When we drove BMW’s new i3 in Los Angeles last year, we could see that it had the potential to be one of the most popular EVs on the market. As the sporty city car heads for dealers’ lots this month, demand appears to be exceeding expectations.
Harald Krueger, BMW’s production chief, told Bloomberg that the company has raised daily production at its Leipzig factory from 70 to 100 vehicles. At the current production rate, BMW will be building about 20,000 units in 2014, almost twice as much as its initial sales forecast.
“Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the US,” said Krueger. “The US will be the largest market for the i3.”
BMW was already considering a production increase last October. In February, it announced that it would double production of carbon fiber (used extensively in the i3) at the manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, Washington that it runs jointly with SGL Carbon.
The stock market seems to approve of BMW’s recent strategy in general. Shares were up 0.5 percent in Frankfurt on the i3 news, and have climbed 5.8 percent this year.