This article first appeared on InsideEVs

In a document obtained by InsideEVs from BMW Financial Services to its US dealers (turns out there’s a good reason to have dealer contacts), it reads:

“…BMW of North America has offered our Electronauts (the existing Active E lessees) an exclusive opportunity to order the first BMW i3 vehicles produced for the U.S. market. Earlier this week, this group of customers was informed via email that they will need to contact their authorized BMW i Sales Center and order their BMW i3 by January 17, 2014 to take advantage of this offer.”

“…As a result, over the next week we expect that many Electronauts will ask questions regarding the available finance offers. We have prepared the attached information as a preliminary program guide so that you can help the Electronauts in making their purchasing and financing decisions.”

The All-Electric BMW i3.

The first deliveries of “Electronaut” i3s are expected to arrive in late February by those who have already signed up (although that still seems unlikely to us – we estimate late March/April), with the general public’s first plug-in deliveries of BMW now not expected until May.

Now onto the numbers – most of which are fairly standard,  however it should be noted that BMW is not passing along the $7,500 federal credit entirely inside their lease offer, instead only $4,875 is being applied – a questionable move we have seen employed once or twice before in the plug-in industry in America.

According to the document:

The slate of available financing products has been adjusted to align with the needs of electric vehicle customers, and the requirements of government incentives.

Retail Finance:

  • The Retail Finance product remains available in all states, including Puerto Rico
  • With the Retail Finance product, the customer may be eligible to claim a Federal EV Income Tax Credit

Lease and PrePay Lease:

  • Lease products remain available in all states, with the exception of Puerto Rico.
  • A $4,875 BMW i3 Lease Credit is available on all lease contracts. (Please note that lease customers are not eligible to claim a Federal EV Income Tax Credit.)


  • OwnersChoice (for BMW i vehicles only) will be introduced in all states except: New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
  • The OwnersChoice product provides advantages similar to a lease (i.e. lower monthly payments, the option to return the vehicle at the end of the term) PLUS ownership of the vehicle.
  • The ownership of the vehicle provided by OwnersChoice provides customers the potential to claim a Federal EV Income Tax Credit.
  • OwnersChoice is a balloon finance contract that provides the option for the customer to sell the vehicle back to BMW Financial Services at the end of the term at a pre-determined price. Alternatively, customers can make the final balloon payment in full at the end of the contract term to complete the purchase and keep the vehicle.

BMW is offering financing to well qualified individuals for ‘up to’ 60 months from 2.99%, 61-66 months from 3.49%, 67-72 months from 4.99%, 73-84 months from 5.99%.

As for residual values on leases, they seem to be a touch lower than industry norms, but not too far off.  Both the fully electric version and the REx (i3 with optional range extender) are given the same residual values. (based on 15,000 miles/year)

  • 24 month residual – 49%
  • 30 month residual – 44%
  • 36 month residual – 39%
  • 42 month residual – 34%
  • 48 month residual – 28%
  • 54 month residual – 25%
  • 60 month residual – 21%

Note: add 2% for 12,000 mile/year leases, 3% for 10,000 mile/year leases.  Extra mileage is charged at 20 cents per mile.

Just to give some context to those figures the Nissan LEAF “S” trim has a 36 month residual of 39% – higher LEAF trim levels (SV and SL) have a 41% residual.  The current national deal advertised by Chevrolet on the Volt has a residual of 39% but on a 39 month term.

BMW quotes some examples of financing cost on the i3.

  • Based on a MSRP/finance amount of $45,800 (which looks to be about REx territory) with $1,000 down and 4.99% financing over 60 months, the cost would be $811.27/month
  • Based on a MSRP/finance amount of $45,800 (which looks to be about REx territory) with  $5,500 down and 4.99% financing over 60 months, the cost would be $721.97/month

BMW does not breakout any lease examples, but assuming the same $45,800 vehicle on a 36 month lease (39% residual) with $5,000 down, it looks like a lease will run the consumer about $550/month on a 3 year term.  The base, all electric BMW i3 starts at $41,350, which would make those leases come in at just under $500/month (with the $5,000 down).  Of note: the BMW i3 REx edition starts at $45,200.