BMW officially unveiled the new i3, its first electric series model. The Germans have invested two billion euros to develop the model and released it during an event conducted simultaneously in three countries and streamed over the Internet.
BMW i3 debuted today on the Internet, at a presentation streamed live on Youtube, but organized in parallel in London, New York and Beijing. The electric model of the Germans marks a major step in a new direction for the company, being the first electric one of their series. To develop it, BMW has invested over two billion in the i project, anticipated by a number of concepts that have given rise to numerous rumors ranging from a modern Isetta as well as models with alternative propulsion systems.
The 170 HP model has a range of between 130 and 160 km in the 100% electric mode. Optionally, customers can order a range extender mode, which dramatically increases the autonomy of up to 300 kilometers. That module is a 650 cc engine taken from the BMW Motorrad division, which operates as a generator and charges the battery without a mechanical link between the propeller and drive train respectively.
The model will accelerate from 0-100 km / h in about seven seconds and has a top speed limited to 150 km / h, for reasons of self-preservation. In terms of halves, BMW says the i3 accelerates from 80 to 120 km / h in 4.9 seconds, which gives comparable performance to a conventional vehicle propulsion system.
What you may not know about BMW I3
This is the series version.
BMW has published a set of “official spy shots” of the production version of i3. The model’s body includes many elements of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, forming the architecture called Life Drive. BMW fully developed the propulsion system to provide a weight distribution of 50:50 between the axles.
The first urban modern BMW.
Building an electric model designed primarily for the urban environment has brought numerous challenges for BMW. They needed a practical and efficient car that did not depart from the philosophy of the brand. How did they fix the problem? They put the batteries at floor level. The electric motor is integrated in the rear axle, and the internal combustion unit, designed for self-expansion, stands beside it.
Rear 170 hp engine.
BMW i3 is an electric vehicle with a range extender system. Virtually all propulsion is provided by the electric motor of 170 hp and 250 Nm, but the batteries can be charged using an internal combustion engine. The internal combustion engine is 650 cm3, develops 34 hp, is next to the electric motor, and is taken directly from the BMW Motorrad range. The versions equipped with this system will have a range of up to 300 kilometers.
The batteries are located under the vehicle.
The following illustration shows how BMW managed to integrate the electric motor and batteries in the Life Drive architecture of the i3. In addition to being compact, the engine weighs only 50 pounds. It may reach the maximum speed of 11,400 rotations per minute. The Lithium-Ion battery is flat, has 12 modules and has a proper cooling and heating system to ensure its optimum operating temperature for as long as possible.
Regenerative brake to the acceleration pedal.
The regenerative braking system of the BMW i3 can deliver up to 75% of the braking force of the hydraulic system just by lifting your foot off the accelerator. When necessary, the driver can push the brake pedal for stopping / reducing the conventional speed. The regenerative braking by lifting your foot off the accelerator pedal is indicated in the taillights, if sufficiently pronounced. BMW says the system will be intuitive to use and the braking will be easier to control.
The three-door version actually has five doors.
BMW decided to use a technical solution similar to the one used by Mazda for the deceased RX-8. The rear doors open if they are open to the front, and it opens in the opposite direction to ease passenger access to the rear seats. From our experience with the RX-8, the solution is very good, as long as you don’t have a very narrow parking space.
Range: 130-300 kilometers.
In standard mode, the BMW i3 will be offered strictly as a 100% electric vehicle. But customers may request an internal combustion engine that would increase the autonomy of i3 up to 250-300 kilometers depending on the driving style. The car has several driving modes, two of which provide a significant increase of its economy. Unlike the conventional BMW models, i3 has two Eco Pro modes. The Eco Pro mode coupling increases the range by 20 km, and choosing the Eco Pro + mode brings an additional increase of 20 km of autonomy.
Performance and space of a compact.
BMW i3 will have a mass of 1195 kg, comparable to that of a modern compact. The model will accelerate from 0-100 km / h in about seven seconds and have a top speed limited to 150 km / h, for reasons of self-preservation. The German electric urban will provide only four passenger seats.
Sprint 0-60 km / h in 3.5 seconds.
It is difficult to give an electric model the spirit of a known brand for sportsmanship, industry experts explain. Especially when engineers have to provide a fine balance between performance and autonomy. But BMW claims to have found the best recipe, given the currently available technology. In terms of halves, BMW says the i3 accelerates from 80 to 120 km / h in 4.9 seconds, which gives a performance comparable to a conventional powertrain vehicle.
Wheels and tires specially designed for i3.
BMW i3 is equipped with alloy wheels with 19 inch diameter. So far nothing unusual. But these rims have narrow tires that are sized 155/70 R19. Despite the fact that they are narrower, BMW said the new tire offers the same area of contact with the asphalt film compared to a normal tire for a 19-inch rim, the handling not being affected. Alloy wheels fitted to this model are 36% lighter than their equivalent in steel.
Charging: 8 hours from a normal outlet.
According to the data the BMW i3’s battery can be charged in just 30 minutes at a fast outlet, noting that it will be charged to 80% capacity. From a normal outlet, a full charge takes eight hours. As we said before BMW made the car capable of being charged two or three times a week, although it can also be charged daily if necessary.
The interior will be completely different.
The illustration below represents BMW i3’s interior. The series will apply the idea of simplicity on this concept in a form familiar to BMW fans, although the Germans promise to surprise everyone with their new interior.
BMW i3 has its own mobile app.
BMW is not at its first mobile application, the German brand having several services linking the car to the mobile phone and vice versa. This time, the connection will be much closer, the driver can get detailed information about the car’s autonomy, battery status and charge level and the actual preparation of the next trip, all from the mobile phone.
360 ° ELECTRIC – the solution for urban mobility
The Germans at BMW have developed a concept of flexible urban mobility. If the vehicle will not be able to offer the driver the autonomy he needs, the navigation system will present its proposed solutions for mobility. Whether we are talking about fast charging stations or stations where the customer can borrow another electric BMW, these solutions have been designed by BMW engineers.
Live monitoring of batteries.
BMW will remotely monitor the status of each battery under the Project i. Thus, the Germans will get more advantages, besides real-time reporting of how their electric vehicles are used. Specifically, the benefits go to the customers, battery monitoring ensuring a better long-term maintenance and repair in the shortest time if a problem arises, whether or not the user is aware.
Because BMW is a premium manufacturer, the Connected Drive services received special functions, some of which are dedicated to vehicles from the i range. Therefore, the car leaves the factory with an integrated SIM card that gives a permanent internet connection, regardless of borders, with which the driver can always call concierge services from BMW (the equivalent of a personal assistant, integrated into the car, but with human operators) and can receive navigational instructions from the parking lot to the final destination, which is guided by the smartphone on the sidewalk when not driving.