BWM, the largest premium carmaker in the world will start selling its new EV i3 compact vehicle in China in 2014 and the automaker expects the country to quickly become one of the top markets of EVs.
“I’m very optimistic on China in principle because China is a market for e-mobility,” Harald Krueger, BMW’s production chief, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Beijing yesterday. “China will be like the U.S., one of the core markets” for electric cars, he said.
Demand for EVs in China has been lower than expected as customers were drawn back by the lack of charging stations, high costs and the range anxiety. But the Chinese government plans to restart purchase incentives after they were eliminated in 2012. Krueger said that with the i3 BMW targets commuters and families.
Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Legend Holdings, will be the first buyer of a i3 in China, according to BMW. He placed an order for the model while he was attending the event in Beijing held yesterday, July 30th.
The i3 is BMW’s first EV and will be followed by the i8 hybrid supercar which will hit the market in 2014. The German automaker has made an investment of 2 billion euro to develop the i series, with the i3 being created from scratch, instead of simply converting an existing model.