FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BMW has recorded rising sales of the latest version of its electric car, the i3, following the Berlin government's push to subsidize electric cars, weekly German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) said.

Citing company sources, FAS said that orders for the new i3 with a longer range battery, for deliveries from mid-July onwards, had risen "many times over" levels following the introduction of the car's initial version in 2013.

Total orders for the new version had risen to 5,000 worldwide of which around 1,000 were placed in Germany, ahead of delivery.

BMW said last month it was overhauling its research and development to focus on self-driving cars for the future.

It also plans a sportier version of the i3 by 2018 and aims to launch the next new electric car in 2021.

The German government decided in the spring to subsidize new electric car purchases by giving a 4,000-euro ($4,400) discount to the buyer in a scheme that also pays 3,000 euros towards each purchase of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

"The (buyers') incentive bonus plays a positive part," the paper quoted a BMW manager as saying.

BMW was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert and Ralf Banser; Editing by Greg Mahlich)