BMW is stepping into the future with its new
i3 and i8 electric vehicles. While both are still labeled as
"concepts" at this point, both designs give us a glimpse at what the
production models will look like they the i3 and i8 launch in 2013 and 2014
The rear-wheel-drive i3 is a fully electric vehicle (think Nissan
Volt), which is powered by an electric motor that generates 170 hp and 184
lb-ft of torque. The vehicle has a driving range of 93 miles, can sprint to 60
mph in under 8 seconds, and can reach 80 percent of its battery charge after
one hour (full recharging time take 6 hours).
According to BMW's Klaus Draeger, the body is made primarily
of carbon fiber and aluminum to keep weight at a minimum -- in this case 2,755
pounds. The vehicle seats four people and luggage space is on the small side at
just 7 cu ft.
For a sexier take on the electric vehicle, BMW also has the
new i8, which is a plug-in hybrid. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder
engine puts out 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. The gasoline engine drives the
rear wheels, but can also pair up with an electric motor up front to provide
all-wheel drive traction. When both engines are working together, the i8 can
reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
If ultimate eco-friendliness is your goal, the i8 can travel
in a front-wheel drive mode using only the electric motor for propulsion. In
that configuration, the i8 can travel 20 miles on battery power alone before
the gasoline engine kicks in.
Like the i3, the i8 can seat four people.
“The BMW i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation –
pure, emotional and sustainable,” added Draeger.
“We are marking another milestone in the history of the BMW
Group. As Chairman of the Board and an engineer myself, I am very proud of this
project,” explained Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of
BMW AG. “As the world’s leading premium car manufacturer, our aim is to offer
customers purpose-built electric-drive cars as well.”