Second only to the Isetta, one of the strangest looking BMWs to date enters production today.
BMW’s first mass-produced electric car takes advantage of a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) shell and other lightweight materials to compensate for its heavy electric powertrain. That system will deliver 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque sent to the rear wheels. The i3 will be able to travel between 80 and 100 miles on a charge and will recoup 80 percent of its power in only 20 minutes.
BMW says it is grouping the car’s components into two categories: a drive model and a life module. The names are cheesy, but you can think of them as terms for the car’s powetrain and chassis in one group and body in the other.
Once both of the modules have been assembled, the i3 takes 20 hours, which BMW says is about half the time taken in its conventional process. This also marks the first time any automaker has used a carbon fiber passenger cell in a mass-produced car.
The car is priced from $42,275 including delivery and will be available in the U.S. sometime in the second quarter of 2014.