The latest buzz around the autoblogosphere has some Checkered Flag BMW fans very excited. Earlier this week, BMW released full details about their new electric BMW i Series. Two very exciting concepts, the i3 and i8 were both revealed in Frankfurt, but, it is unlikely that the final release i models will have the exaggerated futuristic (and kind of insect-esque) style. Unfortunately, it will still be a long time before we see the BMW i electric vehicles at our Virginia Beach BMW store. They are, however, not too far off.
Article and photo source: [autoblog.com]
By Damon Lavrinc Posted Jul 29th 2011 6:00AM
We've just touched down in Frankfurt to get all the details on BMW's new electric cars, but before we get into the nitty-gritty of BMW i, its philosophy and the engineering behind it, here's a brief introduction to the first two models, the i3 and i8.
Officially, the two artfully greenhoused cars seen above are 'concepts,' but they're actually anything but.
Originally teased as the MegaCity concept, the BMW i3 will be the first vehicle produced under the i brand when it arrives next year. Two structures make up both the i3 and i8's LifeDrive architecture - predictably, the Life and Drive modules.
As its name would suggest, the Life part of the equation is what contains the driver and passengers, and the platforms have been individually developed for each model. In the case of the i3, a lightweight body structure is made up of a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, with the Drive module mounted underneath, obviating the need for a transmission tunnel and allowing BMW to install two bench seats for four occupants in the front and back while providing 200 liters (7.06 cubic-feet) of storage.
Underneath that lightweight body lies the Drive system, comprised of the suspension, battery and drivetrain, along with structural and safety components. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery back spans the undercarriage and supplies juice to an electric motor mounted directly above the rear-drive axle. Yup, this a rear-wheel-drive EV hatchback, with the motor putting out 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed gearbox. BMW claims the i3 can reach an electronically limited top speed of 93 miles per hour and make the run from 0-60 in under eight seconds.
An available PRO ECO mode tweaks the throttle and electronics to boost efficiency, and braking regeneration feeds kinetic energy back into the battery pack. Remarkably, BMW also claims that you can charge the battery back to full in six hours using a standard power socket and the i3's batteries can get to 80 percent in one hour using a high-speed charger (we'll be getting more details on both very soon).
If battery power isn't enough for you, the i3 will be available with a range-extending internal combustion engine (dubbed REx) further down the road, although BMW hasn't divulged the exact displacement or how much additional range it will include beyond the projected 80-100 miles on electric power alone.
If a rear-drive, EV hatchback doesn't stoke your enthusiast flames, then the i8 might be more to your tastes.
Unlike the standard i3, the i8 will be a plug-in hybrid, with a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder powerplant mounted up front and putting out 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the electric motor, the run from 0-60 mph is claimed to blow by in under five seconds, with fuel consumption estimated at three liters per 100 kilometers and seven liters per 100 clicks when driven like... well, a BMW.
The three-pot works in tandem with a lithium-ion battery pack and front-mounted electric motor pulled from the i3 and driving the front wheels, allowing an electric-only range of up to 20 miles on a charge. Put both systems together and you've got a front-wheel-drive vehicle for maximum efficiency, a rear-driver for maximum fun and all-wheel drive for maximum grip. And if that isn't enticing enough, the i8 has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
We'll have more about both models and the i brand as a whole in the coming days, but in the meantime, check out the gallery below for the first official eyeful. End of Article.
These are definitely some impressive signs of times to come. But, I almost wish automakers would spend less time on the flash of getting the concepts out, and more time actually building the final product so that our Checkered Flag BMW customers can get on the road.
Of course, as soon as we have more word on the BMW electric i Series release, I'll be sure to have it up right away.
For more information on currently available BMW cars and SUVs, call Checkered Flag BMW at (757)490-1111.