Rear-Drive BMW EV Coming to U.S. in Early 2014

Rear-Drive BMW EV Coming to U.S. in Early 2014

Just the Facts:
  • The production version of the i3 Concept Coupe unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show will be in U.S. showrooms in early 2014, a BMW spokesperson told Edmunds today.
  • Production of the electric car starts in Germany in late 2013 and its passenger "cell" will be made up of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) manufactured in Washington state.
  • That same U.S. carbon-fiber manufacturing facility will provide material for the body and chassis of the production version of the outrageous i8 plug-in hybrid concept.

LOS ANGELES — Even before the debuts of its i3 and i8 concepts at last year's Frankfurt auto show, BMW was talking about various salient elements of its electrified-vehicles strategy. But after what seems a lengthy period of discussion, the rubber meets the road in 2014, when a production version of the i3 Concept Coupe unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show hits BMW's U.S. showrooms.

A BMW source told Edmunds at the show that a production version of the rear-drive i3 concept — will it be the latest Coupe or the four-door i3? — will begin manufacturing at BMW's plant in Leipzig, Germany, beginning in late 2013 and will be in the U.S. early the following year.

Although it has two fewer doors, the newly revealed i3 Concept Coupe has the same 101.2-inch wheelbase as the first i3 concept car. BMW said the original i3 concept weighed less than 2,800 pounds.

BMW said the i3 Concept Coupe has a range of 100 miles from its lithium-ion battery pack, but leverages the interconnected nature of the navigation system and BMW's networked communications to continually provide a "dynamic" estimate of remaining driving range.

The network will continually update the car about traffic conditions or other factors that might affect range; if a destination has been input into the navigation unit, the system also will take into account such factors as topography along the route. The hope seems to be that such real-time calculations will help alleviate the range anxiety that presumably preys on the mind of all potential buyers of electric vehicles.

Edmunds says: Whether the i3 Concept Coupe represents your idea of what a new-age BMW should look like, you've gotta be encouraged that this electric car is a rear-driver.

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