BMW has already invested an astonishing $2.7 billion in its new line of electric BMW i3 and i8 vehicles, and according to Reuters, it will reportedly gauge the market for demand before any further expansion moves forward.
Trademarks are already registered for i1 through i9 names, but BMW will play it safe for now until more information is available about demand. This strategy is consistent with what our European bureau chief Georg Kacher discovered at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, when Chairman Norbert Reithofer told him that “If demand for i3 is stronger than expected, we can easily expand the capacity and the I line-up, having trademarked all options from i1 to i9.” If demand for the i-lineup is insufficient to justify adding another model, the plug-in hybrid technology could still be applied to other crossovers and cars in BMW’s existing lineup.
“We need to see how demand for the cars develops,” BMW board member Harald Krüger told Reuters.
Already BMW has elicited over 11,000 orders for the i3 city car since it hit showrooms last November, and 1,000 prospective buyers have already stepped up here in the U.S. The 2014 BMW i3 is powered by a 170-hp electric motor directed through the rear-wheels, and has a range of 80 to 100 miles before needing a charge. Base price is set at $42,275. The sporty BMW i8 coupe uses a 131-hp electric motor paired with a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-three making 170 hp, which together power all four wheels. Combined fuel economy for the BMW i8 is estimated at 94 mpg, and pricing will start at $136,625 including destination.
The BMW i3 is set to go on sale in the second quarter of this year, with the BMW i8 soon to follow.