UPDATED: 4/15/14 9:30 am ET -- adds U.S. launch time
FRANKFURT -- BMW has ramped up production of its i3 electric car to 100 vehicles a day, ahead of its launch in the United States this month, board member Harald Krueger said.
"The United States will be the biggest market for the i3. Because of this, we have started raising production levels and are currently at around 100 cars a day," Krueger said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.
A BMW spokesman said that production levels at the factory in Leipzig, Germany, had previously stood at about 70 vehicles a day.
So far BMW has produced 5,000 i3 electric cars, a spokesman said.
CFO Friedrich Eichiner said in October the company was considering a production increase for the model after early demand exceeded expectations. BMW said at the time it had 11,000 orders for the compact car, which will cost $41,350 in the United States, and aimed to sell more than 10,000 in 2014.
“BMW invested a lot of money” on their electric-car push and using carbon fiber, said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “It was a bold move, but it also bears some risk as production is complex. They need to make this work.”
Audi AG is adding plug-in hybrid versions of already existing models as the reach of purely battery-powered vehicles remains a concern for many car buyers. The unit of Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, has largely restricted the use of carbon fiber to cars of its high-performance brand Lamborghini.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.