BMW has revealed more details about its electric vehicle offering, which are known as the i range.

First of all, BMW made it official: the i3 will be available this year in Europe.

In the words of BMW, we “will start supplying customers with driver-friendly, premium-quality electric mobility later this year with the BMW i3, whose technology is a response to the social, ecological and economic challenges of our times.”

Secondly, BMW revealed interesting bits of data from what the company learned through customer use of the BMW ActiveE and MINI E vehicles in Asia, Europe and the USA.

The distances covered by the electric vehicles showed very little difference from the distances covered by conventional cars, at somewhat over 40 kilometers (25 miles) a day on average.

On average, the pilot customers charged their vehicle two to three times a week, for the most part at home or at their workplace.

At the start of testing, more than 70 percent of users said that access to public charging stations was very important to them. In actual practice, however, public infrastructure was used for less than 10 percent of all charging.

Based on the field trial results, BMW i’s division said it set out to design a BMW eDrive powertrain for the BMW i3 which in typical commuting use between home and workplace would only require the battery to be recharged once every two to three days.

BMW_i3_8321_668The BMW i3 to be commercialized later this year will go beyond this target, with a range of between 130 and 160 kilometers (80 to 100 miles) in day-to-day operation. This will also allow it to cope comfortably with out-of-town journeys.

An interesting fact BMW revealed is that the i3 will be powered by a specially developed high-voltage lithium-ion battery with an energy output, and thus the range of the vehicle, less affected by fluctuations in temperature than is typical of such batteries today.

BMW said the technology behind this is an intelligent heating/cooling system which always keeps the battery at an optimal operating temperature. According to BMW, this improves the everyday practicality, stable performance and life expectancy of the battery.

A further priority in designing the BMW i3, said BMW, was to reduce the energy consumption of electrical components. The cabin heating operates on the heat pump principle, which results in 30 percent energy savings in city driving compared with a conventional electrical heating system, while the internal and external lighting uses energy-saving LEDs.

BMW_i3_8327_668Finally, the German company said the BMW i3 will also be the world’s first electric vehicle to feature full connectivity and will consequently be equipped with BMW i ConnectedDrive services catering specifically to the needs of electric mobility.

BMW described these functions as providing drivers with a realistic range estimate for their journey before they even set out. The internet-enabled navigation system is based on a dynamic range display which takes into account all the relevant parameters for the planned route and is therefore able to provide precise, reliable range predictions. In addition to the battery charge level, driving style, use of electric convenience systems and choice of drive mode, the calculations also take into account route topography and the current traffic situation. The system can identify energy-intensive uphill gradients on the route ahead and reduces the range computation accordingly. The same goes for energy-depleting stop-go conditions or traffic jams, since detailed real-time traffic data is also taken into account.

The BMW i3 can also be supplied with an optional range extender, which increases the driving range to approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles).

For trips where the autonomy of an BMW i3 would not cut it, BMW i will offer additional mobility modules allowing even longer distances to be covered – for example a conventional BMW vehicle can be provided on a given number of days per year.