|Also called||BMW Mega City Vehicle|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||5-door hatchback|
|Engine||25 kW 647 cc, two-cylinder generator (optional) with a fuel tank capacity of |
9 L (2.4 US gal) in Europe
7.2 L (1.9 US gal) in the U.S.
|Electric motor||130 kW (170 hp)|
|Transmission||Single speed with fixed ratio|
|Battery||22 kWh lithium-ion battery (18.8 kWh useable)|
|Electric range||BEV |
130 km (81 mi) EPA
130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) NEDC
REx (with range extender)
116 km (72 mi) (EPA)
Total: 240 km (150 mi) (EPA)
|Plug-in charging||7.4 kW on-board charger on IEC Combo AC, optional Combo DC|
|Wheelbase||2,570 mm (101 in)|
|Length||3,999 mm (157.4 in)|
|Width||1,775 mm (69.9 in)|
|Height||1,578 mm (62.1 in)|
|Curb weight||1,195 kg (2,635 lb) |
1,315 kg (2,899 lb) (with range extender)
The BMW i3, previously Mega City Vehicle (MCV), is a five-door urban electric car developed by the German manufacturer BMW. The i3 is part of BMW's "Project i" and was launched as a new brand, BMW i. The i3 is BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain, and BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption.
The BMW i3's official range is 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and up to 200 km (120 mi) in the most efficient driving mode. Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cycle the official range is 130 km (81 mi) with combined fuel economy of 124 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent —MPGe— (1.90 L/100 km; 149 mpg imp). BMW is offering a range extender (“REx”) option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a small fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to between 260 to 290 km (160 to 180 mi) in everyday driving conditions. Under EPA testing cycle, the i3 REx total range is 240 km (150 mi). As of July 2014[update], the BMW i3 is the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle of all years regardless of fuel type, and the i3 REx is the most efficient EPA-certified current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.
Mass production of the i3 began in September 2013 and retail deliveries started in Europe in November 2013. Deliveries in the U.S. began in May 2014. The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW showcased a BMW i3 prototype during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and the production version was unveiled in July 2013. Pricing in the United States starts at US$42,275 before any government incentives, and the range extender option costs an additional US$3,850. Prices in Germany start from €34,950 (US$46,400). Pricing in the UK starts at GB£30,680 (US$47,195) before the applicable government grant.As of September 2014[update], the United States, Germany, Norway and the UK were the top selling markets. Global sales passed 10,000 units in September 2014.
Among other awards and recognition, the BMW i3 won two World Car of the Year Awards selected as 2014 World Green Car of the Year and also as 2014 World Car Design of the Year. The i3 was also given an iF Product Design Gold Award, and, in the first UK Car of the Year Awards, it won in two categories: UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Super-mini of 2014.
BMW's "Project i" is a program created to develop lightweight eco-friendly urban electric car concepts designed to address the mobility and sustainability needs for people who live in megacities. According to BMW, "Project i" has three phases. The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of this project, and it was followed by a similar field testing that began in January 2012 with the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle. The ActiveE is based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and is built based on the lessons learned from the Mini E trial. The last phase of "Project i" is the development of the i3 and i8 electric cars.
The automaker expects that its first series production all-electric drive vehicle will help it achieve an overall fleet fuel economy average of 6.63 L/100 km (35.5 mpg) by 2016, as mandated by U.S. federal regulations. BMW expects high volume sales of the i3 to allow the company to continue selling several of its high-performance cars with low fuel economy in the U.S.
In February 2011, BMW announced a new sub-brand, BMW i, to market the vehicles produced under Project i. BMW i vehicles are to be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models are the battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.
BMW unveiled the i3 Concept Coupé study at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The carmaker developed the concept car to demonstrate the potential for conceivably extending the model range. The three-door coupe, like the five-door i3 electric sedan, is propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, with a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft). Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. The li-ion battery pack is placed under the floor and can deliver an all-electric range of 160 km (99 mi), but a gasoline engine referred to as "REx", can be added to extend the car's range to 320 km (200 mi).
Design and technology
BMW explained that taking advantage of the fact that the vehicle does not need an internal combustion engine up front, the i3 is being designed from the ground up, but avoiding to look podlike, with a dynamic sweep of the roof and the beltine to make it look sportier than most electrics.In order to achieve a lightweight car, the i3 will be the first mass production car to have most of its internal structure and body being made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). As of November 2010, BMW has only demonstrated the light weight of the passenger compartment, and the automaker's Chief Executive said they have already decided on the basic design of the car and that road-testing prototypes began soon after.
The i3 features four doors and seating for four occupants with dimensions being slightly larger than the Mini Cooper and the BMW 1 Series, but smaller than the BMW 3 Series. The i3 is powered by a newly developed powertrain consisting of a 130-kilowatt (170 hp) electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries and driving the rear axle. BMW aimed to achieve a range of 160 km (100 mi), the same range that was expected for the BMW ActiveE, but in order to reduce weight with a battery capacity of 16 kWh instead of the ActiveE's 30 kWh.
The BMW i3 has two pedals like all automatic transmissions cars. The acceleration pedal acts as both accelerator and engine brake. When the driver releases the pedal, the vehicle's kinetic energy is regenerated by the vehicle drivetrain to recharge the battery. This has the effect of slowing the car down. During the field testing of the Mini E, which features an accelerator that recharges the battery in this way, and consists of brakes that only apply to the rear wheels, BMW has learned that drivers tend to rely on the engine brake: around 75% of all deceleration maneuvers are initiated without the brake pedal in urban traffic areas. BMW also expected the i3 to use the same type of battery and powertrain that is being tested in the BMW ActiveE trials.
The prototype presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show had a 22 kWh (79 MJ) lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to deliver between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) and the battery was fully charged in about four hours with the 240-volt charging unit. The i3 was expected to go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in less than eight seconds.The BMW i3 features a 130 kW (170 hp) electric motor mounted on the rear axle to drive the rear wheels and the top speed is limited to 150 km/h (93 mph).
BMW designed the i3 eDrive powertrain based on the premise that the battery would only need to be recharged once every two to three days. The charging frequency was derived from field trial results taken from the BMW ActiveE and MINI E vehicles in Asia, Europe and the U.S., whereby the typical commuting use between the pilot users' homes and workplaces was calculated.
In June 2012 an updated version of the BMW i3 concept car was unveiled at the opening of the first BMW i store, located on Park Lane in London, UK. The updated i3 concept consists of a new interior colour and materials concept. The seat covers combine responsibly sourced wool and leather naturally tanned with an olive oil leaf-based agent. The almost symmetrical curving dash is inlaid with treated eucalyptus wood that, according to BMW, is sourced from sustainably managed European forests.
Information is provided to the driver through a 16.5 cm (6.5 in) freestanding instrument cluster and a 22.3 cm (8.8 in) central information display. The bench-derived front seats replace the center tunnel that bisected the cabin and a floor-mounted transmission, brake levers or center console are also absent.
Charging and connectivity
The i3 allows the owner to charge the battery from a conventional socket. The BMW i3 has a number of charging functions. AC fast charging can take less than 3 hours with the use of the BMW i Wallbox Pure, when charging from 0 to 80%. The i3 also has a rapid charging option suitable for public DC charging stations and can take less than 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 80%. In the US, it can also be charged from any public charging station with an SAE J1772 connector.
BMW claims that the i3 is the first fully online all-electric vehicle, but the Tesla Model S has had full 3G Internet connectivity since 2012.
The BMW i3 allows the driver to select the car energy consumption through three different drive modes: COMFORT, ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode. In the standard COMFORT mode the i3 delivers a range between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) in everyday driving conditions, while the i3 REx delivers between 260 to 290 km (160 to 180 mi).The ECO PRO mode increases the driving range by around 12% through a different accelerator pedal mapping which uses less power. In ECO PRO+ mode, all settings are geared to achieving the maximum possible range, increasing the driving range by about 24% compared with COMFORT mode. In this mode the maximum speed of the BMW i3 is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph) and electrical devices such as the heating and air conditioning are switched to energy-saving mode.
Range extender option
BMW is offering a gasoline range extender engine as an option. The range extender is powered by the same 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine used in the BMW C650 GT motorcycle. The range extender engine only engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 320 km (200 mi) for the European version. The European version has a 9 L (2.0 imp gal; 2.4 US gal) gasoline tank while the American version has a smaller 7.2 L (1.6 imp gal; 1.9 US gal) Under EPA five-cycle testing, the i3 REx has a total range of 240 km (150 mi).
The i3 performance in range-extending mode may be more limited than when it is running on battery power, as BMW clarified that the range extender is designed not for long-distance travel but purely as an emergency backup to keep the electric system going until the next recharging location.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 edition of the "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends" introduced utility factors for plug-in hybrids to represent the percentage of miles that will be driven using electricity by an average driver, in electric only or blended modes. The BMW i3 REx, classified as a plug-in hybrid by the EPA, has an utility factor in EV mode of 83%, compared with 66% for the Chevrolet Volt, 65% for the Cadillac ELR, 45% for the Ford Energi models, 37% for the BMW i8, 33% for the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and 29% for the Toyota Prius PHV.
- California's classification
The range-extender option of the BMW i3 was designed to meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation for an auxiliary power unit (APU) called REx. According to rules adopted in March 2012 by CARB, the 2014 BMW i3 with a REx unit fitted is the first car ever to qualify as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle or "BEVx." CARB describes this type of electric vehicle as "a relatively high-electric range battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to which an APU is added." The unit, which maintains battery charge at about 30% after the pack has been depleted in normal use, is strictly limited in the additional range it can provide, and delivers a minimum 75 mi (121 km) electric range.
CARB classified the i3 with the REx option as a "Transitional Zero Emission Vehicle" (TZEV), the same classification as other plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. This classification makes the i3 REx eligible for California's green sticker that identifies the vehicles allowed to be operated by a single occupant in California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV), or carpool or diamond lanes, but not for the white sticker reserved for pure electric cars, such as the BMW i3 without REx In addition, CARB certification of the i3 REx as BEVx allows the i3 with range extender to be eligible for a US$2,500 Clean Vehicle Rebate, the same amount eligible pure electric cars are entitled to. Other plug-in hybrids are only eligible for a US$1,500 purchase rebate.
Fuel economy and range
Under the New European Driving Cycle the official range is 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi), and up to 200 km (120 mi) in the most efficient driving mode. Under its five-cycle testing, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated the 2014 all-electric BMW i3's energy consumption at 27 kWh/100 miles (0.169 kWh/km) with a combined fuel economy at 124 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent - MPGe - (1.90 L/100 km; 149 mpg imp) with an all-electric range of 130 km (81 mi). These ratings allow the BMW i3 to become the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle sold in the United States of all years regardless of fuel type. The range-extended model has lower ratings than the all-electric i3 due to the extra weight of the twin-cylinder gasoline engine used in the i3 REx. Nevertheless, the i3 REx replaced the Chevrolet Volt as the most efficient EPA-certified current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.The following are the EPA ratings for the all-electric and range-extended models.