Monday, July 22, 2013

BMW Prices i3 Electric Car at EUR34,950 in Germany

By Nico Schmidt
Luxury car maker BMW AG (BMW.XE) said Monday the base price of its new i3 electric car will be 34,950 euros ($45,922) in Germany, available in November.
BMW's i project, to which the i3 model belongs, is one of the most closely watched projects in the industry. Whereas BMW's competitors have primarily relied on replacing gas-based engines in existing car models with a battery engine for their electric automobiles, BMW is the first to develop a completely new architecture with the i project.
"The BMW i3 heralds the dawn of a new era for individual mobility and for the BMW Group," said Ian Robertson, board member responsible for sales and marketing.
The i3 is priced roughly mid-range for electric automobiles, according to data from German car club ADAC. The price range in Germany begins at EUR8,000 for a two-seater Renault Twizy and rises to almost EUR415,000 for the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive.
"The price of about EUR35,000 is slightly lower than expected," said Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler. Mr. Pieper estimated BMW will sell about 25,000 i3 cars in the coming year. By 2015, that could rise to 40,000, he said.
Industry experts had waited months on the price for the four-seater, battery-driven i3. BMW had only previously said it would be in the same price range as the BMW 3-Series, or less than EUR40,000.
"With this leading-edge vehicle and attractive price, we will provide customers with a compelling offer for electromobility," Mr. Robertson said.
In addition to the electric-only model, the i3 can be ordered with a range extender option, which includes a gas-based motor that can be used as a reserve for longer trips.
Unlike most other electric cars, the body of the i3 is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic with aluminum parts, instead of steel, which helps to offsets the heavy battery, a common engineering dilemma for electric cars.
The most important markets for the i3 will likely be Europe, the U.S., China and Japan, according to the company. The i3 model debuts this month with deliveries beginning in November.