BMW's new i3 electric car is sold out for now, gets HOV lane stickers in California

2014 BMW i3 electric car
© 2014 BMW i3 electric car

BMW's new electric car, the i3, went for sale in Europe in November and is expected to launch in the U.S. in May and in Asia in around the same time. Barely out of the gate, and there's already a six-month waiting list for it due to high demand (and relatively low supply), according to BMW. It's always hard to forecast how well a new product will sell, but apparently BMW's production target might have been too low; the company has already received 11,000 orders, 1,200 of which are pre-orders from the US.

2014 BMW i3 electric car© 2014 BMW i3 electric car

Californians who are interested in the i3 EV now have one more reason to be interested: The EV will apparently get the white sticker that gives access to the HOV lane, a prized perk. It should also qualify for the $2,500 state incentive, on top of the $7,500 federal one. That's for the all-electric version. There will also be a REx, range-extended version with a small gasoline engine (kind of like the Chevy Volt) that should get the green HOV sticker, but might not get the full $2,500 state credit.

Here's a first drive impression by the nice folks at The Verge:

Under the hood

The BMW i3 is powered by a lithium-ion battery. BMW claims a real-world range of 80 – 100 miles (130 - 160 km) in everyday driving, something that can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode, and by the same amount additionally in ECO PRO+ mode.

Here's the full list of tech specs:

-170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
-80-100 mile real-world EV range.
-22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
-650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
-0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary).
-Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
-BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
-Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
-Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
-Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
-3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
-3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
-Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins

Pricing (before federal or local incentives) starts at $41,350. If you live in California, for example, you should be able to get $7,500 in federal tax credits and a couple extra thousands in state incentives, bringing the price closer to $30k, which isn't bad for both an electric car and a BMW.


See also: The Verge drives the electric BMW i3 (video)

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