BMW to loan cars, install optional at-home fast-charging systems for the i3 buyers

Article by Anita Panait, on April 23, 2013

BMW will be offering extra services to entice customers to make the shift to its "i" electric-car lineup, Marcus Krieg, a sales and marketing manager, disclosed during a presentation in Leipzig, Germany. The extra services include the occasional use of fuel-powered models as well as installation of optional at-home fast-charging systems for the i3 city car that is due at the end of 2013.

The vehicle’s onboard navigation software will be programmed to detect the nearest public charging station during travels, and i3 owners will be able to borrow a fuel-powered car from their dealer for a longer range driving. The i3 will be entering the electric vehicle market that has proven to be challenging even for old-timers and has yet to reach industry expectations.

For instance, Nissan expected to sell around 9,000 Nissan Leafs in Europe, but only managed to deliver 5,210 units, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. Nissan also expected to sell around 20,000 Nissan Leafs in the United States in 2012, but was only able to reach less than half of the target sales.

BMW, on the hand, hopes to secure early earnings from its electric car lineup by compensating for its expensive new materials with a sales setup designed to limit distribution costs.Harald Krueger, BMW’s head of production, remarked that the carmaker is charting a new territory, but is confident it will earn money with every BMW i3 it sells from the launch on."

BMW plans to follow up the i3 with the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car in early 2014. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Science in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, estimates the i3 to be priced at around EUR40,000 ($52,200).

On the other hand, the i8 will have a price that exceeds EUR100,000, according to Ian Robertson, BMW’s sales chief. Christian Ludwig, an analyst with Bankhaus Lamp, remarked that the i3 is “more a car for the wealthy few." He noted that the i3 is not practical with its limited range and limited loading space. He added that a buyer also needs a garage or private parking space to charge the battery since the public infrastructure is still very limited.

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer, or CFRP, is a material that is light but also exceptionally rigid. This is the same material used to make the passenger compartment of the new BMW i3. Because of this, it removed the need to have B-pillars, meaning access to the i3’s two rows of seats is made easier. As an i-model, the i3 has that “black belt,” a feature that is considered as one of the trademarked features of this particular range.

This feature begins from the bonnet then goes across the roof before ending in the rear section of the car. Then there are the side curves and its “stream flow” sweep. This is another result of the stand-alone design language of i-models.

For this one, it results in making the surfaces of the side window larger, especially in the rear. It helps increase the feeling of space for the interior. When it came to designing the new i3, the company was able to get a rather wide degree of freedom owing to the BMW eDrive drive technology and the LifeDrive architecture. Without a doubt, the look of the new i3 is truly unforgettable given the driving experience and the feeling of space it offers.

Overall length is measured at 3,999 mm, with total width of 1,775 mm, and height measured at 1,578 mm. These figures mean that the i3 has a unique proportion with the compactness and the dynamism being able to highlight the agility of this model especially for use in the city. Further, the short overhangs offer another clue to the model’s lithe driving qualities.

By making use of large glass surfaces, it gives this model that captivating lightness and when combined with the highly noticeable carbon structures, provides a look to the low-weight design of this vehicle. Defining the design of the front section is the powerfully curved apron. Then there is also that unique interpretation of the brand’s kidney grille.

In addition, there are also the headlights that are surrounded with LED U-shaped light units. The rear lights are also U-shaped and utilize LED as well. For these lights, they have been integrated to appear as “floating” elements on the fully-glazed and large tailgate.

Topics: bmw, bmw i3, electric car

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