BMW i3 likely to start from 35,000

* Fully electric and range-extender models * More expensive than competitors * On sale before the end of 2013...

BMW i3 likely to start from 35,000

The BMW i3 electric city car is likely to cost around 35,000 when it goes on sale later this year, according to a senior company source.

It has been shown in concept car form and will make production as both a fully electric vehicle and a range extender (where a small petrol engine keeps the batteries charged). However, BMW has yet to confirm prices.

Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing, has now given a strong hint that the car will sit above EVs and range extenders, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, which both cost from between 23,000 and around 28,000.

'We haven't announced final pricing, but you should be thinking of the higher end of the BMW 3 Series range,' Robertson told What Car?. That would give the car a price of around 35,000.

Robertson said: 'That's the flat purchase price; we do think a lot of the customers will lease and we're working on innovative solutions for that side of the business.'

Those solutions are likely to include the option of a larger, conventionally powered vehicle as part of the deal. That could potentially allow i3 owners to use their EV (or range extender) during the week, then switch to an X5 or 3 Series Touring for longer weekend trips.