Revealed! BMW's 'i' EV Sub-Brand -- Full Details And Film

2012 BMW i3 and i8

2012 BMW i3 Concept and i8 Concept

BMW has been teasing us with mentions of its ‘i’ sub-brand range of Electric Vehicles for what feels like an age.  Well, the wait is now over because we now have details and images of the concepts that will debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.  And they don’t disappoint.

With BMW i, the BMW Group is adopting an all embracing approach that redefines the understanding of personal mobility with purpose built vehicle concepts, a focus on sustainability throughout the value chain and a range of complementary mobility services.

The BMW i3 Concept, previously known as the Megacity Vehicle and BMW’s first series-produced pure electric vehicle, is designed to meet future mobility challenges in urban areas.  It combines typical BMW attributes with solutions to the demands of individual mobility in the megacities of tomorrow.

The BMW i8 Concept is a new generation sports car — progressive, intelligent and innovative — which combines a combustion engine with an electric drive system to unleash exceptional power.  This ensures maximum driving pleasure with minimum fuel consumption, especially in urban areas.

BMW i is about the development of visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability.  With BMW i the BMW Group is adopting an all-embracing approach, redefining the understanding of personal mobility with purpose built vehicle concepts, a focus on sustainability throughout the value chain and a range of complementary mobility services.

Two special vehicle concepts.
The BMW i brand is now poised to enter the consciousness of the automotive public with two new vehicles.  On the one hand there is the BMW i3 Concept.  Previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, the BMW Group’s first series-produced all electric car focuses squarely on the mobility challenges in urban areas and, as the first premium electric vehicle, reinvents the hallmark BMW attributes for the future.  Then comes the BMW i8 Concept, a sports car of the most contemporary variety — forward looking, intelligent and innovative.  Its unique plug-in hybrid solution brings together a combustion engine and an electric drive system to create an extraordinary driving experience complemented by extremely low fuel consumption and emissions.

BMW i3 Concept — dynamic, urban, emission-free.
The BMW i3 Concept is an uncompromisingly sustainable vehicle designed for urban areas.  Driven purely by electric power and purpose built to meet the demands of sustainable and emission free mobility, it embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting.

The BMW i3 is a well-resolved all-round concept, with every detail conceived and optimised to fulfil its eventual purpose.  Its innovative LifeDrive architecture renders the BMW i3 Concept light, safe, spacious and dynamic.  Innovative use of materials and intelligent lightweight design, moreover, not only enable the i3 Concept to travel long distances on a single charge and provide superb safety in the event of a collision, they also help give the car its excellent driving dynamics.  The electric motor over the rear axle — which generates output of 125 kW/170 hp and impressive torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) from a standstill — and a small turning circle combine to deliver pleasingly crisp driving characteristics.  The BMW i3 Concept accelerates from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than eight seconds.

The so called Life module conjures up a feeling of space inside the car more generous than even the latest conversion vehicles can offer. Select materials lend the open and airy cabin a lounge like character.  The use of renewable raw materials is another defining characteristic of the interior, offering passengers a further means of “experiencing” the sustainability of the vehicle.  Parts of the instrument panel and door panelling are visibly made from natural fibres, while the naturally tanned leather of the seats creates a lounge-style ambience. With four seats, wide-opening opposing “coach” doors, a boot capacity of around 200 litres and an additional functional compartment in the front, the BMW i3 Concept is neatly equipped for the demands of everyday use.

Innovative connectivity functions create a seamless connection between the BMW i3 Concept and its customers’ lives outside the car.  Remote functions accessible via a smartphone enable owners to find their vehicles, flag up nearby charging stations, allow battery charging and preconditioning at the touch of a button, and supply information on the current status of the vehicle.  Meanwhile, intelligent assistance systems ease the stress on drivers in monotonous city driving situations and allow them to arrive at their destination more safely and in a more relaxed state of mind.

BMW i8 Concept – emotional, dynamic and efficient.
The BMW i8 Concept and the fascinating approach that underpins it embody the vision of a sustainable contemporary sports car brought to life.  Its innovative plug-in hybrid concept combines the modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept — fitted over its front axle — with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear.  Working in tandem, they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents to the full, delivering the performance of a sports car but the fuel consumption of a small car.

Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three litres per 100 kilometres (approx. 94 mpg imp) are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance.  Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 35 kilometres (approx. 20 miles) on electric power alone.  Added to which, the 2+2-seater offers enough space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday practicality.

The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept has been carefully adapted to enhance the vehicle’s sports car character, and therefore to deliver unbeatable performance and excellent driving dynamics.  The motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear are connected by an “energy tunnel”, which houses the high-voltage battery.  This gives the car a low centre of gravity – and the dynamic benefits that come with it.  The positioning of the electric motor and engine over their respective axles and the space-saving and well-balanced packaging of all components result in an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.

The emotional design of the BMW i8 Concept ensures its qualities are clear for all to see.  Its dynamic proportions give the BMW i8 Concept the appearance of surging forward before it even turns a wheel and lend visual form to its extraordinary performance.

The sporting character continues into the interior.  Boasting a driver-focused environment unmatched by any BMW Group vehicle before it, the BMW i8 Concept immerses the driver fully in the unique driving experience.  The BMW i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation – pure, emotional and sustainable.

BMW i thinks beyond the vehicle.
An additional range of mobility services — which can also be used independently of the cars — will be an integral component of BMW i alongside the vehicles themselves.  A totally new development in this area will be vehicle-independent mobility services.  Here the focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning and premium car-sharing.  In addition to service packages developed in-house, the BMW Group is pursuing cooperations with partner companies as well as strategic capital investments with providers of mobility services.  BMW i Ventures was established with this purpose in mind.  The company aims to expand the product portfolio of BMW i over the long term with stakes in highly innovative service providers, such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse.

Expect to find out more when the Frankfurt show opens on 13th September.

Click here for the “BMW i. Born Electric. The BMW i3 Concept & BMW i8 Concept” film.


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