This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

BMW i3 Enters the Electric Scrum

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The all-electric, pint-sized BMW i3 launched today in New York, London and Beijing to great fanfare and is positioned within the German automaker's fleet as the mega-city vehicle of the future. Reminiscent of the Isetta "bubble car" spliced with the "Jetsons"-esque vehicle from Kubrick's A.I., the sub-compact Bimmer begs a fundamental question: can the cool factor actually drive sales?

That's all the more relevant given that Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz led Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's BMW in U.S. deliveries by 1,519 vehicles after the first six months of 2013. That's a change from the norm, given that BMW has held the luxury sales crown in the U.S. for the last two years with 281,460 BMW brand vehicles sold in 2012 compared to 274,134 Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles sold last year.

Six years of Munich R&D has gone into pushing forward the Project i sub-brand, which developed from the MINI E and will also steward the release of the i8, an EV supercar. To boot, the whole initiative encompasses a larger-scale sustainability platform, including a BMW venture capital initiative with $100 million invested each year toward green development.

Still, challenges abound in getting this murine pip-squeak of a car to catch on.

That's because despite the buzz these all-electric cars generate, challenges abound in terms of moving units: the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla (TSLA) Model S have not mustered big sales, despite the attention and brouhaha.

In fact, electric vehicle sales worldwide doubled last year, but despite the fanfare for the 180,000 EVs out there, the proportion of EVs on the road is miniscule--amounting to nary 0.02% of passenger cars, according to International Energy Agency.

With this winter's New York Times hit-piece questioning the efficacy of the electric Tesla Model S--this after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration directed umbrage at the Chevy Volt following a fire at the test facility--there is a lingering stigma regarding cars powered by lithium-ion batteries and doubt over whether they're worth their salt.

"Make no mistake, the internal combustion engine will still prevail, no question," BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch told MainStreet at the New York i3 launch. "But for the next five years, the prediction is that the [EV] market will go up to 850,000 cars all together, so we're confident we can have a good share of the pie there."

Stock quotes in this article: TSLA 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs