BMW Unveils i3 Electric Car To The World

Melissa Stusinski - Author

Jul. 30 2013, Updated 6:25 a.m. ET

BMW’s electric car, the i3 was unveiled to the world on Monday in New York City, London, and Beijing. The subcompact car was built on a brand new platform that takes a different approach to mobility.

The i3 has some pretty interesting competitors, including the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Spark EV, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and the Fiat 500e. However, BMW’s electric car has an arguably different take.

While other mass-produced electric cars started with an existing platform, the BMW i3 was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, meaning it also boasts low weight to boost efficiency, notes MSN Autos.

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The vehicle will be the world’s first mass-produced car with a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell, which is mounted on an aluminum chassis. While the body composition is normally saved for supercars, due to its high cost, BMW was reportedly able to manufacture a less expensive composite.

Because of this combination, BMW’s electric car will weigh 340 pounds less than the Chevy Spark EV, considered a micro car. USA Today adds that the new BMW can go an impressive zero to 60 in seven seconds and can be completely recharged in half an hour with a fast charger.

Despite the vehicle being a compact, it will come with suicide doors, doors hinged from the rear that open into the rear seat. The i3 is designed to be a compact city car and its range isn’t too remarkable, despite the lighter weight. It has an average of 80 to 100 miles on one charge — about the norm for an electric cars.

While the BMW electric car will have a 170-horsepower electric motor, it will also have a tiny rear engine that can double its range. The car’s eco mode will also extend its range at the expense of performance. The new BMW electric car will start at $41,350, or $45,200 for the backup gas engine version.

[Image via BMW]


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