BMW CEO urges Germans to accept electric vehicles

Article by Anita Panait, on May 17, 2013

BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer urged his fellowmen to throw away their worries over electric-vehicle technology. Reithofer said that while Germany is respected and admired for its engineering expertise and innovation, it is also home to the so-called 'German angst.' BMW’s CEO said that Germans like to engage in long and fearful discussions because they tend to see more problems than opportunities, adding that it is no different with electro-mobility.

The German carmaker wants its i3 city car – its first electric vehicle – to have a good start when it goes on sale later this year even as EVs have been posting dismal sales results due to high costs and concerns over their range. BMW considers the i3 as a key part of its strategy to keep rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz behind its tail.

To play down concerns over electric cars, BMW commenced a global marketing campaign on May 14, 2013 to promote its "i" sub brand via print and Internet ads as well as a series of nine online videos.BMW will also equip the i3 with an auxiliary engine that takes over if the battery runs out of power.

The range auxiliary engine could extend the i3’s range to over 300 kilometers before having to recharge -- more than double the normal range on battery alone. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences, remarked that after the hype, “we're now in a phase of disenchantment on electric mobility." He remarked that in Germany, that is a good thing since people look at things more pragmatically.

BMW i is finding fresh solutions to address global problems like climate change and dwindling resources and to keep up with global developments like increasing urbanization. The brand has come to stand for visionary vehicle concepts and inspiring design, as well as a new understanding of what sustainability-defined premium truly is about.

In the BMW i3, emission-free mobility in a premium car package is the key to pure driving pleasure. The BMW i3 is BMW i’s first series-produced model, as well as the first BMW Group car that runs on electric power alone. This four-seater gives customers groundbreaking ways to experience connectivity and sustainability on city roads. Its visionary design showcases the brand’s customary sporting capability as well as its authentic clarity and efficiency. Moreover, it boasts an innovative concept that combines lightness, safety, and stability with impressive spaciousness. One feature that showcases this innovative concept is the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic or CFRP passenger compartment.

Meanwhile, BMW Connected Drive’s mobility services and driver assistance systems, as well as the 360° ELECTRIC services, which were all developed especially for the BMW i, turn emission-free urban mobility into a daily driving experience that is truly compelling.

Moreover, the electric motor that powers the BMW i3 delivers an output of up to 125 kW/170 hp and a peak torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft). The motor’s instantaneous power flows toward the wheels at the rear through a single-speed transmission. Lithium-ion storage cells that have been integrated into the underfloor section of the car supply energy to the motor.

Additionally, the car’s center of gravity is significantly lower, thanks to the battery units’ low, central placement. Also, the even weight distribution contributes to the BMW i3’s agile handling. The battery allows the car a range of 81 - 99 miles when it is fully charged using a BMW i Wallbox, a conventional home power socket, or a public charging station.

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