Finally after a series of teasers, leaks and formal features, BMW today unveiled the i3, its small electric car which will start from 36,150 euros.
The first pure electric car by BMW is not significantly different from the concept. The production version of course does not have the glass doors, having been replaced by conventional ones. These have been placed even further back, making them smaller in size. More conventional are also the design guards, the light fixtures and the mirrors.
Also, the line of the rear window is not a straight line, with BMW’s designers having chosen an asymmetric design, the rear windows are positioned lower than those of the front doors. The rear doors open backwards with the car not having a middle column.
The first i car will be fitted with an electric motor on the rear axle producing 125 kW (170 hp) with 250 Nm of torque, which weighs 50 kg. Combined with a single speed transmission with a 0-60 km/h acceleration in 3.7 seconds, 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, with a top speed of 150 km/h and a range between 130 to 160 km.
As for the i3 with the range-extended engine it will e equipped with a small two-cylinder petrol engine derived from a bike of BMW. This will be the 652 ml GS of 34 horses which will charge the battery in order to extend the autonomy of the i3 to 300 km. The engine is mounted at the rear, adjacent to the motor.
The batteries can be charged by 80% within half an hour using a quick charger (50 kW), while using simple household outlet, the batteries can be charged 100% in 8 hours, while with the home charger, the BMW i Wallbox, the batteries are fully charged within 6 hours.
Inside there is a two spoke wheel, two digital displays, wood paneling, the iDrive switch and metallic decorations. It weighs 1,195 kg thanks to it’s CFRP chassis, having a weight ratio of 50:50 front-rear. The suspension consists of MacPherson struts in front and multi (5) back links and clicks on land with wheels measuring 19 inches with tires measuring 155/70.
There are three trim levels Loft, Lodge and Suite. The basic equipment is air condition, 6.5 ” screen with iDrive system and USB connectors , Bluetooth and SIM card. The extra equipment includes heated front seats, electric sunroof, GPS and automatic air conditioning.
The BMW is making significant efforts to attract customers who will buy the new i3, giving the possibility to rent a conventional model of the BMW for a few days a year, but they will also install optional quick charge devices at the homes of the future buyers.
The earliest deliveries are expected to begin by the end of October, with the BMW already receiving more than 100,000 applications to test drive the car. BMW says that in 2013 more than 150,000 electric cars will be sold worldwide.