NEW YORK -- While it was being developed and launched, BMW's i3 electric vehicle was touted as an "urban mobility" vehicle. But it's not so much city folks who are taking to the i3, said Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America
"The strongholds in this country are parts of California, Texas and southern Florida," rather than large cities, he said.
The big urban centers in the Northeast, especially New York City, haven't embraced the i3, Willisch said. Unlike Californians, he said, New Yorkers apparently don't have sustainability and the environment "at the top of minds."
Two California dealerships -- Crevier BMW in Santa Ana and Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara -- have opened the country's only stand-alone i showrooms because of high EV sales in the state.
The heaviest i3 allocations are being shifted to markets with the hottest demand. In the San Francisco area, dealers retail from 15 to 30 i3s a month, Willisch said.
BMW is approaching "a sustainable rate," of 12,000 i3s annually, he said. Last year, BMW sold 6,092 i3s. The i3's starting price is $43,350, including shipping.
Meanwhile, all dealers want more of the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, he said. The i8 has a base price of $137,450, including shipping. BMW sold 555 i8s in the U.S. last year and probably will sell 1,000 this year, he said. But demand will continue to outstrip supply.
Willisch said, "I am collecting allocations from all around the world."