German car brand BMW has launched its first fully electric production car called the BMW i3 (+ slideshow).
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.
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.
Top speed is 150 kilometres per hour and the car can accelerate from 0-100 kilometres per hour in 7.2 seconds.
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.
BMW also offers a home charging station called BMW i Wallbox Pure, which can match the charging rate of public charging stations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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