2014 Car of the Year: BMW i3
This alone guarantees it California market sales success.
I published more details on the California "BMW exemption" for the 2014 carpool lane here.
There is also "one more thing" about the BMW i3 worth mentioning: The interior. You have not seen a car interior like this. The styling makes it eligible for display at The Museum of Modern Art. Regardless of the car's other benefits, this alone will sell this car. See interior photos at Autoblog.
For those of you who have spent time inside the Tesla Model S, you know what a radically different car interior means in terms of the "wow" factor. Well, the BMW i3 is right up there, or even ahead, of the Tesla Model S. You have to see it to believe it.
In conclusion, the electrification of the automobile means that there is a new segmentation of capabilities -- range, performance and refueling methods -- emerging in the marketplace. The BMW i3 with range extender clearly isn't the same class of animal as the Chevrolet Volt, but rather it is the first car of a new class of plug-in hybrids.
As icing on the cake, the i3 also has the most beautiful interior I have seen in a car to date. If BMW delivers on all of these items in the final production version of the car, and does it on time as promised by December 2013, I think it is a shoe-in as the 2014 car of the year.
At the time of submitting this article, the author had no positions in the companies mentioned .