BMW recently entered the electric car market with the i3, a roughly $50,000 car that goes on sale next month in Germany and competes on price with a Tesla Model S. BMW has recently found that it will have to move quickly to up investment in manufacturing the i3 as more orders came in for the car than the German automaker expected: more than 8,000 people have made reservations for the vehicle.
The BMW i3 raised questions with us about its ability to compete in the luxury category, as this EV had a range and aesthetic that put it more squarely in the same category as the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric. Its sub-100 mile range, tiny and bubbly car body and limited zip meant many were predicting it would basically be an electric car that was $15,000 to $20,000 more expensive than others in that category.
But if BMW is scrambling to increase production for the i3, that indicates their brand management has been successful. BMW owners who want to stay loyal to the brand, but get a battery-powered car, are looking at the i3. Which means that predictions about the i3 struggling against vehicles like the Volt, Nissan Leaf or Focus Electric may be in for an upset.