000 orders from the States, a number it probably can’t deliver in 2014, though the company believes that 10,000 is within its capabilities.
Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany believes that with the money invested by the automaker makes it of paramount importance that they follow through saying, “It was a bold move, but it also bears some risk as production is complex. They need to make this work.”
While fully battery-powered cars make up a small part of the overall automobile industry, more and more people are becoming less concerned with the potential range of the automobiles. Earlier this month, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) broke the all-time Norwegian mark for the most single model cars sold in a month’s time. Granted, considering the size of the country, it makes the range of the car less foreboding.