BMW i3 debuts with glitzy worldwide events

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We may not know who is selling it or when exactly it will be available, but at least consumers know how much BMW’s new i3 electric car will cost.

When the all-new BMW sub-brand hits Canadian dealerships sometime in the second quarter next year, it will carry an MSRP of $44,950. The Range Extender base will start at $48,950

“It’s a new era for electro mobility at BMW,” the company said following splashy simultaneous launch events in London, Beijing and New York in late July.

“The vehicle concept behind the BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric drive system. This has numerous advantages over conversion vehicles, in which the original combustion engine is swapped for an electric motor.”

According to studies carried out as part of BMW’s Project i, involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 16 million kilometers, it was revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 50 kilometers.
With that in mind, BMW said its i3 travel 130 to 160 kilometers on a single charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 25 per cent in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode.

Charging is possible either with the home charging station offered by BMW i or at any public charging station that uses a Level 2 SAE J1772 charging system. DC fast charging, using the SAE DC Combo-Fast Charger, will be available as an option. From a public fast-charging station, it will provide an 80 per cent charge from a fully depleted battery in 30 minutes.

In order to reduce range anxiety, BMW is offering a rear-mounted 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered Range Extender generator. The generator will roughly double the vehicle’s range. When the battery gets to a certain level, the Range Extender starts and maintains the battery’s current state of charge. BMW carefully points out that the Range Extender never directly drives the vehicle’s wheels. It also adds roughly 150 kg to the vehicle curb weight and has a fuel capacity of 9.0 litres.

And while the minutia surrounding the vehicle and its capabilities is all well known, the Canadian retail strategy remains a bit of a mystery.

Marc Belcourt, brand manager at BMW Canada said it was too early to talk about the role the brand’s retailers will play in the sale of the car.

Previous reports indicate as many as six BMW Canada retailers will offer the vehicle when it hits the market. Exactly what alterations need to be made to sales and service remain unknown.