The world’s first BMW i Store will open its doors in London next month ahead of the launch of the German manufacturer’s all-new electric vehicle family in late 2013.
Located in Park Lane in the heart of the city, the BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said the BMW i Store represented a completely new approach for the brand, giving people the “opportunity to learn more about electromobility and get close to our future electric and plug-in hybrid BMW i vehicles.”
BMW will introduce a number of new sales channels for its i vehicles to reflect the diverse lifestyles of its future customers. Along with the conventional authorised dealership, BMW i cars will be accessible from a mobile sales team, new ‘Customer Interaction Centres’ and an online sales hub.
Under the first new channel, a mobile sales advisor will visit the consumer one-on-one away from a BMW showroom, organising test drives and assisting with model selection, equipment specification and finance options.
The Customer Interaction Centres will offer a similar level of personalised service in an environment where the consumer can experience every aspect of the vehicles, including the associated mobility services offered by BMW i – a concept similar to BMW’s plan to introduce Apple-style ‘Product Geniuses’ into its regular showrooms.
Regardless of the sales channel chosen, customers will have the option of leasing the vehicles or purchasing them outright.
BMW also announced the introduction of the ‘360 Electric’ program, which is designed to cater for all the needs of future BMW i drivers.
Customers with a garage will be able to charge their vehicles using the BMW i Wallbox, which it says is faster, safer and more convenient than plugging in to a regular power socket (which is also an option for all BMW i cars).
While on the go, the cars’ satellite navigation system will give drivers information on where they can find public charging stations and, where the technology is available, book and pay for a slot in advance.
BMW will also offer comprehensive 24-hour assistance for drivers if they need it, including on-the-spot recharging if the battery runs out.
Finally, for the times when an electric vehicle is not practical due to range restrictions, BMW i will offer a number of complimentary mobility alternatives for owners, including the temporary loan of a conventionally powered BMW.
The BMW i3 concept on show in London features a brand-new interior equipped with a combination of leather, wood, wool and a number of other renewable raw materials and natural fibres, underlining its environmentally friendly philosophy.
The i3 is a fully electric four-seater, rear-wheel-drive city car. Powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor, the production car will be capable of accelerating 0-100km/h in less than 8.0 seconds, while its lithium-ion battery will have a range of approximately 160km.