BMW i3 Electric Car Spotted Winter Testing In Northern Europe

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BMW i3 and i8 preview, New York City, November 2011, photo by Tom Moloughney

BMW i3 and i8 preview, New York City, November 2011, photo by Tom Moloughney

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Last week, we were 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle, putting the Volvo C30 electric through its paces

But we weren’t the only people driving electric cars in the Arctic Circle as our colleagues over at Motor Authority found out earlier today.

As our own Viknesh Vijayenthiran reports, Motor Authority has been given an exclusive spy-video of a camouflaged i3 being tested somewhere in Northern Europe. 

Due some time in 2013 as a 2014 year model, the all-new i3 will offer BMW’s usual level of build quality and luxury combined with a highly-efficient electric drivetrain. 

On electricity alone, it is expected to achieve a range of around 80 miles per charge, with a 0-60 mph time of 8 seconds. 

BMW i3 Concept, Nov. 2011

BMW i3 Concept, Nov. 2011

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The spy video shows the all-electric i3 traveling at speed around BMW’s winter test track, complete with the unmistakable whine of an all-electric motor. At several points, the i3 prototype is seen losing grip on the icy tundra, no doubt a result an enthusiastic test driver. 

What we haven’t decided yet -- and would love to know -- is if the i3 shown in the video is BMW’s all-electric base model, or the range-extended BMW i3 REX variant, complete with a small capacity, range extending gasoline engine permanently mounted on the rear axle.

As the months progress, expect to hear and see more from BMW’s first all-electric minicar. We already know the i3 is likely to make an appearance in pre-production form at the 2012 Olympics in London, but we’re sure it will appear elsewhere as well. 

Until then, check out Motor Authority’s exclusive video and let us know what you think of the BMW i3 in the Comments below. 

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