Motors

After steep hike, BMW cuts i3 price to benefit from grant

BMW i3

BMW has changed the price of its i3 electric car, reversing a substantial hike it introduced just days before the government's surprise announcement that it was changing its plug-in grant scheme, writes William Scholes.

At the start of March, BMW put up the i3's starting price to an ambitious 'from £39,690'. Fine car as it is, the i3 has been in production since 2013 and is up against a bunch of strong, fresh competitors.

But the government's new EV grant has forced a rethink at BMW. The government used to offer £3,000 on new electric cars up to a price of £50,000, but on March 18 cut both the grant - to £2,500 - and the threshold, to £35,000.

This has prompted a scramble among manufacturers with electric models wearing mid-£30k price tags to adjust them so that they can still avail of the incentive.

It means the entry level i3 is now £33,805 - or £31,305 once the grant is applied - and the more powerful i3s model priced at £34,805, or £32,305 after the grant.

However you look at it, that is quite a drop in list price within weeks.

Nothing other than the price has changed, meaning the i3 has a claimed range of up to 190 miles and the i3s of up to 173 miles.

It is a tribute to the i3's design that as it enters its ninth year on sale it still looks like a modern car. The i3 is also a reminder that although BMW was the first premium marque to take electric cars seriously, it is now rather playing catch up to its competitors. Its next EV, due in July, is a battery version of the X3.

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