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BMW i3 to Debut Later This Month - Hitting US Dealerships in January Under $35k

BMW announced last week via a teaser video that the production version of the BMW i3 electric vehicle will debut on July 29th with the first units hitting European dealerships in November and North American dealerships getting their hands on the i3 in January 2014 – with a price for the all electric version expected to carry a starting price under $35,000.

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In the past, BMW executives and industry insiders have guessed that the BMW i3 would cost somewhere in the area of $35,000 to $40,000 when it hits American dealerships but based on some news coming out of an event in Germany, the i3 will actually cost American buyers less than initially expected. According to Autoblog, the BMW i3 EV will have a starting price of $34,500 while the extended range “hybrid” version of the i3 starting right around $36,500. Should those prices prove to be true when BMW announces the full pricing tables for the compact EV, the BMW i3 will be one of the most affordable options in the electric vehicle segment. This base price does not include the high speed charging system that can be installed in your home garage to help improve charging times but even with that additional cost added in – the i3 still sounds like a smokin’ hot deal.

The BMW i3 EV will be powered by an electric drivetrain featuring a lithium ion battery that will offer 168 horsepower and 184lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels with an all-electric range expected to top 100 miles. To improve driving dynamics of the compact EV, BMW has mounted the electric drive motor over the rear wheels with the large, flat battery pack located under the cabin. In addition to simply plugging the i3 into your charging station at home or in public charging locations, the new BMW i3 will offer two other ways to charge the batteries more gradually. First, like pretty much every electric vehicle and hybrid sold in America, the i3 will feature a regenerative braking system that will add juice to the batteries when you are braking but unique to the i3 are the EcoPro and EcoPro Plus modes that add constant brake force resistance to continually charge the batteries while driving. The EcoPro system could help the i3 to become one of the most efficient most efficient EVs in America which is especially impressive considering that it is one of the less expensive AND it is a high end luxury vehicle from one of the most well respected automakers in the world.

Other than the power output of the electric drivetrain, the specifications of the upcoming BMW i3 are a mystery but with the formal debut of the production model planned for July 29th – we should soon know pretty much everything that there is to know by the end of this month.

Those who need to be able to drive more than 100 or so miles with their compact BMW i3 EV will be able to opt for the range extended “hybrid” version. The electric drivetrain components of the hybrid are identical to the pure electric i3 but along with the electric drive motor, there is a 600cc motorcycle engine mounted over the rear wheels. This motor, which is provided by the BMW Motorad division, does not actually power the vehicle but instead, it works as a high performance generator that will allow i3 owners an endless range when running on a combination of electric and gasoline power. We can expect the range extended hybrid version to arrive a few months after the full electric version so if the i3 EV arrives in US BMW dealerships next January, the i3 hybrid should arrive by the spring of 2014. We can expect full range figures for the hybrid i3 and actual fuel economy figures as we get closer to the launch of those models next year.

Source: Autoblog

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