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by Tim Beissmann

BMW has reportedly taken about 100,000 reservations from people wanting to test drive its first electric production car, the BMW i3.

BMW Group sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson told Automotive News this high level of interest, combined with a “significant number of deposits” already laid down for the electric hatchback, should see it make a big impact on the market when it launches later this year.

“We are confident that with the i3 and i8 we will shift the [customer demand] needle because we will shape some of this technology [in the EV segment],” Robertson said.

The BMW i3 production car will be unveiled at September’s Frankfurt motor show before going on sale in Europe at the end of the year.


The i3, to be offered with both pure-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, will be joined next year by the i8 hybrid sports car, with the duo launching roughly three years after BMW established the ‘i’ sub-division for its new fuel-efficient vehicle family in February 2011.

BMW plans to launch the i3 in Australia in 2014, with the local division expected to favour the hybrid variant, which is rumoured to feature a two-cylinder petrol engine and a range of up to 400km.

Robertson said the i3’s starting price would align closely with the 3 Series, which costs from 28,800 euros ($40,500) in Germany. Australia’s entry-level BMW 316i costs $50,900 before on-road costs.