BMW Debuts i3 BEV And i8 PHEV ConceptsBy John O'Dell July 29, 2011
BMW's first battery-electric car, the i3, will come with an optional 2-cylinder gasoline range extender when it goes on the market in late 2013, the company said Friday. The i3 (above, left), formerly known as the BMW Megacity, is the first of two cars the German automaker plans to launch as the first product of its electrification program dubbed "Project i." The second car will be a high-performance plug-in hybrid sports car called the i8 (above, right). Both cars are four-seaters and both make extensive use of BMW's newly developed carbon-fiber reinforced plastic technology to place a super-strong but ultra-lightweight passenger module on top of a lightweight aluminum drive module containing all of the cars' drive- and power-train componentry.
BMW has not priced the models nor has it divulged a rollout schedule beyond the 2013 launch, in Germany first, of the featherweight i3 city car, which has a curb weight of 2,750 pounds. The i3 uses an approximately 22-kilowatt-hour battery and a BMW-designed electric motor to deliver a range of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) on a single charge. The company says the electric-drive system will enable the i3 to achieve 0-62 mph acceleration in just under 8 seconds. The model is said to have a top speed of 93 mph.
The i8 will use a direct-injected, turbocharged high-performance 3-cyclinger gasoline engine to drive the rear wheels and a BMW elector motor, powered from an approximately 8-kWh rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, to power the front wheels and will be able to deliver up to 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) of all-electric drive. It will have three modes: all-electric, gasoline only, and combination. BMW says the plug-in hybrid i8 will deliver more than 100 mpg on the European cycle and will boast acceleration speeds of under 5 seconds for a 0-62 mph sprint and will have a top speed of 155 mph.