BMW has finally revealed the final production version of its hugely anticipated i3 electric city car, probably the single most innovative thing to come out of Munich in a decade.
The battery powered BMW i3 electric vehicle is a step in the direction of making cars out of fabric, along with other industrial products we traditionally think of in terms of bending steel and pouring concrete. The BMW i3 design defines the automobile of tomorrow. Its innovative BMW eDrive power train was designed in the scope of the BMW EfficientDynamics technology and is not only locally emission-free, but also offers an incomparable and nearly silent driving experience. The intelligent BMW ConnectedDrive Services bring you easily and conveniently to your destination.
The release and production of this new model opens an entirely new chapter of innovative design for BMW—and for urban electric vehicles across the board. Its striking appearance might be new to the BMW i sub-brand, but its silhouette remains unmistakably BMW. According to van Hooydonk, the new model is reinventing the rules for what a luxury car can be and how it should look. In designing the i3, Adrian van Hooydonk, the BMW Group‘s lead designer, explains, “We push the restart button, take out what we can take out and start over.”
The body is extrememly lightweight, made from a range of materials including carbon fibre reinforced plastic, aluminium and even wood, meaning the whole thing weighs in at just 1195kg. The suspension is made from forged aluminium, the drive shafts are hollow, the 19in forged aluminium wheels are 36 per cent lighter than equivalent steel rims, the door trim is made from renewable materials, and even the ruddy screws and bolts are lightweight aluminium.
The “standard” BMW i3 offers between 80 to 100 miles, but BMW also offers a i3 Range Extender. That car comes with a tiny 650cc petrol engine developing 34bhp, that powers a generator to recharge the battery. There’s a tiny nine-litre fuel tank, that can get one between 160 and 186 miles of claimed range.