BMW’s Jordanian distributor Abu Khader Automotive launched the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar in Jordan last month along with the i3, the first all-electric vehicle to be commercially available in the Kingdom.
The i3 is a zero-emission, four-seat hatchback made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It can reach a maximum speed of 150 km/h on a motor that delivers 125 kW/170 hp. In daily traffic, the i3 is estimated to offer a range of about 130 km, and can be charged through a BMW I Wallbox, a complimentary charging device that uses a domestic electrical outlet that can supposedly fully charge the vehicle in around three–and-a-half hours.
The i8 attempts to combine the performance and design of a sports car with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car. It’s powered by a three-cylinder, 1.5 liter TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and an electric engine that delivers a combined 362 hp to all four wheels. This enables the i8 to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds using just 2.1 liters of petrol per 100 km.
According to the Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East Johannes Seibert, there’s real demand in Jordan for BMW’s electric cars—from public sector for the i3 and the retail customer sector for the i8. “We see that we will have a medium to long-term sustainable demand for a certain volume that qualifies the market for BMW I,” Seibert said at the launch event in Amman.
Abu Khader Automotive General Manager Fahed Naber said his dealership expects to sell between 25 and 30 units by the end of this year. To incentivize the use of electric vehicles, import taxes will be eliminated for the BMW i3, while the plug-in hybrid i8 will receive only the reduced 25 percent import tax (even though it is technically not a hybrid vehicle). According to Naber, the government has promised that this will not change for the next three to five years. The i3 is expected to retail from JD33,000, while the i8 will cost over JD180,000.
The launch of the two vehicles comes in tandem with the Kingdom’s plan to diversify its resources with renewable energy, as the Royal Court signed an MOU to add BMW i3 vehicles to its fleet. “The government is investing heavily in promoting sustainability and eco-living as a genuinely viable option,” said Naber. He added there were plans to set up charging stations across Jordan within the year with GAM and other companies. For now, for electric vehicle owners, the charging station at the King Hussein Business Park will have to suffice.