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BMW i3

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BMW i3
BMW i3 (front quarter).jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Also called BMW Mega City Vehicle
Assembly Leipzig, Germany
Electric motor 130 kW (170 hp)[1]
Battery 22 kWh lithium-ion battery[2]
Range 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) (BMW)[2]
Wheelbase 2,600 mm (101 in)[1]
Length 3,800 mm (151 in)[1]
Width 2,000 mm (79 in)[1]
Height 1,500 mm (60 in)[1]

The BMW i3, previously Mega City Vehicle (MCV), is an urban electric car under development by BMW. The i3 is part of BMW's "Project i" and is being planned as a new brand, BMW i. The BMW i3 is announced and expected to go into mass production in 2013 with deliveries in several world markets by that year end.[2][3][4][5] The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and BMW announced the electric car will have a “REx” range extender option.[2][6] BMW showcased a BMW i3 prototype during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[7]

The i3 will be BMW's first zero emissions mass produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain, and BMW also expects to be the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption.[8] Previously expected to be priced in the U.S. at around US$35,000 (€24,500).[9], the BMW i3 will more likely be in the US$43,000 - US$50,000 (€35,000 - €40,000) range according to an unnamed source close to BMW.[10]

Project iEdit

File:MEGA-NYT low res.jpg

BMW's "Project i" is a program aimed to develop a lightweight eco-friendly urban electric car designed to address the mobility and sustainability needs for people who live in megacities.[4][11] According to BMW, "Project i" has three phases. The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of this project, and it was followed by a similar field testing that began in January 2012 with the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle. The ActiveE is based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and is built based on the lessons learned from the Mini E trial. The last phase of "Project i" is the development of the i3 and i8 electric cars.[3][4][12]

The automaker expects that its first series production all-electric drive vehicle will contribute to achieve an overall fleet fuel economy average of 35.5 miles per US gallon (6.63 L/100 km) by 2016, as mandated by the U.S. federal regulations. BMW expects high volume sales of the i3 to allow the company to continue selling in the U.S. several of its high-performance cars which have a low fuel economy.[3]

File:BMW i3 Coupe 2012 LA Show.jpg

In February 2011 BMW announced that the new sub-brand for the commercialization of the vehicles produced under Project i will be called BMW i, and its vehicles will be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models will be the battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.[5][13]

BMW unveiled the i3 Concept Coupé study at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The carmaker developed the concept car to demonstrate the potential for conceivably extending the model range. The three-door coupe, like the five-door i3 electric sedan, is propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, with a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft). Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. The Li-ion battery pack is placed under the floor and can deliver an all-electric range of 100 mi (160 km), but a gasoline engine can be added to expand the car's range to 200 mi (320 km).[14][15]

Design and technologyEdit

File:BMW Concept Active E WAS 2010 9062.JPG

BMW explained that taking advantage of the fact that the vehicle does not need an internal combustion engine up front, the i3 is being designed from the ground up, but avoiding to look podlike, with a dynamic sweep of the roof and the beltine to make it look sportier than most electrics.[11] In order to achieve a lightweight car, the i3 will be the first mass production car to have most of its internal structure and body being made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).[7][8][11] As of November 2010, BMW has only demonstrated the light weight of the passenger compartment, and the automaker's Chief Executive said they have already decided on the basic design of the car and that road-testing prototypes will begin soon.[16]

The i3 will feature four doors and seating for four occupants with dimensions being slightly larger than the MINI Cooper and BMW 1 Series but smaller than the BMW 3 Series. The i3 will be powered by a newly developed powertrain consisting of a 134 horsepower electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries and driving the rear axle.[7] BMW is aiming to achieve a range of 160 km (100 mi) range, the same range that was expected for the BMW ActiveE, but in order to reduce weight with a battery capacity of 16 kWh instead of the ActiveE's 30 kWh.[3] A range extended version that functions similarly to the Chevrolet Volt is also being considered by BMW.[7]

The BMW i3 is likely to feature a single pedal that acts as both accelerator and brake. When the driver releases the pedal, the vehicle's kinetic energy is used to power a generator that recharges the battery. This has the effect of slowing the car down. During the field testing of the Mini E, which features an accelerator that recharges the battery in this way, and brakes that only apply to the rear wheels, BMW has learned that drivers tend to rely on the single pedal: some 75% of all deceleration maneuvers are initiated without the brake while in urban traffic.[3] BMW also expects that the i3 will use the same type of battery and powertrain that is being tested in the BMW ActiveE trials.[4]


The prototype presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show has a 22 kWh (79 MJ) lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to deliver between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) and the battery will take about four hours to fully charge from the 240-volt charging unit. BMW is planning to offer an optional gasoline range-extender engine. The i3 is expected to go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in less than 8 seconds.[2][6] The BMW i3 has a 130 kW (170 hp) electric motor that will be mounted on the rear axle to drive the rear wheels . The top speed will be limited to 150 km/h (93 mph).[1]

In June 2012 an updated version of the BMW i3 concept car was unveiled at the opening of the first BMW i store located at BMW’s London Park Lane showroom. The updated i3 concept has a new interior colour and materials concept. The seat covers combine responsibly sourced wool and naturally tanned leather using a tannin agent made from olive leaves. The almost symmetrical curving dash is inlaid with eucalyptus wood which BMW said is eucalyptus wood sourced from sustainable managed European forests, while information is fed to the driver through a 16.5 cm (6.5 in) freestanding instrument cluster and 22.3 cm (8.8 in) central information display. The wood is treated using natural materials, giving it a high-class finish and distinctive hue. There is no center tunnel bisecting the cabin, due to the bench-derived front seats and lack of floor-mounted transmission, brake levers or center console that make possible for a driver or passenger to slide to either side of the car to get out in tight parking spaces.[17][18]


BMW plans to manufacture the i3 body-in-white from carbon-fiber at a new US$100 million plant being built in Moses Lake, Washington, using raw material that will be shipped from Japan. This location was selected to take advantage of the abundant hydroelectric power available in this U.S. region because carbon-fiber production requires much energy and emits a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2). The C fiber will then be shipped to Landshut, Germany, where the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic parts will be fabricated, and the vehicle assembly line will be located in Leipzig.[3]

On November 2010, the Leipzig plant was inaugurated, with an investment in the production that will amount to €400 million euros (US$561 million) through 2013. The plant will be at BMW's complex that already produces variants of the 1 Series model.[16]


The i3 roll out is scheduled for late 2013 and planned to include major cities around the world, including those in the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, where the Mini E demonstration programs took place.

United States

The 2013 market launch in the U.S. is scheduled to include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and New York City, plus the suburban areas of New Jersey and Connecticut.[19]


The BMW i3 was selected by Green Car Journal as one the five finalists to the 2012 Green Car Vision Award.[20][21]


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Preview: BMW i3 and i8 plug-in cars. Consumer Reports (2011-08-03). Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jack Ewing (2010-07-29). Will Plug-In BMWs Turn Enthusiasts On?. New York Times. Retrieved on 2010-10-02.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Tom Murphy (2010-05-19). Mini E Only Beginning of BMW EV Strategy. Wards Auto. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-13.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Joe Lorio (May 2010). Green: Rich Steinberg Interview. Automobile Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-12.
  5. 5.0 5.1 BMW introduces new i sub-brand, first two vehicles i3 and i8; premium mobility services and new venture capital company. Green Car Congress (2011-02-21). Retrieved on 2011-02-21.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Shaun Bailey (2011-09-13). "BMW i3 Concept - 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show". Road & Track. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Viknesh Vijayenthiran (2010-07-20). First Major Outing For BMW Megacity Vehicle At 2012 London Olympic Games. Motor Authority. Retrieved on 2010-07-23.
  8. 8.0 8.1 BMW Group: Megacity Vehicle to launch in 2013. BMW (press release) (2010-04-22). Retrieved on 2010-08-03.
  9. Eric Loveday (2011-01-31). Report: BMW i3 to bow at 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. AutoblogGreen. Retrieved on 2011-05-31.
  10. Mike Szostech (2012-06-29). Report: BMW i3 price will be between $43,000 – $50,000. My Electric Car Forums News. Retrieved on 2012-07-14.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Phil Patton (2010-07-03). Envisioning a Small Electric BMW for the World’s Very Big Cities. New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved on 2010-07-03.
  12. Mini Says Half of Last Year's Mini E Lessees Renewed for Another Year. (2010-05-12). Archived from the original on 18 May 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-12.
  13. BMW’s "CO2 Champion" Performance Concept is a Plug-in Diesel Hybrid; 50 km/31 mile All-Electric Range; Thermo-electric Generator for Waste Heat Recovery. Green Car Congress (2009-08-30). Retrieved on 2011-02-21.
  14. BMW Group Press Club (2012-11-28). BMW presents i3 Concept Coupé battery-electric vehicle at the LA Auto Show; focus on connectivity for driver assistance and intermodal mobility. Green Car Congress. Retrieved on 2012-11-28.
  15. Chris Woodyard (2012-11-28). "BMW builds buzz for electric i3 coupe concept". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jack Ewings (2010-11-05). "BMW Inaugurates a Factory for Electric Cars". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  17. Levent Ozler (2012-06-13). First BMW i Store Opens in London: New BMW i3 Concept and BMW i Pedelec Concept. Dexigner. Retrieved on 2012-06-13.
  18. Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield (2012-06-13). First BMW i Store Opens in London, i3 Concept Gets New Interior. Green Car Reports. Retrieved on 2012-06-13.
  19. As BMW i3, i8 electric cars charge to market, more tech details emerge. Consumer Reports (2011-10-05). Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  20. Danny King (2012-01-13). Tesla Model S, BMW i3 among 2012 Green Car Vision finalists. Autoblog Green. Retrieved on 2012-01-13.
  21. Sebastian Blkanco (2012-01-26). Ford C-Max Energi wins 2012 Green Car Vision Award. Autoblog Green. Retrieved on 2012-01-26.

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