For the last couple of decades, the electric car was something that most people saw as part of the automotive landscape of the future.

With the introduction of the 2009 Tesla Roadster, we saw a high-end electric sports car come on the market that was viable.

Now, with cars like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf, and soon the 2012 Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV (now just 2012 Mitsubishi i in the U.S.), we have vehicles that are starting to change the consumer perception of the electric vehicle.

BMW is getting in on the market with the announcement of their all-electric sub-brand, the i-series of vehicles (what is with all the i’ these days?). Now we are hearing more details on the i3 electric city car, including price, range and cargo room.

Besides our supposition that it will be a fairly attractive city car, the BMW i3 is more than just an exercise in electric vehicles—it is a complete package. The i3 is supposed to start at around $35,000 and should be eligible for the same $7,500 Federal tax credit as any other full electric car purchased in the U.S.

The power and range is pretty impressive: BMW claims that the diminutive i3 will have 150 hp and be able to travel a range of about 100 miles. Not enough for you? The i3 will also boast a top speed of 100 mph and cargo room of 14.1 cubic feet.

It should also offer traditional BMW sporty handling and roadholding, as befits any car sold under the slogan, "the ultimate driving machine."

BMW isn’t stopping at offering an interesting and viable electric vehicle. The company is also working on the charging infrastructure. By working closely with Siemens they are looking to introduce a 3.6-kW wireless recharging network in Berlin this June. The plan is then to spread the wireless technology worldwide to accepting markets.

Bottom line: Electric cars aren’t just the subject of futuristic movies. They will start to enter the consideration set of average households.

Yes, early adopters are still the primary buyer, but you have to start somewhere. 

[Car and Driver]


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