PHOTO CAPTION: BMW i8 electric hybrid sport coupe. Photo: BMW

Success of i-Series Prompts BMW to Offer More E-Hybrids

At $135,000 a copy, only the 1% can afford the BMW i8, but enough of them are order the electric hybrid sports couple to warrant doubling production to 20 cars a day.

Published: 08-Apr-2015

All totaled for 2014, BMW sold a remarkable 18,000 of its i-Series electric cars: the all-electric i3 and the low-slung i8 electric-hybrid. While that's about half the number of cars sold by Tesla over the same period, reports Engadget, its competitive with the 19,000 Chevrolet Volts GM sold. Nissan, of course, was the sales champion at 30,000 units.

Still the numbers are encouraging enough for the Bavarian automaker to not only decide to double the daily production of the $135,000 i8, but to decide to offer an electric hybrid (plug-in) variant of all future new models.

Unlike the all-electric, five-door i3, the i8 uses a combination of electric battery drive and gasoline engine, with a combined 357 hp and an EV-mode driving range reportedly over 20 miles. While the stylish sport coupe with gulf-wing doors claims to seat four, it is really a two-passenger car: there is very little room for full-sized adults in the back seat. It also requires a certain nimbleness to get into and out of as EV World's publisher discovered at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Still, none of this has deterred sales beyond BMW's original projections. It recently committed to doubling production to some 20 units per day, each price tagged in the $135,000USD range.

Reportedly, the next BMW model to get the plugged-in treatment will be the X5 xDrive40e, currently on display at the New York Auto Show.

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