Unveiled for the first time, these concept vehicles provide a glimpse of the first electrically powered production cars from the new BMW i sub-brand, due to be launched as the BMW i3 in 2013 and the BMW i8 in 2014.
BMW is planning to take its new subbrand public in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the diminutive i3 and more sporting two-plus-two i8 will be revealed in concept guise for the first time.
BMW i3 Concept
With its zero-emission electric drive and a range of approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles), the BMW i3 Concept has been specifically developed for use in an urban environment, its dynamic 125 kW electric motor and rear-wheel drive ensuring BMW-style dynamic handling. Thanks to its innovative LifeDrive architecture featuring a carbon passenger cell, the BMW i3 Concept combines an extremely low weight of 1,250 kilograms with optimal interior space and the highest crash safety levels. With four seats and a 200-liter luggage compartment, this vehicle is fully suited for everyday use.
The application of this new CFRP technology allows a weight reduction, compared to a conventional electric car, of between 250 and 350 kilos, and that means more dynamic handling coupled with a greater range. The BMW i3 does the 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in less than eight seconds, while a high-speed charger achieves an 80% battery charge in just an hour.
Thanks to the emission-free drivetrain and a value added chain designed to be sustainable all along the line, life cycle emission figures for the BMW i3 are at least a third lower than for a highly efficient combustion-engine car. If the BMW i3 is run on electricity from renewable sources, the figures improve by well over 50%.
BMW i8 Concept: new-generation sports car
The BMW i8 Concept goes from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in less than five seconds and boasts fuel consumption of under three liters per 100 km. Its plug-in hybrid drive with a system output of 260 kW allows a range of up to 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) in electric mode – sufficient for most everyday journeys. For more dynamic driving or out-of-town routes, a high-performance three-liter petrol engine also comes into play. The sports car has an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h and space for up to four occupants.
Both the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 will be built at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany. Some 400 million euros are earmarked for investment in new buildings and facilities by 2013, while 800 new jobs are to be created. Vehicle production will be CO2 neutral and will draw on renewable resources. The company is currently investigating the possibility of erecting its own wind turbines on the plant site.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]