BMW have lifted the covers on their brand new range of ‘i’ cars at events around the world. Powered by an electric drive system BMW i3 is a zero-emission vehicle which they say is a “premium car package that proves to be a recipe for pure driving pleasure”.
The i3 is quite a different looking kettle of fish to the rest of BMW range, following some would say in that standard “electric must look different” design philosophy we see so commonly with car manufactures these days. It’s no 4 series in terms of sleek lines but its does have a fun quirky side to it, which we quite like, in this colour anyway.
If there is one thing the i range has bucket loads of, its technology. Starting from the ground up the chassis is constructed from lightweight materials such as CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) and aluminium, results in a compact 4 seater hatchback weighting less then 1200kg.
The i3 also have ConnectedDrive services specifically designed for BMW i models that focus on the areas of navigation and energy management. The Range Assistant is engaged both for route planning and during journeys already under way. If the destination programmed into the navigation system is beyond the car’s range, the system suggests switching to ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode and calculates a more efficient route.
Two models will be available for the i3. The first is a fully dedicated electric vehicle, producing 125kW and 250Nm. BMW claims that a single charge is will give the i3 a range of around 130-160km. The second i3 model will be combine with a two-cylinder petrol engine. With this addition, labelled as a ‘range extender’ its range is now extended to 300km.
The interior follows the overall eco theme using materials such as naturally tanned leather, wool and wood from sustainable forests.
Recharging can take anywhere between 8-10 hours. However owners will be able to purchase a fast-charge system that will get the battery to 80% capacity within 3 hours.
The i3 goes on sale in Europe in November, there is no word on whether the i3 will make it to our shores, but if it does it will be close to the end of 2014.