BMW i3: Electrifyingly yours

Which brings me to Manuel Sattig. He plays American football, pursues boxing at home in Germany, likes taking off in his BMW bike, and has a Mini John Cooper Works for a daily driver. Since the i3 is no longer a work-in-progress, it would be apt to say that Manuel was in charge of planning and steering the i project. Now, he is in charge of Communication, BMW i.

Manuel is convinced that in the beginning, the range-extender will be bought more out of anxiety than any real need. But, he believes, once people figure out their electric cars, nobody will want one. Something like the physical QWERTY keyboard that you used to get in all touchscreen smartphones. It’s now come to a point where you don’t get phones with QWERTY keyboards anymore.

So here’s the big question: In the UK, the i3 costs £29,195, and in Germany, it’s about €34,950. That’s about as much as a BMW 3 series and around `28 lakh in Indian currency. How did BMW manage to make a mass-market car with carbon-fibre in it? Says Manuel, “So far, most carbon fibre components have been handmade. And most carmakers need to buy the carbon fibre. We decided to make it ourselves. That in itself is a huge cost saving. Then, by setting up an industrialised, mostly automated production process, we brought production time down to less than 10 minutes for a single carbon fibre component.”