BMW’s i-Drive team is different from your run of the mill BMW gasoline cars. They are unique, different, and of course either sport only an electric drivetrain or some form of hybrid system. The all-electric i3, we briefly drove at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2013 can be bought as a pure electric vehicle (EV), or with a range extender (REX), as BMW calls it. It’s other i8 is a stunning plug-in hybrid (PHEV) aimed toward performance, with a hefty price tag at around $135,925.
BMW boosts i3 production
According to Bloomberg News, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), is largely considered to be the premium manufacturer of performance sedans and raised the daily production of its all-electric i3 from 70 vehicles to 100 at its Leipzig, Germany, factory through a press release from Harald Krueger, BMW production chief. This is a 43% increase for a totally new car from BMW, with a totally new manufactory system, and it is safe to safe to say, the way BMW hopes to go into the future. According to our interview with head of design Jacob Benoit, the i-Drive team is a glimpse into the future of BMW and bold move forward.
Just how serious is BMW about the i3? According to Krueger, the company already built more than 5,000 i3s since the beginning of the year. At this production rate, BMW is set to hit its 20,000 EVs goal this year, almost twice as much as its initial sales forecast. BMW has invested a lot of money in this technique, going as far as buying its own carbon fiber company. Production is complex, and a lot is riding on the success of the i3 and i8 for the future of the company. It is a very bold move we applaud.
Markets, anticipation and investors
The next big news is to see how the beautiful i8 hybrid sports car does when it reaches the market in June. Both the i8 PHEV, the i3 EV and REX use the company’s carbon fiber chassis that improves fuel efficiency by reducing weight and retaining its overall strength. BMW also announced it is building a second production plant to ramp up to that 43% increase. According to Krueger: “Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the U.S., the U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”
As far as the DAX is concerned, Germany’s index has reacted positively to BMW’s move with a 43 cents gain, or 0.5 percent, to 90.57 euros. It was up 0.3 percent as of 1:21 pm. in Frankfurt trading. The stock has climbed 5.8 percent this year, valuing the German manufacturer at 57.9 billion euros ($79.9 billion).
Audi and VW, the competition
The local competition comes from its neighbor Audi, also considered to be the world’s second-largest premium automaker. After years of teasing us with an appetizing e-Tron, it is finally moving forward with a PHEV A3 version, until it will offer a pure EV. The other competitor is Volkswagen (VW), Europe’s largest automaker whose only us of carbon fiber has been for the Lamborghini. Lamborghini has tentatively dabbled with a hybrid power plant, as well.
If the automotive world bored you to tears a decade ago, you have no reason to find some excitement these days. Who would have predicted Ferrari would use an electric motor in its cars? Well, I did a few years ago. That’s why you read the specialized press, and we thank you for it. Your comments on our site means better ranking for us. Who would have thought Porsche, McLaren and Lamborghini would follow the same route ten years ago? Anyone who understands the superior performance an electric motor brings to a vehicle can only look forward to the performance boost. In the meantime, we celebrate BMW’s production increase of its all-electric i3 and can’t wait to have a longer test drive with it.