i3 electric car
by BMW


German car brand BMW has launched its first fully electric production car called the BMW i3 (+ slideshow).

i3 electric car by BMW

The first car launched under the company's BMW i sub-brand, the BMW i3 is the production model of a concept car originally presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011.

See our story about the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars »

i3 electric car by BMW

The four-seater, five-door city car has retained much of the styling of the original concept car, including a black band running from the bonnet, across the roof and down the back of the car and blue highlights around the distinctive BMW front grille.

It features a 170bhp all-electric motor powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and can travel 130 to 160 kilometres on a single charge.

i3 electric car by BMW

Top speed is 150 kilometres per hour and the car can accelerate from 0-100 kilometres per hour in 7.2 seconds.

i3 electric car by BMW

The battery can be charged from a domestic plug socket in around 8 to 10 hours, or in 3-4 hours from a public charging station.

i3 electric car by BMW

BMW also offers a home charging station called BMW i Wallbox Pure, which can match the charging rate of public charging stations.

i3 electric car by BMW

The car's onboard navigation system, which features a mobile data connection as standard, displays available charging stations within the car's current range in real-time.

i3 electric car by BMW

A second version of the car features a tiny additional 650cc petrol engine, which powers a generator to recharge the battery while the car is on the move.

i3 electric car by BMW

Called the BMW i3 Range Extender, this version of the car can travel up to 300 kilometres on a single charge, almost twice as far as the all-electric car.

i3 electric car by BMW

BMW also offers an additional annual subscription service called BMW Access, which allows BMW i3 owners to hire petrol-engined BMWs for one-off long-distance trips.

i3 electric car by BMW

See all our stories about BMW »

Here's some more information from BMW:

The BMW i3

The world, and with it the sphere of personal mobility, is in a state of ecological, economic and social upheaval. Global developments such as climate change, dwindling resources and increasing urbanisation call for fresh solutions. BMW i is finding those solutions. The brand stands for visionary vehicle concepts, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability.

i3 electric car by BMW

In the BMW i3 – the first series-produced model by BMW i – zero-emission mobility in a premium car package proves to be a recipe for pure driving pleasure. The first BMW Group model running on electric power alone offers customers totally new and groundbreaking ways to experience driving pleasure, sustainability and connectivity on city roads.

i3 electric car by BMW

The visionary design of the BMW i3 showcases both BMW’s customary sporting capability and the efficiency of a four-seater with authentic clarity. Its innovative vehicle concept, including a passenger compartment made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), combines lightness, stability and safety with extraordinary spaciousness.

i3 electric car by BMW

Meanwhile, the driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW Connected Drive and the 360° ELECTRIC services – all developed specially for BMW i – turn zero-emission urban mobility into a compelling everyday driving experience.

i3 electric car by BMW

The electric motor powering the BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft). Its instantaneous power flows to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The motor sources its energy from lithium-ion storage cells integrated into the car’s underfloor section.

i3 electric car by BMW

The significantly lower centre of gravity of the i3 – the result of the low, central placement of the battery units – and even weight distribution make an additional contribution to the car’s agile handling.

i3 electric car by BMW

The battery gives the car a range in everyday conditions of 130 – 160 kilometres (81 – 99 miles) when fully charged from a conventional domestic power socket, BMW i Wallbox or public charging station.

  • Citric

    There is so much going on on this car! It feels a bit immature to me, like a student’s work that lacks some editing.

  • andi

    Like with every electric car… they make ’em ugly so it’s harder for people to convert from fuelled to electric.

  • cube

    I guess they never heard the wise words “less is more”.

  • lev

    Tesla looks way better.

  • Seriously!? The “i3”? Why is everyone drinking Apple juice?

  • Love Neuschütz

    It’s even uglier than the BMW E1 from the 80s – another electric attempt.

    • mitio

      E1 – 1991

  • Chris

    Guessing the design team was sponsored by the petroleum industry.

  • James

    It really pisses me off that all these new electric concept cars seem to be designed to be just that. Can’t they take an existing design that sells and doesn’t look like some future designers wet dream? Does everyone realise that we have the technology already, but like people have said already, the petroleum industry doesn’t want it to happen.

  • Mike P

    I can’t believe the negativity in these comments. Have we given-up the ability to appreciate something looking new? I’m glad electric cars push the boundaries in their design. Auto styling is very conservative and slow to change, so this is refreshing.

  • Bryan C

    Totally agree with Mike P. I like seeing designers’ concepts pushing the edges of design outwards, towards some sort of vision of the future.

    Thank goodness for designers and their progressive attitudes or we’d be living in a stale world driven only by efficiency and mass marketability.

    I think this kind of design will capture the imagination of the right people for electric cars – people looking for a change, not more of the same.

    • Citric

      I strongly disagree. This is not progressive not a new direction in car design. It is just pushing all the bad habits of car designers even further: ostentatious surface sculpting, all-over-the-place design details and techno-futuristic tortuous lines.

      It is like every square centimetre of the car is trying to be more exciting than the next one. I’m really hoping for an electrical car design that promotes different values (and therefore lifestyles) than swank and high-speed.

  • Tesla looks like a more interesting option for an e-car.

  • will m

    Tesla is pretty but generic. This is an ugly ducking from some angles but it also has real character, the French designer seems to have a used the old 2CV as inspiration- lightweight construction, thin seats and almost no centre facia to make a spacious interior.

    The large-diameter skinny tyres too, good for economy and ride, but it still handles well because it is a BMW. The interior is a work of art.