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BMW electric i cars target business buyers

Date: 03 May 2013   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

BMW will offer a range of business leasing options for its new electric i3 when it arrives in the UK at the end of the year.

Two variants of the i3 will be offered - a pure-electric car and a range-extender version, with the latter expected to be most popular in the fleet market.

However, under BMW's 'flexible mobility' vision, there will also be opportunities for firms to run an electric i3 with the option of a temporary diesel or petrol car for a long business journey or holiday.

"We've set up a number of propositions for individual drivers that companies could make available," Suzanne Gray, general manager, BMW i told BusinessCar.

"But we are also creating a portfolio aimed specifically at businesses.

"The range-extender is where we will see the majority of business uptake, but there will also be other options for firms looking for slightly more flexibility," Gray added.

BMW is already in conversation with a number of companies regarding the i3, leading with larger organisations and blue-chip firms, but is also talking to leasing companies and SMEs.

"For a product like the i3, companies are interested in showcasing a vehicle like this. It's a strong internal and external PR story," Gray commented.

"Bulk orders of the i3 are not where the strength of this proposition lies. Instead, there's a lot of strong interest in what the i3 says."

The brand has been running company trials of electric vehicles since 2009 with its MiniE (an adapted Mini hatch) and ActiveE (an adapted 1-series), and has seen firms using the vehicles "in a variety of different ways".

BMW hopes to revolutionise the charging process.

While the vast majority of charging happens at home, followed by workplace charging, drivers wishing to use the public infrastructure will be able to use charge cards at more than 5000 charge points, claimed Gray, making the payment process easier.

She added that there would be a handful of membership options - for example, a monthly offering for frequent users or a pay-as-you-go structure for less regular users.