Amazon Japan starts selling electric cars


First it was books, then household products; now you can buy an electric car from online shopping giant Amazon.

The Japanese unit of German auto giant BMW on Wednesday started selling its i3 electric models on Amazon.co.jp.

The high-end automaker’s small electric vehicle has been popular in European and North American markets, but BMW Japan wants to find more customers through the online retailer, a spokesman said in Tokyo.

“We have 46 dealers (that sell the electric model) in Japan, but we hope this ‘e-selling’ will cover the entire market more thoroughly,” the spokesman said. “This will widen the sales channel and improve convenience for customers.”

He added: “So many people are using the website. We would like to research potential customer groups who may be interested in our products.”

Two i3 models are available on Amazon.co.jp, a regular BMW i3 with a 229-km range, and the i3 Range Extender that runs up to 300 km on one battery charge, the company said.

Customers accustomed to completing their purchases in one click might, however, be disappointed. After loading the car into their virtual shopping cart, potential buyers will have to wait for a phone call from BMW requesting documents proving they have a parking space and a place to charge the vehicle.