Given the rumoured £1.5 billion R&D spend and near four years of marketing of the whole BMW i concept, you could perhaps forgive the company executives launching the BMW i3 today a bit of hyperbole.

“This really is a moment where we shape history,” said one. “This is more than just a car, it is a revolution,” said another. “The car as we know it has been around 130 years and today marks a shift to a new era,” added one more, as the car was simultaneously launched in London, New York and Beijing.

Is it? Will it? Really?

Sat on a revolving chair in an office, shut off from the world and the global issues attached to the electrification of cars, it would be pretty foolish of me to dispute the top brass and their hard-working masterminds at a car giant like BMW. But is the i3’s launch today as significant as they claim?

After all, this is a car that not even its makers will tell us the planned sales figures for, less any shortcoming damn the project with the tag of being a failure. All we know is that the company expects to take a “significant share” of the estimated 160,000 electrified vehicle sales this year. Quite what this means in real numbers nobody is saying, beyond the firm assertion that the project will be “profitable” from day one.