The BMW i3 and its high-performance cousin, the i8, have been making waves in Europe as the future of electrified Bavarian cars. As of Friday, May 2, the automaker said it delivered the first BMW i3 sold in the United States to a customer in Boston.
A press release from BMW said the customer to receive the first BMW i3 in America was Tufts University Professor of Practice Charles Rabie, who the automaker described as a longtime electric vehicle advocate. Rabie had reportedly driven a BMW ActiveE since 2012.
BMW of North America President and CEO Ludwig Willisch said, “Today marks a big day at BMW of North America. What started out as a dream for an innovative sustainable vehicle under the BMW i brand can now be found on streets across the U.S.”
The release said “hundreds” of BMW i3s are at dealers nationwide now and ready to be delivered to customers. Among the first group of customers slated to get BMW i3s — after Rabie, of course — is former E! Entertainment Lead Correspondent Ashlan Gorse Cousteau, according to BMW. Cousteau is reportedly married to documentary filmmaker and environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau. How’s that for green street cred?
The BMW i3 is first of the BMW i vehicles to enter the U.S. market and is constructed primarily of carbon fiber, according to the automaker. It makes 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque via hybrid-synchronous electric motor, driven by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery BMW claims is good for 80 to 100 miles of emission-free driving. The automaker said the BMW i3 is ideally suited for dense urban areas and is engaging to drive. The BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $41,350 and the range-extender model will have a starting MSRP of $45,200.