The BMW i3 is a B-segment, high-roof hatchback manufactured and marketed by BMW with an electric powertrain using rear wheel drive via a single-speed transmission and an underfloor Li-ion battery pack and an optional range-extending petrol engine. The i3 was BMW’s first mass-produced zero emissions vehicle and was launched as part of BMW’s electric vehicle BMW i sub-brand.
Styled by Richard Kim, the i3 is offered in a single five-door configuration with a passenger module of high strength, ultra-lightweight CFRP (carbon fibre) adhered to a lower aluminium module holding the chassis, battery, drive system and powertrain. The bodywork features two smaller clamshell rear-hinged rear doors.
The i3 debuted as a concept at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany, and production began in September 2013 in Leipzig.
BWM i3 was ranked the third most sold automobile electric cars sold worldwide between 2014 and 2016, its global sales totaled more than 165,000 units at the beginning of 2020, and the 200,000th i3 was produced in October 2020. U.S. is one of the country that is in high demand of the i3 with almost 42,000 units delivered through December 2019.
Since the inception, the i3 has won two World Car of the Year Awards, the model was selected as 2014 World Green Car of the Year and also as 2014 World Car Design of the Year. The i3 received an iF Product Design Gold Award, and won both UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Supermini of 2014 in the first UK Car of the Year Awards.
History Of BWM i3
In February 2011, BMW debuted its sub-brand, BMW i, to market the vehicles produced under Project i. BMW i vehicles were to be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models are the all-electric BMW i3, formerly called the Mega City Vehicle (MCV), and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 International Motor Show Germany and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars was scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.
The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany. BMW showcased a BMW i3 prototype during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and the production version was unveiled in July 2013.
Unveiling of i3
BMW unveiled the i3 Concept Coupé study at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The carmaker developed the concept car to demonstrate the potential for extending the model range. The three-door hatchback coupe, like the five-door i3 electric hatchback sedan, is propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, with a maximum output of 125 kW (168 hp) and peak torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft). Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. The li-ion battery pack is placed under the floor and can deliver an all-electric range of 160 km (99 mi), but a gasoline engine referred to as “REx”, can be added to extend the car’s range to 320 km (200 mi).
BMW i3 Design and Technology
The i3 was the first mass production car with most of its internal structure and body made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). BMW took advantage of the absence of a forward internal combustion engine, giving the i3 a “clean sheet design” with a sports-like appearance. The i3 has door panels made of hemp, which mixed with plastic helps lower the weight of each panel by about 10%. Hemp fibers, left exposed, also form a design element of the car’s interior and contribute to sustainability. Further environmental consciousness is reflected in the optional seat leather, which is tanned with olive-leaf extract and the dashboard trim, which is made from environmentally refined wood from certified cultivation in Europe.
The i3 includes four doors and seating for four occupants with rear suicide doors. The i3 uses a newly developed powertrain consisting of a 130-kilowatt (170 hp) electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries and driving the rear axle. BMW aimed to achieve a range of 160 km (100 mi), the same range that was expected for the BMW ActiveE, but in order to reduce weight with a battery capacity of 16 kWh instead of the ActiveE’s 30 kWh.
BMW i3 Charging and Connectivity
The i3 allows the owner to charge the battery from a conventional socket. The BMW i3 has a number of charging functions. With the original 60Ah battery, AC fast charging can take less than 3 hours with the use of the BMW i Wallbox Pure or any 3rd party charging equipment (EVSE) supporting 32A, when charging from 0 to 80%. The i3 also has a 50 kW charging option suitable for public DC charging stations and can take less than 30 minutes to charge the 60Ah version from 0% to 80%. Later 94Ah and 120Ah models take proportionally longer. In the US, it can also be charged from any public charging station with an SAE J1772 connector. In 2016, BMW and the PG&E utility in California expanded an experiment of delaying charge-up during peak demand and compensating i3 owners for the delay.
BMW claims that the i3 is the first fully online all-electric vehicle, but the Tesla Model S has had full 3G Internet connectivity since 2012.
The BMW i3 allows the driver to select the car energy consumption through three different drive modes: Comfort, Eco Pro or Eco Pro+ mode. In the standard Comfort mode the i3 delivers a range between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) in everyday driving conditions, while the i3 REx delivers between 260 to 290 km (160 to 180 mi). The Eco Pro mode increases the driving range by around 12% through a different accelerator pedal mapping which uses less power. In Eco Pro+ mode, all settings are geared to achieving the maximum possible range, increasing the driving range by about 24% compared with Comfort mode. In this mode the maximum speed of the BMW i3 is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph) and electrical devices such as the heating and air conditioning are switched to energy-saving mode. The i3s, introduced for the 2018 model year, adds a SPORT drive mode.