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BMW Racks Up 8,000 Orders For i3, Considers Expanding Production

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BMW's i3 electric car hasn't caused nearly as much foaming at the mouth from BMW traditionalists as many expected it would. Even if it had, BMW probably wouldn't care: It's already taken 8,000 orders for the car in Europe alone, says Bloomberg, and as a result is mulling production increases to cope with higher demand.

The i3 is quite a departure for BMW, but the German marque hasn't gone half-measures on its first full-scale production electric vehicle. The company maintains that quality matches and exceeds the standards of its existing products while its quirky styling opens the door for the more exciting i8 sports car, BMW's next plug-in vehicle.

Its no-nonsense approach has seen 8,000 Europeans place orders for the car, far exceeding that of other electric vehicles sold in Europe. Nissan's Leaf has sold little more than 12,000 examples since it went on sale there and others have barely made a dent in the sales charts. Only Renault's Zoe electric subcompact has got close, selling 5,000 units in its first four months.

It's probably fair to say the blue and white roundel on the hood has drawn some buyers to the electric car concept, but a price tag in the middle of 1- and 3-Series models (before incentives) will also play a part. Here in the U.S., pricing for the i3 starts at $42,275, including destination.

BMW's Chief Financial Officer, Friedrich Eichiner, told Bloomberg, "If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more", adding BMW will adjust capacity according to demand. The automaker expects to sell 10,000 i3s next year, and perhaps even more if additional variants, such as an i3 coupe, are launched.

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