BMW thinks that buyers in the U.S. don’t want to worry about range and so most of those who buy the 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicle will prefer to get the optional backup gasoline engine. However, BMW explained that the driving performance of the 2014 i3 will probably be affected when the gasoline engine kicks in.
BMW has yet to reveal the prices for its 2014 BMW i3 or its optional gas engine. Sales of the i3 – a five-passenger, five-door, rear-wheel-drive hatchback – will begin in the U.S. in the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, it will start selling in Europe at the end of 2013. When using purely battery, the vehicle gets an 80- to 100-mile range. But when the optional gasoline engine kicks in and charges the batteries, it gets another 80 to 100 miles. The batteries are positioned under the passenger compartment.
The optional engine is found at the back of the rear seat and the electric motor is placed between the engine and the rear bumper to drive the rear wheels. Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, told Edmunds that U.S. consumers have “range anxiety” when faced with purely electric vehicles. In an interview at the 2013 New York Auto Show, Willisch said that the range extender acts as an auxiliary generator that charges the battery if it becomes so discharged that the driver won’t be able to get home.
BMW actually wants to alleviate any worries that owners could have and so it as launched a backup plan. For longer distances, BMW is offering to loan conventional cars to i3 owners. A 650cc two-cylinder engine is the i3's optional range extender.
This is presently used in BMW's C650 motor scooter. The gasoline engine is not linked to the i3's rear wheels. Willisch said that the average daily-use range of a U.S. customer is 30 miles, round trip; however, it will offer the gasoline engine to eliminate range anxiety. He based the 30-mile figure on the usage recorded from its two (electric car) projects, both the Mini E and ActiveE.
The BMW Group is set to play a groundbreaking role in molding the face of personal mobility. The carmaker's research and development team has carried out work since 2007 as a part of its project "i", laying out the foundation for sustainable mobility solutions that are influenced by global economic, social, and environmental change. BMW is employing an integrated approach that is also embodied by its new BMW i brand. This approach is driven by the need to achieve a balance between global mobility requirements and the individual needs of the future. BMW i is dedicated to producing innovative cars and mobility services that carry a premium character defined in terms of sustainability. This vision is becoming a reality as the BMW i3, which is the new brand's first series-produced model, offers emission-free mobility as part of a premium car package.
The BMW i3 is the first premium car ever to be designed from the ground up and to be powered through an electric drive system. What you get is driving pleasure that can only come from a BMW. The new car delivers zero emissions as well as an unrivaled intensity. The i3 has a unique architecture, which is based on a structure called "LifeDrive," with the aluminium module and the CFRP passenger cell encompassing the car's battery, chassis, and powertrain. The car's electric motor, high-voltage lithium-ion battery, and power electronics were developed independently under the company's "BMW eDrive program," ensuring that BMW's "Sheer Driving Pleasure" is a central feature.
The BMW i3 also uses lightweight and durable CFRP, which is unique in car production. Because of its weight-reducing properties, the BMW i3 is lighter than any car with a conventional drive system and a full fuel tank. In fact, the car's DIN kerb weight is at 1,195 kg, including its high-voltage battery pack that gives it sporting performance attributes.
The BMW i3's LifeDrive architecture, coupled with the BMW eDrive drive technology, gives the car a great level of design freedom. As a result, the car looks memorable, with a sense of space and the promise of a terrific driving experience. Its body measures 3,999 mm long, 1,775 mm wide, and 1,578 mm high, giving the car distinctive proportions as well as an agility that is highlighted by its dynamism and compactness.