The biggest obstacle is range anxiety, with most drivers looking for a cushion of at least 300 miles, but like the first wave of hybrid cars, these vehicles are also stigmatized as being listless and unattractive.
The mid-size i3 came out as a 2014 model, well ahead of the similarly sized Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. Yet despite the head start, the i3’s short 87 mile range and $43,000 starting price kept the car from being a mass-market hit. And it doesn’t seem as if BMW is adding range to the model, either.
The i3s’s cabin is loaded with BMW’s latest tech goodies including the company’s iDrive 6 infotainment system running on a 10.25-inch wide screen. At the same time, its eco-friendly reputation remains intact with 80% of the surfaces visible to passengers made from recycled or renewable materials.
The new i3 is also part of the Connected+ umbrella, which can offer first-mile and last-mile navigation services, as well as greater integration with an owner’s smart devices.
The 2018 BMW i3 will get an official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Specific launch dates and pricing information are still TBD.