BMW today introduced the all-new BMW i3 electric car, scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. market in the second quarter of 2014. The i3 starts with a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives.
According to BMW, the i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 12 percent in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode. It is able to recharge in 3 hours with the use of a 220V Level 2, 32-amp J1772 charger. The SAE DC Combo Fast Charging, which charges the BMW i3 up to 80 percent in 20 minutes, and 100 percent in 30, is optional.
In order to reduce range anxiety, a rear-mounted 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered Range Extender generator is available, which roughly doubles the vehicle’s range. When the battery gets to a certain level, the Range Extender starts and maintains the battery’s current state of charge. The Range Extender never directly drives the vehicle’s wheels. The Range Extender adds roughly 330 lbs. to the vehicle curb weight and has a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons.
According to a BMW press release, the concept behind the BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric drive system.
The car will be comprised of two modules; the Life Module, and the Drive Module. Think of the Life Module as the passenger cabin, or greenhouse. It is the first-ever mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cell in the automotive business, and is a big factor in the cars efficiency. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is equally as strong as steel, while being 50 percent lighter, and 30 percent lighter than aluminum. The result is an electric car that weighs about 2,700 lbs.
The aluminum Drive Module consists of the 22-kWh, 450 lb. lithium-ion battery, the electric drive train, MacPherson strut and 5-link rear suspension system and structural and crash components. The battery is mounted in the rear close to the drive wheels for better performance and traction.
There is no space-consuming transmission tunnel running through the center of the car, which helps give the BMW i3 the interior space of the BMW 3 Series, while only having the footprint of the much smaller BMW 1 Series.
The interior is made using high quality renewable sources and recycled materials.