Take an i3, add 200 miles of range, and put 3 Series clothes on it to make an EV king.
The electric car wars are officially on. It all started with Tesla building a car to fight the king of the entry-level luxury segment, the BMW 3 Series. Now that the Tesla Model 3 seems to have a solid and cash-laden fan base plunking deposits down, BMW is paying attention and wants to turn the tables. Word on the street is that the German automaker is closer to this goal than we thought because BMW has just made the first step towards bringing electricity to the masses.
As the next generation 3 Series, codenamed the G20, nears the completion of its development phase, new details are emerging about the array of power plants that will motivate the car. We already mentioned how the base 318 models will feature a three-cylinder engine, half the number of pistons as the six-cylinder units that BMW is famous for, however Auto Express has just learned that one G20 variant will be a full electric car that will compete head to head with the Model 3. When the Model 3 was first shown off to the world, critics were quick to point out its barren interior and questionable looks, both of which may help the electric 3 Series sell to EV buyers looking for more luxurious appointments. An advanced chassis will help cut weight.
Using the same CLAR (short for cluster architecture) technology that debuted on the 7 Series and will make it to the X7, the G20 3 Series will see a mix of carbon fiber and metals of various densities to achieve a 180-pound weight cut over the outgoing F30. This would help engineers refine the 3 Series' handling characteristics to outdo competitors like the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia. BMW is also reportedly working on a 90 kWh battery for the electric 3 Series, which would give the car a competitive range of 300 miles. If that isn't enough, we can expect to see the electric motors mated to gasoline engines as plug-in hybrids or as range extenders. Of course, four-cylinder and inline-six engines will be offered for those who want to keep things more traditional.