FRANKFURT -- BMW expects to launch a second generation of its slow-selling i3 electric car even though global sales of the subcompact have been below expectations.
BMW has sold just over 60,000 units since its debut in late 2013. During a similar three-year period Tesla had by the end of last year sold 107,000 Model S units.
BMW took a different approach than Tesla, designing a car for major metropolitan areas where energy efficiency and compact dimensions take priority over electric range and quick acceleration.
Asked whether a replacement would come, i3 project manager Heinrich Schwackhoefer said: "I firmly expect that. It's not the sentiment within the company that it's been a failure -- absolutely not at all."
BMW introduced in July a second, more powerful i3 with a 33 kWh lithium ion battery compared to the original 22 kWh version now marketed as the "i3 (60 Ah)." The energy-dense cells bump up the official electric range to 114 miles.
"The "i' subbrand is stable and you can count on a successor to the i3, but I cannot say when that will be," Schwackhoefer said.