The BMW i3 was officially launched yesterday to the general public in the UK.
BMW stated the i3 is the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system.
According to the Bavarian company, the use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell compensates for the extra weight of the battery, while the low, central location of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.
The electric motor generates an output of 170 horsepower, allowing the BMW i3 to sprint from zero to 37 mph in 3.7 seconds and zero to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. In the UK, the lithium-ion battery is rated for a range of 80–100 miles in everyday driving. Per BMW, this range rises by approximately 15 percent in ECO PRO mode and by the same again in ECO PRO+ mode.
For customers particularly conscious of ‘range anxiety’, the BMW i3 is available with a range extender engine, powering a generator to maintain the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move. This is performed by a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke gasoline engine developing 34 horsepower and mounted immediately next to the electric motor above the rear axle.
BMW explained the range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 180 miles on one tank of fuel. In the UK, the BMW i3 Range Extender costs £28,830 after deduction of UK’s £5,000 OLEV Government grant.
Both BMW i3 models include, in the UK, a three-year, unlimited mileage vehicle warranty and an eight-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty. The battery is also included in the price of the car negating a separate lease charge for battery, as is the case for some other electric vehicles in Europe.
BMW said the i3 is available in the UK with four different interior: Standard, Loft, Lodge and Suite. These allow customers to change the look and feel of the interior. All choices feature sustainable materials such as sustainably sourced wood, natural fibers and naturally tanned leather.
The price for the BMW i3, after deduction of UK’s £5,000 OLEV Government grant, starts at £25,680 and £28,830 for the Range Extender. However, BMW explained leasing is expected to be favored by customers and the monthly rates start at £369 for a 36 month contract and rising to £480 for an i3 Range Extender Suite.
The BMW i3 Range Extender is rated at 470.8 imperial mpg on the combined European cycle.