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BMW i3

BMW i8
BMW inches closer to the production of its eco-friendly product family

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 respectively. 

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.”

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RE: robocop will be thrilled
By Iaiken on 7/29/2011 1:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
Which vehicles?

The new X1 and X3 come with the new N20 engine while the Z4 will come with that and a 2.5L 5-cylinder option that hasn't been fully detailed. The new 1.5L turbo should be unveiled at MINI United 2012 in France.

RE: robocop will be thrilled
By Iaiken on 7/29/2011 1:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
Z4 will come with that and a 2.5L 5-cylinder option that hasn't been fully detailed.

Correction, the second engine is actually a 3.0 6-cylinder and the 5-cylinder looks to have been cancelled due to it's lower degree of parts commonality. The 3.0L 6-cylinder will produce between 240-400 hp depending on the setup. It looks like the existing BMW V8's and V12's engines will basically take it from there for all higher horsepower applications.

It is highly unlikely that BMW is working on bringing the V8 and V12 over to the efficient dynamics design paradigm, but will likely bring technology elements over individually.

RE: robocop will be thrilled
By Spuke on 7/29/2011 6:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
Why a new 3.0L 6 cyl when I thought the N20 was replacing the lower end 6 cyls?

RE: robocop will be thrilled
By Iaiken on 7/29/2011 6:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
The 3.0L is replacing the lower performance V8's that were available on cars like the 5/6/7-series and the X5/6 SUV's. Remember, they will basically have three engines spread across a lineup of 13 cars across 3 platforms. This will allow BMW to achieve much greater economies of scale on the building and warranty maintenance. There will be some technical duplicity between cars like the 1-series/Cooper/Coupe, the 3-series/Z4/Clubman/Spacebox and the X3/Countryman/Paceman, but this will be counteracted by design language and functional layout of the cars themselves.

Of course, it's far more complicated than this because the word "platform" is not really appropriate to BMW. Here's a pretty good explanation from BMW:

BMW does not use platform engineering as you would understand from the domestic industry. Instead, BMW has a variety of modular systems that can be mixed and matched to meet the needs of different concepts. In each case, these systems are optimized for the specific model. The new Z4 Roadster is built on a unique unibody but features electronics, drivetrain components, and suspension design that are all similar to those of the 1 Series and 3 Series models.

Basically, the efficient dynamics design paradigm will be used in their mass market vehicles while the high performance V8 & V12 engines will basically become exclusive to the cars in the more "exclusive" M stable.

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