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BMW executives hand over the first i3 city cars to their buyers (Photo: BMW)

BMW delivered the first i3 models to customers, hoping the electric vehicles will help change the slow sales trend for electric vehicles so far.

The German premium car maker has invested heavily in its new electric i brand and BMW's sales and marketing boss, Ian Robertson, said "today marks a milestone in the history of the BMW Group."

The i3 has an electric range of between 130km and 160km. BMW offers a broad range of mobility packages for the car.

In Germany, customers can buy the i3 city car over the phone, online and via 46 BMW i agents. The car will be launched across Europe in coming months. It will be on sale in the US, Japan, China and Korea next year.

The i3 will be followed by an i8 electric sports car next year.