BMW i3: The Ultimate Urban Machine
The EV market is steadily filling out, from exotic Tesla to mainstream Nissan and Chevy. Slotting nicely in the middle will be the BMW i3, a pure electric designed for urban surroundings.
BMW started this project with a clean slate and it shows. They tackle the critical EV challenge of weight by using carbon fiber for most of the passenger compartment, ending up with a curb weight of only around 2,700 pounds – 600 less than a Nissan Leaf. Compared to the Leaf, that lower weight will allow for fewer batteries, yet similar range and better acceleration. Not to mention that this will still be a BMW, with rear-wheel drive and class-leading handling. If BMW is able to price this close to the Leaf, as rumors indicate, then BMW will have a big winner on its hands. First deliveries are expected in 2012, and no, BMW is not yet taking orders.
BMW is serious about EVs. For those needing greater range, they plan on offering an optional range-extending gas generator. And for those just wanting the ultimate performance machine, they will roll out the i8 a year later.