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BMW reveals long waiting list for new i3 electric car - just for a test drive

Wed, 04 Dec 2013

BMW's new i3 electric car is proving so popular, punters are having to wait several months just for a test drive.

This extraordinary detail was revealed last night by Ian Robertson, the company's global marketing chief (pictured above left, alongside the BMW i3 in London). Normally, test drive requests for a conventional petrol or diesel car are fulfilled on the same day when you visit a new-car showroom.

Robertson claimed there was such interest in the £31,000 carbonfibre supermini that potential buyers had to sign up even to be allowed to whizz one around the block.

However, he admitted that electric cars posed new problems for dealerships as they have to be recharged in between test drives - reducing their time on the road while they're plugged in.

"We only conceived the electric i brand two-and-a-half years ago," Robertson said. "We have excited the world about electric cars and now they're hitting the streets. Three weeks into sales, we have 10,000 orders already in the bank.

"All the dealers want more allocation and we now have 100,000 people registered on a waiting list for test drives. This is new territory for us."

BMW is experimenting with new ways of getting prospects into the new i3 electric car. It is currently targeting large blue-chip companies in the UK and offering chauffeur-driven rides into town during lunchbreaks over the Christmas period.

The buzz around the BMW electric car is likely to extend in 2014 when the company adds the i8 hybrid supercar to the range. Robertson referred to it as a "pinnacle car for the group," espousing all the brand's high-tech knowledge and dynamic prowess.

He also confirmed that 2014 would usher in a suite of conventional BMW models, including the first front-wheel drive BMW. In future, small models will be based on the same UKLA architecture as the new 2014 Mini, which means they will feature new 1.5-litre three-cylinder engines driving the front wheels. However, Robertson vowed that the switch from RWD would not harm the way they drive.

On Bing: see more photos of the BMW i3
Read MSN's review of the BMW i3
Find out how much a second-hand BMW costs on Auto Trader

By Tim Pollard, managing editor, MSN Cars