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The I3, The Same Driving Experience As A Classic BMW

BMW I3

BMW i3 EV Concept – 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. Image Credit: Melissa Hincha-Ownby

BMW I-3 Specs and Features

Looks like the battle to conquer the electric car market has started, with new vehicles coming from all the major makes. BMW is one of them, with the new i3 first of an all new generation of “i” vehicles yet to come. With its claimed range between 80 and 100 miles, BMW says it is ideal for everyday use in town and short trips, plus it charges in three hours with the high voltage system, so even if you do lots of miles to go to work you can easily charge it whilst in the office.

Battery Placement and Functionality

The batteries are underneath the flat floor; they consist of 96 cells for a total weight of 230 kg. Important detail is that the battery is covered by a six years (or 100.000 miles warranty). But what is most surprising is that BMW claims that their electric car can give you the same driving experience as a classic one. The engine was put in the back, in favor of rear wheel drive that can give a more entertaining experience. To give an even richer and smarter involvement, lots of app based services help the driver with mobility solutions, like live traffic information to avoid congestion’s.

Table of Fuel Economy – Serious Cost Savings – EPA Ratings

ModelYearFuel / EV RangeCombinedCity / Highway
BEV
(94 A·h)
2017114 mi 118 mpg-e129 mpg-e/
106 mpg-e
REx
(94 A·h)
2017Electric Only 97 mi /
Gasoline Only 83 mi
111 mpg-eN/A
BEV
(60 A·h)
201481 mi 124 mpg-e137 mpg-e / 111 mpg-e
BEV
(60 A·h)
201581 mi 124 mpg-e137 mpg-e / 111 mpg-e
BEV
(60 A·h)
201681 mi 124 mpg-e137 mpg-e / 111 mpg-e
REx
(60 A·h)
2014Electricity only
72 mi / Gasoline only
78 mi
117 mpg-e / 39 mpg97 mpg-e -
79 mpg-e / 41 mpg - 37 mpg
REx
(60 A·h)
2015Electricity only
72 mi / Gasoline only
78 mi
117 mpg-e / 39 mpg97 mpg-e -
79 mpg-e / 41 mpg - 37 mpg
REx
(60 A·h)
2016Electricity only
72 mi / Gasoline only
78 mi
117 mpg-e / 39 mpg97 mpg-e -
79 mpg-e / 41 mpg - 37 mpg
BMW I3

BMW i3 Concept Live in IAA. Image Credit: BMWforum.gr

Advanced Technologies, Lighter Than The Competition

But in a market that is relatively new, what can appeal customers are the different characteristics of the vehicle. A good badge is surely a start, but on a competitive market it’s surely not enough. For a start at BMW they decided to revolutionize the style.

The look is very futuristic, with only small details that tell it’s a BMW, like the shape of the grille and the badges on the nose and boot. Inside quality and design are stunning, with high resolution displays, high seats that give a good view of the road and big windows that give a sense of space. Technology were used at the cutting edge, to bring this vehicle a step forward from any other available at the moment.

Aluminum, carbon fiber and steel were combined with advanced techniques to build a vehicle that is safe, reliable and much lighter than its competitors with its 1195 kg. the new engineered structure allowed removing the “B” pillar to use coach style rear doors, which makes it easier to get in and out.

Chart – BMW I-3 Martket Share is Growing

As illustrated by the chart, BMW’s I3 is gaining market share. Not all electric vehicles (EV’s) are included. The Graph is for illustration purposes only.

BMW

BMW I3 in action. Image Credit: portugalmotorsport

It Is Still Rear Wheel Drive

The motor is in the back, with a single speed gearbox. It delivers 164bhp and 184lb/ft of torque in the exact moment you push the throttle. It can in fact easily match the performance of traditional vehicles with 0-62 in just 7.2 seconds. To enhance the sporty feeling, suspension are Mac Pherson in the front and multi-link in the rear, with soft damp but quite firm ride as result.

The steering is precise and light. An interesting feature of this car is the energy recuperation system, which starts putting kinetic energy back into the batteries as soon as you step off the throttle. This means the car slows down with almost no need to apply the brakes (unless you need to come to halt).Three models are available: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro Plus, which limits the top speed to 50 mph and reduces the performance of the air conditioning system.

Interior of BMW I3

Interior of the BMW I3. Image Credit: Revistadelmotor

Bottom Line and Conclusion

Interesting is the topography system that analyses the street not only in length but also in slopes to go through, as it might consume less to go through a longer but more flat route. For the same reason and to prevent engine over-spinning, top speed is limited to 93 mph. In a car with such technologies, safety features like traction control, dynamic stability control and brake control are obviously standard.

Overall it is an excellent vehicle, with great performance, a unique style and the desirability of a BMW. Only thing that might put off many buyers is the price, that is a fair bit higher than a Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe.

Mark J.

Mark J.

Mark writes for many online publications, including reviews on makes such as BMW, and websites such as Leasebam and others.

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