BMW i3

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For the gasoline-powered city car manufactured by Aixam, see Mega City (car).
BMW i3 01.jpg
2014 BMW i3
Manufacturer BMW
Also called BMW Mega City Vehicle
Production 2013–present
Model years 2014–present
Assembly Leipzig, Germany
Designer Richard Kim[1][2]
Body and chassis
Class City car
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Engine 25 kW 647 cc, two-cylinder generator (optional) with a fuel tank capacity of
9 L (2.4 US gal) in Europe[3]
7.2 L (1.9 US gal) in the U.S.[4]
Electric motor 125 kW (168 bhp)[5]
Transmission Single speed with fixed ratio[6]
Battery 22 (18.8 usable) kWh lithium-ion battery[7]
Electric range BEV
130 km (81 mi) EPA[8]
130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) NEDC[6]
REx (with range extender)
116 km (72 mi) (EPA)[9]
Total: 240 km (150 mi) (EPA)[9]
Plug-in charging 7.4 kW on-board charger on IEC Combo AC, optional Combo DC
Wheelbase 2,570 mm (101 in)[6]
Length 3,999 mm (157.4 in)[6]
Width 1,775 mm (69.9 in)[6]
Height 1,578 mm (62.1 in)[6]
Curb weight 1,195 kg (2,635 lb)[6]
1,315 kg (2,899 lb) (with range extender)[6]

The BMW i3, previously Mega City Vehicle (MCV), is a five-door urban electric car developed by the German manufacturer BMW. The i3 is part of BMW's "Project i" and was launched as a new brand, BMW i.[10][11][12][13][14] The i3 is BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain, and BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer to improve the vehicle's energy consumption.[15]

The BMW i3's official range is 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and up to 200 km (120 mi) in the most efficient driving mode.[6] Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cycle the official range is 130 km (81 mi) with combined fuel economy of 124 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent —MPGe— (1.90 L/100 km; 149 mpg imp). BMW is offering a range extender (“REx”) option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a small fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to between 260 to 290 km (160 to 180 mi) in everyday driving conditions.[4] Under EPA testing cycle, the i3 REx total range is 240 km (150 mi).[9] As of June 2015, the BMW i3 is the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle of all years regardless of fuel type, and the i3 REx is the most efficient EPA-certified current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.[16][17]

The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany.[10][18] and the production version was unveiled in July 2013.[19] Mass production of the i3 began in September 2013 and retail deliveries started in Europe in November 2013.[20][21] Deliveries in the U.S. began in May 2014.[22] Pricing in the United States starts at US$42,275 before any government incentives, and the range extender option costs an additional US$3,850. Prices in Germany start from €34,950 (US$46,400).[23][19] Pricing in the UK starts at £30,680 (US$47,195) before the applicable government grant.[24]

As of November 2015, the i3 ranks as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history.[25] As of December 2015, cumulative global i3 sales totaled 41,586 units.[26][27][28] The i3 ranked third among all-electric cars sold worldwide both in 2014 and 2015,[29][30][31] and it was also the world's fifth top selling plug-in electric car in 2015.[31]

Among other awards and recognition, the BMW i3 won two World Car of the Year Awards selected as 2014 World Green Car of the Year and also as 2014 World Car Design of the Year. The i3 was also given an iF Product Design Gold Award, and, in the first UK Car of the Year Awards, it won in two categories: UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Supermini of 2014.


First sketch of the Mega City Vehicle (MCV).

In February 2011, BMW announced a new sub-brand, BMW i, to market the vehicles produced under Project i. BMW i vehicles are to be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models are the battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 International Motor Show Germany and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars was scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.[14][32]

The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany.[10][18] BMW showcased a BMW i3 prototype during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London,[33] and the production version was unveiled in July 2013.[19]

BMW unveiled the i3 Concept Coupé study at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The carmaker developed the concept car to demonstrate the potential for extending the model range. The three-door coupe, like the five-door i3 electric sedan, is propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, with a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft). Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. The li-ion battery pack is placed under the floor and can deliver an all-electric range of 160 km (99 mi), but a gasoline engine referred to as "REx", can be added to extend the car's range to 320 km (200 mi).[34][35]

Design and technology[edit]

The BMW ActiveE began field testing in early 2012 with several of the same electronic components proposed to be used in the BMW i3.

BMW explained that taking advantage of the fact that the vehicle does not need an internal combustion engine up front, the i3 is being designed from the ground up, but avoiding to look podlike, with a dynamic sweep of the roof and the beltine to make it look sportier than most electrics.[36] In order to achieve a lightweight car, the i3 will be the first mass production car to have most of its internal structure and body being made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).[15][33][36] As of November 2010, BMW has demonstrated only the light weight of the passenger compartment, and the automaker's chief executive said they have already decided on the basic design of the car and that road-testing prototypes began soon after.[37]

The i3 features four doors and seating for four occupants with dimensions being slightly larger than the Mini Cooper and the BMW 1 Series, but smaller than the BMW 3 Series. The i3 is powered by a newly developed powertrain consisting of a 130-kilowatt (170 hp) electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries and driving the rear axle.[33] BMW aimed to achieve a range of 160 km (100 mi), the same range that was expected for the BMW ActiveE, but in order to reduce weight with a battery capacity of 16 kWh instead of the ActiveE's 30 kWh.[12]

BMW i3 concept car exhibited at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany

The BMW i3 has two pedals like all cars with automatic transmission. The accelerator pedal acts as both accelerator and engine brake. When the driver releases the pedal, the vehicle's kinetic energy is regenerated by the vehicle drivetrain to recharge the battery. This has the effect of slowing the car down. During the field testing of the Mini E, which features an accelerator that recharges the battery in this way, and consists of brakes that only apply to the rear wheels, BMW has learned that drivers tend to rely on the engine brake: around 75% of all deceleration maneuvers are initiated without the brake pedal in urban traffic areas.[12] BMW also expected the i3 to use the same type of battery and powertrain that is being tested in the BMW ActiveE trials.[13]

The prototype presented at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany had a 22 kWh (79 MJ) lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to deliver between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) and the battery was fully charged in about four hours with the 240-volt charging unit. The i3 was expected to go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in less than eight seconds.[10][18] The BMW i3 features a 130 kW (170 hp) electric motor mounted on the rear axle to drive the rear wheels and the top speed is limited to 150 km/h (93 mph).[38]

BMW i3 charging

BMW designed the i3 eDrive powertrain based on the premise that the battery would need to be recharged only once every two to three days. The charging frequency was derived from field trial results taken from the BMW ActiveE and MINI E vehicles in Asia, Europe and the U.S., whereby the typical commuting use between the pilot users' homes and workplaces was calculated.[39]

In June 2012 an updated version of the BMW i3 concept car was unveiled at the opening of the first BMW i store, located on Park Lane in London, UK. The updated i3 concept consists of a new interior colour and materials concept. The seat covers combine responsibly sourced wool and leather naturally tanned with an olive oil leaf-based agent. The almost symmetrical curving dash is inlaid with treated eucalyptus wood that, according to BMW, is sourced from sustainably managed European forests.[40][41]

Information is provided to the driver through a 16.5 cm (6.5 in) freestanding instrument cluster and a 22.3 cm (8.8 in) central information display. The bench-derived front seats replace the center tunnel that bisected the cabin and a floor-mounted transmission, brake levers or center console are also absent.[40][41]

Charging and connectivity[edit]

Main controls and digital screens of the BMW i3.

The i3 allows the owner to charge the battery from a conventional socket. The BMW i3 has a number of charging functions. AC fast charging can take less than 3 hours with the use of the BMW i Wallbox Pure, when charging from 0 to 80%. The i3 also has a rapid charging option suitable for public DC charging stations and can take less than 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 80%.[42] In the US, it can also be charged from any public charging station with an SAE J1772 connector.[43]

BMW claims that the i3 is the first fully online all-electric vehicle,[44] but the Tesla Model S has had full 3G Internet connectivity since 2012.[45]

Operating modes[edit]

The BMW i3 allows the driver to select the car energy consumption through three different drive modes: Comfort, Eco Pro or Eco Pro+ mode. In the standard Comfort mode the i3 delivers a range between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) in everyday driving conditions, while the i3 REx delivers between 260 to 290 km (160 to 180 mi).[4][46] The Eco Pro mode increases the driving range by around 12% through a different accelerator pedal mapping which uses less power. In Eco Pro+ mode, all settings are geared to achieving the maximum possible range, increasing the driving range by about 24% compared with Comfort mode. In this mode the maximum speed of the BMW i3 is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph) and electrical devices such as the heating and air conditioning are switched to energy-saving mode.[4][46][47][48]

Range extender option[edit]

BMW is offering a petrol/gasoline range extender engine as an option.[33] The range extender is powered by the same 647 cc two-cylinder engine used in the BMW C650 GT maxi-scooter. The range extender engine operates only when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 320 km (200 mi) for the European version.[49] The European version has a 9 L (2.0 imp gal; 2.4 US gal) fuel tank while the American version has a smaller 7.2 L (1.6 imp gal; 1.9 US gal) fuel tank.[3] Under EPA five-cycle testing, the i3 REx has a total range of 240 km (150 mi).[9]

The electric motor is located between the rear wheels. The empty space at the right of the motor is reserved to accommodate the range-extending gasoline engine.

The i3 performance in range-extending mode may be more limited than when it is running on battery power, as BMW clarified the range extender is designed not for long-distance travel but purely as an emergency backup to keep the electric system going until the next recharging location.[50]

The United States Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 edition of the "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends" introduced utility factors for plug-in hybrids to represent the percentage distance driven using electricity by an average driver, in electric-only or blended modes. The BMW i3 REx, classified as a plug-in hybrid by the EPA, has a utility factor in EV mode of 83%, compared with 66% for the Chevrolet Volt, 65% for the Cadillac ELR, 45% for the Ford Energi models, 37% for the BMW i8, 33% for the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and 29% for the Toyota Prius PHV.[51]

California's classification[edit]

The range-extender option of the BMW i3 was designed to meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation for an auxiliary power unit (APU) called REx. According to rules adopted in March 2012 by CARB, the 2014 BMW i3 with a REx unit fitted is the first car ever to qualify as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle or "BEVx". CARB describes this type of electric vehicle as "a relatively high-electric range battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to which an APU is added." The unit, which maintains battery charge at about 30% after the pack has been depleted in normal use, is strictly limited in the additional range it can provide, and delivers a minimum 75 mi (121 km) electric range.[52][53]

CARB classified the i3 with the REx option as a "Transitional Zero Emission Vehicle" (TZEV), the same classification as other plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. This classification makes the i3 REx eligible for California's green sticker that identifies the vehicles allowed to be operated by a single occupant in California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV), or carpool or diamond lanes, but not for the white sticker reserved for pure electric cars, such as the BMW i3 without REx.[54][55] In addition, CARB certification of the i3 REx as BEVx allows the i3 with range extender to be eligible for a US$2,500 Clean Vehicle Rebate, the same amount eligible pure electric cars are entitled to. Other plug-in hybrids are eligible for only a US$1,500 purchase rebate.[53][56]

Fuel economy and range[edit]

Under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the official range is 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi), and up to 200 km (120 mi) in the most efficient driving mode.[6] Under the NEDC cycle, the energy consumption is 0.21 kW/per mile. The model with the range extender option has an official NEDC total range of 257 to 299 km (160 to 186 mi).[57]

Under its five-cycle testing, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated the both 2014 and 2015 model year all-electric BMW i3's energy consumption at 27 kWh/100 miles (0.169 kWh/km) with a combined fuel economy at 124 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent - MPGe - (1.90 L/100 km; 149 mpg imp) with an all-electric range of 130 km (81 mi).[8] These ratings allow the all-electric BMW i3 to become the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle sold in the United States of all years regardless of fuel type.[16] The range-extended model has lower ratings than the all-electric i3 due to the extra weight of the twin-cylinder gasoline engine used in the i3 REx.[9] Nevertheless, the i3 REx replaced the Chevrolet Volt as the most efficient EPA-certified current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.[16][17] The following are the EPA ratings for the all-electric and range-extended models.

BMW i3 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings
Model Year
Fuel/EV range Combined City Highway Notes
BEV 2014/2015 81 mi (130 km) 124 mpg-e
(27 kW-hrs/100 mi)
137 mpg-e
(25 kW-hrs/100 mi)
111 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 mi)
Since May 2014 the all-electric BMW i3 is the most fuel efficient
EPA-certified vehicle of all years regardless of fuel type.[16]
REx 2014/2015 Electricity only
72 mi (116 km)
117 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
97 mpg-e (35 kW-hrs/100 mi) 79 mpg-e (44 kW-hrs/100 mi) The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid or EREV[8][58][59][60]
while CARB as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle (BEVx).[53]
Since June 2014 the BMW i3 REx is the most fuel efficient
EPA-certified vehicle current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.[16][17]
Gasoline only
78 mi (126 km)
39 miles per US gallon (6.0 L/100 km; 47 mpg-imp) 41 miles per US gallon (5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg-imp) 37 miles per US gallon (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp)
Total: 150 mi (240 km)  
Source: EPA[8][17][58][59]

In October 2015, BMW CEO Harald Krüger announced that the i3 will get more range in 2016 (model year 2017).[61] According to Autocar, the BMW i3 will be set to extend its range from 160 km (100 mi) to 200 km (124 mi) under the NEDC test cycle using the same 22 KWh battery capacity (18.7kWh usable). The efficiency gains will be obtained by using a new battery with a higher power density, and an upgraded electronics package that features new software mapping for the battery cooling system and the electric motor. The improved battery pack will fit both the all-electric i3 and the i3 with the range extender. The new battery will also be available as a retro-fit option for existing i3s.[62]


2014 i3 frontal view
2014 i3 rear view

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded the i3 a four-star car safety rating, resulting in the following ratings for each criteria:

Euro NCAP test results
BMW i3 (2013)[63]
Test Points %
Overall: 4 /5 stars
Adult occupant: 31 86%
Child occupant: 40 81%
Pedestrian: 21 57%
Safety assist: 5 55%

The BMW i3's overall ratings are lower than the other six best-selling plug-in electric vehicles, the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, all of which were rated five stars.[64]

Additional mobility[edit]

BMW i offers additional mobility packages for trips where the range of an BMW i3 would not be enough to allow customers to cover longer distances, such as providing a conventional BMW vehicle for a specified number of days per year.[39] The program started in October 2014 in the US and individual dealers can choose to participate in this program or not.[65] BMW is also offering a roadside assistance program in areas of high sales. The assistance vehicle will provide a charge so the i3 can travel to the next charging station. In addition, the i3 digital display panel shows the location of nearby recharging stations to alleviate range anxiety.[66]


The BMW i3 range extender version (REx) has the gasoline fuel door located at the right front side of the car.

BMW is manufacturing carbon strands that form the basis of the i3's carbon-fiber reinforced plastic bodywork at a new US$100 million plant built in Moses Lake, Washington, using raw material shipped from Japan. This location was selected to take advantage of the abundant hydroelectric power available in this U.S. region because carbon-fiber production requires considerable energy and would otherwise emit much carbon dioxide. Electricity in this region also costs about one-seventh of what it costs in Germany, providing a financially beneficial reason for the Moses Lake location. The carbon fiber is then shipped to Landshut, Germany, where the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic parts are fabricated, and the vehicle assembly line is located in Leipzig.[12][67]

In November 2010, the Leipzig plant was inaugurated, with an investment in the production that amounts to €400 million euros (US$561 million) through 2013. The plant is located at BMW's complex that already produces variants of the 1 Series model.[37] A concept version of the BMW i3 Coupe reflecting the current status of ongoing development was presented at the March 2013 Geneva Motor Show.[68] The production vehicle was officially unveiled simultaneously in New York, London and Beijing on 29 July 2013.[19] Series production for retail customers began on 18 September 2013, and the first vehicle off the production line was handed over to German marathon runner Jan Fitschen. The car was used as the lead vehicle at the 2013 Berlin Marathon on September 29.[20][69]

As of February 2014, BMW was producing an average of 70 cars a day, about half the planned production. The lower production output was attributed to a high defect rate in the carbon parts. The company planned to invest about €100 million in the production of carbon parts to solve the supply problems. According to BMW, there were 11,000 orders at the time, including 1,200 from U.S. customers. As a result of the high demand and the slow production rate, delivery waiting time extended to September 2014.[70][71]

Markets and sales[edit]

Production version of the BMW i3 at the 2013 International Motor Show Germany.

The first i3 deliveries to retail customers in Europe took place at an official market launch ceremony held in Munich on 15 November 2013.[72] The first delivery to a retail customer in the U.S. took place in May 2014.[22] Global sales passed the 10,000 unit mark in September 2014,[73] and the 25,000 unit milestone in May 2015.[74] As of November 2015, the BMW i3 is available in 49 countries, and with the core phase of the market introduction finished, only some smaller markets are still to follow. According to BMW, as of November 2015, 80% of i3 buyers are new to the brand.[25]

As of November 2015, the i3 ranked as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history.[25] Since its introduction, global cumulative sales totaled 41,586 units through December 2015.[26][27][28] A total of 1,477 were registered in 2013 in Europe,[26] 16,052 units were sold worldwide in 2014,[27] and global sales totaled 24,057 units in 2015.[28] The i3 ranked third among all-electric cars sold worldwide in 2014, after the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.[29][30] The BMW i3 was again the world's third best selling all-electric car in 2015, and also ranked fifth in 2015 among the world's top selling plug-in electric cars.[31]

As of December 2015, the United States ranked as the i3 top selling market with 17,116 units sold,[75][76] followed by Germany with 5,063 units registered,[77][78][79] Norway with 4,494 units registered,[80][81][82] and the UK with 3,747 units registered.[83][84] The Norwegian market has the largest i3 penetration due to its population size,[85] and during the first ten months of 2015 the BMW i3 has been the best-selling model across the entire BMW range available in Norway.[25] The i3 has been the best selling electric car in Germany since it was launched in November 2013 through November 2015, and also it ranks third in the United States since its introduction.[25]


BMW plans to offer the BMW i3 in South Korea and Japan. Sales in Korean market were scheduled to begin in April 2014.[86] Deliveries in Singapore are slated for late 2014.[87]


Deliveries in Australia are scheduled to begin in November 2014. Pricing starts at A$63,990 (US$60,050) for the all-electric version and A$69,900 (US$65,600) for the model with the range extender option.[88]


Retail sales began on 21 September 2014. Pricing starts at CN¥449,000 (~US$73,000). Initial sales were limited to seven dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Shenyang.[89] As of March 2015, the i3 is also available in Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Hangzhou.[90] BMW expected combined sales of around 1,000 units for its i3 and i8 models through December 2014.[89] In Shanghai, where new car registrations are limited to 50,000 vehicles a year and sold by public auction, owners of the BMW i3 are eligible for one of 3,000 free license plates available for imported electric cars. Due to the inadequate charging infrastructure in China, BMW plans to install 50 charging stations in Shanghai in partnership with State Grid Shanghai Electric Vehicle Co.[91] As of November 2015, the BMW i3 is the only imported electric vehicle in China which can be purchased tax-free and avoids the local licence plate lottery.[25]


A special version of the BMW i3 was developed for Japan to accommodate the low height of the car parking spaces in the country.[25] As of April 2015, there were 46 dealers selling the i3 in Japan, and since April 1st, online sales began in the country through After placing the car in their virtual shopping carts, customers have to wait for a call from BMW, and produce documents showing they have a parking space and access to a charging station.[92]


Since July 2013 a total of 1,477 units were registered in Europe through December 2013,[26] including about 400 press fleet vehicles and dealer demonstrators.[93] During the first quarter of 2014 registrations totaled 2,022 units,[94] capturing a market share of 18% of European all-electric car sales, and ranking as the third best selling electric car during the quarter after the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S.[95] A total of 4,853 BMW i3s were sold in Europe during the first half of 2014, representing a market share of 18.1% of sales in the all-electric segment, again ranking third after the Leaf and the Model S.[96]


A total of 138 i3s were registered in Denmark in 2014.[97] BMW introduced a fleet of 400 all-electric i3s to the DriveNow carsharing service in Copenhagen, which is interconned with the city's public transportation service.[98]

BMW i3 charging at an Autolib' carsharing station in Paris.

Pricing in France starts at €34,990 before the applicable government incentive, and the range extender option costs an additional €4,710.[99] The BMW i3 is one of the plug-in electric cars that is compatible with Autolib' charging network in Paris. The i3 is also compatible with the carsharing networks of Bluely in Lyon and Bluecub in Bordeaux. Private owners can access this network through a montlhy or annual subscription.[100] Registrations totaled 68 units in 2013.[101] During 2014 a total of 193 all-electric i3s were sold in the country,[101] and 414 units with the REx option (68.29%).[102] Cumulative registrations reached 675 units by the end of December 2014.[101][102]


Prices in Germany start from €34,950[23] and deliveries to retail customers began in Munich on 15 November 2013.[72] A total of 559 were registered during 2013.[77] The BMW i3 ranked as the top selling plug-in electric car in the country during the first quarter of 2014, representing 34.5% of the segment sales.[103] The i3 ended 2014 as the segment's top selling car with 2,233 units registered in the country through December 2014.[104] As of December 2015, cumulative registrations totaled 5,063 units.[77][78][79] Most of the i3s sold in Germany are equipped with the range-extender engine.[105]


Released in October 2013 a total of 34 units were sold in Italy in 2013.[106] Cumulative sales totaled 162 units through July 2014, of which, 45 are REx models sold during the first seven months of 2014.[106][107]

BMW i3 charging in Amsterdam

Prices in the Netherlands start at €35,500 and the range extender option costs an additional €4,490. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in November 2013.[108] A total of 252 units were registered in the country in 2013, and 545 in 2014.[109][110] Cumulative sales totaled 984 i3s through June 2015.[109][110][111]


Deliveries of the BMW i3 in Norway began on 16 November 2013 at a price of 237,100 kroner, with a choice of three "trims" presented to consumers.[112] According to BMW, there were more than 2,000 orders in the country, but only 50 units were allocated for the Norwegian market in 2013; BMW planned to deliver another 1,500 in 2014, thus extending deliveries far into 2015.[113] Sales through December 2013 totaled 51 units.[80] Accounting for new car sales during 2014, the i3 listed among the 20th best selling new passenger car in Norway almost every month, and ended the year with 2,040 units sold, and a market share of 1.5% of new car sales in 2014.[114][81] Cumulative registrations reached 4,494 units through December 2015.[80][81][82]


Launched in November 2013, a total of 27 units were sold in 2013.[115] As of December 2014, cumulative sales totaled 231 units.[115][116]


A total of 11 units were sold in 2013. Of these, 10 units sold with the range extender option, which in Sweden is classified as plug-in hybrid. The all-electric version is accounted separately.[117] As of December 2014, cumulative sales totaled 221 units, of which, 64.3% are REx models (142 units).[118]

BMW i3 test drives in Birmingham, UK.

A toal of 106 units were registered in 2013 and 390 in 2014.[119] During the first half of 2014 the i3 was the third best selling plug-in electric car in the country, with a 20% market share of the plug-in segment sales.[120] Cumulative registrations reached 1,033 units through August 2015.[119][121]

United Kingdom

The BMW i 3 was officially launched in the UK on 6 November 2013. The i3 is available in the UK with four different interiors: Standard, Loft, Lodge and Suite.[21] Pricing in the UK starts at £30,680 before the applicable government grant. Leasing for a 36-month contract starts at £369 per month including VAT, plus an initial payment of £2,995 including VAT.[24][122] Pricing of the BMW i3 with the range extender option starts at £33,830 before government incentives and leasing for the model with Suite interior is £480 per month including VAT.[21]

As of September 2014, a total of 1,029 units had been sold in the UK, of which, 575 were REx models (56%).[123] According to BMW, the UK is one of the main i3 markets.[85] A total of 3,747 units were registered between November 2013 and December 2015.[83][84]

North America[edit]


Sales began in Canada in May 2014, starting at a price of CA$44,950 before any available government incentives. The optional range extender cost an additional CA$4,000.[124][125] A total of 482 units had been sold through June 2015.[126]

United States

The first delivery to a retail customer in the U.S. took place in Boston on 2 May 2014.[22] During the first three months, U.S. bounded production was restricted to a special "Launch Edition" i3, with the full option package and the Tera World interior. The only choices customers had at launch were the exterior paint color, the 20″ Sport wheels, and the range extender. Production of normal custom ordered models was scheduled to begin in June. As thanks for their participation in the trial lease program, ActiveE drivers enjoyed priority ordering and the first batch of i3s was allocated to these customers. ActiveE customers were also allowed to order the i3 with any option they select and received the heated seats and DC quick charge options free of charge. Also, BMW created some unique features for the i3 cars of ActiveE drivers, such as embroidered front trunk liner and BMW i floor mats, and interior, exterior and door sill badging. BMW called these cars the “Electronaut Edition i3″.[127]

Several BMW i3s with California's HOV lane access stickers. The i3 with range-extender has the green sticker while the pure electric i3 displays the white sticker.

The American market launch was limited to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Austin and New York City, plus suburban areas of New Jersey and Connecticut.[128][129] Pricing in the U.S. starts at US$42,275 before any applicable government incentives, and the range extender option costs an additional US$3,850.[23][19] Both the all-electric and REx versions are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to US$7,500.[130] In California both the all-electric and REx versions are also eligible for a Clean Vehicle Rebate of US$2,500.[131] However the REx (BEx) version is eligible for California's green sticker reserved for plug-in hybrids that allows access to California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV), while the BEV version is eligible for the white sticker reserved for pure electric cars.[54][55]

The i3 is available in three trim levels, Mega World, the standard model in the US, Giga World and the top-of-the-line Tera World. The base Mega World comes standard with 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, BMW Navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive with eCall, the BMW i Remote, an alarm, 7.4 kW on-board charger and LED headlights, DRLs and tail lights. The interior is donned in bright, lightweight Sensatec and sustainable cloth, which is made from recycled materials. It also features a leather trimmed steering wheel and grained dash trim. The next level Giga World has all the features of the Mega with the addition of Giga-specific 19-inch wheels and an interior wrapped in leather and wool cloth. A universal garage door opener is included for easy access to the i3's BMW i Charging Station. It also has Comfort Access, and satellite radio. The Tera World adds unique 19-inch wheels, luxury full leather, olive leaf-tanned interior with textile accents and contrasting stitching, and anthracite floors mats.[47]

BMW i3 in San Francisco

Available for every trim is the technology and driving assist and the parking assist packages. The driving assist package includes the wide-screen Navigation Professional with advanced real-time traffic and the new touch pad, BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth and USB with BMW Apps, Online Information services, Deceleration Assistant, ACC Stop & Go, Speed Limit info, BMW ConnectedDrive services, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation. The parking assist package includes a rear-view camera, Park Assistant, which helps take advantage of tight parallel parking opportunities, and Front Auto Park Distance Control.[47]

BMW i3 sales represented almost 2% of BMW passenger car sales in the American market during its first month in the market, and climbed to 5.4% in September 2014.[132] During 2014 about 3,000 were sold in California, representing about half of total U.S. sales that year.[133] In addition to California, other major regional markets are Texas and southern Florida.[134] Although BMW does not report the break down of U.S. sales by BEV and REx trim, based on production figures, it is estimated that as of June 2014, the REx/BEV ratio for the American market is to 3:2.[135] A total of 17,116 BMW i3s have been sold in the U.S. through December 2015.[75][76]


Deliveries to retails customers began in Mexico City in late September 2014.[136][137]

South America[edit]

Initially only the range-extender (REx) version is available in the Brazilian market.

In September 2014 the BMW i3 became the first plug-in electric car available for retail sales in Brazil. Due to the country's high import taxes and lack of government incentives for electric drive vehicles, the i3 pricing starts at R$225,900 (~ US$98,500) for the all-electric model and at R$235.950 (~ US$102,600) for the REx model.[138][139] The i3 is available only in eight cities: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Recife, and Joinville.[139] BMW announced that a stock of 130 units has been reserved for the Brazilian market.[140] Owners of the i3 registered in São Paulo are exempted from the city's driving restriction scheme (Portuguese: rodízio veicular).[139] About 30 units have been sold in São Paulo by the end of September 2014.[141]


Presales started in October 2014 and the first shippings were expected to be made in early December 2014.[142] Pricing starts at COP$154.9 million (~US$49,000). All-electric cars priced in Colombia under US$52,000 are exempted from import duties between 2013 and 2016, and limited to 750 units imported per year. Since its introduction, i3 sales totaled 25 units through June 2015.[143]

Other countries

Deliveries in other Latin America countries are scheduled to begin by late 2014, including Chile.[144]

Global sales[edit]

The following table presents retail sales and registrations for the top selling national markets by year through June 2015.

BMW i3 sales/registrations by country
2013 – June 2015
Country Cumulative
2013–CYTD 2015
2014 2013
 United States[75][145] 10,548 4,456 6,092  
 Germany[77][78][146] 3,781 989 2,233 559
 Norway[80][81][147] 2,775 684 2,040 51
 United Kingdom[83] 2,484 950 1,534
 Netherlands[109][110][111] 984 187 545 252
  Switzerland[119] 947 451 390 106
 France[101][102][148] 821(1) 146 607 68
 Belgium[149][150][151] 619 234 353 32
 Canada[126] 482 255 227  
 Italy[106][152][153] 428 165 229 34
 Japan[154] 400(2) NA 400(2)  
 Austria[155] 388 78 296 14
 Sweden[117][118][156] 385 164 210 11
 Spain[115][116][157] 324 93 204 27
 Denmark[97] 232 93 138 1
Global sales[158][26][27] 27,735 9,846 16,052 1,477
Notes: (1) Figure does not includes REx version sales in France.
(2) Sales in Japan between April and August 2014.


The BMW i3 was selected by the Green Car Journal as one of the five finalists for the 2012 Green Car Vision Award.[159][160] In July 2013, the Wired and The Christian Science Monitor media sources published favorable reviews for the model.[161]

The BMW i3 won the Car Design of the Year award for 2013 in the production category at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show. The i3 was selected by a panel of senior design directors. The other runners up in the production category were the Jaguar F-Type Coupe and Porsche 918 Spyder.[162] The i3 also received an iF Product Design Gold Award for "the incorporation of sustainability in all facets of the interieur and exterieur design.”[163]

The BMW i3 was selected as finalist in three categories for the 2014 World Car of the Year Awards.[164][165] At the 2014 New York International Auto Show was announced as the winner of the 2014 World Green Car of the Year and also 2014 World Car Design of the Year.[166]

In the first UK Car of the Year Awards, the BMW i3 won in two categories, UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Super-mini of 2014. The winners in each category were voted for by a panel of 27 motoring journalists in the UK.[167] The i3 was also a finalist of the 2014 European Car of the Year awards. It ended up voted in second place.[168] The i3 was ranked first in Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Best Green Cars for 2014.[169] At the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show the BMW i3 was announced as the winner of Green Car Journal's 2015 Green Car of the Year Award.[170]

In Australia, the BMW i3 was awarded the 2014 Wheels Car of the Year by Wheels Magazine[171] considered Australia's most prestigious automotive award.The BMW i3 is the first all-electric car to win the award.[172] This was the first time BMW Australia won Wheels Car of the Year since the awards were established over 50 years ago in 1963.[173]

See also[edit]


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