2017 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car [photo: Chris Neff]
How badly do you want to buy a BMW i3 electric car?
Badly enough to move to areas of California where Southern California Edison will be your electric utility?
If so, a new program offered through April 30 will give residential customers and SCE employees $10,000 off the purchase of any model of the i3.
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Note that buyers must fill out a qualification form and show either an SCE utility bill with their name on it or a utility bill for a given address plus identification showing that they live at that address, e.g. a driver’s license.
There are a few other restrictions on the program, which SCE announced on February 1 in conjunction with BMW.
Only purchases of new i3 models are eligible for the discount BMW is offering—leases are specifically excluded—although the utility says all versions are eligible, both with and without the REx range-extending engine.
Footage from June 2016 LAPD announcement of lease for 100 BMW i3 electric cars [CBS Channel 2, LA]
That applies as well to the new and sportier 2018 BMW i3s model, a battery-only model that offers faster acceleration at the cost of a range rating reduced from 114 miles to 107 miles.
The goal, as with similar programs from other utilities in California and elsewhere, is to incentivize the purchase of an electric car (and help manufacturers “move the metal” to increase sales).
SCE notes that in addition to the $10,000 discount—which can’t be combined with other offers—its customers can save money in several other ways in buying an i3 under the program.
READ THIS: 2018 BMW i3s: range, efficiency lower for sportier model of electric car
The car makes buyers eligible for a federal income-tax credit of up to $7,500 (if their tax situation allows it). They can also receive a $2,500 purchase rebate from the state of California, and a $450 “clean fuel reward” from the utility itself.
Last year, several different utilities offered similar amounts off the purchase of the outgoing 2017 Nissan Leaf, for instance.
“Widespread adoption of electric cars is critical in meeting California’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” said SCE’s Katie Sloan.
While BMW has an aggressive slate of battery-electric models scheduled to launch within two years, the i3 is now in its fifth full model year without fundamental changes to its appearance.
The big upgrade came in the 2017 model year, when the battery capacity increased from 22 to 33 kilowatt-hours and ranges for both the all-electric and range-extended versions increased commensurately.
The battery-powered version rose from 81 to 114 miles, and the REx range-extended model from 72 to 97 miles.
CHECK OUT: San Diego utility offered $10,000 off Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 electric cars (Aug 2017)
The German company will launch an all-electric Mini Cooper for 2019, followed in 2020 by the BMW iX3, a fully electric version of its X3 compact crossover utility.
Meanwhile, unless we hear of other similar deals—which may well arise—this offer is limited to SCE residential electric customers.
Californians get all the breaks, it seems.