2014 BMW i3Enlarge Photo
Outright electric car sales are still small right now, but there's certainly evidence to suggest the tide is slowly changing.
Take BMW's i3 electric car, for example. A four-seat electric city car isn't a natural fit for U.S. roads, but throw in quirky, futuristic styling and the desirability of a BMW roundel, and you have a recipe for surprising levels of demand. Indeed, BMW has announced (via Reuters) that it's stepping up i3 production to meet U.S. demand for the car, ahead of its launch.
Until now, BMW has been producing i3s at a rate of 70 per day--enough to meet demand for the car in its home European market. That number will now rise to 100 per day to meet U.S. orders. The firm has already produced around 5,000 i3s this year, and has orders for 11,000 more vehicles. Should production continue at its new increased rate, BMW will build around 20,000 i3s at its Leipzig plant--twice the amount initially forecast.
According to BMW board member Harald Krueger, "the United States will be the biggest market for the i3". That's despite the car's polarizing styling and average range capabilities, that have led some to wonder whether it has what it takes to succeed in the U.S. The i3 is also several steps away from BMW's long-running 'Ultimate Driving Machine' mantra, and will stand apart from many of its stablemates in ethos, until the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car hits later this year. If U.S. demand continues, the future may be bright for BMW's unusual electric city car.