Electric car buyers to be offered free petrol-powered rental car for longer trips.
BMW has taken the unusual step of offering free petrol-powered loan vehicles to buyers of its i3 city car, in an attempt to curtail range anxiety issues.
The German brand is developing a global rental program which will be rolled out when the i3 goes on sale early next year.
BMW says the complimentary loan vehicles will be included in the price of the i3 – a ploy discussed but yet to be confirmed by the Australian operation – and will typically be required for the 10 per cent of trips that go beyond the EV’s battery-only range.
“This is something the group is working through at the moment,” Taylor said.
“It isn’t finalised or confirmed yet but it’s one of the initiatives the group is looking at.”
Electric vehicles have been met with resistance in Australia, partly because of range limitations on longer trips. The i3 has an electric range of 150km.
Mitsubishi has slowed down importation of its i-MiEV to a supply and demand basis because of trickling sales, and Nissan has heavily reduced the price of its Leaf EV in a bid to promote more interest.
Nissan in the United States also offers a rental scheme for owners of its Leaf electric car.
The i3 will be powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor driving the rear wheels through a fixed-gear transmission.
BMW is also offering the i3 with an optional two-cylinder petrol scooter engine, which will double the EV’s range to more than 300km. The engine will be a modified version of BMW’s C-650 scooter unit, and is expected to cost roughly $4000.
The BMW i3 is due to go on sale locally in the first quarter of 2014.