The BMW i3 is the automaker’s first road-going vehicle be based around a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body structure.
The use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell cancels out the extra weight contributed by the lithium-ion battery, while the low, central positioning of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to near perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
Additionally, the electric motor mounted in close proximity to the driven rear axle offers unique performance characteristics for this type of drive system as well as providing unbeatable traction. The driving characteristics of the BMW i3 are dominated by maneuverability – a direct response to the demands of city driving. The instantaneous power delivery of the electric motor, allied to the car’s stiff suspension set-up, precise steering and impressively small turning circle (32.3 ft or 9.86 meters), produces a BMW take on electric mobility.
The electric motor generates output of 170hp (125 kW) and peak torque of 184 lb-ft (250 Nm), which is on tap immediately. The motor weighs just 110 lbs. (50 kg) and boasts power density and responsiveness unprecedented in the world of electric mobility. The specific construction of the hybrid synchronous electric motor, developed exclusively for the BMW i3, maintains a linear flow of power into the higher reaches of the rev range. The BMW i3 sprints from 0 to 35 mph (0 – 60 km/h) in about 3.5 seconds and 0 to 60 mph (0-100 km/h) in approximately seven seconds.
The single-pedal control concept in the BMW i3 – configured by the BMW Group’s drive system development engineers – also contributes to the engaging driving experience. Recuperation mode is activated the moment the driver lifts off the accelerator. The electric motor switches from drive to generator mode, feeding power into the lithium-ion battery. At the same time, it generates a precisely controllable braking effect. This recuperation is speed-sensitive, which means the car “coasts” with maximum efficiency at high speeds and generates a strong braking effect at low speeds.
The lithium-ion battery enables the BMW i3 to achieve a range of 80 – 100 miles (130 – 160 km) in everyday driving. This can be increased by up to approximately 12 percent in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode.
If desired, the BMW i3 is also available with a range-extender engine, which maintains the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move as soon as it dips below a specified value. This role is performed by a 650cc two-cylinder gasoline engine developing 34 hp (25 kW). It is mounted adjacent to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 160 – 180 miles (250 – 300 km).[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]
The world’s first fully networked electrically powered car, courtesy of BMW ConnectedDrive.
The BMW i3 is the world’s first fully networked electrically powered car. No other model boasts such far-reaching exchange of information between the vehicle, its driver and the outside world. An embedded SIM card in the BMW i3 is the key that unlocks BMW ConnectedDrive services available to the new electric model. For example, it introduces navigation services specially developed to enhance electric mobility alongside familiar features including the Concierge Services information facility and the intelligent BMW Assist TM eCall. Moreover, drivers can use the BMW i Remote app to share information with their car at any time using their smartphone. The pedestrian navigation function guides the driver from parking place to final destination and back, while BMW ConnectedDrive also offers unique intermodal route guidance as a world first, which incorporates local public transport connections into journey planning. The aim of this intelligent networking is to enable maximum driving pleasure in a car emitting zero driving emissions.
BMW ConnectedDrive services specifically designed for BMW i focus on the areas of navigation and energy management. Range Assistant is engaged both for route planning and during journeys already under way. If the destination programmed into the navigation system is beyond the car’s range, the system suggests switching to ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode and calculates a more efficient route. If the driver needs to charge the battery at a public charging station, a list of available stations in the area is displayed. The navigation system of the BMW i3 also comes with a dynamic range display, which supplies drivers with exceptionally precise, up-to-date and reliable information on whether there is sufficient charge to reach their destination and, if so, how much power will remain at the end of the journey. Many factors affecting range are considered in the calculation process, which is carried out on a BMW server and sent to the navigation system via the SIM card installed in the car. The range readout, presented in the form of a spider map on the navigation system in the central information display, is extremely clear.
The BMW i3 is also available with an array of other innovative BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems developed specifically to enhance convenience and safety in urban conditions. These include Driving Assistant Plus, Parking Assistant, a rear view camera and Speed Limit Info.
Integrated approach: 360° ELECTRIC provides an all-encompassing energy supply and mobility solution.
The aim in determining the range of the BMW i3 was to ensure that customers could cover their typical energy needs by charging the car twice or three times per week. The studies carried out as part of project i – involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 12.5 million miles (20 million km) – revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 30 miles (45 km). Customers can charge their cars using either the home charging station supplied by BMW i or any public charging station that uses a Level 2 SAE J1772 charging system.
BMW i offers an extensive range of products and services in its 360° ELECTRIC package designed to meet all individual customer needs for energy supply and journey planning. The spectrum of services ranges from the installation of the BMW i Wallbox in the customer’s garage and special renewable energy supply offers, to the charging card for user-friendly access to the public charging infrastructure and additional assistance services from BMW ConnectedDrive. If the BMW i3 concept fails to meet mobility requirements in a specific situation, 360° ELECTRIC provides flexible mobility solutions including alternative vehicles from BMW.
BMW ConnectedDrive services for safe, convenient mobility in the urban landscape.
The Driving Assistant Plus that is optionally available for the BMW i3 comprises Collision Warning with brake priming function, which is activated at speeds up to about 35 mph (60 km/h) and is able to respond to both moving and stationary vehicles ahead, as well as to pedestrians. It also comes with Active Cruise Control including Stop & Go function. In addition to visual and audible warnings, the system is furthermore capable of braking the vehicle by itself, if required, with up to maximum stopping power. The Parking Assistant can likewise be found on the list of option packages and performs the steering maneuvers at the same time as controlling accelerator, brake and gear selection, enabling fully automated parallel parking of the BMW i3. There is also the option of a rear view camera for the BMW i3 to supplement the standard Park Distance Control (PDC) with rear sensors. Another handy optional extra is the Traffic Jam Assistant that allows drivers to delegate the tasks of pulling away, braking and steering to keep the vehicle in lane. Meanwhile, the Speed Limit Info system is also offered in conjunction with the navigation system.
The various mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive und 360° ELECTRIC that have been specially developed for BMW i focus on the aspects of navigation and energy management. The comprehensive exchange of information between driver and vehicle allows the current mobility requirements to be checked against the available energy resources. Under everyday conditions, a fully charged BMW i3 is capable of covering a distance of 80 – 100 miles (130 to 160 km) before having to be plugged into a power supply again. The field trials conducted as part of project i, which involved over 1,000 test customers and clocked up more than 12.5 million miles (20 million km) of practical driving, revealed that this driving range is more than enough for day-to-day mobility requirements in urban environments, where the average distance covered daily is around 30 miles (approx. 45 km). The BMW ConnectedDrive mobility services included with the BMW i3 as standard help to tailor this general compatibility to any individual driving situation. Intelligent connectivity paves the way to maximum driving pleasure in a car whose drive system produces zero driving emissions.
Precise, up-to-date and reliable: navigation system with dynamic range display. The BMW i3 can be optionally equipped with a navigation system whose functionality has been extended to include the BMW ConnectedDrive services developed specifically for BMW i. The Driving Range Assistant is invaluable for both route planning and the current journey. If the destination selected in the navigation system lies beyond the vehicle’s current range, it comes to the driver’s aid by suggesting switching to the ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode, as well as calculating a more efficient alternative route. And if the battery has to be recharged at a public charging station, the driver is given a choice of available stations in the neighborhood.
A further key element of the linked-up navigation unit is a dynamic range display, which delivers remarkably precise, up-to-date and reliable information by factoring in all the relevant variables. The battery’s charge status, the driving style, activity of electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode are all taken into account for the calculation, along with the route’s topography, current traffic levels and the outside temperature. The system is therefore able to make allowance for the extra energy required for an upcoming climb, stop-start traffic or a traffic jam on the selected route, and lower its range calculation accordingly. The up-to-the-minute and detailed real-time traffic information provided by the RTTI system is also added to the equation. The information is analysed and evaluated centrally by the BMW ConnectedDrive server that is in permanent communication with the vehicle. The SIM card that comes built into the BMW i3 ensures a reliable connection between the vehicle and the BMW ConnectedDrive server.
The dynamic range display is visualized on the central information display in the BMW i3 as a peripheral contour within the navigation map. Taking the vehicle’s current location as a starting point, all points that can be reached in the various driving modes are displayed in the form of a range spider map.
Home charging: the most convenient option.
BMW i is able to offer customers who have their own garage or a private parking space tailor-made solutions to make domestic charging a safe, simple and particularly quick procedure. To achieve this aim, BMW i will enter into a far-reaching partnership in the electricity field to ensure premium charging solutions are available. The aim is to provide customer-friendly and efficient charging facilities by the time the BMW i3 is launched that will allow for recharging in the comfort of the customer’s own garage.
Public charging: topping up on the move.
360° ELECTRIC also comprises individual solutions for anyone who is unable to recharge their BMW i3 at home or at work. Thanks to collaboration with car park operators and public charging station providers, BMW i grants customers highly reliable access to the public charging infrastructure. BMW i, together with its partners, fosters connectivity between vehicle, driver and the outside world, providing users with convenient features such as the display of available charging stations in the navigation system and on the customer’s smartphone, along with a simple and transparent payment method with the ChargeNow card. This card enables universal access to charging poles and provides a cashless means of payment. In so doing, it groups together the maximum number of public charging infrastructure suppliers in all BMW i markets, allowing the customer to access the charging stations of different providers with a single card and receive a single standardized invoice from BMW i.
To make sure the BMW i3 runs smoothly during everyday operation, the battery and remaining electrical systems are monitored even while the vehicle is being driven. In the unlikely case of a malfunction, BMW i Centers are able to carry out vehicle diagnostics to pinpoint any faulty components so that the BMW i3 is ready to be driven again in the shortest time possible. And the service provided is of exactly the same thoroughness and standard as offered for conventionally powered BMW cars. In the unlikely case of a malfunction, any BMW i Centers will be able to carry out vehicle diagnostics to pinpoint any faulty components so that the BMW i3 is ready to be driven again in the shortest time possible. And the service provided is of exactly the same thoroughness and standard as offered for conventionally powered BMW cars.