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article imageBMW electric car buyers will have to wait

By Joe Duarte     Feb 1, 2014 in Technology
Munich - Customers for BMW’s new electric division will have to wait a little to receive their new purchases, as the company deals with increased demand for its i3 electric hatchback — the brand’s first mass-produced electric car.
The “i” division has been in the works for well on five years and the first version of the i3 was unveiled as a concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The plug-in car is due to start distribution in North America in May 2014 and in China and Japan mid-year.
The i3 went on sale in Europe in November 2013 and has already claimed its first major award — Best New Small Car, awarded by German consumer magazine auto motor und sport.
Aimed at the city driver, the i3 is built in Leipzig, Germany, and the company expects to build 10,000 units in 2014. The problem is that demand is currently exceeding production capacity.
“We have already received around 11,000 orders for the BMW i3 worldwide,” claimed Dr. Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, during the BMW press conference prior to the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Roughly 15 percent of those orders are coming from North America.
An Automotive News story claims a six-month backlog fulfilling orders is in the works, with a potential revision of production in Leipzig, where the 1 Series compact (whose hatchback is roughly the same size as the i3) is already produced and where the upcoming i8 hybrid sports coupe (due in fall 2014) will also be produced.
The i3 is powered by a 125 kW (170 hp) motor using electricity stored in a 19 kWh (kilowatt hour) lithium ion battery. BMW claims a range of up to 160 km (100 miles), which can be doubled with an optional 647cc gasoline engine (from BMW’s motorcycle division), acting as an onboard generator. The car can be charged in eight hours through a standard plug, in about four hours using a charging station, and in less than 30 minutes (up to 80 percent capacity) at special public charging stations.
The BMW i3 is priced from $41,350 in the U.S. and $44,950 in Canada. The range extender is a $3,850 option in the U.S. ($4,000 in Canada).
More about BMW car, BMW i Series, Electric car, city car, hatchback
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