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Official debut will be July 29

BMW has announced the official pricing for its first electric vehicle. The BMW i3 will have a starting price $41,350 in the U.S. That makes BMWs little electric car nearly 30% more expensive than a base 3-Series sedan. However, this news shouldn’t come as a shock since BMW hinted in May that the price of the vehicle would be around $40,000.

The starting price for the i3 in Germany will be €34,950, which works out to about $46,000. The car will be available in Germany starting in November, with U.S. availability early next year. The official debut for the i3 will be on July 29 at events held simultaneously in New York, London, and Beijing.

Bloomberg reports that BMW has invested $600 million in production facilities for the electric car. Among the facilities built specifically for this car are new factory in Washington State to make carbon fiber for the vehicle's passenger cell.
BMW also plans an interesting method of selling the electric vehicle. The automaker plans to sell the car on the internet, via sales people that visit customers at their homes, and through some select BMW dealers.

BMW i3 Prototype

The people at Autoblog recently drove the 2014 i3 for the first time at an autocross event in Germany. It appears that this will be a different sort of driving pleasure than most BMW enthusiasts are used to, with complaints of lots of body roll. The little car uses a 168 hp electric motor (184 lb-ft of torque) combined with a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and BMW promises 124 miles per charge when driven in Eco Pro+ plus mode.

One complaint Autoblog had about the vehicle is that when closing the front doors the structure the vehicle sounded plastic-like and cheap, whereas BMWs are known for being premium automobiles.

Sources: Business Week, Autoblog

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By foxalopex on 7/22/2013 1:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yes the range extender to my understanding is a $2,000 upgrade. Unfortunately it only generates 34 hp, (volt generates ~80 hp) So basically it makes your battery last a bit longer (200 miles) but if it runs out, the engine alone can't really power the car properly. BMW was pretty specific in saying that it was not meant for long distance travel. It's best to see this car as a EV with an optional backup generator that gives you a bit more power.

By SublimeSimplicity on 7/22/2013 1:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
They also made the tank super small (less than 2 gallons) to qualify it as an electric vehicle by California HOV rules instead of a hybrid.

By Spuke on 7/22/2013 3:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for that info.

RE: Interesting how the price is similar to the Volt
By Mint on 7/22/2013 4:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
34hp should be plenty to power the car for everything except prolonged uphill runs. If BMW has any brains at all, they'll use the generator to maintain a reserve of maybe 20% in the battery, so that during passing the battery will drain down a couple percent and during braking/cruising it will fill back up.

Full performance should be maintained. 25-30hp is enough to meet the average load on the highway.

By foxalopex on 7/22/2013 5:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
BMW specifically stated that the engine is meant to be used in emergencies to get to the next outlet and NOT for long distance travel so unfortunately it cannot be used on continuous long trips.

I suspect I know why, a typical car needs around 20 hp to cruise on the highway but this won't help you in passing / acceleration and hills. Cars like the Volt fall back on the battery pack to provide assistance. The Volt even has a special mountain mode that reserves half the battery for such use. I doubt the gas engine will be efficient in the i3 because it is in series only. There are serious losses in converting power to electricity and then back into motion. This is why the Volt at times can directly drive the wheels using the gas engine and electrical motor in parallel. It's simply more efficient. I suspect in the i3 since it is an "emergency" folks won't care so much about mpg.

To work as an indefinite range extender BMW probably needs a bigger gas engine with a bigger gas tank. (2 gallons is too small) but that would've added weight which probably would affected 0-60 and agility. If you compare the Volt and i3, basically the i3 is more agile and speedy while the Volt can drive in more situations than the i3 can. I believe this is the trade-off between the two.

By Keeir on 7/22/2013 9:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
The problem here Mint is your assuming the following

34 hp gasoline = 34 hp electric.

Unless someone has more information, the following is what I thought I knew

The engine used for range extension is capable of ~60 hp/45 kW at -7500 rpm! Wonder what its like to have a motorcycle engine suddenly spin up that much? Certainly this type of rpm is probably not acceptable for long road travel without lots of noise/vibration control... which adds wieght.

My guess is they have significantly limited the rpms to save wieght and that your lucky to get 20 kW out of the motor... and then lucky to get 17 kW plus to the wheels. While this might work on a cool 65 degree day at 60 mph on a flat road, in most other conditions your likely average power drain would be greater. Not sure what use is a tank that likely gives you ~50-60 miles of range in ideal conditions when its completely full.

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