BMW took a further step with its ‘i’ brand last Friday when it launched concept models of the i3 and i8. The smaller i3, to be released in 2013, is powered by an all-electric engine. The i8, based on the Vision EfficientDynamics, will follow in 2014 and is a hybrid performance car with a top speed of 250km/h. Both models follow a lighter is better principle, relying on the use of carbon fibre body panels and other innovative construction techniques.
The electric motor in the i3 is rated at 125kW/250Nm and can reach 100km/h in a tidy 7.9 seconds. Its ‘everyday range’ is quoted as being between 130–160km. The engine can be recharged to 80% in as little as one hour, while a full recharge will take up to six hours.
Pushing the performance envelope further the i8 has a combined total of 260kW/550Nm from its hybrid drivetrain. That’s enough to propel the car to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Separating the power individually, a three cylinder petrol engine drives the rear wheel and produces 164kW/300Nm. The front wheels are powered by the 96kW/250Nm electric motor, which can achieve a 100% recharge in less than two hours. In all-electric mode the i8 has a 35km range.