BMW AG aims to sell at least 30,000 units of its i3 electric vehicle a year beginning in 2014.
"We are targeting volume production for the i3," said Ian Robertson, BMW’s global sales and marketing boss.
Robertson said sales volume for the i3 could be "comparable to one of the lower-volume Mini derivatives. However, we can easily increase our output if opportunities arise." Mini sold about 30,000 units of its Clubman model globally in 2010.
In late 2013, BMW will launch the i3 EV, previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, and the i8 plug-in hybrid under its i subbrand, which was born out of the automaker’s Project i group. The i8 two-door coupe is based on the 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. BMW said the plug-in hybrid combines sports car-like performance with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.
The price of the i3 is not yet decided, but BMW sources said the i3 will be above 40,000 euros in Europe. "As with all BMW Group products, the BMW i3 will be a premium car," Robertson said.
Initial pricing for the i8 is unclear.
"Our sales will strongly depend on legislation. Not only by big markets like the U.S. or China, but by local city authorities and their terms of taxation," Robertson said. "If a city like Amsterdam or London decides that you get a tax reduction, then sales will boost."
Currently, European countries such as Ireland and France offer a one-time subsidy of 5,000 euros to EV buyers.
Said Robertson: "We are looking at multiple distribution channels – from conventional sales and leasing to different rental approaches, like car sharing. We will also build up communities for such rental approaches, this is why we bought a share of the smartphone app My City Way."
The i3 and i8 also will share parts for electric motors, lithium ion batteries and powertrain electronics. They will be built in BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, alongside the 1 series and the X1.
After the launch of the i3 and i8, the automaker will expand its BMW i lineup to include more vehicles. "The world is changing — and we are driving this change. This is the 'next premium,' " Robertson said. "There is room for a whole family" of vehicles, he said.
With its i lineup, Robertson said that BMW is reaching "a total new group of customers such as city dwellers who are more interested in electronic devices such as an iPhone than owning a car."