2014 BMW i3 Electric Car: Full Details And Images Released Page 2

Follow John

2014 BMW i3

2014 BMW i3

Enlarge Photo

The range extender adds another 330 pounds to the i3, which has a curb weight of "roughly" 2700 lbs without the optional engine.

The design goal from the outset was to win the BMW i3 with range extender the designation of "BEVx," for battery-electric vehicle (extended), meaning that its electric range is greater than or equal to its gasoline range.

That, to the surprise of some, appears to qualify the BMW i3 for the coveted single-occupancy access to California's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes.

Preliminary performance specs

BMW quotes "preliminary" acceleration times of 3.5 seconds from 0 to 30 mph, and "approximately" 7.0 seconds from 0 to 60 mph.

Those figures will likely be obtained using the "Comfort" mode, one of three driving modes that adjust the vehicle's efficiency based on the driver's desire.

The other two are "Eco Pro" and "Eco Pro+," which restrict power output, adjust climate control, and make other changes in the car's electronically controlled systems to reduce battery draw and extend range.

The BMW i3's top speed is electronically limited to 93 mph.

With a weight distribution of close to the ideal 50-50, BMW promises the i3 will provide handling consistent with its "Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan.

2014 BMW i3

2014 BMW i3

Enlarge Photo

Optional CCS fast-charging

As for charging time, the standard onboard charger can operate at up to 7.4 kW, meaning a full recharge on a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station will take 3 hours or less (if the station is rated at 32 Amps or higher).

The i3 will also offer an optional Combined Charging System (CCS) fast-charging coupler.

That will permit an 80-percent battery recharge in 20 minutes, and 100 percent in 30 minutes--once CCS fast-charging stations begin to roll out in Europe, the States, and elsewhere. It is not compatible with today's dominant CHAdeMO quick-charging standard.

"Urban car"

BMW refers to its new i3 electric car as an urban vehicle, one that's intended only for city use.

It says that its MINI E and BMW ActiveE drivers averaged only 30 miles a day, well within the range of the i3.

2014 BMW i3

2014 BMW i3

Enlarge Photo

And the images provided by BMW show the i3 electric car against any number of urban backgrounds, including recognizable locations in New York, London, and Beijing.

The concept of an urban car is somewhat foreign to U.S. buyers, however, who tend to buy cars for a wide variety of uses.

Executives have said they expect early i3 buyers to opt for the range-extending engine in greater numbers than later buyers.

Analysts and other carmakers will be watching i3 sales closely; as the first car in the world to offer an optional range extender, it will test the market for pure battery-electric cars versus those with gasoline-fueled range extension.

The 2014 BMW i3 will go on sale in the U.S. early next year.

To watch the live reveal as it happened, see the video below.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Follow Us

Comments (66)
  1. Very cool, I just watched the live web-cast I'm happy that the premiere of the production version is here I've been following this since the car was called the "Mega City Vehicle".

  2. Good to see you like it, CDspeed. I do, too, although I'm still a little on the fence about some of the styling. But it's one of those vehicles where it might look very different in person than in pictures and videos. Since I'm likely to get this or a Model S in 2015 when my Volt lease is up, I will be watching closely.

  3. Why not get the Chevy Spark that does 0-60 in 7.6 sec., gets 82 miles from a 21KWh battery, seats four, and can be picked up for under $20,000 after the $7,500 tax credit?

    It does everything the i3 does just as well. The i3's interior is much better and the exterior is...polarizing, but is it worth $15,000?

  4. *Actually $42,275 before and $34,775 after $7,500 tax credit. With optional range extender that costs $3,750, that brings the base price with no other options to $46,025 and $38,525 after $7,500 tax credit. That's quite a chunk of cash!

  5. Thanks, John! It's good to finally good some more details and some great photos of the interior which is gorgeous. I love the minimalist, clean look of the dash. Exterior--NOT ugly to me (as I've seen many statements in a lot of comment sections saying they dislike the styling). Looks functional; unlike a lot of newer cars, it hasn't sacrificed the visibility out of the car for mere styling. I wouldn't say this is the right car for me, but I'm thrilled to see a company like BMW embracing a bold entrance into the electric car market. I think they've done a fabulous job. Would certainly love to test drive it. I bet it would be fun to zip about in it around town!

  6. I feel about the same, Marjorie. I'm uncertain about the external design, but will see what it looks like in person. The interior, however, is very nice for me and I'll have to take a look at what the options make it look like.

    As someone who's owned BMWs and loved the performance but generally not the interior styling, this is not the case here at all.

  7. I just noticed on the BMW USA micro site that the pure electric version starts at $41,350 and the ReX range extended version starts at $45,200. So your looking at $3,850 to upgrade to the hybrid version.

  8. There is a little video of the i3 moving around.

  9. Thanks, John.

  10. Just what we need, another overweight, over priced and overteched EV.

    They use CF and can't get under $2klbs? I have a stronger that steel all composite 2 seater EV with lead batteries than weighs 50% of that and would only take 20% more weight to be a 4 seater. And mine uses no overhyped CF.

    Next their range extender weighs 300lbs!! Lotus made a 35kw, far more than needed 10kw unit, in only 115lbs. Lotus range extender. The one for my 2 seater is only 45lbs.

    And why do they feel the need to make EV's so ugly? Especially head on in this one.

    We need lower cost practical EV's, not the designed to fail overpriced crap put out by most car companies.

  11. I'm not much bothered by the look; it's not bad at all and somewhat distinctive with being horrid.

    But I agree about the range-extender; it's too heavy, weak and doesn't give enough range as the tank is also much too small.

  12. And again, more nonsense from the guy who makes the best EVs in the industry... And how are those Lotus range extenders doing in production again? For what vehicle?

    If you think it's ugly, don't buy/lease it. Simple enough for you.

    Amazing that a guy like you, who apparently makes the best EVs around, can't quite seem to break through and instead just takes potshots at every other maker out there. And by every other maker, I mean real, mass production makers, not minor league players like you.

    Yeah, it's overpriced by being priced the same as a standard 3-series, but with huge fuel savings. Struggle with math much or just completely clueless about the BMW brand and what it costs?

  13. Do you have your EV posted on evalbum.com? I'd love to see a complete technical description.

  14. Fugly! I'm really loving my Volt now more than ever. Futuristic looking yet conservative and not trendy.

  15. This Volt owned would take the i3 in a heartbeat. Just different strokes, I guess... I'm not saying I'm right, either, just we clearly see things very differently. I'm not a huge fan of the i3's exterior, but the interior blows away the Volt IMHO. But just my opinion, of course...

  16. Everyone here knows how much I love the Volt.

    But I agree with the robok2 that the interior of the i3 looks way cooler than the Volt. I think it is far more "futuristic" looking the the Volt as far as the interior is concerned.

  17. I look forward to see this very good car on the market. Indeed it'll be a real life test on FEV vs REEV. I'm working the following alternate route www.eptender.com . My view is that renting the RE on demand, having 9.24 gallons of petrol, and a total range of 400 miles, plus an additional luggage rack could make this car capable occasional non urban usage. And you save 330 pounds 360 days in the year, plus the fixed cost of the RE !

  18. Pretty quirky, pretty expensive and pretty average EV range but also pretty special, clever design, cutting edge engineering and with an interesting range extender option.

    The concept of the EREV variant makes more sense than that of the current market leader, the GM Volt IMO: better electric range combined with limp home range extender fits the desire of many Volt owners to use their car primarily as an EV using the ICE only sparingly. Also the modest size range extender allows for something the Volt lacks: serious interior space. Of course it also beats the Volt in the sticker shock department.

  19. I'll take my Volt's range extender any day over the "limp home" extender.

    Try driving on Vacation with a limp home extender.

  20. FYI, the i3 range extender develops 25kW, which is enough to maintain about 75mph. (isn't this the max legal speed anywhere in the US anyway?)

    Furthermore, just like on the Volt, the bottom few kW*h of the battery always remain available for extra kick when needed.

  21. @Just O: All correct, but that 25 kW is at steady-state cruising--not for edge cases.

    Those might be, for instance, when the car has 4 passengers and is climbing a 3-to-5-percent grade over many miles, which will quickly exhaust any reserve in the battery.

    It remains unclear what the i3 ReX will do in that case, or how much the performance will be compromised. BMW has already issued figures that show acceleration and electric range are slightly reduced due to the extra weight of the ReX, but what the outer edges of the performance curve look like remains TBD.

  22. John, agreed and understood. That said, we crunched a few numbers in a conversation on TMC and the upshot is that given the weight of the vehicle, and the implied aerodynamics, the REx should be able to propel the car up a 6% grade at 45 mph. Assuming that the battery won’t be fully depleted, it might be used to augment on steeper inclines. I'm fairly confident in those numbers. Let's see what the various road tests will reveal.

  23. Does the REx provide any cabin heat?

    If NOT, then the REx might NOT be enough to keep the car going at hwy speed in the winter.

    Also, if the REx is barely enough to keep the car going at hwy speed, then you can't expect to fill the car with another 2.4 gallon and driving farther since the battery reserve would be already diminished.

    Also, like I said, this will only work if BMW allows somewhat an EV hold mode from the start.

    Does anyone know if that mode is available? Or does that disqualify the i3 with REx as an BEVx or ZEV vehicle?

  24. I wouldn't take a Volt on vacation. Nowhere to put the luggage and it can't tow anything. That's kinda my point: if you are going to do a car that's mostly useful for light regional duty more EV range +limp home makes more sense than serious long range capability.

  25. I never much cared for the layout in the back of the Volt, I think the layout in the back of the Prius is more practical.

  26. John, you know that I'm not a fan of the Prius in terms of design, but I'll agree completely here. It's a major weakness for the Volt IMHO. It works for my wife and I, but it's a terrible car for our dog (so we drive her Prius then) and there's little utility.

    I still like the Volt a lot, but that's a criticism GM should have learned from by now. In a different vehicle, I mean.

  27. We just took our Volt from Illinois to the Gulf coast. 2 adults, 2 teen age girls, two small dogs, one huge suitcase, one dog crate, and a bunch of other stuff.

    It was a more comfortable ride than our noisy bumpy Expedition. Way less fatiguing. We got better than the advertised 40 mpg highway and that was loaded down with leadfoot wife driving faster than the slower more "efficient" speeds. We'd do the trip again in that car any day over the Expedition. Maybe a roof rack is in order someday if we want to bring more stuff next time.

  28. Guess you own the Tardis edition...

  29. We too just took our Volt on a vacation from Iowa to DC, with 4 adults in the car. 2,100 miles on 46.5 gallons of gas. We only charged the car 3 nights at hotels. Properly packed we had enough room for 4 pieces of soft side luggage and a cooler. My only complaint is the seats get a little hard when driving 8 hours or more.

  30. To all the people who complain about the Volt luggage area. Sure, it is NOT the largest by any stretch of imagination. But I have managed to fit a full size large suitcase and two small suitcase (the largest you can take on an airplane) in the Volt's luggage area with no problem.

    Also, with rear seat folding down, I have also managed to fit a sheet of plywood there (40"x 50")

  31. There are more comments in this thread
  32. I don't understand what people are saying about the cargo space. I've heard this a lot on the Internet. I own a Volt and I think the cargo space is good! My other car is a 2000 Buick Century, which has a pretty big trunk, and I can put way more in the Volt. Are people comparing the space to a minivan or an SUV?

  33. You got me on that one. I share your question. The cargo area of the Volt is great.

    The only thing I wish it had was that 3rd seat in the back, yet I've only needed that about 1% of the time. Then the Expedition comes in with the third row seat. Heck, got to burn the gas out of it from time to time before it goes bad anyway now that we have the Volt.

  34. Well, personally, I compared the cargo space in the Volt, which is a hatchback, with other hatchbacks, such as my daily driver, a GTI. It was the basis of my Volt test drive.

    My 2007 GTI has 15.1 square feet of cargo space. The Volt has 10.6. It also somehow looks even smaller.

    I'm used to putting stuff in my GTI that literally makes the eyes of SUV owners pop.

    I can see how you are pleased in comparison to a Buick Century, which has a different design philosophy as far as useable space is concerned.

    The cargo space combined with lower visibility through the rear compared to my GTI put me off; I was prepared to give up a lot of performance, but not stowage.

    It's an amazing bit of engineering and a good match for many people, though.

  35. If I look at the Volt's cargo space between the high floor line and the low roof life I see room for one large suitcase. Apparently that works for some people but personally I feel the Volt offers the interior space of a coupe: 2+2+room for very little luggage.

  36. There are more comments in this thread
    There are more comments in this thread
  37. Is great to have more details on BMW's i3. Looking forward to reading the first drive & experience reports. The 125 kW (170 HP) motor should ensure driving is an exciting expierence.

    While the BEVx (extender) is an interesting option, it would be nice to see a pure BEV extender option. Guessing an 8-14 kWh of additional battery could be fitted into the same space as the gas extender while not exceeding the 330 lb extender weight. This would give i3 an optimal BEV range of 120-150 miles. Perhaps a BEVex option for 2016-17?

  38. Yeah, given the relatively light weight of this vehicle, it seems a shame not to have options of giving it a more Tesa-like range.

  39. Jay Cole was able to unearth that the REx option weighs 259 lbs and not 330 lbs. this data came straight from BMW. The press release was incorrect.

  40. @Brian: I like the idea but BMW presumably doesn't have a clever low cost battery architecture like Tesla does so I think even +8KWh would cost more than the range extender and it would add only ~30 miles of range.

  41. That would give the BMW i3 running in range-extending mode an effective fuel efficiency of 33 to 42 miles per gallon.

    That's piss-poor, it should be in at least the 50-60mpg range.

    230kg for a 22kWh battery is also pretty sucky, they should be getting 200+Wh/kg not less than 100...

  42. Sure, because dozens of vehicles can get 50-60 MPG now, right? Just ridiculous. The Volt gets 35 officially and I get about 38-40, but you expect 50-60 here. Even carbon fiber has limits, of course.

  43. It'll be interesting to see the difference in sales between the regular EV and range extender options in different parts of the world.

    Quick question for John Voelcker. Is there a sister site for GCR that uses metric (SI) units instead of (or in addition to) US imperial?

  44. @Paul: I'm afraid we don't operate such a site. We're largely (if not exclusively) for U.S. car buyers, though we greatly value our ex-U.S. readers. Sorry bout that.

  45. Bummer. I enjoy a lot of the articles on your site, but the imperial units slow down the flow when reading an article. Understandable though, given the majority of your audience is in the US.

    Thanks for your response John.

    Fun fact - there are only three countries in the world that fully use the imperial system of measurement - USA, Liberia and Burma. ;-)

  46. Actually imperial units are used in the UK and many countries in the former British sphere of influence like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The US uses a system that is derived from it but has some differences that are important for the topics of this website, mainly a different definition for measure of volumes of fluids. E.G.one US gallon is~3.78 litre; an imperial gallon is~4.54 litre.

  47. You're right about the UK Chris. They're still a bit mixed up (they made using metric optional for a lot of things). However, despite their "mixin' it up", they have actually officially endorsed the use of metric units. In fact, apparently the USA has officially endorsed it as well, it's just not used (except by smart people like physicists, rocket scientists, etc.). :)

    As for Australia and New Zealand, imperial's not used at all in any products or industries (although there are a couple of odd places where "the old money" may be referred to - like TV screen sizes - as a hangover from the old days). How do I know this? I'm an Australian who has also lived in NZ. :D

  48. This is a sidetrack from EVs, but Canada officially uses SI for distance, speed, fuel consumption, engine and other sizes, and most other car numbers. Some oldsters still use imperial, but young'uns don't know it.

  49. Whenever I read foreign blogs, I just use an online unit converter. It's pretty easy to convert U.S. to metric or the other way around.

  50. I am a pharmacist and I understand the metric system better than our old archaic system. We had a chance to go metric back in the late 1970's but the conservatives blocked it. I wish we would have. In effect the USA uses both systems now. Try using a so called standard wrench on your new American car and you will understand why everything is metric now and has been for some time.

  51. Has there been any mention of the MPGe rating and how that might affect battery usage in battery only mode? I'm wondering if, like the Volt, it will have to limit the amount of battery capacity it can access to ensure that, in ten years, it can still meet the MPGe rating handed out at launch.

  52. Other sites indicate that REx version will slow the car down to 7.9 seconds in 0-60mph.

  53. I think BMW already made this clear.

    The REx is really there to reduce "anxiety" instead of using it for long trips. By offering this, it solves two current issues. 1. i3 lacks the supporting DC quick charge network, so REx works for medium size trip. 2. REx is still cheaper than doubling the size of battery.

    I don't think the REx is capable of doing some serious long range trip like the rest of the PHEV/EREV family. Volt is designed (with mountain mode) that it can tackle any hwy terrains in the world without sacrifice in performance.

    But it is curious to see if BMW allows a "hold mode" where the REx can be started from the start of the trip. BMW has NOT indicated anything as such.

  54. I like it. I like the looks. I like the 7.4kW charger. I like the optional gas generator. I like being able to choose. Just batteries or batteries plus gas generator.

    I would LOVE a third choice. Forget the 260 lb gas generator system and throw in another 260 lbs of batteries. I bet that would get the range up to about 150 miles. Price it loaded for under $50K and I'll buy one.

    The BMW i3 could have been the perfect tweener EV. We have lots of "Commuter EVs" that can go 50 to 70 miles. We have one marathon EV with a 300 mile range. We NEED an in-between EV that will go 150 miles for under 50K.

    I feel somewhat drawn to it. After putting 21K miles on a LEAF and not a drop of gas, I would feel like a caveman filling up its 2 gallon tank.

  55. You're right! I'd be much more inclined to buy this vehicle if it had greater battery power (150 mile range would do it) instead of the gas generator. It's a compelling thought to go "pure" EV and completely ditch the gas. Luxury Tesla is simply not practical or feasible for most. Leaf is great but the commuter range restricts its use.

  56. Finally, a car to compete with the Toyota ME.WE! Seriously though, it's a nice first full-effort from BMW. I'm tempted. I'm curious how they were able to economically manufacture the CFRP.

  57. Add that extended range to my leaf and i would be a happy puppy. Leaf is perfect size for family of four plus dog. Ev range is great, i would more than be happy to pay 4k for extended range of 200 miles. 80 ev and 200 extended range and the leaf would be perfect.

  58. What about a Volt/Ampera? Clearly a shorter EV range, but able to recharge on even 110V and a MUCH greater ICE range when needed.....

  59. The nice thing about the Volt is the fuel infrastructure has been in place for decades.

    Any electric plug that you can charge your iPhone/Pod with.

    Any gas station that exists for the Jurassic Cars.

  60. The European BMW website has slightly more info on what they expect range to be. For example, they say in "Comfort" mode you'll travel 130-160 km (or 80-100 miles). If 80 is the lowest then they just barely beat out the Leaf. However, with the most Spartan mode--ECOPRO+ you could travel 200 km (124 miles) pure battery. The range extender gasoline engine (which apparently takes regular gas, not premium like the Volt)will allow you to travel from 240-300 km (149-186 miles) and in ECOPRO+ up to 340 km, or 211 miles. This isn't bad--but it still makes the car a commuter car unless you're able to find convenient fast charge stations every 100 miles. Has anyone heard whether BMW will offer such stations at their dealerships in the US?

  61. I'd be quite happy to use one for the majority of my driving. Looks great and as a luxury brand, sets the ceiling for EVs from non luxury makers. Rockin.

  62. It's a good decidion of BMW to line up EV & RE-EV together. For 1st car buyer would choose RE-EV for all purpose use, 2nd car buyer can buy EV for limited run.

  63. Carbon based body is cool. Design is very ugly. 100 miles range (at best) will cause too much range anxiety for me. Adding the optional engine really beats the idea of an all electric car. Overall... I will PASS.

Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.