Fighting the Leaf and the Volt
BMW to join the electric-vehicle fray with the i3.
First, the bad news: If you want to put yourself behind the wheel of the upcoming i3, you’ll need to raid the piggy bank for $35,000. That is a little over $2,200 more than what Nissan commands for the Leaf, but $6,000 less than the sticker on the Chevrolet Volt. With its electric motor in the rear of the vehicle and a scattering of batteries tucked under the floor, the i3 makes use of an unconventional drivetrain layout that should provide up to 150 horsepower.
Even more important, Car and Driver reports that the BMW i3 EV will be able to whiz around with a range of about 100 miles and a top speed of 100 mph. No information is available on how long it will take the hatchback to get to its top velocity, however.
Since all of its running gear is nestled in the way back, BMW has built in a storage area where the engine bay would typically reside. Buyers will be able to cram up to 14.1 cubic feet of cargo into the vehicle, combining the front hatch with the slim area behind the rear seats.
All of this sounds really good to our ears, though BMW's partnership with Siemens for a wireless charging network throughout Berlin sounds even better.
Unfortunately, with no solid time line for the arrival of the i3 on the European, let alone the American, market all of these figures are up for grabs. BMW has been slavishly working away on a carbon-fiber development plant in the U.S. to create a body shell that’s as strong as it is lightweight, and Volkswagen has even pitched in on the effort, but until we see more than an awkward prototype or two rolling around, both the Leaf and the Volt have little to worry about from the German competition.
[Source: Car and Driver]
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