The new BMW i3 is a purpose-built electric car with seating for four. Constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum to save weight, the i3's electric drivetrain gives it a range of 80 to 100 miles, according to BMW, and it can be recharged in three hours on Level 2 service, which is available at many charging stations.
To alleviate the range-anxiety concerns associated with electric cars, BMW offers an available two-cylinder gas engine for the i3. The engine doesn't drive the wheels but rather maintains the lithium-ion battery when its charge is low. The engine gives the i3 another 80 to 100 miles of range.
The i3 is scheduled to hit dealerships in the second quarter of 2014. Competitors include the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e and Chevrolet Volt.
- Modular architecture consists of carbon fiber reinforced plastic cabin and aluminum drivetrain chassis
- LED headlights and taillights
- Traditional front doors and rear-hinged back doors, no B-pillar
- 19-inch light-alloy wheels; 20-inch wheels available
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Automatic air conditioning
- Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
- iDrive system with 6.5-inch screen
- Bluetooth connectivity
- USB port
- 50/50-split folding backseat
- Navigation system
Under the Hood
- Electric motor makes 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque
- 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack located near the rear wheels, which drive the car
- Electronically limited 93-mph top speed
- Three-hour charging time on Level 2 service; available DC fast charging for full charge in 30 minutes
- Available 34-hp two-cylinder gas engine extends driving range
- Antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- Electronic stability system
- Emergency communication system with 10-year subscription included
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