BMW EV Program Still On - BMW i3 Spied Testing
There have been rumors the BMW Project i, which includes the i3 and i8 had been cancelled or seriously pushed back. When we spy BMW test cars it is a sign that BMW is working on the projects, so it is good to catch an i3, even highly camouflaged running around.
The pictures really show just how small the i3 is and how comically thin the tires are. Of course a small size means less wind resistance and thin tires have less rolling resistance so for an EV the concepts make sense. Design wise BMW has stated repetitively the concept i3 is at least 80% real design with slight changes to meet regulations, safety or for production reasons.
The i3 is 100% electrically powered with the motor and batteries sitting in a lower aluminum section while the passengers sit in a 100% carbon fiber passenger compartment. BMW calls this their LifeDrive concept, the carbon fiber protects the lives of the passengers and the lower aluminum chassis contains all of the drive components. With the light weight of the carbon fiber chassis and an a powerful electric motor, which generates output of 170 hp and impressive 184 lb-ft of torque the i3 can move along. Electric motors can output 100% of their torque potential from from zero RPMs which allows the i3 to move from zero to 37 mph in under four seconds and then on to 60 in less then 8 seconds total. BMW isn't setting any records with the performance but for a all electric car targeted at city dwellers that is reasonable performance and the instant toque will make for fun get up and go from the stop lights.
BMW has been silent about a date in 2013 when the i3 will go on sale but catching them testing gives me hope that the 2013 time frame is still valid. What do you think of the BMW i3, any "MegaCity" residents eying the i3 as a future run about?
We are "MegaRural" residents, but our daily commute falls in the EV sweet spot.
I'm watching but suspect the i3 will be far too expensive.
My thoughts on what is available in the UK now or the next few months.
Nissan Leaf -- Too expensive and winter range is an issue.
Renault Kangoo Van -- A little too expensive but price is supposed to go down and range is supposed to go up for 2013. Hope to take a test drive in the next few months. Concerned about reliability.
Renault Zoe. Price is right. Range is very good. So is charge time. Concerned about build quality and reliability.
Renault Twizy. No way. Not ever.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Too small and absurdly expensive.
Vauxhall Ampera (similar to Chevy Volt). Too expensive and Debbie hates the styling.
Priced right (under £22,000 on the road) the i3 would be an easy win over all of the above.
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