'Profit from Day One' as BMW launches its electric car aimed at trendy ones

BMW , the first luxury car firm with a true electric car, has simultaneously unveiled its new BMW i3 in Manhattan, London and Beijing.

And, Tesla look out! BMW is targeting " urban hipsters and city-dwellers" with its first true electric vehicle according to AdAge .

The marketing strategy is aimed at the kind of upscale, urban consumers who drive a Tesla, America's best-selling EV, says the US mag. Or even those who prefer a bike or subway to get around town.

With a driving range of 80-100 miles, the new compact hits the U.S. early next year at a price of $42,275.

But this car is no loss leader, Ian Robertson, BMW's global sales and marketing chief, said in London the company "would be profitable from day one on each vehicle it made."

Other BMW executives said the i3's design drastically reduced the number of parts, allowing for savings on factory equipment. BMW developed with a partner a lower cost form of carbon fiber specifically for automotive uses, company officials said.

A commercial for the car majors heavily on its battery safety.

Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said he was taking a long view on the potential of electric vehicles.

"If you build such a car…you have to look into the future, 10, 15, 20 years," Reithofer said. "If you look around the world, [at] the emissions regulations, in the United States, in the European Union, even in China…cars like the BMW i3 are a must."

His company would need to boost sales of electric vehicles dramatically by 2025 to meet regulatory requirements.

BMW's immediate rival in the plug-in luxury segment, particularly in the U.S. market, is Tesla Motors Inc. The Tesla Model S luxury sedan has up to 265 miles of driving range and starts at $69,900 before tax breaks.

The i3's unique structure makes possible novel features such as clamshell doors. BMW used dried grass to create a wood-like dashboard material, and recycled plastics are the raw material for the seats.

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