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The new i3 is the first car to be released under BMW’s new ‘I’ sub-brand and aims to help people realise they can continue their normal lifestyle without a fossil fuel powered car. Along with the car comes an option for customers to have cheap access to regular powered BMW models for short periods of time.
The i3 is powered by a rear mounted 168bhp electric motor which sits between the rear wheels, the motor provides 184lb ft of torque. When the i3 goes on sale 2 variations will be offered, both cars will be powered by the same electric motor, however the Range Extender model will also have a 650cc 34bhp 2-cyclinder engine which will act as a generator to extend the range of the battery. The standard version of the i3 has a range of between 80-100 miles and the model fitted with generator has a range of 160-186 miles with a full tank of fuel.
The i3 tips the scales at 1,195kg thanks to a range of innovations from BMW such as the aluminium chassis and the carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell. Other elements of the car are aluminium such as the screws bolts and suspension links, all these features aim to make the i3 lighter.
Prices for the i3 start at m £25,680 for the standard model and £28,830 for the Range Extender version, including the full £5,000 Government plug-in car grant. To ease people’s fears of range anxiety BMW allows customers to borrow other BMW vehicles a few days a year for longer trips and holidays.
Four trim levels will be available, Standard, Loft, Lodge and Suite. Standard equipment includes a satnav system that provides a “dynamic range display” and a view of public charging stations and their availability. All models will come with AC fast charging and allow the cars battery to be charged from empty to 80% in just 3 hours using BMW’s I Wallbox. If the car is charge via a domestic socket, charging will take 10 hours.
All i3s come with a 3 year, unlimited mileage warranty and an 8 year 100,000 mile battery warranty. Orders will be taken from August but the official sale date is November 16th. The next ‘I’ model will be the BMW i8 supercar which is due to go on sale in spring 2014.