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Industry News
BMW rolls out all-electric, composites-intensive i3

The BMW i3 all-electric car, which will enter market first in Europe and the rest of the world next year, features a first-of-its-kind carbon fiber composite passenger cell and aluminum chassis.

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Posted on: 7/29/2013
Source: CompositesWorld

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i3 cell JEC

BMW i3 carbon fiber passenger cell at JEC Europe 2013 show, March 2013.

The BMW Group (Munich, Germany) debuted on July 29 the series version of its electric vehicle, the BMW i3, simultaneously in New York, London and Beijing. "Innovation drives change. The i3 is more than just a car. It's a revolutionary step towards sustainable mobility. It is purpose-­built around an electric power train to serve the needs of our megacity customers," says chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Norbert Reithofer, at the world premiere in New York.

The BMW i3 is­ the BMW Group's first pure electric series-­produced model. Sustainability is a priority throughout the entire BMW i3 value chain: "The BMW i3 sets a new benchmark for sustainable mobility in all stages of development and production, as well as after-sales," says Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance, at the unveiling of the BMW i3 in Beijing.

The BMW i3 features a large number of technological innovations,­ such as a carbon ­fiber composite passenger cell and a chassis made of aluminium, and sets new standards in the field of lightweight construction. With a curb weight of 1,195 kg/2,635 lb, it is lighter than most vehicles in the compact segment, yet offers significantly more space for up to four occupants.

The vehicle achieves a range of 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 miles). The BMW Group's experience with test fleets of MINI E and BMW ActiveE cars has shown that a range of 130 to 160 km is quite sufficient for the vast majority of drivers. The average distance driven daily worldwide is no more than 64 km/40 miles.

If desired, the BMW i3 is also available with a range-­extender, which maintains the charge of the lithium­-ion battery at a constant level en route, as soon as it falls below a specified value. This is performed by a two-­cylinder gasoline engine with 34-hp (25 kW), mounted adjacent to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car's maximum range in day-­to-­day driving to around 300 km/186 miles.

The BMW i3 will be released in Germany and other European markets in November 2013. The market launch of the BMW i3 in USA, China, Japan and several other markets will take place in the first half of 2014. The base price for the BMW i3 has been set at €34,950 ($46,364.65) in Germany. With Range Extender, price increases to €39,450 ($52,334.35).

The BMW i3 sprints from 0 to 60 km/h in 3.7 seconds and from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.2 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 150 km/h (93 mph) for efficiency reasons.

BMW says that after almost 93,000 electric vehicles were registered worldwide last year, a total of 150,000 units is already forecast for the current year.

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