BMW has revealed a revised version of its i3 electric vehicle concept at the launch of the first BMW showroom dedicated to the eco sub-brand

A revised BMW i3 concept car has been revealed at an event to mark the opening of the first showroom dedicated to BMW i brand cars on London’s Park Lane.

The revised BMW i3 concept reveals a more production realistic interior and exterior, ahead of the car’s mainstream production in 2013. Seen here, the i3's cabin is all-new, while the exterior remains the same as before apart from a new paint colour. The BMW i3 was unveiled alongside a 20kg electric bicycle concept, called the BMW i Pedelec.

According to Benoit Jacob head of i design, "What we see here is 85 to 90 per cent production ready. Very close, but visual details like doors can be expected to change - the i8 spider shown in Beijing didn't have see through doors so that gives clues."

The BMW i3 is constructed using two independent modules. The structural Drive module is made of aluminium and incorporates the battery, drive system and chassis. The second, so-called Life module is made of lightweight carbonfibre reinforced plastic. The car’s target weight will not exceed 1250kg.

The BMW i3 is powered by a 168bhp electric motor that sits over the rear axle the electronics systems, transmission and differential, ensuring no cabin encroachment. It produces 170 lb ft of torque from a standstill and a single-speed gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels. BMW claims the i3 will accelerate from 0-37mph in under four seconds and to 62mph in under eight seconds. The i3 has a top speed of 93mph.

Energy comes from lithium ion batteries positioned under floor to ensure the best weight balance. BMW claims that the i3 will achieve a pure electric range of 100 miles and has confirmed that the model will be made available as a range extender model too, which is where BMW sees most potential for growth of sales.

As a pure EV, the car can be fully charged from a standard socket in six hours. An 80 per cent charge can be achieved from a high-power charging socket in just one hour. 

Lifting off the throttle provokes regenerative braking forces. A selectable coasting mode disconnects the electric motor from the drive axle. In this mode the i3 is driven only by its own kinetic energy. The i3 also has an Eco Pro mode that minimises air-con power consumption and shuts down other functions such as heated seats and heated door mirrors.

The interior Life module has more space than any conventional car currently on sale, as a result no central tunnel bisecting the cabin. Passengers in the front and rear sit on full length benches. The motor and battery position means the car has more than 200 litres of luggage space.

A free-standing steering column houses the main controls, such as the instrument cluster, start/stop button and gearshift lever. The audio and climate control functions sit within the instrument panel, removing the need for a centre console. Instead, there’s a 6.5 inch display, plus a separate 8.8-inch central information display. A third screen shows functions of the audio system and automatic climate control.

The BMW i3’s interior also points the way to the look of all BMW i models. Materials used include leather, wood and wool, and BMW officials stress there will be a focus on renewable raw materials and natural fibres in all i vehicles. The i3 interior uses eucalyptus wood for the instruments sourced from managed forests in Europe, ensuring delivery distances are short. Leather trim is tanned using a dye from olive leaves.

BMW also revealed it will sell its i brand cars through around ten per cent of its established dealers, a mobile sales team that will travel to customers and through an internet sales hub. All cars sold will also be contracted via BMW itself rather than the dealer, in order to reassure customers. 

BMW says it will also help customers install its home charging box, source green energy supplies, access public charging points and offer comprehensive servicing possibilities. Buyers can also select packages that allow them to hire conventionally powered BMWs at times when the range of an electric car is restrictive.

Our Verdict

BMW i3

BMW made waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV, and continued development means the i3 keeps upping the ante

Join the debate

Comments
9

13 June 2012

I like the idea of being directly in contacwidth the manufacturer rather than through a dealership, but those doors are a concern.

I would worry about protection if a side-impact accident occurred!

I like the general idea but it isn't massively appealing in this form... maybe it would more if it was under the MINI brand? Who knows!

13 June 2012

If major design details on the concept like the doors change to being conventional metal pressings, doesn't that take away most of the individuality of the styling?

Myk

13 June 2012

Just what all electric cars need - heated seats and door mirrors and three (!) power-draining screens in the dashboard.  Goodbye 100 mile range!

13 June 2012

I had a go in an Ampera recently (seriously impressed) and heating the seats is recommended as opposed to heating the entire cabin as it uses less energy.  The screens are unavoidable I would say and won't use a lot of power.  Got to agree on the mirrors though - it's no hardship to adjust a mirror or two by hand before setting off.

Myk

13 June 2012

Well I take your point about the seats but my car manages very well without any screens at all, so I wouldn't say having three is unavoidable.

13 June 2012

When I say screens are unavoidable what I mean is you need a certain amount of information about what your car is doing.  How fast it is travelling, how much range is left, what distance the vehicle has travelled in its lifetime, warnings of any faults with brakes or other systems, what radio station you're listening to etc.  The most efficient way to display this information is on one or more screens.  I dare say all the information could be displayed on one screen rather than three but it could be difficult to read.  Most modern cars these days will have at least 2 screens even if it just to display miles travelled and radio/CD/MP3 info.

13 June 2012

It's possible the use of these electrical components (screens and electric mirrors) saves weight (as electric v manual windows saves weight), while maintaining a similar power draw as traditional instruments/displays. How much power could adjusting the mirrors use anyway? 

13 June 2012

Groan! Why do all eco-type cars look as if they're designed for a 'Stepford wife' or the sort of pious glasses- and sandal-wearing male that self-conciously carry their offspring in a forward-facing pouch thingy?

14 June 2012

Futuristic looking (check) ... Very eco-friendly (check) ... Help direct from the manufacturer (check) ... Affordable price (erm) ...

Needless to say, like the BMW i8, this car will only be within the purview of the well-heeled environmentalist ...

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    The Citroen C3 Aircross has got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again