It isn’t every day that BMW launches a new brand. In fact the last time it happened was in 2001 when MINI was created. And it could be argued that this is even more revolutionary than that. The new all-electric BMW i3 is a landmark in BMW’s mission to provide a completely sustainable, electric vehicle that still stays true to the Ultimate Driving Machine moniker. The BMW i3 is the first product of the new BMW i sub-brand, and is the first carbon fiber base purpose built electric car meant for the mass market. For BMW it’s a new era for mobility. For MINI fans it’s something to take note of.
BMW’s foray into electric vehicles began in the early ’70s. Since then, the company has dabbled in electric powered vehicles in proof-of-concept form for motor shows and even internal engineering studies. However it wasn’t until the formation of the “Megacity” program, MINI E trial and ultimately BMWi that things got serious. With the learnings of the MINI E and the BMW Active E, BMWi is now ready to launch its first product – the BMW i3
The i3 will arrive in showrooms early next spring with base price of $41,350. However with the US $7500 tax credit the adjusted price will be a surprisingly affordable $34,725 (destination included). Moderately equipped the i3 will go out the door for $40,000 and in turn BMW hopes will usher in the start of an electric mobility revolution. To us that could be one of the best values in all of the automotive world not just because of the price. In our eyes, what makes the i3 so interesting is the packaging, platform technology and of course how it will likely perform as real world, premium transportation.
Why should MINI owners care? Let’s talk about some of the formulas the i3 follows, both new and fundamentally old. continued →
Official Release: When the first production version of the BMW i3 rolls off the assembly line in Leipzig in late 2013, it will mark the provisional culmination of 40 years of development work at
BMW. It all began at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where the
BMW starting line-up included two electrically powered test
vehicles. The converted BMW 1602 models served as a means of
transport for the members of the organising committee, and were
also deployed as support and camera cars in various long-distance
events. However, there could be no questioning that lead batteries
weighing 350 kilograms and with a range of around 60 kilometres (37
miles) were hardly ideal for a production car. BMW therefore
launched a series of research and development projects with the aim
of bringing an improved and, above all, more efficient technology
for electric drive systems onto the road. continued →
We don’t usually cross-post our features from BimmerFile (you know, the site like MotoringFile but with BMWs on it?) but today seems special. Today is the day that BMW is taking the wraps off of it’s third BMWi concept – the i3 Coupe. Based on the previous i3 concept, the coupe represents a sportier take on the carbon fiber monocoque concept. For those unaware, BMWi is a newly formed sub-brand of BMW (not unlike MINI) that will focus on electric and hybrid cars with carbon fiber monocoque chassis created via renewable resources. It’s as a holistic rethink of the car as any major automobile company has tried yet. And with this Coupe BMWi is starting to round out the models they intend to offer. From the i3 to the über sporty (and pricey) i8, the new brand will products throughout BMW’s current price-points. Where does this leave MINI? continued →
Welcome to the future according to BMW. Friday BMW took the wraps off of not only a couple of concepts (the BMW i3 and i8) but an entire brand and a new way to sell, lease and share cars. In fact it’s an entirely new way to use and interact with mobility according to BMW. What does this have to do with MINI? While much of this technology and thinking will be exclusive to the new BMWi brand, it’s hard to imagine it not making it’s way into key far-off MINI products.
While these are technically concepts, they are functionally very similar to the forthcoming production cars. And because of that we wanted to take a second and focus on the stats of each. One thing to note is that these are two very difference cars and very different propulsion concepts. You can see that born out in the numbers after the break.
What’s especially impressive here is the weight. And you’d expect that given the carbon fiber construction. But still, 2756 lbs for a modern electric car is pretty incredible. Even the i8 (with it’s battery pack and tri-turbo engine) looks impressive at 3256 lbs. Perhaps more impressive is the performance; i8 churns out 350 hp while getting 80 mpg. And with a 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds, it’s actually faster than the current M3 Coupe (by 0.3 sec). The 100% electric i3 puts out 168 hp and does 0-62 in only 7.9 seconds.
The i3’s drive-system is mounted over the rear axle puts power down via single speed transmission. But it doesn’t need to be 100% electric. As previously reported, BMWi will offer the i3 with an optional range extender (marketed as REx) to make the car more versatile in non-urban or suburban areas.
BMW i – introduction.
The world, and with it the sphere of personal mobility, is experiencing a period of radical environmental, economic and social change. A rash of global developments such as climate change, the dwindling availability of resources and increasing urbanisation call for a new balance between the demands of the planet and the desires of the individual. Fresh solutions are required to underpin personal and, most importantly, sustainable mobility. The BMW Group has responded to this situation with the creation of a sub-brand which meets the changing needs of customers head-on: BMW i. (more video and photos after the break) continued →
Ever wonder if an electric car could really work in your daily driving routine? Take heart, a recently released study from UC Davis and BMW Group found that the MINI E met the daily driving needs of 90% of the trial participants. The study also found that 95% of participants drove fewer than 80 miles in a given day. In terms of commuting and even general errand running, this isn’t particularly surprising, but the results are noteworthy because of most people’s so-called “range anxiety.” Read the full summary after the jump. continued →
Today is the day that BMW took the wraps off its biggest gamble to date. No it’s not a full car reveal. Actually much more grand and has greater implications than any single new model. The brand is BMW i and the idea is to rethink the car and the way we use our transportation infrastructure.
Along with the brand, BMW announced its plan to produce two cars under the i name. The i3 will be a fully electric three and five door hatch with a carbon fiber monocoque on an aluminum frame (yes body on frame is back). Pricing has yet to be even hinted at but we expect this to be a premium offering (ie high-end 3 Series territory). The i8 will also be much more premium costing more than $150,000. But it will have performance, design and engineering that will live up to that price. Likely very similar to the Vision concept that debuted at Frankfurt a year and a half ago, the car will likely redefine what a sports car is. With its three cylinder turbo diesel developing great power while being extremely efficient, the i8 will lead the brand.
Look for the BMW i8 to debut in 2013 and the i3 to follow it about a year later.
Official Release: The new BMW sub-brand focused on developing sustainable mobility solutions has been launched. â€œBMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility. With the introduction of this new sub-brand, the BMW Group reaffirms its leadership as the most innovative and sustainable premium car company. The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose built for sustainable, premium mobility. Itâ€™s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i â€“ Born Electric.â€ said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, in Munich on Monday. (Official gallery and video after the break) continued →
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