BMW has officially entered the electric car sphere with their new i Series concept vehicles. Created entirely from scratch and opting not to use any of their current models as a base, the German auto manufacturer has recently released details on its new i3 hatchback and i8 hybrid plug-in coupe. Both feature some very futuristic design cues that would fit perfectly in any Sci-Fi flick and follow BMW’s EfficientDynamics approach, which emphasizes “less emissions, more driving pleasure.”
Because they didn’t just want to switch out a gas engine for an electric one, BMW created both cars with its innovative LiveDrive architecture, which puts the electric motor and the battery at the heart of the design. Both also use the LifeDrive design to achieve lightweight vehicles.
The i3 features a 125 KW electric motor and was previously known as “the MegaCity Vehicle.” The electric motor is placed over the rear axle and pushes out 170 horses with 184 lb.-ft. of torque. With a driving range of about 80 miles, the i3 is said to produce a 0-60 mph time in less than eight seconds, which is pretty much the same as other electric vehicles that are currently on the market. Created as a pure EV, BMW has also released information on their new range extender option, the REx, which is a smaller engine that will charge the car’s electric battery to help it get more than 80 miles per charge. Although it looks small, don’t let it fool you; this EV comfortably sits four and has a top speed of 93 mph so it has some kick in it!
While the i3 is more of an urban dweller compact car, the i8 combines the performances of a sports car with that of a green vehicle. As a plug-in hybrid performance vehicle established on BMW’s Vision Efficient Dynamics model, it can go up to 20 miles on electricity (thanks to its electric motor that runs the front wheels) alone before its high performance 3-liter, 220-hp engine (that powers the rear wheels for all-wheel drive possibilities) has to kick in. It can sprint from 0-62 mph in under five seconds and features a 50/50 weight distribution, resulting in a well-balanced package!
Still only concept, BMW didn’t provide any additional information regarding production of either vehicles, but you just never know…we might see something similar popping up in the next couple of years!