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Print 33 comment(s) - last by Keeir.. on May 26 at 5:56 PM

The i3 went on sale on Friday

With Mercedes-Benz breathing down its neck with the more “modestly” styled B-Class Electric Drive runabout, BMW’s i3 electric car is now available for sale in the United States. The little four-seater officially went on sale this past Friday, with the first U.S. buyer taking delivery of his vehicle at a Boston, MA dealership.
 
“Today marks a big day at BMW of North America - What started out as a dream for an innovative sustainable vehicle under the BMW i brand can now be found on streets across the U.S.,” proclaimed BMW of North America President and CEO Ludwig Willisch.
 

Hundreds of i3s waiting at Port Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center. Could those colors BE any more drab?

The BMW i3 is powered by a 170 hp (184 lb-ft) electric motor that is fed by a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (the battery pack has an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty). BMW says that the vehicle can deliver between 80 to 100 miles of range on a full charge. However, Autoblog Green received word from BMW that the official EPA range for the i3 is on the lower end of that scale: 81 miles. It's also rated for 124 MPGe.
 
For those that consider 81 miles insufficient, BMW will also offer a range extender version of the i3 that adds a tiny 37hp gasoline engine to help recharge the battery pack. In this configuration, the range of the vehicle should nearly double (the fuel tank only holds 1.9 gallons of gasoline).

 
The 2,634-lb i3 can dash to 60 mph in a respectable 7 seconds, while its 2,899-lb range extender counterpart takes nearly a second longer to reach the same speed (7.9 seconds).
 
One of the more interesting peculiarities about the i3 that was recently discovered by BMW Blog on a test drive is that the front trunk or “frunk” of the i3 is inexplicably not waterproof. We’re scratching our heads on this one, but BMW will gladly sell you an “accessory bag” to keep the contents store in the frunk dry.

 
The BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $41,350 while the ranger extender model is a few thousand dollars more expensive at $45,200 and will launch in a few weeks. Both qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit (along with various state credits/rebates depending on where you live).

Sources: BMW USA, Autoblog Green, BMW Blog



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interesting
By chromal on 5/4/2014 10:05:06 AM , Rating: 4
Ugly as sin, but it will be interesting to see how they do.




RE: interesting
By Flunk on 5/4/2014 10:12:57 AM , Rating: 4
I think they look futuristic, they look just like the cars from Demolition Man.


RE: interesting
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/4/2014 10:14:37 AM , Rating: 4
Just without the safety foam.


RE: interesting
By GulWestfale on 5/4/2014 7:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
yes it's ugly, and the fact that the gas engine isn't connected to the wheels but merely recharges the battery (thus only 'extending' the range instead of giving you unlimited range when running on gas) seems dumb.

but as a second car for city dwellers this makes as much sense as any other electric car, and it's not much pricier than say, a nissan leaf. at least not by as much as is typical for a BMW.

in any case, it will be interesting to watch how the market reacts, and whether this will drive down prices.


RE: interesting
By Solandri on 5/5/2014 3:23:18 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
and the fact that the gas engine isn't connected to the wheels but merely recharges the battery (thus only 'extending' the range instead of giving you unlimited range when running on gas) seems dumb.

Connecting a gas engine to the wheels requires a flywheel, a transmission, and a drivetrain. I'm not saying connecting the engine only to the battery is a better overall solution, but it does result in substantial weight and complexity savings compared to connecting it to the wheels.


RE: interesting
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/4/2014 10:14:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's one of those vehicles that is just so disturbing that I kind of like it. It's not Aztek-level ugly, IMHO.

I feel the same kinda of love for the Nissan Juke.


RE: interesting
By quiksilvr on 5/4/2014 2:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
RE: interesting
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/4/2014 3:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
RE: interesting
By BillyBatson on 5/4/2014 4:22:44 PM , Rating: 1
I think it is worse than Aztec ugly. At least the Aztec was a normal sized vehicle not a midget with more than expected room inside like the i3.


RE: interesting
By tanjali on 5/5/2014 8:08:25 AM , Rating: 3
They made it purposely ugly and range limited and they will later say people are not interested much in EV's.


RE: interesting
By mjv.theory on 5/4/2014 11:13:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, trying to be all funky and futurisic, but like you say, ugly!.Some people will appreciate the look though...and the badge.

I don't get the sub-100 mile range though.

I do like the idea of a very small range extender (37hp) - probably good enough to do 60-70mph on longer journeys. But why bother to put in the generator and then only have a 1.9 gallon tank? Seems like a very odd decision.


RE: interesting
By Mint on 5/4/2014 1:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
The small gas tank is for BMW to get EV credits for those who buy the REx version. Any more and it's not classified as an EV, and BMW only gets credits for those that don't buy it (which should still be a lot).

Silly rules (who is going to buy an i3 or similar car and run it on gasoline any more than they have to?) but that's reality. BMW should have made a much bigger tank for all regions outside CARB, where there are no credits.


RE: interesting
By Dorkyman on 5/4/2014 3:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, I'll bet that more and more you'll see weird configurations that actually have been carefully thought out by the factory so as to maximize profits to the company.

Case in point--the Tesla. My understanding is that they get a ton of money from Uncle Sam for every car they make. Nothing wrong with gaming the system, though.


RE: interesting
By sorry dog on 5/4/2014 11:26:23 AM , Rating: 2
...and we'll all soon be going to hang out at Taco Bell on Saturday night.... or at least I hope not.

It sure is hard to understand how a car as fugly as that makes it to market. If GM does it, that's one thing thing, but a generally sane car company??


RE: interesting
By Shig on 5/4/2014 2:17:40 PM , Rating: 3
Brandon you kind of glossed over the 124MPGe metric. That's the highest efficiency rating a car has ever gotten in North America. A purely internal combustion vehicle will never get that high.


RE: interesting
By Dorkyman on 5/4/2014 3:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
The difference in overall costs will be trivial. It's like saying one LCD display has a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and another one has 100,000:1. Good luck seeing any practical difference when watching the new Star Wars movie.


RE: interesting
By flyingpants1 on 5/4/2014 6:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
MPGe is ridiculously useless number.


RE: interesting
By Keeir on 5/4/2014 6:25:10 PM , Rating: 4
Well...

Lets look at the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Spark. Two close to similar sized cars.

Leaf - 29 kWh/100 miles, 75 mile range
Spark - 28 kWh/100 miles, 82 mile range
i3 (No Extender) - 27 kWh/100 miles, 81 mile range

Over 100,000 miles, an i3 owner should expect to used 2,000 kWh less than the Leaf owner and 1,000 less than the Spark owner. Electricity prices vary, but at 15 cents per kWh, the i3 owner will only save 300 dollars over 100,000 miles over the much much cheaper Nissan Leaf.

IMO, BMW would have been smarter having a 101 mile range and a 101 MPGe efficiency rating.


RE: interesting
By BZDTemp on 5/5/2014 3:39:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
IMO, BMW would have been smarter having a 101 mile range and a 101 MPGe efficiency rating.


That would have meant more batteries and thus higher cost and weight.

The BMW may not be much cheaper to tun than the others, but I'm pretty sure it will be a lot more fun as it is rather zippy. Plus it's an overall nicer cat - if one can accept the unconventional looks (some will love it and others will hate it).

I'm not really in the market for that type of car as I prefer roadsters, but for sure the BMW holds more appeal than the other options on the market unless includes the Tesla.


RE: interesting
By BRB29 on 5/5/2014 7:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That would have meant more batteries and thus higher cost and weight.
- See more at: http://www.dailytech.com/BMW+i3+Electric+Car+Now+O...


It's ok to have higher cost and some additional weight for 25% improvement in range and performance. This is a BMW being sold in NA where it is known as a luxury brand. In europe, they can have their less economical model.


RE: interesting
By Keeir on 5/26/2014 5:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That would have meant more batteries and thus higher cost and weight.


quote:
The BMW may not be much cheaper to tun than the others, but I'm pretty sure it will be a lot more fun as it is rather zippy.


B-Segment EVs are not really made to be "performace" cars. The i3 will be the worst performing BMW sold in the United States... maybe the world.

What BMW could have done is provided something to really get people talking... a sub-50,000 EV with more than 100 miles of range. That 100 number is pyschological barrier that many people have... regardless of the sense it makes.

What BMW appears to have done is make a BMW Leaf/Spark. Boring.


Vaunted German engineering?
By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/4/2014 12:27:10 PM , Rating: 5
Not waterproof? "Frunk"? One point nine gallons? I can't imagine what they were thinking.




RE: Vaunted German engineering?
By SPOOFE on 5/4/2014 2:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, if that 1.9 gallons "doubles" the range, that's 40 miles per gallon which ain't that bad, I guess?

Maybe just get yourself a couple 5-gallon spare gas cans to leave in the frunk. Gas cans are waterproof, aren't they?


By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/4/2014 6:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
I guess the old 'VeeDubs' didn't even have a fuel gauge. Just flip the lever when you run out.

Not my idea of good 'retro'.


RE: Vaunted German engineering?
By kattanna on 5/5/2014 12:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not waterproof?


yeah.. i cannot imagine buying a car that didnt have its trunk waterproof


RE: Vaunted German engineering?
By Moishe on 5/9/2014 9:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
I don't care what they call it... but NOT WATERPROOF? HA. That's either an oversight or some idiot at BMW needs to be fired.

What other vehicle has a closed compartment that is not waterproof? It's necessary even more on a smaller car.

It's mind-bogglingly stupid.


Frunk
By coolkev99 on 5/5/2014 7:41:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We’re scratching our heads on this one, but BMW will gladly sell you an “accessory bag” to keep the contents store in the frunk dry.


In other words, they will sell you a glorified trash bag as a $200+ option.




RE: Frunk
By Moishe on 5/9/2014 9:57:03 AM , Rating: 2
yes, but any idiot who buys it would never be seen with a real black trash bag. Gotta have the logo on it.


You got to be kidding
By zlandar on 5/4/2014 12:34:21 PM , Rating: 3
Let's see do I want a BMW 3 series or this fugly tiny car that can't go 100 miles without a recharge for the same price?




Not respectable
By bug77 on 5/4/2014 4:12:22 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The 2,634-lb i3 can dash to 60 mph in a respectable 7 seconds, while its 2,899-lb range extender counterpart takes nearly a second longer to reach the same speed (7.9 seconds).


7 seconds is not respectable considering there's no gear box and the full torque is continuously available. If anything I'd say it's a smidge below average.




RE: Not respectable
By Spuke on 5/4/2014 10:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
170hp is 170 hp. In a 2700 lb car that's going to equal a 7 sec 0-60 given a modern tire with decent grip.


Volt
By flyingpants1 on 5/4/2014 12:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
It's a uglier, less powerful, lower range, and more expensive Volt.

The Volt is still amazing if you can find a cheap lease. Hopefully the Volt 2 will start at $30k..




Fuel Tank
By btc909 on 5/5/2014 5:42:30 AM , Rating: 2
The rumor is the gas tank was reduced for the federal tax credits. Some BS about the energy in X amount of gas couldn't exceed the energy in the batteries. You lose around 50 miles of total range due to this.




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