BMW has bet considerable resources that the cost advantages of operating an electric car will outweigh the one big disadvantage — range.
The company’s i3, is one such bet that will mark its debut in Europe by the end of this year and in the United States later.
Executives hope the i3 will decisively persuade consumers to accept electric cars. “We are at the dawn of a new era,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, told reporters on Monday.
The company has not yet revealed the price for the i3 or any of its options, but it is likely to be well under $40,000.
The i3 brings some cost advantages: it never needs an oil change and has a power recovery system, which slows the car automatically when the foot is taken off the accelerator.
True mass acceptance (for electric cars), Robertson said, will come when electric cars cost less than 10% more than a conventional vehicle and can travel at least 186 miles on a battery charge.
“Battery technology will develop more in the next five years than in the last 100 years,” he added.