BMW says its i3 electric city car will debut in production form at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. The car will go on sale by the end of the year in Europe, China and the United States.

In a press conference today, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, BMW CEO, said that several hundreds of advanced orders were placed for the i3.

Furthermore, the first pre-production i3s rolled off the assembly line in Leipzig.

“We will break new ground in 2013 by putting electric cars into series production. Already, the first Pre-production BMW i3s rolled off the assembly line in Leipzig in January. This is a clear signal to anyone who may still have had any doubts: The BMW i3 is definitely coming onto the market. It will be a reality by late 2013,” said Dr. Reithofer.


The i3 can cover up to 136 miles on a single battery charge, but the range can be increased up to 217 miles using an optional range extended.

“The i3 has a range on a single electrical charge of 130 to 160 kilometers (80 to 99 miles), but with two eco modes the EV range could grow to 220 kilometers (136 miles),” said Maximilian Kellner, head of product management of BMW i division.

An optional two-cylinder motorcycle engine and a generator are  used extend its range by another 81 miles on a single tank of gasoline.

The engine is housed in the trunk and connected to a generator that recharges the battery rather than transmitting mechanical power directly to the wheels.

No pricing has been made available, but we expect to learn more right before the Frankfurt show in September.