Even though electric cars are an excellent idea – it’s hard for most people to shake their fear about breaking down when the car’s battery dies. BMW is trying to ease this concern by giving customers access to an SUV for a few weeks each year.
Whether families want to use the SUV for their next long-distance drive, or whether they just want to remember what it’s like to burn fossil fuel, the SUV can ease a variety of pain points amongst new electric car users.
A backup car isn’t the only option, there’s also a combustion engine to generate electricity on board, roadside assistance, and a GPS to track down charging stations. All of this goes hand-in-hand with dealership training, and house calls for customers who want to understand their electric car a bit better.
While it might seem like overkill to have so many options available to new electric car owners, the company wants to prevent their huge €2 billion ($2.65 billion) investment in the i3 from being a waste. It was recently unveiled at events across three cities – London, Tokyo, and Beijing.
The car – which is expected to be profitable from the start – is BMW’s attempt to beat its rivals to the post – which seems to have worked so far. Audi and Mercedes both have cars pegged for release, but not until later in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The BMW i3 – part of the company’s environmental sub-brand – is a four-seater urban compact with a plastic exterior, and will be available for $41,350.
Apart from being electric, the car has features such as hemp fibers in the doors and an ECO-PRO mode that limits acceleration and top speed, as well as turns of all non-essential functions for driving like the heating and radio.