| LONDON, July 29
LONDON, July 29 BMW is targeting a
"meaningful" chunk of the electric-car market and expects demand
to be driven up as urban populations rise, its sales chief said
on Monday as he unveiled the company's battery-powered i3 model.
The world's biggest luxury carmaker has declined to give
sales or production goals for the four-seater i3, to be followed
early next year by a battery-powered i8 sports car.
But the company already sees good sales potential for its
first all-electric vehicle in affluent urban regions of
California, Europe and Asia, sales chief Ian Robertson said.
Some 92,000 people have expressed an interest in test-driving
the i3 online.
"We're not entering to be a niche player," Robertson told
reporters at the i3's launch event in London, also staged
simultaneously in New York and Beijing.
"We're targeting meaningful sales," he said, in an
electric-car market which BMW expects to grow to between 150,000
and 160,000 vehicles globally this year, from 7,000 in 2010.
Demand will rise as the number of people living in urban
environments more than doubles to 4-5 billion over the next
20-25 years, Robertson said, citing United Nations projections.
While the i3's 34,950 euro ($46,400) price tag is well above
the conventional BMW 3-Series saloon's, it also qualifies for
tax breaks and generous upfront government incentives in markets
such as Britain and the United States.
The company, which has trademarked its new "i" series
through to i9, does not yet have another i-branded model in
development to follow the i8, Robertson said.
($1 = 0.7539 euros)
(Additional reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in New York; Editing
by Pravin Char)