After months of anticipation, and a long wait on the part of BMW’s loyal electric car fans, the first U.S.-market BMW i3 was delivered on Friday.
The honour of being the first i3-driving Electronaut in the U.S. went to Professor Charles Rabie and his wife from Boston, Massachusetts. A professor at Tufts Universite, Rabie’s pervious daily driver was a BMW Active E, which he leased from BMW as part of its global electric car test fleet program.
One of many ActiveE lessees to place an order for the BMW i3, Rabie’s new i3 is the all-electric variant of BMW’s first mass-produced electric car. Capable of an EPA-approved range of 81 miles per charge at an astonishing 124 MPGe, it is the most efficient car on sale today.
A special-order ‘Electronaut’ edition, Rabie’s i3 comes with some extras included for free as a thank you from BMW to those who have helped its electric car development program by leasing its MiniE or ActiveE electric cars. The Electronaut kit, valued by BMW as being worth $1,750, is made up of exclusive ‘Electronaut-only’ items like special-edition badging inside and out, custom floormats and license plate frame — and optional-extra items customers would ordinarily pay extra for, like heated front-seats and DC fast charging capability.
Unlike the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAf launches of several years ago, which were slow, drawn out, and cautious, BMW’s i3 launch looks to be a far more impressive one. Late last week in a press release, BMW shared images of what it called ‘hundreds’ of i3s waiting for delivery at U.S. ports. While the German automaker hasn’t promised how quickly these cars will be delivered, there’s a distinct feeling that deliveries will be made sooner rather than later.
“Today marks a big day at BMW of North America,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW North America on Friday. “What started out as a dream for an innovative sustainable vehicle under the BMW i brand can now be found on streets across the U.S.”
For now, only ‘Electronaut edition’ BMW i3 EVs are being delivered to U.S. customers however, because the i3 REx — the i3’s range-extended sibling — hasn’t yet received its official EPA rating and thus cannot go on sale yet.
With the EPA rating expected in the coming weeks however, we think it won’t be long before both i3 EV and i3 REx models are a common site on the roads of electric car friendly cities across the U.S.
And with so many cars ready for delivery, we’re keen to see just what the launch of the i3 will do to the monthly EV sales totals for the U.S.
Move over Nissan, Chevrolet and Tesla: there’s a new plug-in car vying for the top spot.
Are you waiting for a BMW i3? Are you an Electronaut who is just about to pick theirs up? Don’t forget to share your experiences with us here at TransportEvolved!
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