Stronger-than-expected initial demand will force BMW to increase production of its i3 electric city car, Bloomberg reports. The 2015 BMW i3 doesn’t go on sale in Europe until next month and won’t reach the U.S. market until 2014, yet a long list of pre-orders will force the automaker to boost production rates at its plant in Leipzig, Germany.
BMW reportedly already has 8000 pre-orders for the i3, exceeding the automaker’s demand. That means BMW will likely need to ramp up its assembly lines to build enough cars for customers. “If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more,” BMW CFO Friedrich Eichiner told reporters in Europe. He reportedly expects BMW to sell 10,000 i3 city cars in all of 2014, underlining how positive the pre-order reaction has been.
Production of the 2015 BMW i3 began in Germany in mid-September, where the car goes on sale November 16. The all-electric i3 will reach the U.S. market in early 2014 with a starting price of $42,275 (including destination). Opting for a tiny gasoline engine that serves as a range extender by recharging the batteries adds another $3850 to the sticker price.
The 2015 BMW i3 uses a combination of aluminum and carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) to keep weight to a minimum. A 170-hp electric motor drives the rear wheels, and draws power from a rear-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. The BMW i3 will travel 80-100 miles on a single charge and can be fully recharged in just three hours with a 220-volt charger.