BMW launches the i3 internationally
The first 'i' car from Bavaria steps into the world. Is this the future of urban motoring?
BMW has launched the new, fully-electric i3. This is not a concept, and this is not a test car either. This car is available in international showrooms for consumers. The i3 is a four-seater, fully-electric car that makes 168bhp and 250Nm, can get to 100kph in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 150kph.
The passenger cabin shell is built entirely out of carbon fibre and the chassis is aluminium, yet the car is no more expensive than the much heavier Nissan Leaf. The reason why its affordable despite such expensive material is because the car is light and therefore needs fewer batteries. The company claims the battery will last 160kms in Comfort mode, 180kms in Eco Pro mode and 200kms in Eco Pro+ mode.
A high-capacity charger will charge the car in 3 hours with 80 per cent capacity attained in 30 minutes. A conventional plug point will need 7-and-a-half hours. You can also opt for a range-extender where a petrol motor generates electricity and feeds it to the battery, giving you a range of 300kms.
While this is all impressive, what will be interesting is the act of driving it. The i3 has a one-pedal feel that allows you to accelerate and brake with the accelerator. The second you take your foot off the pedal, the car starts braking. And the regenerative energy this produces goes back to the battery.
Plans for India are not clear yet, but BMW believes the i3 has a lot of potential for a lot of Indian cities. Do you agree, dotcommers?