BMW introduces its first all-electric car with the new BMW 13 after a lot of time spent on prototypes and testing. The i3 uses BMW’s most advanced technologies to date. The debut of their new all-electric car occurred simultaneously in three cities including, Beijing, London, and New York. It is expected to retail for just $24,000.
BMW found that, during its “Project I” research, the standard driving distance from most people was around 48 kilometers (30 miles). The i3 has a range of 129-161 kilometers, which seems to be more than enough, if the car is driven primarily in the city to commute to work and places like the grocery store or school. In ECO MODE, BMW claims the car can be driven an additional 12 percent further.
If this mileage isn’t enough to convince you to buy one of these cars, BMW makes an interesting offer. Besides the all-electric version, consumers can buy the i3 with a 34-hp 650cc range-extending two-cylinder engine. This addition would make the i3 into what is basically a Volt-like hybrid. The engine wouldn’t power the wheels, but would serve strictly as a reserve or back-up, though range and adaptability would be added.
With this range extender, according to BMW, drivers can refill their tanks at gas stations rather than searching around for an electrical charge station. This could prove to be more convenient, as there are far more gas stations currently than electric charge stations.
Despite this, BMW is convinced that most consumers will opt for the all-electric versions.
The i3 is categorized as a compact. It is a 4-door car with rear-hinged coach doors. They create an open, B pillar-less entry into the car. The i3 has a hatchback over the tiny 8 cubic feet in size cargo area.
The i3 also has a U-shaped LED tail and head lamps, black surfaces, a huge back windshield, and aerodynamic air curtains.
BMW believes that most buyers will also order the customized 240-volt charger, which costs about US $3,000 plus installation. It can recharge the under-floor battery pack in three hours.
There is a fast 480-volt charger, which is offered only at public charging stations, as well. It can do an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes; however, extensive use of the quick charger can cause the battery to deteriorate more rapidly.
BMW compared the prospects of the electric car market to the technical revolution of the mobile telephone, but declined to give any sales or production targets when they were asked.
Mr Norbert Reithofer CEO f BMW AG said that:
What the mobile phone did for communication, electric mobility will do for individual mobility. The BMW i3 is more than an evolutionary step — it is a great leap forward.”
The BMW i3 series-produced model will go on sale in Europe in November. That introduction will be followed in the United States, China, Japan and several other markets in the first half of 2014.
It will hit the German market at a price of EUR 34,950.
BMW’s commercial director, Ian Robertson, said that the market for electric cars remained young but said BMW was not seeking to be a niche player. He stated: “We’re entering the market to be a significant player.”
The vehicle is a rear-wheel drive EV with four seats. The peppy engine can accelerate the BMW i3 from 0 to 60 in 7 seconds. BMW has combined carbon fiber and plastic to make the passenger compartment lighter than other cars. The combination of these two materials is supposed to be stronger than steel. The BMW first all-electric car i3 weighs only 2,700 lbs.
Written by: Douglas Cobb