How BMW is Offering Perks and Planning Profits for Electric Car Lineup

By Jon LeSage, con­tribut­ing edi­tor, Deal­er Digest Dai­ly

BMW has been tak­ing a cau­tious, research-based approach to bring­ing elec­tric cars to glob­al mar­kets. Test­ing the Mini-E, BMW ActiveE, and BMW i3, has been quite use­ful to the com­pa­ny, accord­ing to inter­viewed exec­u­tives. Its sales num­bers have been mild, but BMW does have a long-term strat­e­gy sim­i­lar to Nissan’s in bring­ing elec­tric cars around the world. And it could be com­pet­ing more direct­ly with the Tes­la Mod­el S than oth­ers have been able to do so far.

Offer­ing perks to elec­tric vehi­cle buy­ers is now an impor­tant part of BMW’s strat­e­gy. Here’s the lat­est on what BMW has been up to…

  1. Extra ser­vices for “i” elec­tric car own­ers, includ­ing occa­sion­al use of fuel-pow­ered mod­els.
  2. Installing option­al home fast-charg­ing sys­tems for the i3 as it comes to mar­ket at the end of 2013.
  3. Onboard nav­i­ga­tion will guide dri­vers to the near­est pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions.
  4. BMW will also add the i3 to its Dri­veNow car-shar­ing fleet to enable a wider range of cus­tomers to explore the vehi­cle.
  5. Own­ers can bor­row a gaso­line or diesel pow­ered BMW from their local deal­er for week­end or vaca­tion trips need­ed longer range.
  6. BMW knows that sales num­bers will be lim­it­ed for a while, as has been expe­ri­enced by rival Nis­san with its Leaf. BMW thinks it can make its ini­tia­tive more prof­itable by off­set­ting expen­sive new mate­ri­als with a sales set­up intend­ed for lim­it­ed dis­tri­b­u­tion costs.
  7. The i3 elec­tric four-door sedan will be fol­lowed by the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car in ear­ly 2014. Prices haven ‘t been released yet, but it’s thought that the i3 could start at around $52,200 and the i8 would be much high­er.
  8. BMW will keep its elec­tric cars more prof­itable by care­ful­ly man­ag­ing the parts and com­po­nents. Car­bon-fiber rein­forced plas­tic will make up the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment, and it weighs half as much as steel and 30% less than alu­minum. That will help off­set the extra weight need­ed for the bat­tery pack. Ther­mo­plas­tics will be used instead of steel for the body pan­els, and that elim­i­nates the need for a paint shop.
  9. Anoth­er big change was slim­ming down the pro­duc­tion process by reduc­ing the num­ber of body parts by two-thirds.

Source: Auto­mo­tive News




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