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BMW takes wraps off first electric, hybrid model to wear i badge

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS BMW AG last week unveiled concepts of electric and hybrid vehicles that will go into production and be marketed under its new i...

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

BMW AG last week unveiled concepts of electric and hybrid vehicles that will go into production and be marketed under its new i subbrand – the i3 city car that goes on sale in 2013 and the i8 sports car due in 2014.

The cars are “born electric,” BMW said, and designed as alternative fuel vehicles from the ground up.

“We are marking another milestone in the history of the BMW Group. As chairman of the board and an engineer myself, I am very proud of this project,” CEO Norbert Reithofer, said in a statement before the vehicles’ premiere in Frankfurt.

BMW plans to introduce additional i models down the road as part of a major push to meet stricter fuel economy and emissions standards around the globe.

The rear-wheel drive electric i3 Concept has a 170-hp electric motor over the rear axle. It can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in less than eight seconds, BMW said.

The four-seat car has front-hinged front doors and rear-hinged “coach doors.” The upper-body is made of carbon fiber and the drivetrain module that holds the battery package, electronics and motor is made of light-weight aluminum.

The i3 Concept is a zero-emissions vehicle and has a range of 80-100 miles on a full charge. BMW said the car has been developed for use in an urban environment. Its fuel economy rating is 87 mpg based on a European test cycle.

“This vehicle will mark the launch of the first volume-produced car featuring body work largely made of carbon,” said Klaus Draeger, BMW AG board member for development. “It’s a revolution in automotive design.”

The car weighs 2,756 pounds and has a 101.2 inch wheelbase. It is 151 inches long, 60 inches tall and 79 inches wide. BMW said the use of carbon fiber reduced the weight by 551 to 771 pounds when compared with a conventional electric car.

BMW i8 Concept

The i8 Concept plug-in hybrid uses a modified electric drive system from the i3 Concept that is fitted over the front axle as well as a three-cylinder combustion engine with 220 hp. The packaging gives the car an optimal 50/50 weight distribution.

BMW said the i8 Concept coupe can run alone for 20 miles on the electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. The electric-only mode would allow the car to be driven in cities that restrict use of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles.

The i8 is a two-plus-two and can seat four people who sit “in typical sports car style in an extremely low and enclosed position…” BMW said. The doors swivel upward giving access to both the front and rear seats.

The i8 also uses carbon fiber for the body and aluminum for the understructure.

The hybrid sports car accelerates from 0-62 mph in under five seconds and has a fuel economy rating of 77 mpg based on the European test cycle. BMW said that even when driven hard, the car gets 46.5 mpg .

It has a wheelbase of 110 inches, length of 182 inches, height of 50 inches, width of 77 inches and a curb weight of 3,262.8 pounds.

Both cars will be built at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany. BMW said it will spend $573.4 million for new facilities to assemble the cars and create 800 new jobs.

 

Source: www.autonews.com

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