BMW Updates i3 Concept with New Premium Inteior

by Tim Jones on June 13, 2012, 3:49 pm


To coincide with the opening of the world's first BMW i Store on London's Park Lane, the BMW Group will present the BMW i3 Concept with a new interior color and materials concept. Based on the original concept car which premiered at last year's Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), the BMW i3 Concept is now influenced even more heavily by the "next premium" approach, and in so doing trains the spotlight squarely on the issue of sustainability.

New BMW i3 Concept: generous feeling of space combined with a unique materials concept based around renewable raw materials
A mixture of leather, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials shapes the face of the BMW i3 Concept interior, the extensive use of natural fibers inside the car underlining the premium blueprint of BMW i.

The eucalyptus wood used for the instruments is sourced from sustainably managed European forests. This ensures that delivery distances remain short and keeps the spotlight on sustainability through all the stages of production. The wood is treated using natural materials, giving it a high-class finish and distinctive hue.

A natural tanning agent made from olive leaves is used for the leather adorning the interior. This extract from the leaves of the olive tree provides the leather with a natural layer of protection against bleaching and wear. Production of the naturally tanned leather which comes in the new color tone Cassia therefore focuses on maximizing durability as well as minimizing environmental impact. The leather combines with the high-quality wool used for sections of the instrument panel and door trim to lend the interior a pleasant lounge-style ambiance.

The passenger cell the Life module opens up a generous feeling of space beyond the scope of any conventional series-produced car to date. There is no center tunnel bisecting the cabin, and the interior creates an open and airy impression. The full-width seat benches in the front and rear allow passengers to swap easily from one side of the car to the other and climb out comfortably a boon in tight parking spaces, in particular. The passengers sit in a slightly raised position, which allows good visibility in city traffic and makes it easier to get in and out of the car.

BMW i3 new Premium Inteior

Cockpit shows off cutting-edge interface design
One of the defining features of the cockpit is the freestanding steering column, which houses the most important controls, principally the instrument cluster, start/stop button and gearshift lever. Other units, such as the controls for the audio and climate control functions, are integrated into the instrument panel, eliminating the need for a center console. Three large displays provide the interface between the BMW i3 Concept, its passengers and the outside world. Together, the freestanding 6.5-inch instrument cluster on the steering column and the 8.8-inch central information display (CID) show all the relevant information, the latter also providing the link between the driver and various connectivity applications. A third display below the CID shows the functions of the audio system and automatic climate control. The displays all share cutting-edge and visually appealing graphics, and boast outstanding clarity.

BMW i Design: dynamic proportions wrapped up in a new color scheme
The design of the body reveals the qualities of the BMW i3 Concept the first time you set eyes on it. Dynamic and compact proportions advertise the car's agility and the sporting prowess of its electric drive system. The car's dominant colors are the new shade Andesite Silver and familiar High-gloss Black, with eye-catching touches added by the BMW i Blue adorning the logo, kidney grille, door sills and rear apron. The high-gloss surfaces and the contrast of black, silver and blue combine to showcase the car's impressive product substance.

BMW i3 to go on sale in 2013

The silhouette: a light and airy "space shuttle"
Viewed from the side, the dynamic wedge shape, flowing silhouette and long wheelbase of the BMW i3 Concept catch the eye. From this angle, the exceptional spaciousness of the interior is already evident from the outside, while the short front and rear overhangs point to the excellent maneuverability of the BMW i3 Concept. The car's functional qualities are also underlined by the opposing "coach" doors, which enable extremely comfortable access to the light and airy interior. Generously sized glazed surfaces create a light-footed appearance and, together with the visible carbon structures, lend visual expression to the car's impressively low weight.

The hallmark BMW i front end
The clearly structured front end of the BMW i3 Concept is dominated by the strikingly designed kidney grille, which has the hallmark BMW i blue background and thanks to the car's all-electric drive system is totally blanked off. Below the kidney grille, a silver-colored layer lends the front apron its form. Black-painted surfaces mark out the functional areas of the front end, such as the load compartment under the bonnet and the air inlets, while pronounced Air Curtains provide the car's advanced aerodynamics with an additional visual focus. Another conspicuous feature at the front of the car are the LED headlights with their signature BMW i U-shaped design.

BMW i Pedelec Concept electrically-powered bicycle

The rear exudes practicality and offers enough space to accommodate the BMW i Pedelec Concept
The practicality of the BMW i3 Concept is highlighted particularly vividly at the rear of the car. A large, wide-opening rear window offers optimum access to the rear compartment, while the upright roof pillars create additional load capacity.

The variable-usage boot can be further expanded by folding down the rear seats and can accommodate two folding BMW i Pedelec Concept electrically-powered bicycles, which make it significantly easier to move around urban areas, in particular, but also provide increased scope for mobility when you swap the city streets for country air. A broad rear diffuser and U-shaped rear lights integrated into the rear window lend visual emphasis to the car's powerful stance.

LifeDrive architecture: innovative modular design
To exploit the potential of electric drive as effectively as possible, the BMW i3 Concept's architecture, chassis and body are designed to meet the specific challenges facing mobility today. By implementing key features like lightweight design, use of innovative materials and crash safety today, the BMW i LifeDrive concept has already paved the way for the electric drive technology of tomorrow. As with a body-on-frame set-up, the LifeDrive architecture is a horizontally split construction consisting of two separate, independent modules. While the Drive module, most of whose components are made of aluminum, incorporates the drive system, battery and chassis, along with basic structural and crash functions, the Life module is a lightweight yet high-strength passenger cell made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

This is the first time this high-tech material has been used on such a large scale in automotive production. The concept model also scales new dimensions in weight, structural strength and crash safety. As well as their benefits for performance and agility, these qualities also increase the driving range of the BMW i3 Concept. The LifeDrive architecture is purpose-designed for an electric drive vehicle for example it allows the large battery packs to be integrated entirely underfloor, in the center of the vehicle, resulting in both a low center of gravity and optimal balance.

eDrive: agile, powerful drive system, emission-free at the point of use.
With four seats, wide-opening doors and around 200 liters of boot space, the electrically powered BMW i3 Concept is a practical and intelligent city car which produces zero local emissions. Its electric motor develops 125 kW/170 hp and produces its peak torque of 250 Newton meters (170 lb-ft) from standstill. The electric motor provides the lightweight BMW i3 Concept with dynamic performance and impressive agility and not only when pulling away from traffic lights. The electric concept model sprints from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds, and to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under eight seconds. The generous torque is available across a wide rpm range, resulting in very smooth power
delivery. A single-speed gearbox sends the power to the rear wheels and accelerates the BMW i3 Concept to a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) without interrupting the torque.

BMW i3 all electric car

Power electronics: intelligent and efficient.
Intelligent power electronics ensure that the electric power onboard the BMW i3 Concept is used economically and efficiently. If the driver eases up on the accelerator, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the kinetic energy into electricity which is then fed back into the battery. This results in a braking effect which the driver can make use of as necessary. Alternatively, the driver can select coasting mode, in which the zero torque control keeps the electric motor disconnected from the drive axle. In this mode the BMW i3 Concept coasts with virtually no power consumption, driven solely by its own kinetic energy.

With ECO PRO mode, drivers can increase the driving range of their vehicle and reduce their power consumption at the press of a button. With ECO PRO+, the BMW i3 Concept takes this a stage further and operates exclusively in range-maximizing mode. In this mode the main electrical consumers such as the air-conditioning and heating systems operate at minimum power level, and auxiliary consumers such as the heated seats and
heated mirrors are shut down altogether.

BMW i3 charger

High-voltage battery: reliable, durable and powerful
Another stand-out feature of the innovative electric drive system is the high power-to-size ratio of the motor. Since this compact drive unit is mounted over the rear axle, together with the power electronics, transmission and differential, there is no reduction in interior space. The power needed to drive the motor and to operate all other vehicle functions is supplied by specially developed lithium-ion battery cells. They too are positioned underfloor, in an ideal location. The optimized design of the high-voltage battery used in the BMW i3 Concept minimizes the effect of variations in external factors on the amount of power the battery can provide. An intelligent heating/cooling system keeps the battery at its optimal operating temperature at all times, helping to increase the performance and life expectancy of the cells. The battery can be fully recharged in six hours at a standard power socket. If the BMW i Wallbox high-speed charger is used, an 80 per cent charge can be achieved in just one hour.

The BMW i concept
BMW i stands for visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new approach to premium mobility that is strongly focused on sustainability. Under this new sub-brand, the BMW Group is developing purpose-designed vehicle concepts which will redefine the whole concept of personal mobility. The cornerstones are the use of innovative technologies, intelligent lightweight design and innovative materials to create vehicles with minimized weight, maximized driving range, generous interior space, effortless drive ability and optimized safety. Part of the same family as the BMW i8 Concept Coupe and BMW i8 Concept Spyder hybrid models, the BMW i3 is the first all-electric vehicle from BMW i. It will go into production in 2013. Sustainability is a defining feature of BMW i and is applied right across the value chain, from purchasing, development and production to sales and marketing. BMW i will take efficiency to new levels in the production of its vehicles: the Leipzig production plant will achieve additional 70 per cent savings on water consumption and 50 per cent savings on energy consumption per vehicle produced. Moreover, 100 per cent of the energy used will be renewable.


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