The BMW i3 concept is the company’s first electric vehicle designed from the ground up for mass production, and the auto maker has come out swinging with an innovative EV that looks set to take the luxury market by storm. The i3 will be one of the world’s first mass-produced vehicles with a body made mostly of carbon fiber – a material that can shave off 550-770 pounds of weight, resulting in increased all-electric range and better performance. The standard i3 will have a range of 80-100 miles, and BMW also announced today that it has plans to produce a REX (range extended version) of the i3 that can travel for 160 – 200 miles on electricity alone.
The i3 electric car is capable of traveling from 0-62 mph in less than 8 seconds, and its high-speed charger can power the vehicle up to 80% capacity in an hour flat. The spacious interior of the i3 is well equipped for daily driving needs – it seats four and has a boot capacity of 200 liters. The i3 also makes sustainable strides in terms of its material use – the interior is outfitted in renewable raw materials like natural fibers, and all leathers used are naturally tanned.
The BMW i8 concept is a sexy plug-in hybrid sports car built to bring drivers high performance thrills with a low-carbon footprint. The vehicle’s drivetrain combines a modified version of the i3′s electric drive system in the front with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine that produces 220 hp at the rear. This hybrid system gives the hybrid electric car impressive torque for a fast acceleration time of 0-62 mph in less than five seconds, while allowing it to travel for 20-30 miles in all-electric mode – perfect for making quick trips around town.
For longer trips, the i8′s combustion engine kicks in and works with the electric drive to allow the car to travel 250-350 miles on a single tank of gas. In terms of mileage, the i8 is able to eek out as much as 94 mpg, with customer fuel consumption expected to fall between 40.4 – 56.5 mpg when driven hard. The vehicle was engineered to have a very low center of gravity, an optimized 50/50 weight distribution, and an ultra lightweight set of components that cancel out the extra weight added by the electric drive system.
The BMW i3 is set for launch in 2013 and the BMW i3 is due for release in 2014.
All photos by Jill Fehrenbacher and Dan Mendes for Inhabitat