Sunday, May 10, 2015

BMW i3 Year One Celebration

The BMW i3 Year One Celebration in underway across America with various dealerships hosting events, and local owners getting together to celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of the i3 in the US.

JMK BMW in Springfield, NJ had a good showing
The idea for the Anniversary Event began with a conversation back in February between a few i3 owners in the BMW i3 Facebook group. Roman Vazquez actually was the one who first thought of having an official nationwide i3 anniversary celebration. At first the thought was that we'd pick a day and coordinate local meets for i3 owners to get together. We've done similar meets like this before, where we get together in a parking lot somewhere, but Roman thought meeting at a dealership might be interesting. The idea quickly expanded to, "How about we try to get dealerships across the country to host an event?"
Crevier BMW in Southern California had the largest turnout with over 200 people in attendance! Photo credit to Harry Lin

BMW supplied pins
We knew we couldn't coordinate something that large ourselves, so I reached out to BMW i Marketing Manager, Joan Bowen, and asked if BMW would be willing to help us get this off the ground. She loved the idea and simply asked, "What can we do to help?" So BMW created the event logo, contacted their dealer network informing them of the event (of which participation was optional) and created some swag (T-shirts, pins & stickers) which they would send to participating dealers to give out during the day.

Some dealerships took it one step further and gave away prizes. Two dealerships that I'm aware of that really put extra effort into the event were JMK BMW in New Jersey and Crevier BMW in Southern California. Both dealerships raffled off a free JuiceBox Pro 40 EVSE (Crevier also raffled off other prizes including a JLong charging extension cable), offered catering for the attendees and did their best to make the day special for the i3 owners. 

The official anniversary event lasts for the remainder of the month of May, but the majority of events happened on May 9th, which was the day we originally planned, before BMW joined in to help us get more dealerships involved. It was really nice to get together with other i3 owners, swap stories and EVangelize a bit. There's already talk of formally making this an annual event and I think that would be a great idea. We put this year's gatherings together on short notice and without many of the dealerships participating. It was a lot of fun and I think we're on to something here, so watch out for next May!
No local participating dealership? No problem! Just meet somewhere on the street or in a parking lot like these i3 owners in Virginia did. Photo courtesy of  Reony Tonneyck

Photo: George Betek
One thing I'm particularly happy to see, is BMW's willingness to participate in events like these. They didn't hesitate to say they thought it was a great idea and then asked how they could help. It's important that the manufacturers continue to offer strong support for their plug-in offerings. It's not enough just to make the cars. A successful plug-in vehicle program needs the support of the manufacturer with a healthy marketing budget, and continues with community outreach, like these kinds of events offer. The EV market in still in its infancy, and if a manufacturer is really serious about being a market leader in this space, then these kinds of events are a great way to build consumer confidence in the brand. 
Ariel view of Crevier during the celebration. Photo courtesy of Roman Vasquez
A special thanks goes out to Roman Vazquez, Heather Somaini, Kris Kluzak, George Betak, Shawn Wooten, Wilfred Fojas, Manny Antunes, Dave Avery, Peder Norby, John Higham, David Vottero and Brandon Watson. All of whom put a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to make the i3's first birthday party a memorable event.

What kind of a party would it be without a parade? Photo courtesy of Jamie Dow
BMW made these T-Shirts for the event and provided them to the participating dealer


  1. Looks like a lot of fun!

  2. I had a great time at the Santa Ana, California event at Crevier BMW. The "Panda" i3 drove 160 miles round trip from San Diego to the event, with out EZ Up tent, two chairs, a bunch of products from Quick Charge Power (it is mentioned that we raffled off a 40 foot JLong charge extension cable).

    The NRG / eVgo charging station that I stopped off in Mission Viejo was abuzz with excitement, and very busy with i3s !!! We hope to see everybody this weekend in San Diego.

    1. Thanks for supporting the event Tony. I bet the JLong winner when home a happy camper!

  3. I was able to stop by Crevier BMW of Santa Ana yesterday and see its dedicated i3 and i8 center. Very impressive and worth a stop by. Although I was in my own i3, the people there could not have been friendlier. I hope this is the wave of the future.

  4. Next Saturday at the Berlin Formula ePrix, there will be an attempt at a world record for the most BEVs on parade (more than 550). I expect there will be a lot of i3s participating.