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Production version of the BMW i3 electric vehicle will be showcased at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show and sales will begin by the end of this year. Dr. Norbert Reithofer, BMW CEO, said in a press conference today that several hundreds of advanced orders were already placed for the i3, even before these two important events. The first pre-production units of the i3 has rolled off the assembly line in Leipzig.

“We will break new ground in 2013 by putting electric cars into series production. Already, the first Pre-production BMW i3s rolled off the assembly line in Leipzig in January. This is a clear signal to anyone who may still have had any doubts: The BMW i3 is definitely coming onto the market. It will be a reality by late 2013,” said Dr. Reithofer.

“The i3 has a range on a single electrical charge of 130 to 160 kilometers (80 to 99 miles), but with two eco modes the EV range could grow to 220 kilometers (136 miles),” said Maximilian Kellner, head of product management of BMW i division.

An optional two-cylinder motorcycle engine and a generator are used extend its range by another 81 miles on a single tank of gasoline. The engine is located in the trunk and connected to a generator that recharges the battery rather than transmitting mechanical power directly to the wheels. Pricing is not yet available.