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