Bmw to build engines for its i8 plug-in hybrid electric supercar in the UK

Article by Christian A., on June 13, 2012

BMW’s British Hams Hall engine facility will be the sole producer of the 1.5-litre petrol engine, which will be used to power its i8 plug-in hybrid electric supercar. Last year, this plant located near Birmingham built 440,000 engines. It recently marked the milestone of its 3 millionth motor. It will start producing the low volume EV supercar’s engine before it gets launched in the market in 2013.

The three-cylinder TwinPower turbo engine has an output of 344bhp and 221lb ft of torque. It is partnered with a plug-in hybrid electric drive that allows the car to be driven 20 miles using just electricity and returns 78mpg overall.

Going from zero to 62mph takes shorter than 5 seconds. According to BMW Board Member Ian Robertson, its Hams Hall engine plant is a major contributor to the success of the new BMW i brand. The production in the UK of the three-cylinder engine is included in the £500 million investment for Oxford and Hams Hall, which was announced in 2011. There will be a tie-up with the new Mini’s production.

BMW’s plans would also be expanded to offer a lineup of new three-cylinder turbo engines. Robertson also said that the UK plant faces competition from other plants such as Steyr, Austria and several in Germany to produce the new engine.

However, he emphasized that the Hams Hall is a “highly automated plant.” It opened in February 2001 but so that it could produce BMW’s new generation of eco-focused internal combustion engines, its facilities will get an upgrade. Presently, it produces engines for the BMW 1 Series, F30 3 Series and X1, as well as all Mini variants.

As a whole, the concept of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car could be considered ground-breaking. Nonetheless, the car’s body design is also as innovative, as evident on its surfaces, lines and proportions. In fact, it doesn’t need a trained eye to be able to see that the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car as a BMW i model.

The new BMW i8 features overlapping and interlocking surfaces with a layout and color scheme that helps make the plug-in hybrid sports car as distinctive as possible. Employing this layering principle allows the car’s aerodynamic forms to be featured a progressively styled package, with its dynamic wheelarches helping highlight its wide track. The sports car’s compact construction helps BMW provide the i8 with low-slung front and rear sections, which help emphasize its dynamically stretched flanks. The sportiness and dynamic nature of the BMW i8 is also seen on its doors, which don’t open like conventional ones. Instead these doors open forward and upwards, like wings stretching to align subtly with the sports car’s A pillars.

Just like all BMW i models, the BMW i8 features the so-called "black belt" signature, which shows up in a "V" shape from the bonnet and then flows over the roof to the rear end. Then this black belt borders the center section of the rear apron. The front end, meanwhile, is bordered by front apron and side panels. The BMW i8 also features "floating" roof pillars extending over the tail lights. On the other hand, the side windows come with the so-called "stream flow" contour, also another visual feature found in all BMW i models. This stream flow dictates where the air flows between the roofline and the character line.

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