BMW i3

The BMW i3, previously Mega City Vehicle (MCV), is a 5-door sedan urban electric car developed by BMW. The i3 is part of BMW's "Project i" and is being launched as a new brand, BMW i.
The i3 is BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain, and BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption. Under the New European Driving Cycle the official range is 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi), and up to 200 km (120 mi) in the most efficient driving mode. BMW will offer a range extender (“REx”) option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 9 L (2.0 imp gal; 2.4 US gal) fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 240 to 300 km (150 to 190 mi).
The BMW i3 is scheduled to go into mass production in 2013 with deliveries in several European countries in November 2013. The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW showcased a BMW i3 prototype during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and the production version was unveiled in July 2013. Pricing in the United States will start at US$42,275 before any government incentives, and the range extender option will cost an additional US$3,850. Prices in Germany will start from €34,950 (US$46,400) Pricing in the UK will start at GB£30,680 (US$47,195) before the applicable government grant.
Also called
BMW Mega City Vehicle
Model years
Leipzig, Germany
Body style
5-door hatchback
Combustion engine
25KW 647cc, two-cylinder generator, with a 9-liter fuel tank (optional)
Electric motor
130kW (170 hp)
Automatic, simple speed with fixed ratio
22 kWh lithium-ion battery
130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) with range extender
240 to 300 km (150 to 190 mi) (BMW)
Plug-in charging
7.4 kW on-board charger on IEC Combo AC, optional Combo DC
2,570 mm (101 in)
3,999 mm (157.4 in)
1,755 mm (69.9 in)
1,578 mm (62.1 in)
Curb weight
1,195 kg (2,630 lb) (DIN)
with range extender
1,315 kg (2,900 lb) (DIN)
Richard Kim

Project i

BMW's "Project i" is a program aimed to develop a lightweight eco-friendly urban electric car designed to address the mobility and sustainability needs for people who live in megacities. According to BMW, "Project i" has three phases. The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of this project, and it was followed by a similar field testing that began in January 2012 with the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle. The ActiveE is based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and is built based on the lessons learned from the Mini E trial. The last phase of "Project i" is the development of the i3 and i8 electric cars.
2011 BMW i3 Concept sketch front view
2011 BMW i3 Concept sketch rear view

The automaker expects that its first series production all-electric drive vehicle will contribute to achieve an overall fleet fuel economy average of 6.63 L/100 km (35.5 mpg) by 2016, as mandated by the U.S. federal regulations. BMW expects high volume sales of the i3 to allow the company to continue selling in the U.S. several of its high-performance cars which have a low fuel economy.
The BMW i3 Concept Coupé exhibited at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show
In February 2011 BMW announced a new sub-brand, BMW i, for the commercialization of the vehicles produced under Project i, and its vehicles will be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two productionmodels will be the battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.
BMW unveiled the i3 Concept Coupé study at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The carmaker developed the concept car to demonstrate the potential for conceivably extending the model range. The three-door coupe, like the five-door i3 electric sedan, is propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, with a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 Nm (184 lbft). Power delivery to the rear wheels is via a single-speed transmission. The li-ion battery pack is placed under the floor and can deliver an all-electric range of 160 km (99 mi), but a gasoline engine referred to as "REx", can be added to extend the car's range to 320 km (200 mi).

Design and Technology

The BMW ActiveE began field testing in early 2012 with several of the same electronic components proposed to be used in the BMW i3
BMW explained that taking advantage of the fact that the vehicle does not need an internal combustion engine up front, the i3 is being designed from the ground up, but avoiding to look podlike, with a dynamic sweep of the roof and the beltine to make it look sportier than most electrics. In order to achieve a lightweight car, the i3 will be the first mass production car to have most of its internal structure and body being made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). As of November 2010, BMW has only demonstrated the light weight of the passenger compartment, and the automaker's Chief Executive said they have already decided on the basic design of the car and that road-testing prototypes will begin soon.
The i3 will feature four doors and seating for four occupants with dimensions being slightly larger than the MINI Cooper and BMW 1 Series but smaller than the BMW 3 Series. The i3 will be powered by a newly developed powertrain consisting of a 134 horsepower electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries and driving the rear axle. BMW is aiming to achieve a range of 160 km (100 mi), the same range that was expected for the BMW ActiveE, but in order to reduce weight with a battery capacity of 16 kWh instead of the ActiveE's 30 kWh.
The BMW i3 is likely to feature a single pedal that acts as both accelerator and brake. When the driver releases the pedal, the vehicle's kinetic energy is used to power a generator that recharges the battery. This has the effect of slowing the car down. During the field testing of the Mini E, which features an accelerator that recharges the battery in this way, and brakes that only apply to the rear wheels, BMW has learned that drivers tend to rely on the single pedal: some 75% of all deceleration maneuvers are initiated without the brake while in urban traffic. BMW also expects that the i3 will use the same type of battery and powertrain that is being tested in the BMW ActiveE trials.
BMW i3 pre-production model exhibited at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
The prototype presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show has a 22 kWh (79 MJ) lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to deliver between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 mi) and the battery will take about four hours to fully charge from the 240-volt charging unit. The i3 is expected to go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in less than 8 seconds. The BMW i3 has a 130 kW (170 hp) electric motor that will be mounted on the rear axle to drive the rear wheels . The top speed will be limited to 150 km/h (93 mph). BMW designed the i3 eDrive powertrain under the premise that the battery would only require to be recharged once every two to three days, based on the field trial results of the BMW ActiveE and MINI E vehicles in Asia, Europe and the U.S. reflecting their pilot customers typical commuting use between home and workplace.
In June 2012 an updated version of the BMW i3 concept car was unveiled at the opening of the first BMW i store located at BMW’s London Park Laneshowroom. The updated i3 concept has a new interior colour and materials concept. The seat covers combine responsibly sourced wool and naturally tanned leather using a tannin agent made from olive leaves. The almost symmetrical curving dash is inlaid with eucalyptus wood which BMW said is eucalyptus woodsourced from sustainable managed European forests, while information is fed to the driver through a 16.5 cm (6.5 in) freestanding instrument cluster and 22.3 cm (8.8 in) central information display. The wood is treated using natural materials, giving it a high-class finish and distinctive hue. There is no center tunnel bisecting the cabin, due to the bench-derived front seats and lack of floor-mounted transmission, brake levers or center console that make possible for a driver or passenger to slide to either side of the car to get out in tight parking spaces.

Operating modes

The BMW i3 allows the driver to select the car energy consumption through three different drive modes: COMFORT, ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode. In the standard COMFORT mode the i3 delivers a range of 160 km (100 mi). The ECO PRO mode increases the driving range by around 12% through a different accelerator pedal mapping which uses less power. In ECO PRO+ mode, all settings are geared to achieving the maximum possible range, increasing the driving range by about 24% compared with COMFORT mode. In this mode the maximum speed of the BMW i3 is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph) and electrical devices such as the heating and air conditioning are switched to energy-saving mode.

Range extender option

BMW will offer a gasoline range extender engine as an option. The range extender will be powered by the same 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine used in the BMW C650 GT motorcycle. The range extender engine will only engage when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 320 km (200 mi). The i3 performance in range-extending mode may be more limited than when it is running on battery power, as BMW clarified that the range extender is designed not for long-distance travel but purely as an emergency backup to keep the electric system going until the next recharging location. 

Additional mobility

BMW i is planning to offer additional mobility packages for trips where the range of an BMW i3 would not be enough to allow customers to cover longer distances, such as providing a conventional BMW vehicle on a given number of days per year. Also, BMW will also offer a roadside assistance program in areas of high sales. The assistance vehicle instead of a tow will provide a charge so the i3 can travel to the next charging station. In addition, the i3 digital display panel will show the location of nearby recharging stations to alleviate range anxiety.


BMW is manufacturing carbon strands that form the basis of the i3's carbon-fiber reinforced plastic bodywork at a new US$100 million plant built inMoses Lake, Washington, using raw material that will be shipped from Japan. This location was selected to take advantage of the abundanthydroelectric power available in this U.S. region because carbon-fiber production requires considerable energy and would otherwise emit much carbon dioxide. Electricity in this region also costs about one-seventh of what it costs in Germany, providing a financially beneficial reason for the Moses Lake location. The carbon fiber is then shipped to LandshutGermany, where the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic parts are fabricated, and the vehicle assembly line is located in Leipzig.
On November 2010, the Leipzig plant was inaugurated, with an investment in the production that amounts to €400 million euros (US$561 million) through 2013. The plant is located at BMW's complex that already produces variants of the 1 Series model. A concept version of the BMW i3 Coupe reflecting the current status of ongoing development was presented at the March 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The production vehicle was officially unveiled simultaneously in New York, London and Beijing on 29 July 2013.


BMW i3 concept car cut-away showing the carbon fiber structure and the electric motor, exhibited at BMW i Park Lane showroom in London
The i3 roll out is scheduled for late 2013 and planned to include major cities around the world, including those in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, where the Mini E demonstration programs took place.

North America


The BMW i3 is expected to be available in Canada by mid 2014, starting at a price of CAD 44,950 before any available government incentives. The optional range extender will cost an additional CAD 4,000.

United States

The market launch in the U.S. will include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Austin and New York City, plus the suburban areas ofNew Jersey and Connecticut. Deliveries of the i3 are scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2014. Pricing in the U.S. will start atUS$42,275 before any applicable government incentives, and the range extender option will cost an additional US$3,850.
The i3 will be available with three trim levels, Mega World, the standard model in the US, Giga World and the top-of-the-line Tera World. The base Mega World comes standard with 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, BMW Navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive with eCall, the BMW i Remote, an alarm, 7.4 kW on board charger and LED headlights, DRLs and tail lights. The interior is donned in bright, lightweight Sensatec and sustainable cloth, which is made from recycled materials. It also features a leather trimmed steering wheel and grained dash trim. The next level Giga World has all the features of the Mega but with the addition of Giga-specific 19-inch wheels and an interior wrapped in leather and wool cloth. A universal garage door opener is included for easy access to the i3's BMW i Charging Station. It also has Comfort Access, a sunroof, and satellite radio. The Tera World adds unique 19-inch wheels, luxury full leather, olive leaf-tanned interior, with textile accents and contrasting stitching, and anthracite floors mats.
Available for every trim is the technology and driving assist, and the parking assist packages. The driving assist package includes the wide-screen Navigation Professional with advanced real-time traffic and the new touch pad, Traffic Jam Assist, BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth and USB with BMW Apps, Online Information services, Deceleration Assistant, ACC Stop & Go, Speed Limit info, BMW ConnectedDrive services, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation. The parking assist package includes a rearview camera, Park Assistant, which helps take advantage of tight parallel parking opportunities, and Front Auto Park Distance Control.



Pricing in France will start at €34,990 before the applicable government incentive, and the range extender option will cost an additional €4,710.


Prices in Germany will start from €34,950 and deliveries are scheduled to begin in November 2013.


Prices in the Netherlands will start at €35,500 and the range extender option will cost an additional €4,490. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November 2013.


Deliveries in Norway are scheduled to start on 16 November 2013 at a price of 237,100 kroner. The BMW i3 will be available in three trims.

United Kingdom

Pricing in the UK will start at GB£30,680 before the applicable government grant. Leasing for a 36-month contract starts at GB£369 per month including VAT, plus an initial payment of GB£2,995including VAT. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November 2013.


The BMW i3 was selected by the Green Car Journal as one the five finalists for the 2012 Green Car Vision Award. In July 2013, the Wired and The Christian Science Monitor media sources published favorable reviews for the model.


exterior - headlights
exterior - taillights
interior - dashboard
interior - multi-function screen
interior - seat and dashboard
interior - seat and roof
interior - seat
side view door open
exterior - boot space
interior - boot space
side view
top view
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Last updated on 21 August 2013 at 02:33.


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