BMW has also joined the other automakers in creating its own design for its version of the electric car. The model is called the i3 and the i8, with its projected full market release in 2014.
The two electric car models would be launched in the German Auto Show. Unlike other car designs, which swapped an existing internal combustion engine with an electric motor, BMW design engineers designed an electric car from scratch.
The i3 is designed for the urban setting and runs on a 125 kW electric motor using the proprietary LifeDrive architecture. The battery is a carbon passenger cell lowering the overall weight to 2,755 pounds. The unit can also be fitted with the BMW REx range extender. This unit would charge the electric battery when the car is in motion.
The BMW i3 is constructed with super-light, but super strong, carbon fiber and aluminum. The projected battery range of the BMW electric car is up to 100 miles, greater than some of the electric cars already in the market.
The i3 is outfitted with 170 horsepower motor, designed to maintain the feel of the internal combustion engine BMW. The prototype i3 can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.9 seconds. Engineers of BMW also provide an optional fast charger that can allow 80% charging of the battery with just an hour of electrical charge.
The i8 is a plug-in hybrid performance vehicle that uses battery power and electric motor to travel at least 20 miles on electric power alone before switching to the three-liter engine included in the car design. This is a gull-winged sports car with a 0 to 60 mph travel of only five seconds. The car is electronically designed to top speed of 134 mph and full charging can be achieved in just two hours. The engine displacement is 328 horsepower and a fuel economy range of 75.1 miles per gallon.
As for cost, being a high-end brand, the BMW i3 is set at a bargain $35,000, very near the actual costs of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.