Best Electric Cars? BMW’s i3 and i8 Go Into Production This Year
In 2009, German car manufacturer BMW announced that they were going to start putting more efforts into making environmentally-friendly vehicles.
The BMW i8
The first vehicle that came out as a result of these efforts was the i8 concept, which was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. It’s a plug-in hybrid vehicle that is powered by a 96-kW electric motor and a 7.2-kWh lithium-ion battery, along with a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline-powered engine. The i8 is supposed to go into mass production in late 2013, and it will cost somewhere around $120,000. It will have an all-electric range of 31 miles, and its emission rating is rated at 99 g/km, which makes it one of the most eco-friendly plug-in hybrids in the world.
The BMW i3
At the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, BMW introduced another vehicle that is part of their “Project i”. It’s the Mega City Vehicle, which is what it was called while it was under development, but it was later named i3. It’s an all-electric vehicle that runs on a 130-kW electric motor providing 168 horsepower and it has a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery. It’s the first all-electric vehicle produced by BMW. It produces zero CO2 emissions, thanks to the eDrive technology, and it practically makes no noise at all. You can charge the battery up to 80% of its capacity in just 30 minutes, using a 240-volt wall socket, and when the battery is fully charged, you get a range of 80 to 100 miles. It’s a fairly fast vehicle, too, as it gets from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 93 mph, which is a good achievement considering it’s an electric car.
For the exterior of the car, BMW is using lightweight materials, in efforts to compensate for the weight of the electric batteries. The i3 features a structure made from carbon-fiber and aluminum, which is why it only weighs 2,755 pounds. BMW is trying its best to promote sustainability through the i3, using renewable resources for the interior, such as European eucalyptus wood that is featured on the car’s dashboard. The seats are covered with leather, which is tanned using a natural process with olive leaf extract.
It’s a very spacious, comfortable car that has four leather-covered seats that are supposed to make passengers feel like they are sitting in their living room while traveling. There is no center console in the i3, and all the controls are located on the dashboard, including the instrument cluster, two touchscreens, the gearshift lever and the start/stop button. Thanks to this solution, there is a lot of space between the driver and the passenger.
The i3 should become available for purchase in November 2013, and it’s expected to be a lot cheaper than the other electric vehicle by BMW, the i8, costing about $51,000. With the introduction of these two eco-friendly cars, BMW is surely going to become a strong competitor to Tesla, Toyota, Ford and Nissan, which are considered to be the electric car market leaders right now. However, when they finally arrive, they will be one the best electric cars you can get.
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. He is an author of many how-to articles related to safe driving, green technologies, auto insurance etc. Currently blogging for DMV.com.