The new BMW i3 – born to be electric
heralds a new era of premium car ownership with the launch of the
all-new BMW i3. This revolutionary car offers zero emissions in a
premium car package, yet at an affordable price.
The BMW i3 is
the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up to be powered
by an electric drive system. The result is a vehicle that embodies
BMW’s commitment to driving pleasure without compromise.
use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell compensates for the
extra weight of the battery, while the low, central location of the
battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to perfectly balanced
50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.
|0 – 62mph Seconds
||Top Speed Mph
||CO2 Emissions g/km
|BMW i3 Range Extender
**With £5,000 OLEV Government grant.
The electric motor generates an output of 170hp, with peak torque of
250Nm on demand instantly. This allows the BMW i3 to sprint from zero to
37mph in a mere 3.7 seconds and zero to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds,
while the lithium-ion battery gives a range of 80 –100 miles in everyday
driving. This rises by approximately 15 per cent in ECO PRO mode and by
the same again in ECO PRO+ mode.
As a point of reference,
since 2009 BMW has conducted research on a global scale with the MINI E
and BMW Active E programmes. A UK government report found that the
average commute was found to be 13.1 miles each way, and the average
daily mileage 25 miles.
For customers particularly
conscious of ‘range anxiety’, the BMW i3 is available with a range
extender engine, powering a generator to maintain the charge of the
lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move. This is
performed by a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine developing
34hp and mounted immediately next to the electric motor above the rear
axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day
driving to around 180 miles on one tank of fuel. The BMW i3 Range
Extender costs £28,830** OTR.
Both BMW i3 models include a
three-year, unlimited mileage vehicle warranty and an eight-year,
100,000 mile battery warranty. The battery is also included in the price
of the car negating a separate lease charge for battery, as is the case
for other electric vehicles.
The i3 is available with
four different interior worlds: Standard, Loft, Lodge and Suite. These
allow customers to change the look and feel of the interior. All worlds
feature sustainable materials such as sustainably sourced wood, natural
fibres and naturally tanned leather.
The price for the
BMW i3 starts at £25,680** and £28,830** for the Range Extender.
However, leasing is expected to be favoured by customers and the monthly
rates are highly competitive. Starting at £369p/m for a 36 month
contract and rising to £480p/m for an i3 Range Extender in Suite, the
BMW i3 is a compelling package.
BMW i3 is eligible for a host of government-backed grants and tax
breaks due to its zero emissions powertrain. In addition to the
‘Plug-in’ grant that reduces the OTR cost of the vehicle by £5,000, both
versions of the BMW i3 also benefit from a zero road fund licence
charge and are exempt from the London Congestion Charge. For corporate
customers, businesses benefit from 100 per cent capital write down
allowance and very low levels of National Insurance taxation, whilst
drivers will pay significantly less (in the case of the standard i3 zero
per cent) Benefit in Kind taxation. For these customers in particular,
the benefits over three years compared with contemporary internal
combustion engine vehicles run into thousands of pounds.
A car that was born electric
BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric
drive system. This has numerous advantages over vehicles that were
originally designed to incorporate internal combustion power, but have
subsequently been converted to electric propulsion.
had free rein with the dimensions and the configuration of all the
electric drive system components. For example, when a conventional car
is adapted to take an electric drivetrain, the space in a traditional
vehicle set aside for the fuel tank or exhaust system cannot be put to
constructive use. In the BMW i3 there has been no need for this kind of
compromise. Instead, the engineers were able to focus entirely on
shaping the character of the BMW i3 as a sporty, agile, yet
space-efficient and comfortable premium car for an urban environment.
The electric drivetrain
hybrid synchronous electric motor, developed and produced specially by
the BMW Group for use in the BMW i3, generates an output of 170hp and
provides maximum torque of 250Nm from the moment the car pulls away.
to an average power consumption of around 0.21kW/h per mile (in the New
European Driving Cycle (NEDC), the efficiency of the motor plays a key
role in optimising the car’s range. This is an extraordinarily low
consumption figure, especially considering the maximum power and torque
on offer. The BMW i3 is the most economical electrically powered car of
its size and output class. With significant benefits available from low
charging tariffs, the low cost per mile would equate to running a diesel
engine achieving over 400mpg.
The power density of the
electric motor, weighing around 50kg, sets a new benchmark for electric
vehicles. But the new engine is about more than simply numbers: with its
smooth running, minimal vibration and low noise levels, it offers a
uniquely calm driving experience.
Chassis – intelligent engineering
When it comes to the driving attributes of the i3, the BMW engineers
have achieved a perfect balance of vehicle weight, performance and
range. Increasing battery size can extend the operating range of
electric vehicles, but that adds weight and therefore has a negative
impact on performance. Similarly, a more powerful motor requires more
energy, which again means heavier batteries or restricted range. In
short, simply increasing the specification of various key components is
not the answer. An intelligent solution is required.
response has been to invest in the pioneering development of a
lightweight body, which enhances performance and means the weight saving
can be “invested” in larger batteries which, in turn, boost the car’s
range. With a DIN kerb weight of 1,195kg the i3 is lighter than most
compact vehicles, yet offers significantly more space for up to four
occupants. It also has the edge over conventionally powered models of a
comparable size and output in performance terms.
weight-saving innovations include: the direct connection between the
power electronics and electric motor in the rear which reduces the
length of cabling required and saves 1.5kg; the forged aluminium
suspension links that weigh 15 per cent less than a conventional design;
hollow drive shafts which are 18 per cent lighter than a conventional
equivalent; and the standard 19-inch forged aluminium wheels are 36 per
cent lower in weight than comparable steel rims of the same size. Even
the door trim panels, made from renewable raw materials, are 10 per cent
lighter compared to normal while the screws and bolts are aluminium,
not steel, and the windscreen wiper has a honeycomb structure to add
The battery is encased in aluminium sections
and is particularly well positioned from a crash safety perspective. The
electric motor and transmission unit are located in direct proximity to
the driven rear axle: this compact integration has been greatly
assisted by the in-house development of the drive components at the BMW
Group. The clear subdivision of Life and Drive modules means no central
tunnel is necessary, with noticeable benefits for the freedom of
movement and the generous space available inside the BMW i3.
traditional BMW fashion, the i3’s rear-wheel drive layout allows the
front axle to remain free of torque steer and fulfil its steering
function to full effect. As with current models from the BMW and MINI
brands, electric power assistance sends the BMW i3 driver’s steering
commands to the road with smoothness and precision.
extraordinarily small turning circle of 9.86m and a steering set-up that
demands just 2.5 turns from lock to lock enhance the agile handling of
the BMW i3, particularly in confined urban environments. This agility is
the defining characteristic of the driving experience, but in addition,
a long wheelbase (2,570mm), the Drive module’s rigid aluminium frame
and advanced chassis technology provide the perfect ingredients for a
sure-footed and relaxing ride.
The suspension components
of the BMW i3 are notable for their lightweight design yet extremely
stiff construction. The BMW i3 has MacPherson strut front suspension and
a five-link rear axle mounted directly to the Drive module. The
comittment to lightweight design means a reduction in unsprung weight,
which means a smoother ride at all speeds.
of the standard tyres (155 / 70 R19) are specific to the BMW i3, and
have been chosen with good reason. These large but comparatively narrow
tyres allow an excellent balance between dynamics and drag. Their
aerodynamic properties and low rolling resistance provide extremely
efficient driving. However, their contact patch barely differs from that
of the tyres fitted as standard on conventional cars. This gives great
assurance and poise so the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system is
only required in extreme situations.
The standard DSC
system offers all the functions familiar from current BMW models,
including the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control
(CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Brake Assist, Brake Standby,
Start-Off Assistant, Fading Compensation and the Brake Drying function.
The DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode, activated at the touch of a
button, raises the intervention thresholds of the stability control
system and allows a controlled degree of slip through the BMW i3’s
driven wheels when pulling away on snow or loose sand, or in
particularly enthusiastic cornering.
One pedal driving
standout feature of the BMW i3’s driving experience is the single-pedal
control, carefully configured by the development engineers. There is a
brake and an accelerator pedal but it is possible to drive without using
the brake pedal in normal driving conditions.
the driver takes his foot off the accelerator the electric motor
switches from drive to generator mode, feeding power into the
lithium-ion battery. This recharging mode has the side effect of
generating a precisely controllable braking motion, thus the car brakes
itself. This recharging effect is speed-sensitive, which means the car
“coasts” with maximum efficiency at high speeds and generates a strong
braking effect at low speeds. Thinking ahead in city traffic can allow
the driver to carry out 75 per cent of braking manoeuvres without
applying the brake pedal. As a safety measure the brake lights
illuminate if the regeneration produces the same braking effect as the
Intensive use of this form of brake energy
recuperation through the motor also increases the range of the BMW i3 by
as much as 20 per cent, and the “coasting” facility further enhances
the user-friendly nature of single-pedal control. The BMW i3’s
accelerator has a distinct “neutral” position; i.e. rather than
switching straight to energy recuperation when the driver eases off the
accelerator, the electric motor uses only the available kinetic energy
for propulsion. In this mode, the BMW i3 glides along using virtually no
energy at all. This is another example of how an anticipatory driving
style can preserve energy and further increase the car’s range on
The latest in battery technology
high-voltage battery in the BMW i3 consists of eight modules (each with
12 individual cells), which together produce a rated voltage of 360
volts and generate approximately 22kW/h of energy. The lithium-ion cells
used in the battery are particularly notable for their high energy
density and impressive cycle life: they are designed to perform their
energy storage function over the vehicle’s entire lifespan.
order to maintain their output and storage capacity over time, the
battery management system controls both the charging and the discharging
processes, as well as the operating temperature of the cells. When the
vehicle is on the move all the cells are used equally to supply energy,
while the air conditioning coolant is used to provide effective cooling
of the high-voltage battery, and this fluid can also be warmed using a
heat exchanger. All these characteristics enable the optimum operating
temperature of around 20°C to be reached before a journey begins, even
when the ambient temperature is low.
ensures the battery operates to optimum effect in terms of power output,
range and durability. The BMW Group has planned and developed this
battery to last for the full life of the vehicle and the battery
warranty is valid for eight years or 100,000 miles. However, in the case
of maintenance to the battery being required, it is also possible to
replace individual modules in the event of a fault.
battery pack is mounted flat in the Drive module and weighs
approximately 230kg. The battery casing and its model-specific
attachment systems were developed by the BMW Group to provide the
high-voltage battery with extensive protection against environmental
factors and in the event of a crash. Three levels of safety for the
car’s software and hardware, including a cut-off mechanism, provide
reliable protection for the electrical system as a whole.
Production and sustainability beyond the life of the car
manufacturing procedure and lifespan of the BMW i3 has been carefully
considered, with sustainability at the forefront of thinking.
Regenerative energy is used at all four BMW i plants across the globe,
with 50 per cent less water consumed and 70 per cent less energy than in
a conventional automotive facility.
The carbon fibre
required is produced at the BMW SGL Moses Lake plant in Washington
State, which is completely powered by hydro-generated electricity.
Construction of the CFRP architecture at Landshut, general assembly at
Leipzig and recycling at Wackersdorf (all in Germany) are all powered by
100 per cent wind turbine energy.
ConnectedDrive and 360° ELECTRIC
the BMW i3 is more than just a very intelligent car, it’s a wholly new
approach to personal mobility: just one element in a package that
includes innovative driver assistance systems and mobility services from
BMW ConnectedDrive and the new 360° ELECTRIC portfolio.
the 360° ELECTRIC portfolio, BMW i brings together a wide range of
innovative products and services that make electric car ownership an
easy and satisfying experience, offering services including home
charging and access to a continually expanding network of public
charging points. Other benefits include networked navigation including
dynamic range mapping, efficient ECO routing, and access to a range of
Electric Packages helping to provide flexible mobility.
fact, the BMW i3 is the world’s first fully networked electrically
powered car. No other car boasts such a far-reaching exchange of
information between the vehicle, its driver and the outside world. A SIM
card, fitted as standard in the BMW i3, is the key that unlocks the BMW
ConnectedDrive services which, for example, offers navigation services
specially developed to enhance electric mobility, as well as the more
Drivers can use the BMW i Remote app to
share information with their car at any time using their smartphone.
This enables features such as the pedestrian navigation function that
guides the driver from parking place to final destination and back. BMW
ConnectedDrive also offers unique intermodal route guidance as a world
first, which incorporates local public transport connections into
journey planning, available 2014.
Charging the BMW i3 in the UK
BMW i3 comes as standard in the UK with AC Fast Charging which sees a
7.4kW charge power up the BMW i3 from zero to 80 per cent within three
hours. This can be performed by the optional BMW i Wallbox. The
exclusive Wallbox has been created to give customers a comprehensive and
premium sustainable mobility experience.
must be installed by a qualified electrician so a home survey, delivery,
fitting and maintenance package for the BMW i Wallbox is available
through Schneider Electric, while the installation service is managed by
BMW and customised to customer’s specific requirements. Additional
“renewable” power options will be offered via selected BMW i partners,
for emission-free home charging. A seven day timer allows the car to be
charged at night when renewable energy makes up a higher proportion of
the energy supply and demand is at its lowest. AC Fast Charging is also
the most widespread public charging option in the UK.
charging can also be performed using a pre-supplied cable, fitting a
standard household socket at 2.4kW, when 32 Amp AC Fast Charging is not
available. Charging this way takes eight to 10 hours. DC Rapid Charging
is the third and final option available to owners and allows a BMW i3 to
get an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes to one hour. It uses a
50kW connection to do this and is suited to public charging locations
As part of a £37 million package of
investment in electric vehicles in the UK, the government offers a 75
per cent grant across the United Kingdom for the provision of domestic
charging points that includes the BMW i Wallbox, bringing the installed
cost down to £315**. The BMW i3 is engineered to meet standard industry
specifications for charging compatibility.
charging BMW will offer its customers access to BMW ChargeNow, a unique
service giving BMW customers in the UK cashless access to the largest
nationwide network of public charging stations with a single card – the
BMW i ChargeNow card. Charging stations in the ChargeNow network are
displayed, along with their live availability, on the BMW ConnectedDrive
services page in the navigation unit. Payment is a £20 annual fee, with
pay as you go access, allowing customers complete control of their
charging account. Customers will also receive an itemised monthly
statement and have the ability to access their account information
online at any time.
Complete mobility for the future
range of Electric membership packages, consisting of ChargeNow, BMW
Access and Maintenance, offer a flexible approach to electromobility.
Access gives an i3 owner points to redeem against the use of other BMW
Group vehicles should they wish to switch cars for European driving
holidays and other long trips. This points system can be added to as and
when members wish to access other vehicles. BMW Maintenance provides
all regular servicing needs of the BMW i3 including the replacement of
Customers can prioritise which of the above features
are most important to them across four plans that bundle them together:
Pulse, Charge, Spark and Energy. The price of these packages range from
£40-£80 per month and are available through BMW Financial Services.
the UK, 47 BMW dealerships have been appointed i3 agents, although the
entire network can handle servicing of the i3. Service Inclusive is
available on the BMW i3 for just £375, covering servicing costs for five
years or 60,000 miles.
BMW ConnectedDrive innovations
BMW i3 comes equipped as standard with a navigation system whose
functionality has been extended to include the BMW ConnectedDrive
services developed specifically for BMW i.
Range Assistant is featured as part of the navigation and can be
invaluable for both route planning and the current journey. If the
destination selected in the navigation system lies beyond the vehicle’s
current range, it comes to the driver’s aid by suggesting switching to
the ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode, as well as calculating a more efficient
alternative route. Also if the battery has to be recharged at a public
charging station, the driver is given a choice of available stations in
the neighbourhood and their live availability.
key element of the linked-up navigation unit is a dynamic range display,
which delivers remarkably precise, up-to-date and reliable information
by factoring in all the relevant variables. The battery’s charge status,
the driving style, activity of electric comfort functions and the
selected driving mode are all taken into account for the calculation,
along with the route’s topography, current traffic levels and the
The system is therefore able to make
allowance for the extra energy required for an upcoming climb,
stop-start traffic or a traffic jam on the selected route, and lower its
range calculation accordingly. The up-to-the-minute and detailed
real-time traffic information provided by the RTTI system is also added
to the equation. This information is analysed and evaluated centrally by
the BMW ConnectedDrive server that is in permanent communication with
This dynamic range is visualised on the
central information display in the BMW i3 as a peripheral contour within
the navigation map. Taking the vehicle’s current location as a starting
point, all points that can be reached in the various driving modes are
displayed in the form of a range spidergram.
Apart from the
information required for the route guidance currently in progress, the
navigation system also helps drivers to plan mobility requirements
beyond their present destination. For the purpose of energy management,
not only are the current battery capacity levels taken into account, but
the various options for recharging are also considered. The lithium-ion
battery in the BMW i3 can be recharged from any standard domestic
socket to give maximum flexibility. However, energy levels can be topped
up very quickly and conveniently at one of the charging stations
specially designed for electric vehicles. The BMW ConnectedDrive
services help drivers to quickly pinpoint these charging points by
displaying all available charging stations along the route or in the
vicinity of the destination on the navigation map, along with their
And it extends to your smartphone..
mobility planning information provided is made available on the
customer’s smartphone as well as in the vehicle. This connectivity is
provided by an application developed especially for BMW i for mobile
phones with the iOS and Android operating systems. The app is an
enhanced version of the remote services offered by BMW ConnectedDrive.
the vehicle is plugged into the BMW i Wallbox, the charging procedure
can be controlled both remotely and using a timer function. The BMW i
App can also be used to search for and select a navigation destination
or a free charging station and then import it to the vehicle’s system,
and the available charging stations along the route and in the vicinity
of the destination are likewise visualised in the BMW i App, just as
they are in the vehicle’s information display.
leaving the vehicle at a selected car park, customers can also use the
pedestrian navigation function integrated in the BMW i App to guide them
to their final destination. The navigation destination selected by the
driver in the vehicle is automatically transferred to the BMW i App via
the BMW ConnectedDrive server so that route guidance can be continued by
smartphone. The navigation system specifically developed for BMW i, to
meet the demands of travel in urban centres, also features a unique
intermodal route planning function. This function includes local public
transport networks, allowing the available transport connections to be
incorporated into route planning if required and displayed by the
navigation system in the BMW i3 en route.
The app lets
drivers see where they left their car parked at any time. Once a journey
has been completed, customers are able to compare the efficiency of
their driving style anonymously with that of other BMW i3 users. At the
same time, they are given further efficiency-enhancing pointers as well
as tips for honing the way they drive.
The BMW i3 launches in the UK on 16 November, 2013 with orders being taken from August.
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