BMW Officially Unveils the i3

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After years of development and testing, the all-new BMW i3 has officially been revealed.

After several years of development, BMW has now finally unveiled its i3, the German automaker’s all-electric car. We’ve been following its development for some time now, but today BMW is giving us the full breakdown. Set to go on sale in the US in the second quarter of 2014, the i3 will carry a base price of $41,350, but that doesn’t include any tax incentives or even the $925 destination charge. All told, it produces 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is available from zero rpm.

The 22-kilowatt, 450 lbs. lithium ion battery is mounted in the rear close to the drive wheels, which also helps to improve traction. All told, the i3 accelerates from 0-60 mph in about 7 seconds and has a top speed of only 93 mph. BMW claims the EV has a driving range of 80-100 miles, with a standard charging time of three hours. Buyers can also opt for what BMW calls the SAE DC Combo Fast Charger, which drops charging time to just 30 minutes, and 20 minutes for an 80 percent charge. Still got range anxiety? Then you can equip the i3 with a 34 hp two-cylinder gas engine generator that acts as a range extender. Three trim levels are available: Mega, Giga and Tera.

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Because the i3 was designed as an EV from the get-go, it’s constructed differently from most other cars. Called the LifeDrive architecture, it features two modules: Life and Drive.

The Life Module is basically the car’s pillarless passenger cell that’s constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Compared to aluminum, it’s 30 percent lighter and is even stronger. All told, the i3 weighs only around 2,700 lbs. The Drive Module is a 100 percent aluminum chassis mounted underneath the Life Module. This is where the battery is stored. The i3 is quite the advancement for BMW not only because it’s an EV, but also due to its lightweight technologies, which will trickle down into future models.

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