BMW finally unveiled the production version of its long-hyped i3 electric vehicle (EV) – originally called the Megacity car – at simultaneous events held yesterday in New York City, London and Beijing.
Together, they result in an exceptionally light vehicle that was designed from the ground up to be electric – "Born Electric," as BMW CEO, Norbert Reithofer proclaimed at the New York unveiling.
The Drive Module contains a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drivetrain, with the battery mounted in the rear, close to the drive wheels.
BMW says the I3 has a driving range of 130 to 160 km with the batteries fully charged, but that range can be increased by up to 12% or so if the car is driven in an Eco mode.
Alternatively, an optional range-extender gasoline engine is said to extend the i3's range to 320 km.
Thanks in part to its lightweight construction, the I3 can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in a little over 7 seconds, BMW projects, with an electronically-limited top speed of 150 km/h.
Perhaps BMW is betting that its ugly-duckling appearance will be more than offset by the I3's practicality and EV panache – or perhaps that it will even become an endearing feature in the mode of the original Volkswagen.
The car will be available in Europe in November and will go on sale in Canada and other markets in the first half of next year. The starting price in Canada will be $44,950.