The car arrives as the first model in BMW’s i sub-brand, which is dedicated to electro mobility.
The i3 is built around the carmaker’s LifeDrive architecture concept, which is comprised of the Life Module and the Drive Module. The Life Module—essentially the passenger cabin, or greenhouse, in BMW-speak—is the first mass-produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cell on the auto planet, and is a big factor in the i3’s efficiency. You see, CFRP is as strong as steel while being half as light. Which means the car’s battery has less work to do.
The Drive Module consists of a 22-kilowatt lithium-ion battery, the electric drive train, MacPherson struts and a five-link rear suspension, and structural and crash components. The battery, mounted close to the driven rear wheels, promises impressive performance and traction.
The i3’s interior is made of renewable and recycled materials, and purports to have the same premium feel as that on BMW’s 5 Series.
In terms of range, the i3 can travel 130 kilometers to 160 kilometers on a single full charge (approximately 12 percent more in Eco Pro mode). Charging time takes only three hours on a 220-volt charger while a fast-charge optional device allows for an 80-percent juice level in 20 minutes and fully charged in 30 minutes. Addressing range anxiety is a rear-mounted 650cc, 34-horsepower, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered range-extender engine, which roughly doubles the i3’s range. The car’s power output is rated at a healthy 170 horsepower and 249 Newton-meter of torque.
This is joy in high-voltage.