The BMW i3 Concept may be a bit of an old regular at the major auto shows by now, but it showed some elements off for the first time at the 2012 Paris auto show.
This latest version of the i3 Concept features an interior design geared towards sustainability. The eucalyptus wood used for the instrument panel comes from a sustainable cultivation source in Europe and is treated exclusively with natural substances. The high-quality leather of the seats has a fine surface consistency achieved by processing tanning agents gained from olive leaves. What is more, parts of the instrument cluster and door trim are made of natural wool fabric.
Also showing publicly for the first time is the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell [first previewed 2 years ago
] and how it plugs up with the i3's electric drivetrain and suspension bits. The i3 will be the world's first volume-produced vehicle with a passenger cell made from carbon fiber. This weight saving technology and process should begin to flow down to mainstream models as a key construction component in the coming years - beginning with the next 7 Series (due in 2015-16), as confirmed by
BMW R&D chief Klaus Draeger.
With its fully electric powertrain, the i3 will be BMW's first mass produced zero emissions car. It 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 160 km (100 mi) range, the same 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. A range extended version that functions similarly to the Chevrolet Volt is also being considered by BMW.
The prototype presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show has a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to deliver between 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 miles) 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 and 0 to 60 km/h in less than 4 seconds. The top speed will be limited to 150 km/h (93 mph) [See the i3 Concept Full Specs
Pricing for the i3 has been speculated to start in the 35000-40000 euros range.