In an attempt to cope with demand, BMW announced yesterday that production of its all-electric i3 electric car and i3 BEVx range-extended electric car has been increased from 70 vehicles a day to 100, an increase of 43 percent.
That’s according to an official statement made by Harald Krueger, BMW’s production chief, in an email to Bloomberg yesterday afternoon.
The first of BMW’s all-electric i-brand and the first luxury subcompact to enter into the marketplace, the BMW i3 has attracted so many pre-orders from eager buyers that demand has massively outstripped supply, Krueger confirmed. As a consequence, the German automaker has been forced to increase production to keep up.
Since production of the i3 started at BMW’s Leipzig factory last November, BMW has managed to produce about 5,000 cars, most of which have gone to European customers. But with the i3 set to launch in the coming months in the U.S. and reservations increasing on a daily basis, BMW need to make more cars to keep up with demand.
Add to this BMW’s recent pre-launch events in Asia and Australasia where journalists and would-be buyers were given a chance to drive the i3 all-electric and i3 BEVx range extended models ahead of an official market launch, and it’s clear BMW massively underestimated the draw of plug-in vehicles among its target market.
The increase in production will likely push BMW’s first-year i3 production to over 20,000 cars. That’s almost twice what BMW originally planned.
“Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the U.S.,” Krueger said. “The U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”
As with any production increase, the rise in BMW i3 output from Leipzig hasn’t been an instant one. Instead, the production increase would have taken place slowly as BMW’s other facilities increased their production to keep up with demand.
This would have included the carbon fibre manufacturing facility in Washington State, where BMW uses hydroelectric power to manufacture the carbon fibre used in the BMW i3’s ‘Life module’ — or cabin, and the factory in Landshut, Germany, where the carbon fibre is moulded into BMW i3 components. Given the amount of time taken to ship the raw materials to Washington state from Japan and then from Washington to Germany, we’re guessing BMW has been working on increasing production for many months.
Here at Transport Evolved we can testify to the BMW i3’s popularity, and how difficult it is in some areas to even book a test drive due to high demand. Let’s hope this increase in production not only puts an end to the price gouging we reported on a few weeks back, but also expedites the delivery process for those who are patiently awaiting their brand new electric car.
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