All signs point to a production BMW i3 hitting the streets by next year. The model you’re looking at is the closest thing BMW has to a production model and, minus the Futurerama interior, this concept is driver-ready. The plexi/see through doors and concept-friendly exterior bits are replaced with more realistic components.
The BMW i3 has a 170 horsepower/125 kW motor that makes 184 lbs-feet of torque. This power is channeled through a one-speed transmission to the rear wheels as all of the running gear is in the back. The lithium-ion batteries are all mounted flat on the floor for a lower center of gravity.
With the BMW i3 weighing well under 3,000 lbs, it should be pretty damn fast – the way BMW (and Nathan) likes it.
Keep in mind: BMW has been playing with electric vehicles for years. Most recently, the MINI-E was leased to several lucky folks on the West Coast. BMW carefully monitored the reactions of the MINI-E users and will implement some of that research when the BMW i3 goes into production in about a year… hopefully.
BMW has not made any solid promises about a production date thus far.
From all of the concept vehicles, hints and statements BMW has thrown out there so far, it’s pretty obvious that the BMW i3 will be a line of vehicles, like the BMW 1-Series. A hatchback, coupe and (possibly) a convertible could be part of the i3 line. This is good news if it’s true folks.
Three driving modes allow the driver to (somewhat) determine the range and efficiency of the BMW i3. Comfort mode is for… well, comfort. This is the least economic mode as you are pampered with your desired climate with no restrictions. Eco Pro and Eco Pro + make the most out of restricting everything from the climate system’s output to top speed and acceleration.
It will perform much like a smaller version of the Tesla, perhaps a direct competitor for the baby Tesla. If that’s the case, BMW has a trick up its sleeve. There is no commandment that states all electric vehicles must not have a range extender and BMW may very well have one.
A persistent rumor is that BMW may add a range-extending, two-cylinder gas powerplant (possibly using BMW motorcycle technology), that’s 500 – 700 ccs called REx. If this gas engine makes the options list , it may double the range of the regular BMW i3’s range which is about 100 miles.
Another neat bit of tech that may or may not make it into production is inductive charging. Think of inductive charging as charging the vehicle without the use of any cords. You simply pull up in your garage or parking area and stop on top of a charging pad. Using a magnetic field, the pad sends electricity into the BMW i3. This could eliminate the need for cords in all electric cars in the future and would make public charging more secure.
Cool stuff – no?
The Fast Lane Car staff have differing takes on the immediate future of electric cars, but we are all excited about what automakers will come up with next. Personally, I like the way BMW is approaching electric cars. Sure, the BMW i3 will cost between $40 and $50,000, but it’s a BMW and since when has one been cheap? Usually, you get what you pay for when you buy a Bimmer.
Looking at it that way, I bet the BMW i3 will be a sweet ride. Honestly, I can’t think of one BMW in the past ten years that failed to increase my heart-rate. I look forward to testing one in the Rocky Mountains (hopefully) by next Christmas!
Check out how much fun Roman and I have driving a hybrid vs its regular engine-equipped brother.
Look folks, I don’t care how a car is powered, just as long as it’s fun to drive… and so do many of you!