BMW is in deep with their upcoming i-brand with the first i3 hatchback set to arrive in 2013 and the i8 to follow in 2014. BMW is counting on these two models to bring in big sales: 100,000 i3 units and 10,000 i8 units, annually. Considering the i3 will be priced at about $45K, these targets shouldn’t be as hard to hit as they sound.
This sounds all fine and dandy, but BMW has hit quite a snag in development. See, the i3 will cost about the same amount as a 335i sedan, but will come with a carbon-fiber body shell, an aluminum platform, a lithium-ion battery, and a rear-mounted 150-hp electric motor. The problem is that, in Europe, things haven’t been looking up in the past few months and BMW i s hard-pressed to find a country with the money to build the recharging infrastructure. More than that, if things don’t get better, owners may not get as many EV/hybrid tax credits as they would hope.
All in all, it seems as though BMW is at risk of building a car that is way ahead of its time. However, the "good news" is that BMW is still going forward with their new i-brand, frankly due to the fact that dropping it at this point would cost the company billions of dollars. The i3 and i8 models may be delayed due to the recharging infrastructure, but the i1 and the i5 have been dropped entirely.
gallery: BMW i3
gallery: BMW i8