MUNICH -- With its new product and service offering "360° Electric," BMW intends to reduce the concerns of potential customers in Germany about electric vehicles.
BMW plans to bring out the i3 electric car during the fourth quarter of the year. In early 2014, the i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car, will be in dealerships.
To alleviate worries about range and charging, BMW will:
-- Offer a system for drivers to find charging stations, in cooperation with operators of parking structures and public charging stations. The driver is supposed to be able to find the nearest charging station by means of a navigation system, the Internet and a smartphone app. The company envisions the customer making a reservation in advance.
-- Use service-mobiles to help stranded motorists. If the electric car stops running, the dead battery is charged on-site or the vehicle is transported to the next charging station.
-- Integrate i models into a broad-based mobility strategy. The customer can rent a BMW vehicle with an internal combustion engine for long trips -- trips for which an electric car has too little battery capacity.
-- Offer access to the DriveNow car-sharing program.
-- Use ConnectedDrive to provide information online about public transportation routes and thus help customers evade traffic jams in large cities.