Cars

First US BMW i3 is Bought, Sold in Boston

Tufts University professor and electric car advocate Charles Rabie and his wife Ruty Bakor posed for a photo in front of their new BMW i3. The i3 was the first unit sold in the US.
Tufts University professor and electric car advocate Charles Rabie and his wife Ruty Bakor posed for a photo in front of their new BMW i3. The i3 was the first unit sold in the US.Sanjay Salomon/Boston.com staff

The first ever all-electric BMW i3 finally arrived on US shores. But if you were hoping to drive away with one anytime soon, you’re out of luck. The first – and so far ONLY unit – was sold Friday afternoon at Herb Chambers BMW of Boston. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

But the good news is more are expected to be arriving in the next few weeks. The price tag will start at $41,350.

The anticipated i3 is BMW’s first all-electric vehicle. It has a 22 kilowatt lithium-ion battery that gets 80 to 100 miles of emission-free driving and has a fuel economy of 124 miles per gallon equivalent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Advertisement—Continue Reading Below

BMW selected Tufts University professor Charles Rabie, an electric vehicle advocate who has been a longtime customer of the Herb Chambers dealership, to be the one to purchase the first i3 sold in the nation. Rabie, who has worked in high tech for 30 years, has also driven a BMW ActiveE since 2012.

Rabie drove off the lot in a BMW with Capparis White and iFrozen Blue accent on the exterior and Giga Cassia Natural Leather on the interior. As a bonus, BMW threw in a bicycle that matched the i3’s sleek exterior design.

Initially, Boston was supposed to be one of two locations to get a BMW i3, but plans were forced a changed to due to a logistics issue. The other consumer to get behind the wheel of an i3 was intended to be a member of Jacques Costeau’s family, based in California.

For Herb Chambers BMW/MINI general manager Melissa Steffy, it was appropriate for Boston to get first honors.

“Boston really captures the spirit of the i3 with its universities, colleges, and technological innovators,” said Steffy.

When asked what it was like to be the first US consumer to get behind the wheel an i3, Rabie said, “I like the fact that we get to make a contribution. A lot of people talk about helping the environment. We’re lucky that we can do something about it.”

But with a range of only 80 to 100 miles on the battery, Rabie made it clear that he sees the i3 as a secondary car.

“It’s great for badgering around town,” said Rabie. “My wife can use it when she gets called to work during the day. We can plug it in overnight and we’re back in business.”

He also said he would like to see Massachusetts offer more incentives to help electric cars like the i3 gain popularity. He thinks California is already ahead of the curve in this area. For example, in that state you can drive in the HOV lane without additional passengers.

“I’d like to see more incentives from cities, municipalities, and the state to use these types of cars, “ said Rabie.

In a phone call, car magnate Herb Chambers said he was “really excited” to put the professor behind the wheel of the country’s first i3.

Share