The BMW i3 electric city car was first unveiled in 2011 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It more recently appeared at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. This car, the BMW i3, as well as the BMW i8 electric sports coupe, is the reason why BMW is leasing the ActiveE. The BMW ActiveE is the test grounds for technology BMW wants to use in it’s i3 electric city car.
The BMW i3 is being built from the ground up as an electric car, all the while keeping in mind it will be used in tight urban settings. The BMW i3 has a completely flat interior floor since there is no need for a driveshaft and exhaust tunnel. The BMW i3 has bench seats in the front and the rear – BMW’s reasoning is that when parking right next to a wall, the driver can slide along the front bench seat and get out on the passenger side (remember the flat floor? Nothing to awkwardly slide over).
The BMW i3 has a 170 hp electric motor that is located in-between the rear doors. BMW is promising performance that will match the brand’s reputation, and 170hp in this tiny electric BMW i3 will definitely deliver a thrilling ride. The 0 to 60mph acceleration takes 7.9 seconds, and the top speed is governed at 93mph. Total weight is given at 2750 lbs, thanks in part to the mostly carbon fiber lightweight body.
Slightly unexpected, BMW will be offering a range extending version of the i3 that will come with a tiny gasoline engine – something like a twin cylinder 600ccc unit.
Full recharging time for the battery pack in the BMW i3 is six hours at 240V, with a 1 hour quick charge that would replenish the battery back to 80%.
The BMW i3 doesn’t have an official release date, and there’s no pricing information, but BMW keeps dropping hints that the BMW i3 will go on sale in 2013 as a 2014 model.