BMW i3 Concept

Looks like Britain is not an outlier. Last month, we learned that around 6,000 people in the UK had let BMW know they were interested in the upcoming i3 electric vehicle (also available as a plug-in hybrid). Not a small number, and the overall picture looks good for BMW’s first real plug-in vehicle offering (after the Mini E and ActiveE pilot programs). We have now learned from BMW’s Ian Robertson that there are 100,000 people around the world who have made reservations for the i3, and a “significant number” of them have made deposits.

The comments come from Robertson’s interview with Automotive News Europe, which reports Robertson saying, “We are confident that with the i3 and i8 we will shift the [customer demand] needle because we will shape some of this technology.” 100,000 interested buyers and plug-in confidence from BMW? Quite a different tone from last year, when BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said that governments need to pony up more plug-in vehicle support or EVs just won’t be popular.

One of the reasons that Robertson is now singing a positive tone about EVs is because he’s proud of what his company has accomplished so far and because future developments will bring even more progress. “In the next three to four years we’ll see more development of the batteries than we have in the last 100,” he told ANE.

We will finally get to see the production version of the i3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. The car goes on sale in Europe at the end of the year.

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By Sebastian Blanco