Towards the end of this year, 46 sales agents across the UK will offer the BMW i range of revolutionary electric cars. Each will have specialist technical capabilities allowing them to carry out repairs to the vehicles’ high voltage batteries. A wider service network is planned to offer extended coverage for the general service, maintenance and repair of BMW i vehicles.
Peter Stevens, business law partner at TWM Solicitors LLP, has played his part in this ground-breaking development – which is the first time a major car manufacturer has designed an ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre, fully-electric car from scratch – by advising the agents on their new agreements for the sale and servicing of the new vehicles.
Peter Stevens is recognised as one of the UK's leading experts on motor dealership franchises. In addition to representing the BMW dealer network for over 10 years, he has also advised the dealer councils of Chrysler Jeep, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot and Vauxhall, as well as a host of individual dealerships, ranging from listed multi-nationals to sole traders. He comments that individual dealers rarely have much opportunity to influence the terms of their franchise agreements, but working with the dealer councils and the manufacturers on a collaborative basis has produced benefits for all parties, as the result is usually a better drafted and fairer contract in which both sides have confidence.
Initially, two BMW i cars have been confirmed for production, the fully-electric BMW i3 megacity vehicle and the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car.
The BMW i3 is BMW’s first fully-electric production car and is due to go on sale in the UK in late 2013. Like the i8, the BMW i3 features an all-aluminium chassis combined with a passenger cell made entirely from lightweight carbon fibre reinforced plastic.
As well as the vehicles themselves, BMW i will encompass a range of premium services for mobility aimed at optimising the use of parking spaces, recharging infrastructure, ‘smart’ navigation systems, intermodal route planning and access to other BMW vehicles on an ‘on-demand’ basis.
BMW is the first premium vehicle manufacturer to offer such a comprehensive ownership package surrounding electric mobility.
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