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The German automaker will focus next year on starting production for its i-Series according to a statement by Dr. BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer.
The BMW i3 concept has been around for some time, but now we can speculate that BMW must be close to having a production car on their hands.
These newest spy photos show the i3 playing around in some snow in the European north, and looking like it could be ready for the road fairly soon. The i3 will feature a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic chassis to make it incredibly light, and along with the BMW i8 will be the first high volume production car to utilize such technology.
The nose on the i3 actually looks like it has changed a little bit since we last saw it in our first batch of spy photos. Clearly BMW is hard at work on the i3.
The fully electric i3 makes roughly 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and thanks to a weight of roughly 2,755 lbs is expected to accelerate to 60 mph in around 8 seconds.
At the unveiling of the concept version at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, BMW announced the i3 would be in dealers by the end of 2013.
GALLERY: i3 Spy Photos
BMW is turning to Brilliance Jinbei Automobile, an already-established Chinese partner, to work their way around new legislation aimed at promoting Chinese cars.
Ian Robertson, director of sales and marketing for BMW told Automotive News Europe said the new brand, which will exist solely to sell electric vehicles in China, will only use limited BMW technology. That decision is in contrast to the i3 and i8 cars BMW plans to release in other markets, including the North America and Europe.
This isn’t the first time BMW and Brilliance have worked together to market a vehicle in China. Last April we reported a story on a 5-series plug-in hybrid meant for Chinese markets that the companies worked together on.
With the launch of BMW‘s next-generation i-models, the German car manufacturer is also looking for new ways to sell its lineup of green machines. Tim Abbott, BMW’s UK Managing Director, has expressed an interest in more flexible test drive times, a mobile sales force for the i-models, and turning to the Internet for online sales.
Abbott spoke about how test drives could become more flexible, with catering to customers at odd hours of the day and taking the vehicle to them for a test drive. But more importantly is BMW’s hope to turn online for future car sales for the BMW brand. “That could even stretch to selling cars online, with the back up of our existing dealers of course. eBay manages it, so why can’t manufacturers sell cars online too?” Abbott said.
Lastly, BMW is also looking into changing the usual three-year buying cycle around, possibly offering customers the ability to swap out their electric vehicles for a more flexible sedan (5-Series for example) when the customer wants to take a long trip. Essentially a system of car swapping could be possible with just a 12-hour notice.
Will BMW successfully spearhead the change of convention dealerships and having to deal with a physical salesperson to purchase a car? We sure hope so, everything else can be bought online these days.
GALLERY: BMW i3 and i8
This may look like a BMW 7-Series sedan with some oddball rims, but our spy photographers report that the vehicle in question is actually a prototype for a new BMW i sedan, based on a couple key points.
For starters, there are apparently electric motors mounted in the wheel hubs, which would suggest a new kind of electric propulsion system previously unseen on a BMW. Furthermore, the front and rear fenders look like they’ve been radically altered to fit the vehicle, which further suggests some alien technology lurking underneath the sheetmetal.
If we had to guess, we’d say that BMW is preparing something to bring the fight to the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma, but there’s very little information to go on at this time.
GALLERY: BMW i Large Sedan
BMW‘s i3 may not be getting as much buzz as the 2012 3-Series, but their upcoming compact city car is probably the most important vehicle they’ll launch all decade.
With the i3, BMW is moving in a totally different direction, both in terms of technology and sustainability. The i3 will have a chassis made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, a first for a volume production car, and will help offset the weight of the car’s electric powertrain.
BMW claims that the i3 will make 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, good enough for an 8 second 0-60 mph time. While BMW has previously said that the i3 is a pure electric car, the vehicles spied here displayed decals declaring the i3 a “hybrid test vehicle”, leading us to wonder whether there will be some kind of range extender on board. Regardless, the i3 will require just one hour of charging to replenish the batteries by 80 percent, a figure that has us optimistic regarding the i3′s usefulness.
Our spy photographer noted that the styling is fairly close to the concept, and that the i3 will have rear suicide doors similar to the MINI Clubman, where the front door will have to be opened to access the rear doors.
Gallery: BMW i3 Spy Photos
Star of the upcoming movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Paula Patton, was on hand in helping introduce the North American debut of BMW’s i3 and i8 Concepts. Neither of these concepts are new to us, having seen them in detail at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but it’s understandable with the i8 playing a major role in the upcoming movie why BMW would give it center stage at the LA Auto Show.
Both the i3 and i8 Concepts are derived from BMW’s LifeDrive Vehicle Architecture incorporating a Life Module with a carbon fiber passenger compartment. The i8 features a 170-hp electric drive motor in the front while a 220-hp three-cylinder gas motor powers the rear. With a 50/50 weight distribution, BMW continued to boast that the i8 can have an estimated 78-mpg, delivering the performance of an M3 with the interior space of a 6-Series. BMW also reiterated that they will have a production model ready to show to the world by 2014.
The smaller i3 features a 170-hp electric drive engine with 184 lb-ft of torque and promises up to a 100-mile range that can be doubled with a range extender. A full charge of the i3 can be had in just four hours on a 220-volt charger, while an 80-percent charge can be obtained in just a single hour with a high speed charger. BMW announced that they plan to have a production vehicle based on the i3 Concept by the end of 2013.
Also making its North American premiere was BMW’s M5, though we’ve probably seen more than enough of it already. Worth noting was that BMW brought one out in a matte silver metallic finish and it sounded great rolling out to the show floor.
GALLERY: BMW i3 Concept
GALLERY: BMW i8 Concept
GALLERY: BMW M5
An interview with BMW engineer Ulli Kranz conducted by Consumer Reports suggests that the BMW i3 city car will get a range extender similar to the i8 supercar – but the technology will come from two-wheeled transportation, rather than a conventional car.
With weight a key consideration for the i3 (materials like aluminum and carbon fiber play a key role in offsetting the weight of the electric drivetrain), one of BMW’s motorcycle engines seems like a much better fit than one of their current passenger car mills, the smallest of which is a 1.6L four-cylinder from the MINI range.
BMW’s bikes, on the other hand, have a range of engines ranging from a 652-cc, 48 horsepower single cylinder to a 1.6L inline-6 maiking 160 horsepower. If anything, the single cylinder, or the 800cc twin are the most likely candidates.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Making their world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW i3 and i8 may just be concepts, but point to a major push by the German automaker into the realm of electrified vehicles. In fact, BMW is so serious that its working towards an entire range of “i” branded alternative vehicles, sporting both electric and hybrid-electric powertrains.
As a full-electric car, BMW obviously has high hopes for the i3, naming it in line with its much-loved and best-selling 3 Series. Making 170-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque it can hit 60 mph in roughly 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 100 mph, making it functional for more than just city driving. With a unique regeneration system similar to that found on the MINI-E, even just laying off the throttle acts as a brake. Recharging the car’s batteries takes just one hour for an 80 percent charge.
The i3 is also BMW’s fist foray into the world of carbon fiber platforms, using a carbon fiber reinforced plastic chassis to keep weight to a somewhat reasonable 2,755 lbs.
More exciting, both to look at and to drive (we imagine) is the i8. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it makes use of a modified version of the i3′s electric motor mated to the front wheels, while a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers 223-hp to the rear axle. While that might not sound like a lot for a car that looks this impressive, BMW claims a 0-60 time of roughly 5 seconds.
With an onboard battery pack, the i8 has a zero-emissions range of 22 miles and BMW claims a 78-mpg rating.
Headed to production, look for the biggest changes to happen not with the powertrains, but with the interior and exterior styling. Those looking to park an electric BMW in their driveway won’t have to wait too long either, with the i3 set to go on sale in 2013, while the i8 will arrive a year later.
GALLERY: BMW i3, i8 Concepts
Watch video of the i3 and i8 concepts from their Frankfurt debut after the jump:
This Friday, July 29, during a press conference; BMW plans to reveal two cars which will form part of its i lineup of ‘green’ vehicles.
Although some have criticized the Bavarian automaker for being later to the party when it comes to electric cars, the company is apparently looking to make up for lost time, with a ‘dazzling’ entrance planned for this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
The two ‘i’ models it plans to unveil (shown here in rendered form); are the i3, a plug-in electric city car, first seen around a year ago in the form of the ‘Megacity’ concept design sketch and the i8, a larger, sporty, plug-in gas/electric hybrid, which will make an appearance in the upcoming film, Mission Impossible 4.
Both cars will utilize aluminum chassis construction, as well as a carbon reinforced passenger cell and will use common propulsion parts including electric motors and lithium-ion batteries. Both cars will be built BMW’s Leipzig plant with production likely to begin sometime in 2013.
[Source: Carscoop ]
BMW is giving its home turf a big, heaping pile of BMW-osity. The carmaker plans to debut no less than four production models at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September: the M5, the M3 GTS’s sedan version, a redesigned 1-Series, and the i3 electric city car.
The M5 and the M3 GTS, of course, will cause enthusiasts to salivate at an unhealthy, fluid-draining rate. But while the 1-Series will be redesigned for the first time since its debut in 2004—no insignificant debut at any other show—it’s the i3 electric car that will make the biggest impact at the show.
The i3, as leaked before, is BMW’s mass-produced electric car with a 160-mile range and a passenger cell made from carbon fiber. If anything, it’s BMW’s firing shot into the electric propulsion game, with much of the company’s reputation behind it.