With all the hand-wringing about electric vehicles these days, a report that BMW's Project i EV subbrand is in trouble got people's attention last week.
Automobile magazine reported that "the whole enterprise is skating on dangerously thin ice," and that BMW top management is considering an exit strategy. The magazine said BMW had expected Europe, the United States and China to launch green car incentives by now. And it cited BMW's concern that the battery-charging infrastructure hasn't grown fast enough.
A BMW of North America spokesman dismissed the report. "There is no change in plans," said the spokesman.
He said that the electric i3 city car is scheduled to go on sale here in the fall of 2013, and that the i8 hybrid sports car will debut in the first quarter of 2014.
The report surfaced as BMW opened its first i Store in London last week. The dealership will sell only i vehicles. BMW will open an i Store in New York that will be integrated with the company-owned BMW of Manhattan dealership.
Last week BMW launched a worldwide road show -- the i Born Electric Tour -- for the i concepts. The tour started in Rome and will go to six other cities in the next 12 months. The only U.S. stop is New York City in late October or early November.