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BMW has been one of the world’s leading brands for years, consistently creating the latest innovative technologies and driving experiences that larger manufacturers like the VW Group struggle to keep up with. Working with astronauts back in April, BMW began focusing their developments on creating lighter, more efficient cars that can still outperform competition. One area in which this research has especially been applied is the BMW i-series, which is kicking off its release with the new BMW i3.
The i3 is a small compact vehicle that is the first mass produced vehicle with the BMW badge to be completely electric. It’s built mostly from carbon fiber with an aluminum chassis. A sophisticated instrument cluster offers a Control Display monitor that is supported by magnesium. The cluster gauge is completely electronic, and pairs with the GPS system in the center of the console.
The vehicle gets an overall range of between 80-112 miles on a full charge depending on the Drive Experience Control setting that’s been selected. If you purchase the hybrid version with a two-cylinder petrol engine range extension, then you’ll travel even further: up to 185 miles on a full charge.
The body of the i3 is designed to directly reflect the sustainable futuristic design recognized as the i-series. The grill blends into the sides to create a seamless transition for the aggressive but innovative look BMW hoped for. A “black belt” line runs down the side of the electric car, creating a side view that emanates light. Large windows and LifeDrive architecture flow from front to back to create a sporty look for an efficient vehicle.
The i3 is BMW’s departure from the ordinary; it’s the door to a whole new future for the company. The next step will be releasing the sportier i8, cementing in place the line-up the company needs to take over the electric industry. Elon Musk and Detroit had better look out; BMW is coming for the win in electric and hybrid cars.
See the full press release below.
• Market launch of the BMW i3 heralds the dawn of a new era in electric mobility; the new BMW i brand presents the BMW Group’s first volume-produced model driven purely by electric power; visionary design; revolutionary vehicle architecture; familiar BMW driving pleasure; innovative connectivity; future-focused premium character strongly defined by sustainability; product substance unmatched by any rival is rooted in the well-founded research and development work carried out as part of project i and the superior technological expertise of the BMW Group.
• The BMW i3 is an uncompromising and attractive solution to personal mobility requirements of the present and the future in urban areas; first premium car worldwide purpose-designed to run purely on electric power – and therefore emission-free; specially developed LifeDrive architecture, BMW eDrive drive technology, customary BMW rear-wheel drive and revolutionary lightweight design underpin the perfect balance of driving pleasure, range and weight; the BMW i3’s carbon footprint is around a third smaller than that of the BMW 118d – the World Green Car of the Year 2008 – or around 50 per cent smaller if the car is running on power generated from renewable sources.
• Passenger cell (Life module) made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP); drivetrain technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, crash and structural functions integrated into the aluminium Drive module; DIN kerb weight: 1,195 kilograms; low centre of gravity; even weight distribution; spacious interior with four seats; slightly raised seating position; opposing “coach” doors; torsional stiffness of CFRP passenger cell structure allows the omission of B-pillars; centre tunnel has also been omitted, thanks to the positioning of the electric motor directly on the driven rear axle; boot capacity: 260 – 1,100 litres.
• Groundbreaking design based around signature BMW i design language; faithful visualisation of sporting capability and efficiency; distinctive proportions; hallmark BMW i colour scheme, including exterior “black belt”; distinctive side view exuding lightness – with stream flow lines and large window surfaces; short overhangs; enclosed BMW kidney grille; bespoke design for the headlights and rear light clusters with U-shaped LED arrangement; rear lights integrated into the fully glazed tailgate.
• Innovatively designed interior with a clear emphasis on spaciousness, cutting-edge functionality and a future-focused premium character; clear structuring provided by a surface design based on the layering principle; lightweight seats; exceptionally high proportion of naturally treated materials, recycled materials and renewable raw materials; start/stop button and bespoke gear selector lever on the steering column; instrument cluster and Control Display in freestanding monitor form; iDrive operating system and Driving Experience Control switch fitted as standard; four equipment lines available: Atelier, Loft, Lodge and Suite.
• BMW eDrive technology including electric motor and high-performance lithium-ion battery developed and manufactured independently by the BMW Group; hybrid synchronous electric motor developed specifically for the i3, maximum output: 125 kW/170 hp, peak torque: 250 Nm (184 lb-ft); power sent to the rear wheels via an integrated differential gear; lithium-ion high-voltage battery with usable energy capacity of 18.8 kWh; intelligent drivetrain and charge management using power electronics developed by the BMW Group; battery can be recharged from a domestic power socket, BMW i Wallbox or public charging station.
• Sporting driving characteristics and excellent agility; acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.2 seconds, 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in 3.7 seconds and from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) in 4.9 seconds; top speed, electronically limited: 150 km/h (93 mph); turning circle: 9.86 metres.
• Energy consumption: 12.9 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres (62 miles) in the EU test cycle; more efficient than any competitor, efficiency further optimised through specific BMW EfficientDynamics technology, such as Brake Energy Regeneration, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+ mode including coasting function; range under everyday conditions: 130 – 160 kilometres (approx. 80 – 100 miles) when COMFORT mode is engaged using the Driving Experience Control switch; range can be increased by 20 kilometres (12 miles) when ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode are activated; additional option: two-cylinder range extender petrol engine developing 25 kW/34 hp maintains a minimum charge level and boosts range to around 300 kilometres (185 miles).
• Sophisticated chassis technology enables a well-balanced combination of agile handling and impressive ride comfort; MacPherson single-joint spring strut front suspension; five-link rear axle mounted directly to the Drive module; Electric Power Steering; DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control); 19-inch forged light-alloy wheels as standard.
• Intelligent lightweight design, e.g. a CFRP passenger cell, aluminium chassis, instrument panel with magnesium supporting structure and weight optimisation of all components specially developed for the i3; comprehensive safety concept with precisely defined crash zones in the Drive module, extremely torsionally stiff passenger cell and electronically controlled restraint systems.
• Varied range of BMW ConnectedDrive features, including standard BMW i functions; connectivity via a SIM card fitted in the vehicle; BMW TeleServices and Intelligent Emergency Call as standard; optional Driving Assistant Plus with camera-based Cruise Control including Stop & Go function, Traffic Jam Assistant, Speed Limit Info and No Passing Info display, pedestrian recognition and Collision Warning with light city braking function, Proactive Driving Assistant; optional parking assistance package with PDC at the front, rear view camera and fully automatic Parking Assistant; optional Comfort Package with features including a rain sensor, Cruise Control with braking function, automatically dimming rear-view and exterior mirrors; also available are BMW Online Entertainment, Concierge Services, Real Time Traffic Information, use of the flinc car sharing network (only in Germany for the time being) and other mobility services specific to BMW i.
• Services specific to BMW i available as part of 360° ELECTRIC: BMW i Wallbox enabling convenient battery charging at home, ChargeNow card allowing customers to use public charging stations without the need for cash, innovative mobility services, intermodal route guidance via smartphone app, MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse.
• Extensive standard equipment, including Navigation system Professional with dynamic range display, USB and AUX-in sockets, hands-free facility for telephone, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, LED daytime driving lights, Park Distance Control (PDC) with rear-mounted sensors, charging cable for use with a domestic power socket.
• All-embracing sustainability concept across the entire value chain; carbon fibre production at Moses Lake, USA, and vehicle assembly at BMW Plant Leipzig using 100 per cent renewable energy; BMW i packages for using eco power to charge the high-voltage battery; innovative sales concepts for flexible access to personal mobility.