Company will be "forced to build them" in such numbers to comply with emissions regulations.

BMW has announced that it expects to sell approximately 100,000 i-series plugin vehicles annually by 2020.

The company earlier this year suggested it would wait to gauge demand before adding new models to the 'i' lineup, however executives now suggest electric-vehicle production will have to ramp as part of a broader strategy to comply with tightening emissions regulations.

"We are extremely happy with the i3's early reception, particularly considering that in June we will open the order book in the United States, the world's largest market for EVs," said BMW head of marketing and sales, Ian Robertson, as quoted by Automotive News Europe.

The i8 hybrid sports car is also expected to be met with strong demand. The company anticipates a wait list of at least six months when the series flagship goes on sale in June.

"I think customers could live with the idea of waiting for six months for such an innovative product, but longer waiting lists could be a problem," Robertson added.

The mass-market i3 currently sells for $41,350 with an electric-only range of 80 to 100 miles, while an optional gasoline-powered range extended can be added for $3,850. The i8 is aimed at the premium segment, with a $135,700 starting price, leaving room for the company to introduce new models in the middle ground.