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Exclusive: Interview with BMW’s Product Manager of the i3 Electric Car |

The enthusiasm in Jose Guerrero’s voice was undeniable. I spoke with Guerrero, the product manager for the BMW i3 electric car (and the upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid) a few hours after the production version of the i3 was introduced today, officially (and simultaneously) in New York, London and Beijing. “I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction,” he said. When we talked, Guerrero was still working closely from the corporate script, answering each question with superlatives about the i3—and why it deserves to be called an ultimate driving machine.

According to Guerrero, the i3 is a legit Bimmer, first of all, because even the base Mega trim level is loaded with features, such as adaptive LED headlights, navigation, leather-trimmed steering wheel, alarm, and a relatively fast 7.4 kW on board charger. “The i3 is not a compromise,” said Guerrero. The jump from Mega to the Giga level adds 19-inch wheels, sunroof, and fancy stitching on the leather steering wheel—while the top-of-the-line Tera brings leather throughout.

This strategy follows the pattern established a few years ago with the LEAF and Volt—to give a small electric car a quasi-luxury feel to make up for any perceived notions of an EV as a step down. In the case of BMW, a luxury brand, it’s even more important—especially when it comes to its road manners.

Guerrero played up the i3’s agility. “There’s nothing else out there like it, because of the lightweight carbon fiber body. The tight turning radius is amazing,” he said. “It has a nice direct feel in the steering wheel, not electronically disconnected.”



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