BMW’s all-electric i3 electric car and its sibling, the range-extended BMW i3 REx, have experienced strong sales in the U.S. since both cars went on sale five months ago. In fact, in just five months, the total number of BMW i3 cars sold — electric and range-extended — has already caused the BMW i3 to accelerate past other, older electric cars in monthly sales reports.
While the BMW i3 is selling strongly, the BMW i3 REx model, compete with its tiny on-board gasoline range-extending engine, is dramatically outselling it’s all-electric i3 BEV sibling, something which hasn’t gone unnoticed at BMW headquarters.
So, in order to keep sales of both i3 variants healthy, BMW is offering the one thing that’s known across the U.S. to sell cars: put money down on the hood. With the BMW i3 REx selling far more healthily than the BMW i3 EV, BMW is offering double incentives on the i3 EV — as much as $2,000 off list price– in order to make the electric-only i3 EV more attractive to buyers.
As our friends over at GreenCarReports detail, BMW has dramatically cut its lease deals in recent months as low as $369 per month for entry-level trim i3 models, less than twice the original amount BMW asked customers to pay. But while $369 per month for a BMW i3 is pretty cheap considering how expensive it once was, the slashed lease deals put the BMW i3 — with just 81 miles of EPA-approved range — into a much more affordable price bracket.
But while recent lease deals make the BMW i3 far more affordable, the all-electric i3 EV still isn’t all that great a deal when you compare it to larger, cheaper all-electric cars like the 84-mile Nissan LEAF.
In fact, with lease deals for the five door, five seat Nissan LEAF as low as $250 per month, the BMW i3 offers less seating and luggage space for a higher price. And while people will spend more for the prestige of owning a car adorned with the BMW badge, the i3 EV is, as our friend Chelsea Sexton puts it, “another 80-ish-mile electric car.”
The range-extended BMW i3 meanwhile, offers up to 78 additional miles of gasoline range-extending capabilities over its EPA-approved 72-miles of electric only range. Or to put it another way, 150 miles per fill, making it far more attractive for those willing to pay a little more for a much longer range.
The popularity of the BMW i3 REx however is something that has caught BMW a little off-guard. Back when the BMW i3 launched in the UK, BMW executives told us that while they expected initial orders to prefer the range-extended BMW i3 REx model over the all-electric i3 EV, the i3 EV would soon eclipse the REx model as customers became more familiar with electric cars, charging infrastructure increased, and public attitudes towards electric cars changed.
It seems a similar expectation was made for the U.S. market, but sales have betrayed that plan, leaving BMW with a larger number of i3 EV models to sell. The solution? Offer larger incentives.
And so you have it: the BMW i3 REx is currently available from BMW dealers with up to $1,000 in cash-on-the-hood incentives — but the BMW i3 EV gets up to $2,000 in incentives.
Naturally, as with any car sold through dealers, incentives off list price won’t always make it through to the customer, but if you’re in the market for a new plug-in, the BMW i3 EV and its $2,000 in incentives could make a difference to your purchase decision.
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