Just a few weeks ago BMW became more vocal in the electric vehicle market than ever before, hitting the press with an array of comments regarding battery capacity technology, which the company believes is moving ahead very quickly. Much of this comment was perfectly timed in the run-up to the launch of the BMW i3 although many dealerships have been surprised by the relatively low cost of the vehicle.
The vehicle itself will be revealed in its full glory on 29 April 2013 and will cost £30,680 when it finally goes on sale in 2014. When you take into account the UK government's EV grant this will bring down the cost to £25,680. The vehicle is now competing against the likes of the Nissan Leaf, at around £21,000 and the Chevy Volt which comes in at £30,000.
What does the future hold for BMW?
While the adjusted base cost of £25,680 does not include the range extender, which is available with the Chevy Volt, it does bring into playing some of the new technology BMW has brought out for its electric car range. The vehicle itself will have a journey capacity of around 80 miles per full charge and the fact it is relatively lightweight, taking in a carbon fibre reinforced plastic body and an aluminium chassis, makes it very efficient.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "While the BMW i3 Coupe is still very much in the concept stage of development it is based upon the better-known BMW i3 vehicle which incorporates the latest electronic technology and a whole host of other additions and improvements. This particular model is very nimble on the roads because of its low centre of gravity, due in the main to the positioning of the lithium-ion storage cells, which are situated under the floor. As you will see from the picture, the look and the design of the BMW i3 Coupe also exudes space, comfort and luxury travel."
The feedback from various BMW dealerships has been very positive to date and the company is very confident of significant take-up in the short to medium term. This is BMW's only real attack on the electric vehicle market, although it has to be said that the company has managed to incorporate the traditional BMW style and comfort with this new form of transport.
Could BMW be a major player in the EV market going forward?
It is difficult to say whether BMW will be a major player in the EV market going forward although when you bear in mind the luxury car manufacturer Tesla continues to go from strength to strength, perhaps there is no reason why BMW cannot replicate this?
It looks more and more likely that governments around the world will further incentivise motorists to switch over to this electric mode of transport although at some point they will try to rein in expenditure and introduce specific electric vehicle taxes. However, there is no doubt that that at this moment in time governments in the UK, America, Europe and the Far East are all focused upon improving EV sales, reducing damage to the environment and diminishing the dependence we all seem to have on oil and gas.
For some time BMW remained relatively quiet with regards to electric vehicles, although over the last few weeks the company has managed to grab some headlines. The introduction of the BMW i3 towards the end of July is much awaited by experts in the motoring industry and initial feedback to date has been very positive indeed.
This is a company which appears to have waited until it could guarantee the transfer of traditional BMW style and comfort to this new mode of transport. Initial signs are that the BMW i3 is being seen as more of a second car as opposed to a first choice vehicle but this is certainly not a bad position to be starting from.