BMW has invested a lot of time, money and effort into the BMW i3 electric vehicle and the company is adamant that its customers should be protected as much as possible, both in the initial stage of acquiring a brand new vehicle and their second-hand value. While some may see this as manipulating the marketplace, the fact is that the electric vehicle industry is still in its relative infancy and therefore second-hand prices in particular may not offer the true value of the vehicle.
This is an interesting move by BMW and not only does it show that it has confidence in the BMW i3 but the company seems to be readying itself for a long-term position in the marketplace.
Dedicated sales agents
BMW will be handpicking dedicated sales agents across the UK and all vehicles will be sold on a fully direct basis. This essentially means that any risk is taken away from customers and the BMW network - and in effect the quality, durability and reliability of the vehicle - are guaranteed by the parent company. There will also be dedicated sales staff on hand to assist with any problems which may arise and to ensure that maintenance of the vehicle is done as quickly and efficiently as possible to the highest standards.
There is also been a promise that any transfer costs between BMW agents/dealers will be covered by the company to ensure as smooth an experience as possible for BMW customers.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The BMW i3 electric car will be showcased at the Frankfurt auto show in September with sales expected in 2014. In something of a rarity for the electric vehicle market, BMW is absolutely convinced this vehicle, and the forthcoming BMW i8, will be a game changer for the company and the industry."
The second-hand electric car market
There are a number of factors coming into play with regards to the second-hand price of electric vehicles such as, supply and demand, comparative values and issues with regards to battery packs and their longevity. These issues are muddying the waters somewhat with regards to the real second-hand value of electric vehicles and while BMW has not gone as far as to suggest it would guarantee prices, it will certainly be in full control of the market, both the primary and secondary sales points.
This is an issue which many potential EV owners have, the fact that they could lose a significant amount of the value of their vehicle if they choose to upgrade in the short to medium term. This is perhaps the reason why the leasing industry has been so successful for electric vehicles, offering the chance to upgrade on a regular basis. At some point the second-hand electric vehicle market will take off, the supply will be there and demand will emerge although this may only really become a major force when battery technology is improved and more long-lasting.
While many electric vehicle manufacturers pay lip service to the primary and secondary markets in their vehicles, BMW is adamant that it will have a major role to play in both the primary and secondary areas. This will to some extent offer more comfort to BMW electric vehicle owners who should not see the value of their second-hand vehicles fall as much as we have seen in some other areas of the market.
It will be interesting to see how BMW maintains control and indeed when the company believes the time is right to let the sector and the supply and demand of BMW EVs look after itself.