TMR Team | May 8, 2013

BMW's upcoming i3 electric vehicle will launch with a hefty asking price, if reports out of the US this week are to be believed.

Entering as a more premium alternative to the slightly smaller Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the i3 will reportedly wear a price tag in-line with "a well-equipped 3 Series" model.

That's according to industry paper Automotive News, who spoke with BMW US boss Ludwig Willisch. In the American market, Willisch's comments put the i3 at around the US$45,000 mark.

Elsewhere, website Green Car Reports claims that BMW's Dave Buchko suggested a price tag between US$45,000 and US$50,000.

If accurate, these reports suggest the i3 could debut in Australia with a price tag above $70,000 - around the cost of a kitted-out 328i sedan, and well beyond Nissan's larger $40,000 LEAF EV.

The i3 would likely also enter at a price above Holden's range-extended Volt, which is available in Australia at $59,990.

Australian buyers also miss out on the tax credits available in many overseas markets, which - in the US - could drop the i3's price below US$40,000.

Local launch timing for the i3 is still to be confirmed, although a 2014 debut is expected. For now, official pricing plans are unclear.


About the i3

Entering as a small city car, the i3 will draw power from an electric motor and, and while final production details are still to be confirmed, an output of 125kW and 250Nm is listed for the i3 concept.

BMW says i3 owners - likely to be primarily urban dwellers - can expect to get between 130 to 160km from one charge.

A full charge on a standard home outlet will take around six hours, while an optional high-speed charger means an 80 percent charge can be achieved in one hour.

In the future, the i3 will also be offered with a range-extending 'REx' internal combustion engine, aimed at buyers not yet ready to embrace a full-electric system.

Watch for the i3 to launch internationally later this year, alongside the speedy i8 hybrid sports coupe.

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