Official pricing for the BMW i3 is still unannounced, but BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch says the little electric car will be priced near the 3 Series.
The vehicle will launch late this year, at which point final pricing will be set. While saying the i3 will be priced near the 3 Series hints at the brand’s intended direction, it’s a broad clue at best.
That’s because the 3 Series starts in the early $30,000 mark with the 320i and can nearly double in price before touching the other-worldly M3. That’s a wide swath for the little car to meander in.
BMW is unlikely to side on the lowest end for a couple of reasons. First, it will likely hesitate to market the new car as a relatively downmarket product. Pricing it beside the lowest cost 3 Series could do that and risk scaring potential buyers who prefer the prestige of a BMW to, say, a Nissan Leaf.
But shooting too high will easily melt the little green car’s wax wings (no reference to the grotesque Forjeremy intended), by fending off frugal customers.
It’s a line Nissan skated with limited success until this year when it dropped thousands from the Leaf’s sticker price. Sales spiked relative to last year’s figures, outpacing the Chevrolet Volt, but at what cost?
BMW already has a small electric car following with its ActiveE electrified 1 Series, which will provide valuable experience in marketing the little hatchback.
What’s more, the i3 will be available with a 0.65-liter gas motor that, just like the Volt, will be able to charge its battery for extended driving. i3 owners will also be allowed to borrow a gasoline car for limited period of time, dismantling one of the biggest roadblocks EVs currently face.
Answers are just around the corner when the car’s limited 57,000-unit run begins reaching dealers, most of which are expected to carry both the i3 and i8 hybrid sports car.
[Source: Automotive News]
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