BMW’s newfound focus on vehicle electrification isn’t likely to be some flash in the pan affair. The automaker already has around 100,000 people around the globe eager to test drive its upcoming i3 electric hatch, according to the automaker’s sales chief Ian Robertson.

The information was revealed by the BMW exec during a recent interview with Automotive News (subscription required). He also revealed that a “significant number” of deposits for the i3 had been received and that the car was likely to be a game changer for the electric car segment.

This will be due, according to Robertson, to the car’s industry shaping technology and relatively low expected pricetag. It has been previously reported that the i3 will cost about the same as a well-equipped 3-Series.

As for the innovative technology, this will include carbon fiber construction, which is usually reserved for cars costing in the six-figure range, new charging technology and efficient electric drive systems.

The basic i3 will come with a five-door body and electric motor rated at 125 kilowatts (170 horsepower). On a single charge of its lithium-ion battery, owners should expect a driving range of between 80 and 100 miles.

An optional 0.65-liter two-cylinder range-extender will be available at launch, helping to increase the car’s range to 186 miles when a full tank of gas and batteries at 100 percent capacity are employed.

Though we’ve seen many i3 concepts since the announcement of the original ‘Megacity Vehicle,’ we’ll finally get to see the production version at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in September. The first showroom examples should arrive before the year is out.


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