As a car that will supposedly herald the future of sustainable mobility, the 2014 BMW i3 electric city car is a pretty big deal. For months, we’ve been speculating that it would be priced similarly to a BMW 5 Series. Instead–and much to our surprise–it will come in at a price closer to that of a 3 Series, starting at $42,275, including $925 for destination and handling.
That’s before what could be another $10,000 in incentives from states like California when coupled with a $7,500 federal tax credit.
For that money, you’re getting a carbon fiber- and aluminum-intensive body that keeps the car’s weight down to a paltry 2,700 pounds or so. Powering the car is a 170-horsepower electric motor that drives the rear wheels. With a 22-kilowatt-hour battery pack, the car has an estimated range of 80 to 100 miles per charge. BMW says that when using the new J1772 quick charger, the BMW i3 will be able to fill 80 percent of its capacity in just 20 minutes.
So far, BMW has kept quiet on the i3′s options. We know that there will be an available three-cylinder engine sitting in the back that will be used as a 60-mile range extender, exclusively feeding electricity back into the battery pack. But we still have no idea how much adding an engine to this car will cost.
BMW has high hopes riding on the i3 and the subsequent i8 electric supercar. We question just how it’s going to be priced with options and how it will perform in the real world when the now-unremarkable Nissan Leaf can achieve the same kind of mileage per charge, despite being much heavier and a far older design. We also wonder how buyers will take to the BMW i3 as a premium product when the significantly more expensive Tesla Model S can achieve more than 200 miles per charge and the upcoming Cadillac ELR will likely provide a more luxurious experience, as it is estimated to weigh 1,000 pounds more than the i3.
We’ll know soon enough as we’ll be reporting on the 2014 BMW i3′s world introduction next live from the launch event in New York City. Expect to see the 2014 BMW i3 in showrooms during the second quarter of 2014.