BMW's electric dreams

BMW has lifted the covers on concept versions of its two i models - the full electric i3 city car, and active hybrid i8 supercar.

The close to production ready examples are a clear pointer to the ‘Born Electric’ division’s aim of leading the global auto industry in volume manufacture of alternative propulsion vehicles.

At just over 3.8metres long, the four seat i3 hatch is powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor, mounted over the rear axle and mated to a single speed gearbox. Normal urban driving range is quoted at 130-160 km, claimed 0-100km/h time is 7.9sec, and the car is governed to a 150km/h top speed.

At 4.6-metres long, nearly two metres wide and a little under 1.3 metres high the i8 is BMW’s hybrid supercar of the (near) future. The combination of the i3’s electric motor driving the front wheels and a 164kW/300Nm turbo petrol engine driving the rears gives the 1480kg 2+2 a combined output of 260kW/550Nm.

It will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.6 sec, run to a limited 250km/h Vmax, and return 3.0L/100km fuel economy on the Euro combined cycle.

The cars will be built in BMW’s Leipzig plant in eastern Germany, with the i3’s release scheduled for 2013 and the i8’s on sale confirmed for 2014. More details on the i3 and i8 in Wheels September (on sale Wednesday August 17).

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