The I Division is an introduction to a new range of vehicles built by BMW, that will feature electric or hybrid power trains. It was first founded in 2011. After putting this plan in action the company expects to meet stringent fuel economy regulations that become enforced upon automakers. Furthermore it allows the company to branch into a new market segment. The company will start off by releasing two vehicles; the i3 and the i8. Concept versions of both these vehicles had been shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.


The company plans to come up with more ideas in the future in order to promote BMW as an environmentally friendly car manufacturer. There have been talks of the release of a range of small front wheel drive cars in the years to come. The goal is that after the release of the the i3, the average fuel economy of all the cars in their model range might be 6.63L/100km (35.5 mpg). The i3 is expected to come into production sometime in 2013. Final dates on the release of the i8 have yet to be determined.
Sub-brand of BMW
Automotive industry
High performance low-emission cars,
Innovative mobility solutions

Range of vehicles

BMW i Park Lane showroom in London


Main article: BMW i3

Design and Technology

BMW claims the driving experience of the i3 will be one of complete silence, and zero emissions. This vehicle will get its power from an electric motor, and lithium-ion high-voltage batteries. The i3 is going to be built for everyday use, with a planned range of 130-160 km. The range extender option will come with a tiny gas powered engine that will charge the electric batteries. This option will further improve fuel economy allowing anywhere between 240-340 km of range. 75% of all deceleration maneuvers are made without using the brakes on a car. Taking this into account, BMW plans to put in a single pedal to replace the conventional dual pedal system, that when released will allow a generator to charge the batteries and stop the car.


The i3 features a body made entirely out of carbon fibre, for which BMW invested $100 million to build a plant in Moses Lake, Washington. Carbon fibre requires an abundant supply of power so for efficiency the plant is located in an area that has large access to hydroelectric power. The carbon fibre is then sent to Germany, where it first gets fabricated and then goes to the automotive production plant in Leipzig.


Main article: BMW i8
The BMW i8 is a near replica of the BMW Vision Efficient-Dynamics Concept. Powering the front two wheels will be an electric motor (131 hp), while the back two wheels however will make use of a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder gasoline engine (231hp). 0 to 60 mph sprint timings are estimated to be less than 4.5 seconds using both power sources. The positioning of the motor and engine over the axles also makes it benefit from a 50/50 weight distribution.


Both the i3 and i8 will benefit from BMW’s lifedrive platform which makes use of light-weight materials. The claim is that electric vehicles suffer from a heavy weight from all the excess batteries needed to power the car. It is believed their vehicle will be a market first by utilizing a light frame to begin with. Both cars will come with an aluminum chassis, thus preserving the sporty driving characteristics associated with all BMW’s.


      2011 BMW i3 Concept front view
      2011 BMW i3 Concept rear view
      2011 BMW i8 Concept front view

      2011 BMW i8 Concept rear view
      Back to BMW
      Last updated on 19 August 2013 at 17:14.


      Back to Top