BMW announces new sub-brad ‘i’; BMW i3 electric and i8 hybrid cars to come soon
BMW has announced its electric and hybrid cars with the advent of a new sub-brand ‘i’ at its corporate headquarters in Munich, Germany. Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Sales and Marketing, is reported to have said, “BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility – all with a focus on sustainability.”
The first two cars in the ‘i’ line-up will the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The i3 and i8 will be showcased at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show commencing March 3rd, 2011. The first of the BMW i-series cars will be launched sometime in 2013.
The BMW i3 will be an electric car while the i8 will be a gasoline-electric hybrid car.
The i3 and i8 will be built on ‘LifeDrive’ architecture, which uses aluminium chassis housing the powermills and the Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), a new construction concept that will nullify all the extra weight added by batteries, thereby making the i3 and i8 lightweight and capable of offering ‘superior driving dynamics’ as well as increased range per charge. Related: BMW hybrid supercar launch confirmed
The BMW i3 and i8 are scheduled for production at the BMW’s newly set up factory in Leipzig. The i3 electric car will likely be produced first followed by the hybrid vehicle, the i8. BMW has invested $543 million and created 800 new jobs.
There are no official photos of the BMW i3 and i8 yet. However, there are a couple of renderings released by the company which give us an idea of what the two cars might look like.
BMW i3 electric car
The i3, which was long known as the Megacity vehicle concept, will be powered by an rear-mounted electric motor that produces 150-170 bhp of maximum power. The electric motor is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The car will have a range of around 100 miles. The i3 will have the electric motor first previewed in the BMW ActiveE concept at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. Expect the updated Active E concept to sit under the hood of i3, when this electric car is showcased at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show. Related: BMW Megacity photo and features
BMW i8 hybrid car
The i8 will be powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with an internal combustion gasoline engine and an electric motor. The electric motor can power the car separately and the batteries can be recharged through the mains. The i8, according to BMW’s promise ‘will blend the sporty ability of a high-performance machine with fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.”
The i8 will be the production version of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept. The concept, showcased at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, is claimed by BMW to have a mileage of 75.1 mpg and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. The concept car, which weighs 1,395 kg, is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo-charged diesel engine and rear-mounted electric motor making a combined output of 356 hp.
Navigation equipment in i3 and i8
The i3 and i8 will be equipped with ‘in-car telematics’ from BMW i Ventures and mobile app from My City Way. The mobile app will help i3 and i8 owners locate their destinations and points of interest over 40 cities in the U.S. This will help the BMW i series to adapt to the urban markets easily with respect to in-car navigation features.
There is no information yet on the prices of the BMW i3 and i8 cars.