BMW’s electric i3 and hybrid i8 Concept cars close to production

December 30th, 2011 by BMW of North America

BMW i is BMW Group‘s response to the changing demands in sustainable and individual mobility,” said Manuel Sattig, Communication Manager for Project i, BMW AG.

BMW i provides a whole new focus on sustainability.

“The i brand has a new architecture called The LifeDrive architecture,” says Rich Steinberg, Manager, Electric Vehicles Operations & Strategy, BMW of North America.

“We use aluminium and carbon fibre on a large scale to off-set the additional weight usually an electric car brings,” said Mr. Sattig. “By Reducing the weight we can also reduce the amount of batteries we need for the car.”

Richard Kim, Senior Automotive Designer, BMW Group DesignworksUSA said “we can pick and choose all the different aspects important to make the perfect Megacity vehicle.”

“The BMW i3 is a tremendous solution for an urban environment. This car is pure electric,” said Mr. Sattig.

“The first overall impression of the BMW i3 is that it is very compact but you would be surprised when you open the coach doors it invites you in to a very large amount of space because of the technology we are able to have a very flat floor, and we don’t have the tunnel that typically bisects most cars so you can go across the car very easily on these bench-style seats,” Mr. Kim said.

The BMW i3 also has the option of a Range Extender (REX) with the addition of a three cylinder petrol engine, which will allow you to double the range of the electric vehicle (EV).

The BMW i8 is a progressive sports car.

“The car will have a driving performance comparable to a BMW M3 but you’ll have the fuel efficiency of a very small subcompact car,” Mr. Sattig said.

“The i8 uses the same electric motor that is in the i3 to drive the front wheels and a three cylinder petrol engine to drive the rear wheels,” Mr. Steinberg said. This car will have an mpg close to 80.

“The aerodynamics have shaped the car for us. It is extremely dynamic and in that way it is still very much BMW,” Mr. Kim said.

When you see the “BMW i3 and the BMW i8 in pictures you think they are some sort of futuristic car but they are here and they are very close to production,” Mr. Steinberg said.

What you see now is about 80% of what you will see in the production vehicles.

BMW presented the fully electric BMW i3 Concept and the hybrid-electric BMW i8 Concept during the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on 16 November 2011.

The BMW i3 and i8 Concept vehicles represent the first purpose-built electric and electric-hybrid vehicles to be made primarily of carbon fiber when they become available in 2013 and 2014, respectively.


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