First testing pics of BMW's radical new i3 electric vehicle that will be launched in 2013
16 March 2011

BMW has started pre-production testing on its radical i3 electric vehicle, spied in Sweden last week.

Known previously as the Megacity Vehicle, the i3 is built around a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, which sits on a combined aluminium chassis and crash structure. It’s expected to cost well in excess of £30,000 when it goes on sale in 2013.

The electric motor — designed and built by BMW — develops “over 100kW”. It is mounted under the boot floor, driving the rear wheels without the need for a multiple-ratio gearbox. The battery pack — expected to be good for around 100 miles — sits between the aluminium chassis, under the floor.

Although BMW has so far only confirmed a pure battery-powered version of the i3, a senior BMW engineering source told Autocar that he was most in favour of a ‘range-extender’ version, using a small on-board internal combustion engine and generator to charge the battery pack for longer journeys.

Interestingly, this i3 prototype seems to have a cooling air intake in the nose, of the type required for such an onboard engine/generator.

Full story - BMW i8 supercar scooped

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

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK