Should you sit and wait for all electric “prestige premium” of #BMW i3? Or get on with it, and grab a #LEAF?

December 21st, 2012 § Comments Off on Should you sit and wait for all electric “prestige premium” of #BMW i3? Or get on with it, and grab a #LEAF? § permalink

013 BMW i3 Buying Advice?

The 2011 Nissan Leaf EV, shown here, will be on the market by the time the 013 BMW i3 debuts. BMW intends to market its car on brand cache more than new technology.

It’s safe to say that The Second Coming of the Electric Vehicle has begun, with “real” EVs like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf now hitting the market and others due shortly. In that respect, the 013 BMW i3 will not be a change agent, let alone a market leader, despite its carbon-fiber construction and other innovations. Indeed, it will likely appeal not so much for any pioneering technology as for simply being a BMW–provided it lives up the brand’s formidable reputation for workmanship, driving satisfaction, and strong residual values. Sure, some techno-savvy “early adopters” will be drawn to the MCV. So, too, those eco-minded motorists who want to do their bit for cleaner air and reduced fossil-fuel use. And, of course, we can’t forget the many BMW loyalists who’d plump for anything wearing the blue-and-white roundel.

Interestingly, BMW thinks there are enough such folks around the globe to justify building 50,000 i3s per year by mid-decade. But that’s small Lager for a company that sold some 1.29 million cars and SUVs worldwide in 2009. Which only means the MCV will be relatively scarce even for a BMW, and thus all the more desirable, especially for “first on the block” types. Add the fact that BMW expects many EV-intenders will be willing to pay more for its premium label, and it’s clear there will be no Megacity deals for the foreseeable future.

OK, fine, but is Munich’s first retail-market EV worth waiting for? We think it depends on how eager you are to be in the EV vanguard versus the importance you attach to the BMW brand. Let’s put it this way: If you’ve been intrigued enough to place an order for a Volt or Leaf, you’re probably not the buyer BMW is targeting.

013 BMW i3 Release Date: BMW has already confirmed that the MCV will come to market during 013, but hasn’t been more specific yet. However, an on-sale announcement this far in advance suggests the program is on schedule, with delays unlikely. Several sources expect a lightly disguised concept-model preview at the autumn 2011 Frankfurt auto show.

013 BMW i3 First Test Drive: The above timing and the nature of the MCV itself suggest a series of media previews being held in 2012: an initial engineering “backgrounder” for the global press, perhaps with plant tours in Germany; a large-scale ride-and-drive session for global media; and country-specific showings for reporters in the U.S. and other key markets. We intend to keep you posted on this and other MCV news, so keep checking back with us.

2013s BMW i3 Prices: EV propulsion batteries are still relatively expensive, so the 013 BMW i3 will be rather costly for a subcompact car, even if Munich does manage to conquer carbon-fiber construction costs. The same can be said for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, but their pricing doesn’t include a “premium-brand surcharge” as the MCV’s sticker undoubtedly will. With all this, concerning the US clientele (I assume same figures for UK with pound sign) plus interim exchange-rate fluctuations, agree with Automobile that the i3 will likely run “between $30,000 and $40,000 after any government incentives.” Which brings up another wild card. EVs and other clean-tech vehicles currently qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. But with the current political climate and another presidential campaign already underway, there’s no guarantee that credit will still be available come 013.

Stay tuned.

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