This is the car that BMW wants you to love. More than any other car in its past, the all-electric i3 must make an emotional connection with car buyers and become a car that people genuinely desire.
So you might then ask, why did they design it to look so.. well, weird?
BMW say they’ve chosen to “.. stretch the definitive envelope of what a conventional car can be and how it should look,” and that it’s striking appearance “..is unique to the BMW i sub-brand while still remaining unmistakably a BMW.”
Last week the i3’s price was confirmed – in the UK customers who wish to buy the BMW i3 outright can do so from £25,680 OTR (including the £5,000 government subsidy), or a lease price of £369 per month (incl. VAT).
|0 – 62mph
|BMW i3 Range Extender||£28,830**||170||250||7.9||93||160-186||13|
|**With £5,000 OLEV Government grant.|
That’s for the all-electric version. The price of a range-extender version, with an additional 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine, is £28,830 – which provides a range of 180 miles on a single tank of fuel while maintaining the charge of the i3’s lithium-ion battery.
To quickly recap, the i3 is BMW’s first all-electric car, produced under the new ‘BMW i’ sub-brand – it’s the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system. It weighs 1,195kg and is powered by a 22-kWh, 200kg lithium-ion battery, producing the equivalent of 168bhp and 250Nm of peak torque.
Performance from a standing start is quicker than you’d think – the i3 sprints from 0 to 37mph in 3.7 seconds, 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and reaches a top speed limited to 93mph for efficiency reasons.
BMW quotes a range of between 81 and 99 miles, which from trials of MINI E and BMW ActiveE cars it believes to be more than sufficient. The i3 was born from BMW’s ‘Megacity’ strategy, where it took a serious look at the future needs of drivers who predominantly travel within cities and densely-populated urban zones. From research they found that the average distance driven daily was just under 40 miles.
In the UK those numbers are even less – a UK government report found that the average commute was 13.1 miles each way, with the average daily mileage of 25 miles across all drivers.
With the optional two-cylinder petrol engine, the i3’s range increases to around 186 miles, making inter-city journeys a realistic possibility.
To appease the concerns of frequent users, the i3 comes as standard in the UK with ‘AC Fast Charging’ which sees a 7.4Kw charge power up the BMW i3 from zero to 80 per cent within three hours. Customers will need the optional BMW i Wallbox to achieve such fast-charging performance, whereas with a standard 3.7Kw household socket, charging takes between 8 and 10 hours.
BMW say they’ve received more than 90,000 test-drive requests (worldwide), so if you’re interested in finding out how it drives you’ll need to put your name down quickly.
The BMW i3 launches in the UK on 16th November 2013, with orders being taken from August – cars will be sold via a multi-channel sales model, comprised of authorized BMW i partners, a Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) as well as an online platform.