BMW i3 Global Launch Marks Importance of BMW's First Electric Vehicle +VIDEO

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BMW i3

BMW i3 News Index and Archive

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

LONDON - August 1, 2013: The global world premiere of the BMW i3 simultaneously in New York, London and Beijing, indicated the importance of the project to the Bavarian car manufacturer.

I was in London, with British colleagues and those from ‘the old continent’. The event was organized in the former Billingsgate Fish Market, a historical building that served as a general market as from 1327.

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The unveiling in London was done by Dr. Herbert Diess, BMW Group’s Board member for Development and Ian Robertson, Board member for Sales and Marketing, while also Benoit Jacob, Head of BMW i Design went on stage after the drapes were taken off the car.

In all three cities, BMW took a young child on stage, indicating that they are the future customer. In London it was Zachary Di Palma, a lovely 7-year old boy, who, even though he had already some experience in modeling, was quite nervous before ‘going up’. But in the spot lights everything went well.

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I thought it was a bit overdone to come up with children, which you expect to see when politicians want to make a point. Anyway, Zachary took the heart of many of the attendants, when, after he finished his act, ran into the arms of his mother who stood watching at the side of the stage.

Watch the complete World Premiere presentation

Last November, at an event on the evening before the Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW held a presentation of the i3 Concept. At that event I talked with the kind, French born BMW design chief Benoit Jacob, who was then and is now really passionate about the exceptional styling of the i3.

In London this week, I asked him how important the dropping line along the windows on the side was for him.

“Véry important. I had some fights with people who did not want it, but I said: if we do not have this, we have nothing.”

It was necessary for the designers to adapt, Benoit said last year, to the heavy use of carbon. But he is of the opinion that there is no good design without good constraints.

The exceptional line indeed makes the four-door i3 instantly recognizable from the side, while up front there is no misunderstanding thanks to the BMW kidney grille. And also to the blue rimmed roundel logo that marks the black carbon fiber hood that contrasts the orange color of the other body parts, which are also made of carbon fiber.

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At the same time of the world premiere, the campaign for the BMW i3 started world wide with online presence by means of the launch film, a redesigned web site with configurator, the first ads in print and social network communications.

In the evening, there was a party to celebrate the launch of the I3 with a line-up of British stars. Sienna Miller and James Franco, two actors went on stage with Ian Robertson after a repeat unveiling of the i3. But the waiting paparazzi already had made pictures of other celebrities such as super model Poppy Delevingne and Ben Hudson, lead singer of the pop band Mr Hudson. The TV campaign will debut on November 16 to accompany the European market launch that day.

Some 1.3 million people have showed interest in the premium electric Bimmer, while 90,000 have registered for a test drive.

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