To attract more drivers to its upcoming electric car, BMW will be offering extra services, including the use of gas-powered models. The automaker will install optional at-home charging stations for the i3 city car, which will go on sale at the beginning of next year. Navigation systems will already be programmed to find the nearest charging stations, and when a longer range vehicle is needed, owners of the i3 can borrow gas-powered models.
BMW hopes to meet industry expectations with its new four-seat, battery-powered i3. To offset the expensive materials, the automaker is working on a sales setup to limit distribution costs. “The BMW group is charting new territory. We are confident we will earn money with every BMW i3 we sell from the launch on,” said Harald Krueger, head of production, in a recent presentation.
Following the release of the i3, BMW will reveal the i8 hybrid sports car in 2014. Pricing for both cars, estimated by Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management, is estimated to be $52,200 for the i3 and more than $130,630 for the i8.
To counter the heavy weight of the battery, the i3′s layout was adapted to the all-electric drivetrain via an aluminum chassis, and a cabin made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. Using such expensive materials makes the price for the i3 relatively high, so to cut costs down, the automaker slimmed down the production process and reduced the number of body parts by two-thirds. BMW has also eliminated the need for a paint shop by using thermoplastics instead of steel for the body panel.